Search engine optimization can be a confusing “game”. With the recent Hummingbird and Penguin 2.1 algorithm changes, there’s more being written about how to optimize a website for search rankings than ever.
So what’s the right way of writing for SEO in 2013?
It’s actually not as complicated as it used to be. It’s never been easier to rank sites and give your visitors exactly what they want in one fell swoop, as Google seems more intent on wiping the floor with blackhat tactics. We’ve amassed a comprehensive guide below that will ensure you’re up-to-date with Google in 2013.
Do Keyword Research
It can get a little tiring, but you should always do keyword research before posting content on your site. It can make the difference between ranking on page 1 and ending up in the backwaters of search engine results.
How do you do keyword research? Head over to the new Google Keyword Planner and enter your topic ideas. The tool will churn out a bunch of related keyword phrases and their monthly stats.
Don’t just pick the ones that have the highest numbers, but also focus on how competitive they are. In other words, how much are other companies investing in these keywords and will it be difficult to throw your site in the mix? It’s better to rank for 10 easier keywords than wasting your efforts on a single big term that’s almost impossible to rank for.
You can analyze your competition using tools such as SEOquake, Long Tail Pro and Market Samurai.
Forget About Keyword Stuffing
If you’ve been in the SEO game for a few years, then you should be familiar with keyword stuffing. This is the practice of including the keyword you are targeting as much as possible in your website’s content.
In case you didn’t read the newsflash, this doesn’t work anymore and hasn’t for a while. In fact, it can actually lead to penalties from search engines that will prevent your site from ranking.
Instead write naturally about your topic and use synonyms.
Write for People First, Then Search Engines
This may seem like contradictory advice when talking about SEO, but it’s nevertheless a solid piece of advice. Focusing on Google can be counterproductive. Write for your users, not just for the search engines and you’ll see that your rankings will increase naturally.
Ask yourself the following questions: is the piece of content that you’re putting on the web going to help people, or is it just fluff? If you add value every single time you’ll see excellent results. People will start sharing your content and will be more likely to click ‘like’ (don’t forget your social media plugins!) when they visit your site.
Of course, this isn’t to say that you should completely ignore SEO. Rather, make sure that it doesn’t overpower your efforts and dilute the quality of your content.
Quality & Research Generates Results
Google is becoming more sophisticated with every algorithm change they implement. They’re slowly improving their ability to see whether content offers true quality, or whether it’s been created to ‘game’ search results.
It’s crucial that your website adds value and tells Google that you’re not just stuffing keywords and sending low quality content into the world. Weapon yourself with these tips and you’ll see steady increases in your rankings, visitors, and conversions in 2013 and beyond.