The ABC of search engine optimization

Besides content marketing, search engine optimization (SEO) is the phrase on everyone’s lips. But what does it mean? How does it affect you and your company, and how can you use it? We’ll show you the basics.

Search engine optimization (SEO) refers to measures designed to rank your website more highly in a search engine’s unpaid search results. How can your company use it? What do you have to keep in mind?

Just like for content marketing, before you do anything, you have to define what it is you want. What should your keyword be? How, or rather under what terms, would you like to be found? Theoretically, you could run a porn blog with loud, dirty keywords in the title. That would definitely generate traffic on your site, though possible the wrong kind. Which is why you should do things differently.

Analyze keywords

You first have to find out what people type into Google when they search for your product. You could do this by asking your customers directly – but as that’s a little laborious, we’d recommend using Google’s keyword analysis tool. It allows you to see how often particular words are searched for on Google – and it’s free. The effectiveness of a search term grows with the popularity of the keyword and sinks with the number of sites that contain the same keyword. That presents us with a problem, because the most effective keywords are also the most commonly used. And so your keyword is useless. What can you do? You can choose your own specific combination to increase your chances, or find a niche that is more indirectly related to your topic. If you’re a car dealer, you could pick a search term like ‘how to change tires yourself’, for example. Or put in geographical details, such as where your garage is located. Make your choice specific – as specific as your product. These are the most straightforward measures; of course, you could also use Google Trends, conduct customer surveys, or set up a Google Analytics account.

Writing

Once you’ve prepared the widest possible range of search terms, it’s time to write your text. Write well, write actively, write naturally. Leave the keywords to the side until the text has been written and perfected. If it’s really good, it will be recommended by people, and shared on Facebook and across the web. And the more often your page is accessed or linked to, the more important you’ll appear to Google. Of course, you can’t forget the keywords: go through it a second time to make sure that they are well positioned. Which means in the following places and the following order:

1. Domain 2. URL 3. Browser title 4. Title in the text 5. In the running text

You should also ensure that your title and subheadings fit the SEO h1 and h2 code. Then you can check your keyword density: the keywords should make up a maximum of 5% of the text. If you’re not sure, you can have your keyword density calculated for you. More and more people are saying that it is overvalued, however, and that a natural, well-written text should be the most important – but a good keyword density certainly doesn’t hurt.

What else helps

You’ve made a start, but the end still isn’t in sight: your site won’t simply make its own way to the top. Share your content, tell the online world that you have a new site, point it out in your newsletter. Tell people on Facebook, Twitter, and above all Google+. This last network belongs to Google, so it’s no surprise that it’s given more weight in the rankings. If you integrate the author tag your chances are even higher. Register your company on sites such as Yelp and use Google for your business. These are all links that lead back to your site. But in general: the more your site is visited, clicked on and linked to, the higher Google will rank it. Work on that. And give it a bit of time; Rome wasn’t built in a day.

Title image via Flickr: ABC – Steve Snodgrass (CC BY 2.0)

 


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