Search Engine Optimization: The Ins and Outs in Simple Form

You might be rolling your eyes at the mere thought of Search Engine Optimization (SEO), but, unfortunately, SEO is just the name of the game when it comes to online, digital content. If you’re new to the world of optimizing your website and pages for search engines like Google, BING, and others, I have some tips and pointers for you.

Keep in mind that all of the content I generate as a ghostwriter will be ready to post the moment I send you the link. If you don’t have the time (or interest) to learn this aspect of digital marketing, let me handle that for you. You can either forward pieces that you’ve already written for a quick SEO check based on your defined keywords or request new, original content that you can post as soon as you get it.

Think of Search Engine Optimization as a Game

If there’s only a single piece of advice that I could bestow upon you, it’s to take search engine optimization seriously… but still, have fun with it. After all, your search engine ranking is going to determine whether people find you with a basic Google or Bing search; indirectly, SEO drives conversions. Try not to get caught up in becoming an expert right away; as you get better and better at content management on your website, you’ll start to see what things work best for your business. Perhaps your largest source for new lead generation ends up being social media marketing, not SEO content on your webpage or blog.

The Rules of the Game

First and foremost, you have to pick a keyword or set of keywords that a single page will focus on. For example, the SEO keywords for this blog post, which is a single page on my rpwriting domain, might be SEO, search engine optimization, search engines, content creation, and so on. This will define what words, phrases, and similar content terms you will use and repeat strategically throughout your page and its metadata (the hidden information that a search engine pulls in to populate the search result).

Where to Use Search Engine Optimization Keywords

It’s not enough to just mention your keywords over and over and over again. Have you ever seen those completely useless pages that pop up when you search for something popular? These are basically ad revenue generation websites; many pages on a variety of unrelated topics are tossed together, repeating the same words and phrases without actually offering any meaningful content to the reader. Across the whole page are ads placed in clever ways, luring you into clicking them to generate revenue for the website owner.

Why do I tell you this? Because you don’t want your SEO efforts to look forced – this will turn away viewers and drive them to sites other than your own. Keywords should fit naturally into your sentences and headings; if you have to force them there, they shouldn’t be there. When I generate content for clients, I make sure that the keywords are placed properly to garnish interest in the post’s content.

To this end, there are three places that you should be sure to put your keywords – naturally, of course.

H1 and H2 Headings

Usually, your page title is an H1 heading, so make sure that your SEO keywords are in the post title upon publishing. H2 headings should absolutely be used in your text. Not only are they a good way to increase readability, but they can also help the skimmers that we all know “read” our content.

In the Body of the Page

You can use a keyword as many times as it feels natural. It’s really hard to overdo this, especially if you’ll be using the word or phrase a lot. For example, I’ve used at least one of my keywords at least 10 times in this blog post. Keep your content simple, on topic, and you’ll be good to go.

In the Metadata for the Page’s Images

Search engine crawlers (bots that take a close look at webpages so that they are added to the search database) look at all of the content on your website using a sitemap. You may know this as your index.php file or something similar. Plugins like Yoast SEO will generate and upload a sitemap for you, but you may have one already. Images are included in this sitemap, including their file names, descriptions, captions, and attributes. Whenever you upload a file to your website, you should add whatever SEO keywords apply to the image – this will save you time in the future!

In Your Post’s Metadata

It’s incredibly important to define the metadata for each of your website’s pages. Whenever one of your blog posts or main pages appears in a web search, this is the information that will be displayed to users. You might think: if my page appeared in the search results, I’ve already done my job, right? Technically speaking, yes. However, simply throwing a line into the water where they can see it doesn’t guarantee that you will catch the fish – you need tasty, alluring bait that the fish will want to scoop up.

If you use a plugin like Yoast, it will allow you to easily edit the metadata for your pages; if you don’t want to use a plugin, you’ll have to edit the html for each page manually. You can also define the keywords that you would like Yoast to evaluate, and it will give you recommendations on how to improve your SEO rating. I use this tool for my site and highly recommend it to those who are new to search engine optimization.

Other Things That Affect Your Search Engine Optimization Ranking

It might actually be too simple if keywords were all that mattered. In addition to the thoughts above, you also have to keep in mind that post length, inbound links, and outbound links all contribute to your post’s “worthiness” when it comes to ranking in search results. If you think about it, only the post that a client reads and resonates with drives conversions.

Post Length

This is quite simple; for optimal SEO results, your content should be between 350 and 500 words. More than 500 words is fine, but you start to venture into “loss of interest” territory the longer your content gets. If you write a post and it ends up being 2000 words, it’s time to break it up into a series!

Your post content should also contain links – both incoming and outgoing. Search engines love backlinks, as it suggests that the content is well-developed (and that you know what you’re talking about). Link relevant pages as you come across them and remember to always cite your sources.

Ready to get to work on upping your website’s SEO game? We can work together to edit your current content and develop new posts that will help drive more views (and, ultimately, leads) to your webpage. Reach out to me today for a free consultation; I’d love to work with you.

seo optimization search engine google crawlers crawler metadata headings keywords content worthiness

Hey, Southern Maine

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5 responses

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