Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, can be a bear. You’ve got enough on your plate trying to run a business that having to worry about SEO can feel a bit overwhelming! You’ll find a lot of info online and a lot of so-called “experts” saying different things, so I know it can get confusing. But I want to give it to you straight. I’m going to give you one overarching principle that will set you on the right path towards good SEO!
Essentially, good SEO comes down to producing great content. Content can come in the form of articles, videos, infographics, etc. But the most effective by far is blog posts. Yes, even as a business, you need to have a blog!
Why Does Blogging Help SEO?
The reason is that Google wants to deliver their users with quality content. Search engines have these things called “web crawlers” which scan the internet and index content. They are looking for that great content to put on the front page of search results.
But here’s the thing, they generally only scan (and rescan) when new content is added or existing content is updated.
(By the way, the following info applies to all search engines, but I’ll be referring mostly to Google from here on out.)
Ask yourself how often you change or add copy to the main web pages of your site… Not very often. But your blog is a way for you to add fresh content to your website so that Google will take a second and third look at it. It gives Google multiple opportunities to reevaluate your website. If it finds that you’re producing content that people need, it will reward you by upping your rank.
The Old Tricks Don’t Work
Stuffing your web pages with excess keywords or creating backlinks from random websites are tricks that used to work, but not anymore. Perhaps you’ve heard that Google is “always changing its algorithms,” which is what makes SEO so hard to navigate. This is only partly true.
Google does change its search algorithm often, but not arbitrarily. Again, search engines are getting better and better over time. They are trying to create the best results for their users, so these changes are meant to be improvements towards that end.
The old tactics were bent on beating the system, but these days it’s harder and harder to do that. And that’s a good thing.
Today, Google will actually penalize you (by making your site disappear from search pages) if you employ these old spammy methods. Unfortunately, there are many so-called “SEO experts” who prey on ignorant business owners. These companies and individuals
get paid while using outdated SEO methods and get no results for the client. Don’t be fooled by them!
The Key to Practicing Good SEO
As you can see, SEO can be tricky, but it’s not necessarily hard.
When you are a legitimate brand putting out great content, Google wants to put you on their front page. The sooner you can realize this, the faster you’ll be on your way to ranking high on searches.
The key to good Search Engine Optimization is simply (1) producing great content and (2) making it easy for Google to find that content.
So what do I mean by good content?
First, here’s what it does not mean: It does not mean just releasing a quick 2-3 paragraph blog post just for the sake of putting something out there. It does not mean being salesy at the expense of adding value. It does not mean throwing in keywords where they don’t belong. And it does not mean creating click-bait to trick people onto your website.
Instead, you need to produce content that is:
If you take the time to craft great content, Google will notice. They’ll notice how many views/clicks it gets, the amount of time a person stays on the page, and a number of times it gets shared or reposted. Your users will be your greatest allies to SEO. If you can please them with your content, your search ranking will improve.
2. Well Labeled
Google can track how long visitors stay on a page (this is called the bounce rate). If users tend to click on your article or page, then “bounce” right off, that is a red flag to Google. This can happen for multiple reasons, but the biggest is if your page/blog title does match the blog content.
You need to make sure that when someone clicks on “5 Best Restaurants in Charleston, SC” that the article follows suit. There are other important ways to label your content, like with the meta description, permalinks, etc., and I talk about this in more detail in this post.
3. Well Written
Readability of a post does play a factor in Search Engine Optimization. This just means you need to be a professional when it comes to writing. Don’t use long, run-on sentences. Check for grammar and spelling. The usual.
Also, you need to write naturally. Yes, you should include some keywords in your post, but if you’re focused on adding value, those keywords will come out naturally. Don’t try too hard to stuff keywords, or it won’t sound natural.
Content can go out of date fast, and search engines have ways of knowing whether or not your content is still relevant to people. If not, that content gets slowly bumped down the list.
This is why you can’t just blog for a few months and expect that to sustain you for years to come. Creating fresh content will ensure that Google knows that you are still in business.
Aside from creating new content, you should also go back through old posts and make updates as necessary. This is especially important if one of your posts has gained a lot of traction but some of the information has become dated. The fact that a post is getting a lot of views is evidence that it is ranking well for SEO, and you want to make sure that it continues to do so by providing the most current info.
The length of a post matters for two reasons. First, the longer a user stays on your post, the better that reflects on your search ranking. Second, is that quality content is rarely short.
For a while, I thought, “If I can just release two short blog posts a week, I’ll be able to crank them out easily.” But somehow every time I’d sit down to write, I just couldn’t write a short post. I’ve always approached blogging with the mindset of adding value to people, and I’ve never been able to do that without writing 1000 words or more.
However, there’s a reason I use the word “meaty” rather than lengthy. Length can be an ally, but you shouldn’t write fluff. The overall principle remains the same: focus on quality. If you can explain it in 2000 words, great! But if you find you can do well it in 500, don’t write extra just for the sake of length.
Remember, content is king! Google wants to rank your great content. Once you’ve done that, it’s about applying a few techniques in order to help Google find your great content. In my post 9 Simple Hacks That Will Boost SEO On Your Blog, I explain these techniques in a little more detail, so be sure to check that out!
Comment below, and let me know what you think! Does SEO feel a little less overwhelming when broken down into these terms? Tell us below!