The world of SEO is anything but black and white. Use tags, but not too many. That's probably too much. Just write naturally while using this keyword three hundred times in your first paragraph. The frustration can be intense when balancing authenticity with tweaks that may or may not make the search engines happy. Maybe you've even given up. But with all of the buzz about Google+ and Facebook and what-have-you, it's obvious that SEO is a success factor that's not going anywhere anytime soon. It's apparent that whether you only have a personal site or you're a multi-million-dollar LightCMS reseller helping clients optimize their site, SEO is important for you.
So how can you approach SEO in a way that's practical, easy on time, has results, and (best of all) is free? I marched across the hallway and asked our resident SEO professional, and here's what we came up with.
Blogging for SEO
It may surprise you that one of the most effective tools for SEO is blogging. Blogging platforms are everywhere, and it just so happens that the LightCMS blog element has everything you need for SEO. If the platform you use creates a unique page for each post as the LightCMS blog element does, then those posts impact your SEO as any other page on your site would.
Find Your Keywords
One of the great things about blogging is that it gives you infinite chances to bolster your site's ranking with search engines. Just in case you're not familiar with the lingo, a keyword is basically a search term you want to place well for. The very basic idea is that if you've got a Dr. Phil fan site and you want everyone who looks up "OMG Dr. Phil" to find your site first on Google, then "OMG" and "Dr. Phil" could be your keywords.
A serious site is likely going to involve more complex search terms than that, and so an online keyword tool can be a great place to get some ideas. Free tools like Google's external keyword tool can be a great help. There are two simple ways to use it for finding keywords: 1.) You can "prospect" your competitor's keywords. If the keywords are dominated by huge companies, you can consider avoiding them to take up some of the less used keywords that apply. 2.) You can search for new keyword ideas using a URL or a related term.
The search industry relies heavily on being relevant, so being mindful of how many times you use your keywords is important. Search engine algorithms have become staggeringly complex, so keyword density isn't nearly as important as it once was, but you definitely want to avoid looking "spammy."
Free keyword density tools, like this tool from SEObook, give you a chance to monitor the percentage and number of times you're using a term or terms. The main goal is to make sure your search-relevant words are prominent, but many say that specific percentages aren't a big factor anymore.
The Key to Real Ultimate Search Power - Good Content
Keywords are dandy, and a good density is the bee's knees, but the cold, emotionless logic of a search engine wants the same thing we do -- real, helpful content. So keep those keywords and terms in the back of your mind as you write, but don't focus on them overtly. You want your content to be natural, relevant, and actually useful. Having content that's worthwhile also increases the chances that your site will be linked to by others when they find it, and links from external sites have a strong effect on your site's search engine ranking.
Other Things to Consider
- URLs and page titles are still very important, so be sure to use a keyword or two in there. With our blog element, each blog post's URL is completely customizable, so a search-friendly URL is easy to achieve.
- Add a relevant description to any images in your posts using the alt tag. An example would be <img alt="OMG a picture of me and Dr. Phil at the Dr. Phil-a-palooza" src="http://">.
- Utilize keywords in your blog tags when relevant.
- Don't be afraid to link to your own pages or blog posts. Internal links have some effect on overall ranking.
- Don't focus on all of your keywords in the same post. Instead, focus fire and write a blog post only using one or two search terms. The main thing is to be natural and relevant. Shallow content on a every keyword you can find probably won't be natural, useful, or relevant.
- Post to your blog more regularly than you do now. Even posting around once per week can be a good rule of thumb because an active website is often more up to date than an inactive one.
- Don't be shy about sharing your content via social media.
- More tips and info about SEO in general can be found on a previous post of ours: "Are You Using an SEO-Friendly CMS?"
Incorporating better tactics to improve SEO can be easy on you, your wallet, and your time. Find keywords relevant to your site, set up your pages to appear relevant, and then create relevant content. But more than anything else, create good content.
So what have you used for SEO? Any tips or guides that you've seen results from? Let us know in the comments!
Wed, July 27, 2011
by Vince Conn filed under