Front and Center: Optimizing Your Content for Search
Everyone wants the spotlight. But when it comes to the Internet you need more than just great content to get center stage. Unless you take the time to leave a map to that buried treasure, no one will find your nugget of information.
Businesses or blogs looking to develop a larger audience and gain more prospective clientele will need to invest in learning how to optimize their content for search engines. Anything from text to pictures to videos has the potential to be optimized and placed higher on search engines.
Getting the Word Out
Content development will be the “bread and butter” of your website. While having well-written content will help rank the page higher, other techniques must be utilized.
• Use Google Adwords Keyword Tool to find keywords or phrases to optimize. Throughout the content, establishing keywords or phrases will help optimize the content for search bots. What many businesses or bloggers do not take into consideration with search engines is that, although well adept, they are still only computers and must use a specific formula to help rank.
Computers are not at the point of singularity, which means they are incapable of thoroughly analyzing text. Keywords and key phrases assist Google crawl bots with establishing what your webpage is about and helps rank them accordingly. So how does Google Keyword Planner assist with finding the best keywords or phrases?
Google Keyword Planner is a program that takes in all search data and compartmentalizes it for human use. When placing in keywords or key phrases, you can see how many unique results it gets per month and what the competition rate for it is. It also suggests other keywords.
Using keywords that are searched often enough but not too often will yield the best results for a business or blogger. Highly competitive keywords or phrases will make it near impossible to rank on the first or second page of Google. Contrarily, low competitive keywords or phrases will yield little-to-no extra unique visitors. Using a keyword that approximates 50,000 searches monthly will work better than one with 500,000 searches.
• Incorporate a well-written title tag. Each article written should incorporate a well-written title tag to give a description of what the page will be about in only a few words. This is usually the top line on search engine pages. Make sure to incorporate the keyword or phrase in the title tag.
• Add a Meta description. Beneath the title tag will be a brief description of what a visitor will find on the page. The description should be short and to the point – nothing less or nothing more. A successful meta-description gives your audience a descriptive, yet simple, viewpoint of what to expect in 150-160 characters.
There are SEO plugins, like SEO by Yoast, bloggers can use to easily optimize their content for the web.
Worth a Thousand Words
Image optimization on your website it vital. Your potential consumer is most likely part of the visual generation so give them your information in the form they like best.
• Send your content to the masses. Your photo or graphic might be on your website, but have you posted it on social media (especially Pinterest) or emailed it to topically relevant blogs who might want to embed it? Social signals have become an important part of SEO. For example, here is an infographic that is set up perfectly with social sharing, an embed code, and was even syndicated to more than 20 other sites that linked back to 12 Keys when they embedded the infographic.
• Utilize the “Image Alt Text” for descriptions. Google and similar search engines cannot physically “see” the image. Therefore, they must rely heavily on written content such as the image alt text. The image alt text tells the Google crawl bots what the image pertains to and then places it in the ranking for Google searches accordingly. If a person is incapable of seeing images, the image alt text will tell them what the image is about without having any troubles.
• Submit an “Image Sitemap” into Google. An image sitemap will give Google and other search engines a heads up on new images and send out crawl bots immediately to analyze the photos to better rank them. Even more, Google’s image extensions for sitemaps will allow you to give more information to Google about the image, which will help with ranking.
See It to Believe It
Videos are underutilized regarding their potential in the rankings. Even if you are a small one-person operation, many of your competitors probably don’t have videos optimized for the search engine giving you the opportunity to run with the big dogs on page one without the tough competition.
• Place relevant keywords or phrases into the video title, keywords and tags. This will give Google the opportunity to better rank your video according to the subject matter. Once uploaded on YouTube, make sure you take full advantage of the description, title and keyword tags. Every little bit of text matters.
• Make accurate video descriptions. Before people decide to watch a video, they want to be able to read the description. The video description should accurately detail what the video is about so that viewers can get “in the mood” for the video. Incorporating keywords and phrases so they flow coherently with the surrounding text is advisable. Remember, descriptions are for both search engines and audiences and should be written in a way that both can understand.
• Build quality links to your video. Videos don’t have many ways to optimize for the search engine. However, building backlinks to your video or asking relevant sites to embed the video in their content are great ways to get that extra boost. Keep in mind Google frowns on paid links, so search for topically relevant sites whose readers would be genuinely interested in your video.
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