One of the best ways to get more visitors to your website is through Search Engine Optimization (SEO), but what does it take to get ranked highly on Google, or other search engines?
You can spend hours of your time reading speculations on what SEO factors are most important and how you can game the system, or you can stick to what works…
It’s time to make SEO human again by focusing on writing great content for our human visitors – not the search engine robots – and in doing so, win the favor of both parties.
Content is King
Although there are many factors that determine how highly your website ranks in the search results there is one that unarguably stands above the rest: your written content.
You may have heard the term “content is king” in reference to SEO, and it’s true; content is the most powerful tool to let the search engines know what your website is about, and to rank well in the results.
But it isn’t enough to just type up a blog post that packs in your keyword much as possible. While “keyword stuffing” may have been an effective way to gain high rankings in the past, those days are long gone, and keyword stuffing can actually hurt your ranking. So how do you write SEO friendly content?
Know Your Audience
The first step to writing effective content is to know who you are writing to; and the answer to that question is NOT Google, or any other search engine. Yes, the search engines will read your content and be regular visitors of your site if you do your job well, but with the sole purpose of providing helpful and relevant information to human readers.
It is critical to know which group of people you are writing to, and the more detailed and specific you can be, the better. The clearer you are on who your audience is, the more relevant your writing will become. For example, your audience may be writers, but narrow that down to dad bloggers, and your content will become massively more relevant to your audience than when trying to speak to all writers.
If you haven’t already, you must find a niche. If you try to reach everyone, you will reach no one.
Be Specific to Rank Higher, Faster
Focusing on a targeted group also gives immediate SEO benefits. The more specific and specialized you are, the easier it becomes to rank for related keyword phrases. To illustrate this, imagine trying to rank on the first page for “lawyer” versus “divorce lawyer dallas tx.” The competition and difficulty of ranking well is going to be massively higher for the former.
In addition, people searching for “lawyer” may be looking for any number of types of lawyers. If you put all your efforts into ranking for the general search term of “lawyer,” you may eventually end up on the first page and receive a flood of traffic, but from visitors looking for services you don’t offer. If they do happen to be looking for a divorce lawyer, the chances that they live in your area are not high.
By targeting highly specific search terms (also known as long tail keywords) such as “divorce lawyer Dallas Tx” you will receive more qualified traffic with less time and resources invested.
Getting the Click
The benefits of defining your target audience continue to stack in your favor as you look deeper into the human interaction. The more closely your title and description match the search term, the more likely people are to click on your search result instead of a competitor’s. Not only does this get more traffic to your website, it also gives you a higher click-through rate (CTR), one of the many factors that impact how highly Google ranks you.
Keeping Your Visitors Engaged
The click is just the beginning. Once your new visitor lands on your site you have just a few seconds to help them decide if your content is worth their time. This can be achieved through strategic branding and good use of headers and lists to break up content into scannable sections. Most importantly, your content needs to match what they are looking for. If your search description and title say they will learn how to improve their SEO, but instead they find a post about your last trip to an amusement park, you’ve just lost them to the back button. This visitor behavior negatively impacts at least two more factors that are considered in your site’s search ranking: average time on page and bounce rate. If a search engine sees that visitors leave your site within a few seconds, without even visiting a second or third page, your ranking may go down.
Happy Humans, Happy Robots
There are dozens of factors that influence your search engine ranking, but the essence of all of them is to provide fresh, relevant content to your visitors. The search engines have the same goal, so if you write strategically to please your human readers, you will end up pleasing the search engines as well.
Let’s make SEO human again!
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