The ultimate goal for every business website is to be seen by the highest number of people possible to increase the odds of converting them into paying customers. This is where search engine optimization (SEO) comes into play. The hope is that good SEO will take your website to the top of search engines’ results, resulting in higher traffic.
Sounds simple, but it's really not. There’s a fine line between optimizing content for search engines and ending up with a site that’s totally illegible to human beings. For any company in any industry, achieving the balance requires both implementing consistently effective SEO methods and creating quality content.
Things can get especially messy if you make the rookie mistake of using your targeted keyword—let’s use “New York plumbers” as an example—around a dozen times within a 300-word welcome page on your website. Consistently doing this causes Google to identify your page as spam (not to mention, it makes human visitors think you’re nuts). Your search engine ranking will plummet to the bottom of the barrel, alongside other spam-filled content.
Moderation Is Key
People visiting your website don’t really care about SEO. They came to get the information they were looking for. Even if the information is there, the length of time they stay depends entirely on the quality of the content.
From underlying tags to the About Us page, if keywords and phrases are excessively used, the page will appear too jumbled and incoherent to the human eye. While using SEO to attract site visitors is a promising way to be seen by more potential customers, it is important to use your targeted words in moderation.
Not sure about a sentence with a keyword in it? Read it aloud to make sure it sounds authentic and natural. It doesn’t matter if a page contains ten keywords or one—as long as the material is readable, useful, and cannot be considered spam, you should be okay.
When in doubt, there are plenty of free keyword density tools available that you can use to double check.
Keywords And Phrases
Keywords are one of the most important aspects of effective SEO. Most of these words and phrases should come to mind pretty easily. Start with general words and work your way into more specific phrases.
For example, a paper supply company that also sells office supplies would want to target an audience that is looking for a paper supplier. They could start with short-tail keywords people may be searching for:
- Paper supplier
- Paper supply company
- Paper company
They could then drill down into location-specific keywords and long-tail keywords that people with a more specific sense of what they’re looking for might search for:
- Paper supply company in New Jersey
- Office supplies for sale in NJ
- Where can I find paper supplies?
The search engines don't just care about which words are used, but also where those words are placed. A good rule of thumb is to include keywords in the title, first paragraph (if possible), meta description, and image captions.
Be A White-Hatter!
SEO tactics fall under one of two categories: white hat and black hat. The major search engines consider white-hat techniques as legitimate ways to optimize a website in a manner friendly to the reader. Black hat tactics can include placing hidden pieces of text on a page or even creating fake sites to try and trick the search engines.
These black-hat practices may garner mild short term results, but they are the ultimate kiss of death to websites legitimately trying to be seen by their audience. Stick with good, reliable white hat methods and you can’t go wrong.
Write For The Audience
It’s important to remember that SEO can only get you so far. If the content is dull and riddled with spelling or information errors, your site has little chance of being in the top three SERP pages for a keyword.
Don’t let keywords take over a page to the point where the main focus is completely lost. Keep readers coming back by always having new, useful information alongside an informative or engaging blog. Always think of the audience before publishing a page.
There are a variety of ways to boost your company's search engine result ranking that won’t make you end up sounding like a robot. In order to be most effective, SEO methods should be consistently applied, revised, and tested—and always used in moderation. This can be a DIY job for anyone with the time and know-how, or something you can hand over to the professionals.