There has been a lot of talk over the last 12-18 months about how S.E.O is dying. While I can see the logical arguments as to why S.E.O is no longer as important as it once was, the fact of the matter remains. We still need S.E.O to let the search engines know what our content is about. Without it we are likely to remain in the dark or as it is more commonly known, page 10 of the search results.
S.E.O has changed and evolved over the last 8 years that we have been blogging and it continues to evolve. From Google Social Signals rolled out in 2010, to the much demonised “Panda” update, which continues to be tweaked today. One of the major factors that caused many to suffer at the handS of the cutely named “Panda” was that the update focused on ranking fresh, new content higher.
Many online business that were “gaming” the system suffered as a result, but due to the fact that we were creating fresh content daily, we saw a major spike in our traffic numbers and to be honest, we were left wondering what everyone was complaining about. As I said, S.E.O has changed over the years and while many will tell you it is not important anymore, the fact is, that it is very important.
The only difference now is, there is so much more that you can be doing to help your content that S.E.O is not as important in their minds. Yet it is still the bread and butter of the search engines. Of course with so many other things to do, us as content creators and bloggers can often find a “better use” of our time and a more fun way of spending our time. I think this is only logical. However, I feel that this is that partly to do with the fact that we do not fully understand what to do with our content when it comes to S.E.O.
So the question is not really “how do I do S.E.O?” it is actually, “what can I do to help my S.E.O, that is not overly time consuming and that I can build into my content creation process?
We have found some ways of building in S.E.O into our content over the years and once you begin the habit, it will become second nature. Now before I go into the “How to” I want to point out that I am by no means an S.E.O expert and I certainly don’t claim to be one. In fact I will never claim to be an “expert” or “Guru” at anything, but what I do know is what has worked for us and helped us reach the number one spot on the Google rankings for keywords we targeted in our “Fantasy Football” business.
Not only that but I will also share a tactic that we used to get one of our clients ranked in the second spot of the first page on Google inside a month.
S.E.O Keyword placement
The whole idea in a nut shell is to have a “keyword” or phrase that you want to be found for within your content. After all, Google does not know what the content is about unless you tell them. Essentially this is why we still need S.E.O. Google sends bots to crawl your content and judging by the keywords in your content, they can figure out what it is about, but we have to make it clear. So placing keywords in our content is of vital importance.
The first place we need to start is of course our headline. Within the headline of our content, we should always have our keyword or phrase. So straight away Google will know that this is a piece about “X”. Of course this can sometimes make our headlines a little ugly or unimaginative, so what we recommend is that you run your headline through Co Schedules Headline Analyser. This will give you an idea of where it can be improved, while still keeping the S.E.O qualities.
A good introduction is going to determine whether or not your audience is going to stick around and is perhaps the most important paragraph you will write. Likewise it is also important from an S.E.O point of view. Having your keyword or phrase in the opening paragraph is vital. However, this can be a problem.
We want to make the opening paragraph a real “hook” to grab the readers attention, after all we are writing it for them, not the search engines. So what we recommend is that you write your opening paragraph for the reader, give them the hook, tell them what they are going to get from reading your article. Then, once you are happy that you have achieved that, go back and see where you can edit your text to include you keyword or phrase.
It is important that it still reads right and does not looked forced, so take some time to figure out how you can work these into the conversation or outline of your article.
Once again, when it comes to the main body of our article we need to continue telling Google what our content is about. Much like the introduction, we do not want to make it seem forced. So again write what it is you want to say and then go back during your editing process and figure out how you can incorporate your keywords or phrases into the body copy.
When it comes to adding these keywords or phrases into your body copy, we have to be aware that we do not want to “Keyword stuff”. Keyword stuffing is not something we recommend and believe it or not, Goggle can tell when you are stuffing. Ideally the keyword should flow naturally with the text and should probably feature no fewer than five times and no more than ten.
So try and find a happy medium where you can make your point and still seem natural.
This is one that we see overlooked time and time again and it is purely out of laziness. When you include images within your articles, they too become searchable, so name them properly. We have often seen images labelled as “Screen Shot 1” or “profile picture”. These are most certainly not the keywords you are trying to get ranked for, so why leave them with a generic name?
Instead what you want to do is rename them. Before you upload them to your article, go to where you have them saved on your device and rename them to include your keyword or phrase. So if for instance I had an image in this article, which I do at the bottom, I would name that “Why we still need S.E.O”. Now when someone searched “Why we still need S.E.O” there is every chance that if the actually article doesn’t show up, my image might.
It is all about giving yourself as many opportunities to show up in the search results as possible and images are another way of getting found.
The meta description is that little piece of text that shows up under the url in the Google search results, this is another place that you will want to have your keyword or phase. In order to change this easily, I recommend installing an S.E.O Plugin like Yoast. This plugin will analyse your content and tell you where you are lacking.
More importantly it allows you to edit your meta description easily and it is a free plugin for WordPress.
Again much like the Meta Description, you should have the keyword in your URL. Luckily, if you have followed our thoughts on the headline, then the keyword should automatically become part of the URL. If it is not than you will need to adjust it.
Googles updates as I said at the top of this piece focus on fresh new content, that is of course relevant to it’s audience. After all, if they fail to provide the right search results on a consistent basis, then people will stop using their search engine.
There are any number of “hacks” that people claim will help your search rankings, but the truth is that the only play that is going to work long term is fresh valuable content. We understood this from a early stage and made sure that we created as much fresh unique content as we could. Whether you are up and running for some time or new to a niche, this principal still applies.
Over the course of the last number of years we have worked with a number of clients on the content creation front. Basically we create their content for them , thus removing that headache for the company. While they were happy to outsource their content creation, they also wanted to see results and traffic. The main question being, how can we get them higher up in the search rankings for defined keywords, that they have no background in.
The solution you will be surprised to know, is rather simple. What we did was, we focused on creating tonnes of original content for them, up to 40 articles a week. I know this sounds like a lot, but with most articles running no more than 500 words, it is a lot less work than it seems.
So we took care of Goggle’s appetite for fresh unique content, now all we had to do was figure out the S.E.O. What we did next was so simple, yet effective that it had them ranked in second place, on the first page, within a month. Now I should also state that the reason they were not number one, was because our own website held that position and we were far more established in our niche than our client, so essentially we held number one and two with two different sites.
So what did we do?
We gave our content a theme, it was that simple. We decided that every article we wrote, would have the same headline starter. That “Starter” would be the main keyword we wanted them to be found for.
So essentially for almost every article that we wrote we would start the title off with “Fantasy Football Tips:”, then after that we would have the real headline of the article. It would read something like this; “Fantasy Football Tips: Defenders for Gameweek 12” or “Fantasy Football Tips: Gameweek Preview”.
As you can see, the concept is so simple, but it worked time and time again. If you are looking to get a bump in the search engines, why not give it a go. Ask yourself, what do I want people to find me for? If for example it is fitness tips you can do at home, then try putting all of your content for the next 30 days out in this format;
Home Fitness Tips: 5 Floor Exercises
Home Fitness Tips: Chair Exercises
By doing this the content you have planned doesn’t need to change, you are merely making it very clear to the search engines that all of your content is around “Home Fitness Tips”.
This tactic along with all the other advice, will have an effect on your rankings for a key term, of that there is no doubt. As for how long it will take? That is up to you. If you are willing to pump out content as we were, then it could work as it did for us, in less than 30 days.
I hope that you have found this useful and actionable. After all time is a limited resource we are all struggling with and I appreciate the time you have taken to read this and my hope for you is that your time will be rewarded by your actions. So do not just read this and move on, read it and implement.
“To know and not to do is really not to know.” ― Stephen R. Covey