It can come across as a bit complicated, but it doesn’t have to be and there are several things you can do with your pages and posts to get them ranked in the search engines, and in turn receive some good traffic to your websites. This is a quick and easy SEO guide, which stands for Search Engine Optimization, and will help you in making your content search engine friendly.
These are simple steps that can be done whilst you are preparing your content, and if you get into the habit of performing these steps for all your posts, although they are the basics, you will be making sure your content is SERP’S friendly.
What is SERP’S
It is the Search Engine Results Pages, and is basically the list of results that appear on a page from a search using what are known as keywords. So if you search “How To Write”, those three words are known as keywords and the page that will appear after you type them and click the search icon or press enter, will be the search engine results page.
Obviously the websites that manage to get their links on the first page of those results will get the most traffic from that search, and the higher up the page the better, the top three positions being the best positions. By doing a little SEO in your content, you will give your work the best chance to rank well in the SERP’s.
The Best Content
All the different search engines strive for one thing and that is to provide their users with what they want, so again if you search “How To Write” you would expect the results to be filled with information about how to write the best material. This is what the search engines strive to provide, so the content that will rank the highest will be of good quality and of course it will be about the subject searched for by the user.
This means that the content needs to be original and not copied from somewhere else, the search engines will not tolerate copied content and it will not rank in the results pages. This does not mean that you cannot write about the same subject as others have, but it does mean that you must write it from your own point of view and with your own words.
Another important thing is the length of the content, churning out short posts containing only a couple of hundred words will likely not rank very well and will be a waste of time and effort. The Internet is full of different websites and blogs for the search engines to choose from, so they will naturally go for content that is well written and of good size.
Some say that it is best to have your posts around 1000 to 1500 words, but there are many that think that 2000 plus is more adequate to get better rankings. I would say that it is a good idea to set your minimum to at least 1000, and then strive to make your posts as long as possible. If you cannot write such long posts all the time, then you still need to strive to get above 1000, and then every now and then spend some extra time writing a post that will exceed 2000. But in order to make similar pages unique, 500 words of text are enough. An example would be one of the “24Biz” website pages (for example, this – http://24biz.biz/payday-loans/CO/lakewood/), where the author makes the page unique by adding relevant text in the bottom.
The bottom line is to make your content original, good quality and a decent length, and then you will stand a good chance of getting ranked high in the search results.
The Importance of Keywords
Understanding what keywords to target is important because it can make or break your chance of ranking well in the search results. It is always best to spend some time researching your keywords before writing your content, and a good keyword research tool is the best option for finding the best words to target.
If you do not research your keywords properly, then you stand the chance of picking those that are way to competitive and stand you no chance of ranking with because the results are crowded with sites that have way to much authority for you to compete with. On the other hand you may pick keywords that do not get any, or very little searches, and will not generate any traffic. Either way you could be wasting your time and effort in creating posts that will not get any search engine exposure.
If you do your research and use only keywords that have a good amount of searches with little competition, then you stand a good chance of getting your content ranked and in turn getting a good amount of traffic coming to your site.
The placement of keywords is also important, here are the best places to add them in your content ..
Title: It is a good idea to have the keywords you are targeting included in your title, and preferably at the front of your title. The keyword I am targeting with this post is “Easy SEO Guide” and it forms the first part of my title, the second part of the title just explains how it will help you.
First Paragraph: It is a good idea to include your keyword in the first paragraph of your content, but only if it makes sense, don’t just stuff it in without it working with the whole paragraph.
Last Paragraph: Again if it makes sense with the content, it can help to add your keywords in the last paragraph too.
Tags: Some say that it helps to include your keywords in a H2 or H3 tag, these are sub-title tags that are used throughout your content. I personally do not do this for every post, I only do it if the keywords work as a sub-title.
Whilst we are on keywords, it is well to remember not to over use them, some people are intent on stuffing their content with their keywords, but this does not help with SEO, it hinders it instead, gone are the days when this technique worked.
Instead, try using keywords related to your content and title, which could find you ranking for these too. The likes of Google and other search engines use in their complex systems Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI) which crawls content and finds words and phrases relating to the title and uses these as the common keywords for that content. It is better to use related keywords, than stuffing your content with your targeted ones.
For more information about LSI you will find a good post explaining it in detail at Search Engine Journal.
So do your research and use your keywords in the title, first and last paragraphs if possible and use related words and phrases within your content.
When you are writing a post there are times when it can relate to other posts that you have written before and it is good practice to link to these posts. This is known as internal linking and helps provide more information and navigation of your site. The search engines like this and it can help with your ranking.
The other side of the coin is of course external links and these can be helpful because you are again seen to be providing more information about your subject. It is always best to only link to good quality content that is on a site that holds some authority.
It is good practice to include several internal links in your content, and although I do not include external links in all my content, I will add them from time to time.
What’s in an Image?
It is good to add images within your posts as it breaks up the text and adds another dimension to your content, we all like pictures. There are a few things to consider when you are adding images to your content ..
Copyright: Do not just go onto Google and pick an image and use it because they all belong to someone and you will be breaking copyright rules by just taking them and using them. It is best to use images you own, or find images that you are allowed to use. Search for free images and you will find some sites that contain images for re-use, such a Pixabay, or you can go to Google and click on ‘more tools’ then use the drop down menu under ‘usage rights’ to change to ‘reuse with modification’ then your search will show images that are okay to use. Some may ask you to include an attribution to the source.
This is not going to help with ranking, but it may stop any copyright issues in the future.
Title Tags: When you upload an image in your post, you have the option of adding a title and an alternative title. It is good practice to add both, the main title can be your main keyword, and the alternative could be a related keyword or description of the image.
Image Size: It is a good idea to size your images before you upload them because an image that is too big will slow down the loading time of your page. I usually size mine to around 250 x 250 or there about, that way I know it is not going to affect the page loading time.
So always size your image before uploading, add your title text and the alternative text too.
The Right Theme
There are thousands of website themes you can choose from and most of them are good quality themes that are SEO friendly, but there are some that are better than others. I always find it best to pick a clean looking them that gives a good sense of order.
With many people using their tablets and smartphones to access the Internet it is best to use a theme that is responsive, that way you know that whatever screen your site is viewed on it will look how it should do, and of course the search engines prefer that your site responds to different size screens.
Keep your site tidy, too many banners and adverts just make your site look ugly and will take the visitors attention away from your content.
So always read a themes specifications and make sure it is optimized for the search engines and is responsive to different size screens, and keep your site clean and tidy.
I am sure you have visited sites that seem to take forever to load and some even time out before they have loaded. This is frustrating for the visitor and a lot of the time they will just click away if your site has not loaded within a few seconds, so there are a few things you may want to avoid to keep your site fast.
Plugins: There are so many plugins that we can use on our sites to perform different tasks and most of them are very handy, but some can take a long time to load, slowing down your site considerably. The key rule is to not have too many plugins installed, and only use those that are essential to your site.
Images: Images can slow down your site loading, as I mentioned above the bigger the image the longer it can take to load, so always re-size your images before uploading them to your site.
Adverts: If you load your sidebar, header and footer with a stream of adverts and banners they will help slow your sites loading time down. Especially if they are flash banners and adverts which come with animated graphics and even with sound.
The Basics of SEO
These are the basics of search engine optimization and will help in making your content more appealing to the search engines. The higher you can get your content ranked the more potential traffic you will have exposure to and the more visitors to your websites.
You can of course bypass the search engines and pay for traffic, either by using the search engines own Pay Per Click services in which case you will see your targeted keywords jump the queue and float at the top of the search results, or through another pay for traffic service. The little setback with this method is it is going to cost you money to get traffic to your websites, and it can work out expensive too.
The best traffic to receive is of course free traffic and by following the steps in this easy SEO guide you will at least give your content the best chance of climbing the rankings of the results pages in the various different search engines.