So, how do all the veterans SEO their websites? Here’s an SEO check-list that everyone is optimizing their web content for.
1. Decide your primary and secondary key word/term/phrase – whatever you want to call your target string of letters – I will call it the key string
2. Create a nice catchy title for your article including the primary key string and motivate the reader to go on to read the whole article.
3. Write an article of at least 400 words, with at least 4 paragraphs and include the key string in each paragraph. Ensure to include the key string in the first and the last sentences without fail or you may miss the SEO grail
4. The article title which includes the key string, be stylized with H1 tag.
5. Have a subtitle after the first paragraph, again including the key string and stylize it with H2 tag.
6. have another subtitle somewhere down, again including the key string and stylize it with H3 tag.
7. Within the article body – stylize one occurrence of the key string with STRONG tag, another occurrence with EM tag and a third occurence must be underlined (use CSS like: [code]<span style="text-decoration:underline">underlined key string</span>[/code]).
8. Include one image with a nice title and ALT tag that includes the key string.
9. Link cite an authority site for ex. Wikipedia’s take on SEO.
10. Link to an external page for ex., see the opening paragraph of this article.
11. Ensure that the page URL (permalink) has the key string in it.
So there, SEO‘s easy, isn’t it!
The first thing that will strike most people who read this article is the title. And rightly so! This title seems to be a contradiction in itself. The first and second halves of the title seem to be directly contradictory to each other. Good article and SEO friendly? As if that was possible!
Most people who think this way are not to be blamed. The Internet is overloaded with senseless garbage which has little or no use for the reader. Most of the content you see on the World Wide Web is simply written with the purpose of driving more traffic to websites or to improve their rankings on the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs). Nobody cares whether these articles actually serve the purpose for which they were created, which is to give the correct information to the searcher who is looking for a particular type of information. The fact that these utterly useless junk, which we call content, actually end up being detrimental to their cause is lost to the creators, namely the content farms or mills that churn up useless articles in the thousands.
The age of keyword stuffing is gone. God Google just got smarter and smarter, and finally brought his pet Panda to the scene. The Panda takes care of Google’s content stalking now. Write good quality, error free and information laden content, and the Panda will be your friend. Keep at the keyword stuffing game, and you end up being light years away from the “Google Way Galaxy”.
So, can articles be SEO friendly and interesting at the same time? The answer is: YES! Can we not use keywords at all in good articles? The answer is: you can, but don’t overload your articles with keywords thinking that will improve the chances of your article being seen. Let’s be realistic here. There is no way your article about red shoes is going to be read by a person who is looking for information on red shoes if you don’t mention red shoes at all in the article. But at the same time, your purpose is to give this person the information he is looking for about red shoes and not just repeat the words “red shoes” all over the article.
The most important things you should think about before you write an article are the following questions.
- Who are you writing the article for? Which/what audience is your target?
- What is the information you want to give the reader?
- Do you have the necessary subject knowledge to provide information on the subject of your article? If you do not possess the information in your hands, are you willing to invest your time in quality research to acquire that subject knowledge?
- Will you, if you were the reader, like to read the content you are planning to write?
- Are you sincere in your effort to provide information to the reader, or are you here just for the numbers game and want to write because you want to just write as much as you can so you can get paid more?
Once you ask yourself these questions, you’d be better prepared to write your article. Once your mind is set and after you have gathered the necessary information through research, you can start writing your article. Remember, information is important, but not at the cost of boring the reader to sleep. Be creative; lace your content with humor; instigate the reader to comment; provoke participation; lure readers into a debate; stimulate their thought process and intellect, and enrich your content with flair and style.
Scannability is very important. Break up your article into small sentences and short paragraphs. If your research is good, there is no need to fluff and drag the word count. Nobody wants to read an epic unless you’re Shakespeare or a Pulitzer Prize winner, so try to create an impact with a decent amount of words instead of writing an epic that will confuse or bore the reader. Bullet points and subheadings are great to improve scannability. Use them, but don’t overuse them to the extent of your whole article looking like a listing of items.
Images, infographics and videos are great too; use them if you can insert or embed them, and if you think your article needs them. Keywords are important; don’t neglect them or overuse them. Weave them in naturally without making the article look as if it was written for the only purpose of stuffing it with keywords. Keep catchy titles that will lure the reader into reading the whole article. Avoid grammar mistakes because Panda likes good grammar.
Most importantly, take pride in your work. Write articles because you love writing and because you want to help people out there looking for information. If you are honest and sincere in your article writing effort, your article will automatically find its way up in the visibility ladder. A good copywriter/editor or a professional content development company will always be passionate and sincere about the work they do. At the end of the day, a well written article will always be SEO friendly, and that is what God Google and his Pet Panda want.
Word going around the SEO Grapevine is that the numero uno search engine (if you don’t know who’s that, you are not supposed to read this ) who, it was believed by all and sundry, gave value only to Links, is now factoring in the below as well:
- Download Speed – how soon is your page dished out
- Site Activity – meaning how long visitors linger on the page and probably also how often you update it (am updating this post after every carriage return )
- Content, Quality – PLR down down! CopyScape, do you have an affiliate system? Readers, do you want original, quality articles? Come to me… I always believed content is king!
Hey! Don’t just go away. Please linger on a bit… The post was very short? I don’t go blah blah, only to the point – capsules. Aw, common! I want you to increase my site activity. Move the mouse around; point to something, anything – I do put in tool tips occasionally
There! I got a surprise for you below the fold.
You dirty mind! Were you expecting some lingerie pics for lingering on?
Through March 2010, it was seen that most of the parked pages, even if they were keyword rich domain names, have slowly vanished from the search engines.
Just a month back, in February, many parked pages (of well known networks) were found even on the 1st ten SERPs, but not anymore. So, dear entrepreneurs, please spare time for your well thought out business (domain) names and go the development route. At the very least, set up a one page blog and just jot down some notes about the topic that the business name represents.
Update: July 14, 2010 – An interesting take on parking by Howard Neu.
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