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What Do You Know About SEO?

By AmandaJane Roberts | Small Business

What Do You Know About SEO? image shutterstock 78917692 300x200Image shutterstock 78917692 300x200 Source Dallas Web Design Company | PR | SEO and …Search engine optimization is the practice of optimizing a website with appropriate content, keywords, images and links to improve its visibility in organic search engine results. In the past, businesses have influenced searchability with the help of “black hat” practices including keyword stuffing, link dumping on content repositories, and a few simple on-page tweaks. Not anymore. As Google has grown increasingly frustrated with these tactics, SEO has changed drastically and continues to evolve, sometimes rapidly. So, what do you know SEO?

Until recently, Google did everyone a big favor by proudly announcing changes to its algorithm and making sure everyone knew what would and wouldn’t fly anymore. It even gave us fun and easy-to-remember names like Panda and Penguin. But those days are over. In an effort to protect the integrity of organic search results, Google now releases changes to its algorithm quickly and quietly, which can send highly optimized websites crashing overnight to Page 50 of the organic results.

How does that happen? When a user searches for a term, let’s say “sushi restaurant in Dallas,” they expect Google to return results pages filled with sushi restaurant options in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. What Google does not want to happen is for a barbecue restaurant to show up because an SEO expert got a website to rank for irrelevant keywords.

As a result of hundreds of thousands of websites trying to mislead Google and rank for keywords other than those that clearly reflect the business’s product or service, the folks at Google decided to clean house with some updates to the algorithm. Can you blame them?

Help Google Understand Your Website … Gently

So how can you optimize your website in a way that Google will appreciate, and that will help your business get more visibility? Here are three simple steps to get started.

Become a quality content generating machine. The more fresh and relevant content on your website, the more valuable Google believes your website is to users. Make sure articles and blog posts include the keywords you want to rank for, but keep in mind user experience. No one wants to read an article that has a bunch of random buzzwords placed unnaturally throughout it.

Link to credible sources to provide additional value to your website’s readers. Not only will these links increase the authority of your content, you just may land a reciprocal link from the source in return that tells Google your website is credible.

Take advantage of metadata. Think of metadata as a “Hi My Name Is” sticker at a networking event. Your have a tiny bit of space to summarize the entire page, so make sure you’re accurate and concise.

SEO can be a confusing and slow process, but that’s so reason to try to cheat the system. Know that results will not come overnight, so be sure to set expectations properly. Don’t be tempted by sketchy SEO firms that promise first-page placement in organic results.

Finally, when in doubt, think about the user. Are you doing your best to give Google an accurate understanding of your business and its services? If the answer is “no,” you’re probably contributing to sub-par search results, unhappy Googlers and an unhappy Google. And when Google ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.

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