SEO - It's More than Just a Game

Showing up at the top of search results can help business grow exponentially and content is a major player in the SEO game. So, can partners create and distribute content in a way that helps their site’s SEO?

First, in order to score points with search engines, we have to think like them.

Prior to 2011 when major search engine algorithm changes occurred, marketers spent countless hours writing keyword-laden short snippets of content and built backlinks by contacting sites and asking them for links. This system worked well until links became a commodity, bought and sold to drive up the SEO value of websites and suddenly, spam began showing up in searches.

 SPAM

If we think like a search engine, we see how 2011’s methods don’t help us return relevant content for a human searching.  So, search engines began demoting the search rankings of sites using those tactics. They also released new guidelines like: 300 word minimums for content.

Panda, the name of the algorithm change, was the point in history when marketing took a turn from pages on sites to posts. Blogs became more popular and more focused, and sites that did a great job of creating content for human consumption were rewarded in SEO value.

This is where we’re at today. Content has to be relevant and helpful, interesting, funny, amazing, and/or eye catching. It also has to not only provide value for the human, it has to compel us to share it, come back to it, and take time to read it. All of which are part of search engines ranking your site in search results.

But wait. Search engines are still computers, right? Right. So how can they tell your content is fabulous? Keywords, still factor in but not in the same way as before. Since keyword dense content does not win the favor of search engines (anymore), what can we do to hedge our bets on both the human and the search-engine-bot sides of SEO?Search-Spiders

The first part is simple (wink-wink). Write compelling relevant content that’s worth sharing. Deliver new ideas, new perspectives and share it on social media where other people will see it and share it. Search engines factor social media into your SEO. The more shares and favorites/likes you receive, the faster and deeper the search engines will index your site. So, share your content liberally.

Accomplish that and compose your content in ways that make it easy for search bots to analyze and you’ll make huge strides in SEO value. But first you have to know what search engines scan for. We recommend using Yoast SEO plugin if you have a Wordpress site. It makes this complex SEO conversation much simpler and gives you instant feedback on your SEO value before you post an article.

SEO gear

Basically, with or without an SEO plugin, there are some key elements to focus on:

Keyword – choose one keyword or key phrase for the topic of your content. In this article, we’re using ‘SEO’ as our key phrase. Remember, as you write the content, chosen keywords are expected to be in the exact order and used more than just a couple of times. For example if my key phrase is: ‘SEO’ then ‘search engine optimization’ or ‘search’ by itself doesn’t count because it has to be verbatim.

SEO Title is what you see as the title on search and might not be the same as the title. Titles are written to attract humans to share. SEO titles are written to attract search engines to share and they don’t have to be the same.

Meta Description is the words below the SEO title that describes what the article is about. By default, it will be the first 156 characters of the article, which may or may not be the best words to describe your point.

Other factors that Yoast will help include other SEO pitfalls so you can correct them before the article is indexed such as:

  • Keyword density
  • Readability
  • Outbound Links
  • Use of H2 Headings
  • Keyword/phrase density
  • Keyword appearance in the first paragraph
  • Word count (above 300)
  • Title less than 70 characters

So the next time you sit down to write a blog, remember: writing content that’s relevant and share-worthy while also hitting SEO targets is the one-two punch that will help your site rank better in search.

photo credits: Photo Credit: hormelfoods.com, Photo Credit: SEO-Hacker.com, Photo Credit: SEO-alien.com 

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