SEO Tips for 2016
The following are some evolving search engine optimization tips and tools. These will help get more visitors to your website. While some of these have been around for awhile others are relatively new.
Also know that these are all widely accepted tips, so they won’t get you into any hot water with Google or Bing. The are now recognized as search engine optimization best practices. Further, they are search engine optimization and positioning tools that are fairly easy to work into a blog.
Word count: One of the first things you should know is that blog postings should now be around 1,000 words for effective search engine optimization. Yes, that’s up from the suggested 300 words a few years back and 500 words just a year or two ago. Apparently, the search engines believe that, if the post is longer, it is more likely worthwhile content, it has been researched and well thought out, and the added word count makes it harder to “cheat” the search engine optimization system by filling it with keywords that do not add anything to the content.
Some now speculate that the word count numbers may increase once again. The next word count amount we may be looking at is 1,700 words. However, for now, your first search engine optimization tip is to get the word count as close to 1,000 words as possible.
Keyword selection: When writing a blog, many people just start typing. They want to share something or get their message across. While that is all well and good, the problem is that the writer then has to go back and select his or her keywords or somehow make them fit in. A bit easier method is to formulate what you want to say and then, before starting to write, look up the keywords and phrases that someone would likely search for to find information on the topic you are writing about. Include those words in your blog. If you want to know how to do this effectively, read the next tip.
Keyword research: A search engine optimization tool I often start with is Yoast Google Suggest. This is a free service and easy to use. You type in the keyword or key thought of your blog into the keyword box, and then it suggests different keywords or entire phrases (known as long-tail keywords) based on how people search. For instance, before writing this, I asked the tool to give me some keyword suggestions for “search engine optimization.” Here is what it came up with:
- search engine optimization articles
- search engine optimization an hour a day
- search engine optimization amazon
- search engine optimization algorithm
- search engine optimization analysis
- search engine optimization all-in-one for dummies
- search engine optimization and social media
- search engine optimization basics
- search engine optimization best practices
- search engine optimization books
These results tell us what some of the terms are that people search for on Google when they want to find more information on search engine optimization. By the way, a lot of people search by actually asking a question, so instead of “search engine optimization best practices,” you could use the following as a keyword phrase: “what are search engine optimization best practices?”
Bold or italics: Always boldface or italicize a keyword or phrase as soon as it is used. Once is enough, but if you do it again, make sure it is in the last paragraph of the blog. This was news to me, but I am finding this search engine optimization tip recommended in more sources.
First paragraph and last paragraph: You want to sprinkle your keywords throughout your blog. The rule of thumb is to use a keyword once per every 100 words. However, here is something else you need to know: Make sure your keywords are used in the first paragraph of the blog and then once again in the last. Even better, try to get them in the first/last sentence. The web spiders don’t read your entire blog. They scan the first paragraph or two and the last paragraph, looking for keywords. This helps them determine what the blog is about and how it should be indexed.
Hyperlinks: If you are a business and are writing a blog about machines that polish floors, for instance, and your company makes machines that polish floors, then within the blog and being tactful, add a link to another page on your site that showcases some of the floor machines you sell. What I like to do, if there is a video of the machine in use, is to add a hyperlink to the video with the words “See it in action.” However, make sure this fits in with what you are trying to say, and don’t overdo it. One link is fine. Two or more and readers will start to think you are just trying to sell them something.
A call to action (CTA) is designed to urge your reader to take the next step, which will often include contacting your company, or possibly a distributor that markets your products, to learn more or hopefully purchase your product. This is how words turn into sales. Some blog postings just end. This if fine if it an article but not so if a blog. Especially if a blog is problem/solution oriented, it should urge the reader to take the next step and find out more about the fantastic machine just referenced that solved the problem stated in the blog. Add a CTA, even if it just says, “For more information, contact the company,” with a link to a contact page. That’s all you need to do to make sure you are taking advantage of all the evoking search engine optimization tips and tools.
Robert “Buzz” Kravitz is president of AlturaSolutions, which provides traditional PR/Communication services along with content marketing and search engine optimization programs specifically for B2B industries. Contact him at www.alturasolutions.com