HOW TO BE SMART IN A WORLD OF DUMB SEO WEBSITES
Most people think that SEO is all about getting millions of links to your website. That's completely false. You’ll see why in a moment, but first let’s get a couple things out of the way
What is SEO, and why is it so Google-damn important?
Google, in her infinite wisdom, decided one day that in order to enhance user experience with finding information on the Internet, everything had to be indexed. She then launched an army of spiders (robots) that crawl on every website they can find, examine it and decide which ones are more useful, trustworthy, accessible, and worthy of her organic love. The search engines followed suit.
Now, when it comes to having any kind of web presence, it’s imperative that you make the gods of the Internet (search engines) happy. You’ll get natural search traffic without the advertising costs. If you’re not following search engine optimization techniques, you’re basically running a marathon barefooted.
Effective SEO Strategies
Good organic search engine optimization techniques must have three pillars:
- Having quality content on your website
- Having good sites send links (backlinking) to your content
- Making sure your keywords are well-chosen.
We’ve explained the first two pillars in our SEO overview series. Let’s expand on a few subjects so you find out what it takes to stand out in the SEO world.
Get this right from the start, and you’ll save yourself a ton of time, headaches and advertising costs. Your winning keyword has to meet four conditions:
1. Relevance to subject
The keywords you choose need to be directly related to your business specialty. Stuffing irrelevant keywords--even if they get a lot of traffic--will not only bring visitors that quickly bounce off your site, it’s also a strategy frowned upon by the search engines who control the game.
When you search for keywords, filter through your list and delete unrelated ones. Add a few semantic ones if there are any. Those won’t show up in the search, but you know they’re related to your niche. Don’t worry if you’re new to your business, you can get a few by checking headlines and chapter titles of the best selling related books or magazines.
Search engines love semantic keywords because they show industry-specific experience compared to phrases that can be easily derived from the main keyword. Any decent natural search engine optimization guide would tell you to have a few of them.
2. Good traffic
Do you think there’s a difference between traffic and the number of searches that a keyword gets?
You bet! Traffic is the number of people who visit the websites that show up in the search results page, and according to Google:
- 42% of searches convert to clicks on the first result.
- 12% of searches convert to clicks on the second result.
- 8% of searches convert to clicks on the third result.
- 6% of searches convert to clicks on the fourth result.
- The rest of clicks go to the remaining results.
3. Low competition
Due to the higher number of traffic they get, some keywords have more competition than others. To measure competition for a keyword, search for its exact match by going to Google and typing the keyword in the search bar between two quotation marks, and note the number of results.
You can find out more about the competition by opening the top 10 results individually and checking their relevance to the keyword they showed up for. You’ll be surprised at how often they’ll be off-topic. Also, check the page rank (PR) of these sites to assess the actual SEO competition.
4. High commercial value
The advertising system at google (AdWords) works by having advertisers bid on the per-click value of certain keywords. The more bids a keyword receives, the higher the price becomes for that word or phrase. Simple supply and demand at work here.
Whether you plan to make money by advertising on your website, or you just want to save advertising costs by having a high search engine optimization ranking for your keyword, you should target keywords with a high per-click price.
Find a keyword that has all of these, and you’ve struck gold!
And that’s not all. There’s a category called longtail keywords. Those keywords usually have low traffic and low competition but indicate a search for something specific. They’re more than 3 words in length, and if you target a lot of these keywords, you can build a good source of very relevant traffic over the long run.
Remember, many longtail keywords will eventually gather more traffic and competition since the Internet is always growing. So it pays to position your website early on them, just as you would with a long term financial investment.
Local SEO Targeting
Another SEO hack is targeting local business with SEO. The days of phone directories are long gone, and it’s a no-brainer that people now use search engines to find local businesses.
Here are a couple of ways you can immediately put this to work for you:
- Include location-based keywords in your keyword list, example: “camera rental Austin”.
- Place your business on Google Maps and Yahoo! Local. Both services are free.
More SEO Resources
There are many resources to help in your Google search engine optimization process. Some of them are free, some require a small investment but can save you a lot of time and shorten your learning curve. Here are a few:
1. Google keyword tool
This is the place to start if you’re doing manual keyword research. Google the term “keyword tool” and click the first result. Enter your keyword, check the filters, type the captcha and click search. You’ll get all the relevant keywords in your chosen niche.
2. SEO series
If you like the no-nonsense, informative and fun approach to learning SEO, be sure to check out our SEO series. It’s the natural search engine optimization guide for newcomers.
3. SEO Tutor
Now imagine a comprehensive SEO software that breaks down the SEO process by giving you a step-by-step action plan customized to your needs, along with free keyword recommendations, and the reporting on SEO to track your progress and tell you what your competitors are doing.
Think of it as someone who holds your hand and walks you through the complex SEO world while you get the online authority you need for your website on the top search engines, increase your rankings and thus your visitors and business.
Luckily such a tool exists, we know because we’ve built it for you, and you can grab your 14-day free SEO Tutor trial right now.
Breakaway from the SEO Herd
When the majority of Internet websites have the wrong idea about SEO, you know you have an immediate advantage.
While they focus all their efforts on backlinking and sometimes engage in spammy techniques that eventually get them banned from Google and other search engines, you’ve already come to understand the essence of smart SEO. Use it and thank us later.