What is SEO and Why Do I Want It?
The Extended Benefits of SEO
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is advertised as a way to get free visitors. And it's true, good optimization will help you get better positioning on search pages. In paid search (pay per click PPC) it will help you get the keywords (and phrases) that you feel are important to your customers.
More importantly good search engine optimization will make your site more readable. It helps you focus your message, decide what's important and what's not, and eliminate redundancy on your pages.
Let's take a look at some of the features of SEO that help you make a better presentation to your customers.
Choosing a Purpose
The first thing you do when getting ready to write a page is decide on a purpose. What is your raison d'être? Why are you putting yourself through this? If you just like to write then you don't care if anyone reads it. But here you are writing something you want noticed.
Are you selling, informing, or asking people to participate in an event? Are you educating people on a new technology, giving them information about an event, or trying to persuade them to purchase from you?
Is there an action you want them to take? All of these are questions you should be able to answer before you start.
Choosing Your Audience
The next thing you need to know is who are you trying to reach? You need to know this for your Search Engine Results Page to work, you need this to what terms to use and what level to write at.
Just remember who you're writing for and what level to be writing at. I'm constantly getting dinged for writing at a college level. I can't get over being in school. Newspapers used to be written at an 8th grade level, I think that's down around 4th grade. Here's a chart of presidents and the level they write at. Do you and your customers identify with one more than the rest? One isn't better than the other, just remember who you're writing for.
But don't just look at who buys your product, is seeking your services, or attends your events. Focus on the benefits that your customers are looking for. There's an old marketing adage that goes: "you're not selling 1/4" drill bits, you're selling 1/4" holes". Once you know the benefits then you can look at other ways people arrive at the same outcome, who they are, what their demographic is, and how to approach them.
That doesn't mean you need to speak to all of them, just remember that there are probably niches out there you haven't tapped yet and now might be a good opportunity to do that.
It's almost time to start writing. Now it's time to start choosing your words. To start we'll find a few key phrases (inappropriately called keywords) to use as the center of your article or page. These will be the center of the article or will help create several small centers throughout the article.
With these key phrases you can use tools to choose words and phrases that are associated with these key terms. Kind of like throwing a pebble into a pond and the original pebble becomes surrounded by ripples created from the origin. Text Optimizer is one of those tools and in an upcoming video I'll show you how to use it. This way you don't have to over emphasize a phrase you believe is important to people searching for your site.
Using natural language in your text is best both for readers and for search engines. You could sell hard and use your keyword dozens of times, but neither will be impressed with results. Just like you wouldn't be impressed by a sentence that was worded like this:
"SEO is important to your search results because SEO can help you if you find a good SEO person to show the search engines how SEO helps your site"
neither visitors nor search engines will be impressed either.
Oops, there goes my SEO grade.
How will you know if your message is getting through? In SEO, you can get analytics from a variety of places and see who is coming in, how long they're staying, and where they're going next.
You need to know these things for your natural readers. Is your message getting across, how will you measure success, and what will you change if you aren't getting the results you expect? Your pages become a constantly evolving cascade of tweaks and measures.
You can also do A/B testing, sending half of your audience to one page and half to another version. It's a good way to measure what your audience is interested in. These tools are available for free from Google, so why not take advantage of them?