There are a lot of misperceptions about what search engine optimization is, what it can do for you, and what it takes for you to actually get that new post or article or website optimized.
While it’s true there is a tremendous amount of onsite and offsite technical work that an SEO specialist can and should do for you, that doesn’t mean you should leave SEO to the pros. In fact, in the next two minutes, I’m going to share with you six specific things you can do each and every time you draft a new article.
SEO Tactic #1 – Have A Target Keyword Phrase
First, have a target keyword phrase in mind. This is what you’re writing about, but it’s also a phrase you specifically and deliberately want to rank for. It’s a phrase, from two to five words, that your target audience is searching for and for which you would like to get in front of them.
Your marketing strategy should have very specific keyword phrases that you want to improve your ranking for, and your tactical marketing plan should have specific pieces of content in mind to help achieve that goal.
SEO Tactic #2 – Include The Keyword Phrase In Your Title
Second, that exact keyword phrase needs to be included in the title of your article. It has to be the exact phrase, not just some of the words or versions of the words. It’s also ideal if it occurs at the beginning of the article. This signals to Google from the start that the content is about this topic.
SEO Tactic #3 – Use The Keyword Phrase In Headings
Third, as you’re outlining and drafting your blog post, divide it up into logical sections, and use Section Headings to label and organize those sections. When formatting your article, either in WordPress or another website CMS, you should be able to highlight this section heading and instead of just making it bold or larger, actually choose a pre-formatted Heading option from a drop down box. Heading 1 or H1 is the largest heading option and that’s reserved for the title of your post – never make text within your post H1. From there, the headings get smaller and smaller which means you should treat them like a nested outline. Your main points should be H2 while if you have subsections within those sections, use H3 and H4 accordingly.
Include your target keyword phrase in 50-75% of the headings throughout your blog post.
SEO Tactic #4 – Use The Keyword Phrase In Image ALT Tags
Fourth, include at least one image within your post, and make sure that you specify ALT text for that image and include your target keyword phrase there. The filename for the image should include the keyword phrase as well.
It’s a good idea actually to include images throughout your content – every 300-450 words is terrific, as it keeps your readers engaged and moving through your article. And each time, it’s an opportunity to use that phrase. Again, 50-75% of the time is ideal.
SEO Tactic #5 – Use The Keyword Phrase In Your Meta Description
Fifth, make sure to write a Meta Description and use your target keyword phrase there. Do not just repeat your Title – remember that people will be punching in a Google search, Google will show them a bunch of results, and that they will see is the title of your content and the Meta Description you specify. While Google won’t rank your content higher just because you put the keyword in the Meta tag, using it there will increase the changes that someone reviewing the results will see that information and be more enticed to click through to your article.
SEO Tactic #6 – Use The Keyword Phrase Throughout Your Article
Sixth, the article itself must use and talk about that topic. A good rule of thumb is to use the target keyword phrase every 100-150 words, though that’s just to give you a sense of density. You don’t literally have to use it every other paragraph. But if it’s something you want to rank for, and the subject of the article, the phrase should naturally occur more often.
Of course, it should go without saying that the best optimization occurs when the quality of the content is exceedingly good. Google’s role is to surface the best possible results for its users, and that means the more time people spend on your post and site, the more often they click to read something else you write, rather than the Back button, the better they must think your content is, and the higher Google will rank it.
I hope you got something from today’s Marketing Minutes with Mike. But whether you did or didn’t, leave a comment and let me know. Just please be nice, my mom reads these too. Cheers!