How To: Get Started with Search Engine Optimization

Overview

Creating consistency in your blog is one of the best ways to make your site more competitive on search engines. Although Bing and Yahoo are relevant search engines that deserve some attention, Google is still the largest in terms of search traffic and should be optimized first.

To achieve the goal of consistently placing your site in a favorable position on Google, there are three simple rules your blog should follow:

  1. You must use your blog to become a subject matter expert.
  2. You must research keywords or key phrases associated with your topic that you want users to search to find you.
  3. You must implement your keywords or key phrases properly.

Become a Subject Matter Expert (SME)

This subject is pretty simple, the topic of your blog needs to be focused on one subject. Make sure that your topics are categorized and easy for your audience to navigate and follow.

Keyword Research

Search engines are founded on keywords and key phrases so it’s important to know what the best keywords for your subject are.  Building your blog around the right keywords isn’t as easy as logically selecting them and moving on. To find keywords that will best represent your site, choose:

  1. Keywords and key phrases that are related to your subject matter.
  2. Keywords that have a high-traffic volume.
  3. Keywords that are NOT as competitive.

Choosing keywords can be a long and complex process, but there are a few simple tools and steps you can utilize to get some initial ideas.  Google provides a great tool for identifying keywords and phrases.  To access this resource:

  1. Go to Google AdWords to use the keyword selector tool.
  2. Enter the keywords that you believe will best represent your site and click search.
  3. Make a list of keywords from the search results that have a monthly search volume of less than 50,000 but more than 3,000, and are local to your area.

Once you have your list, narrow it down to five to seven keywords and start integrating them into your blog.

Implementing Your Keywords

Implementation is more than just placement, as some sources may tell you. How you implement your keywords is what is really important. Some initial places to implement your keywords include:

Articles

  • First 25 words of your article
  • Last 25 Words of your article
  • Headline
  • Page Title

Website Pages

  • Alt Tag of your website photos
  • Meta Tag’s description
  • Meta Tag’s keywords
  • First 25 words of your site
  • Website footer

Company Newsletters

  • First 25 words of your company newsletter
  • Links (link must point back to your website)

This is just a list of a few ideas. There are certainly opportunities to implement your keywords and key phrases into social media and other places, but start with the ones listed above and go from there. How to visually emphasize the keywords once they are placed is more technical and requires some patience, but once you start it is very easy to catch on. The easiest way to accent your keywords once you have them integrated into your blog? Bold them! Here is how you can bold your keywords on your website and blog:

<Strong> Tag: This tag simply bolds the text that you choose. Implementing this tag is as simple as:

<strong>your keyword here</strong>

And results in:  your keyword here

Headline Tags / <h> Tags: Simply, headline tags are the <strong> tag with the addition of changing the size of the text. These tags go from one to six and as the headline number goes up, the size of the font gets smaller. For example:

Headline 1 <h1>

Headline 2 <h2>

Headline 3 <h3>

Headline 4 <h4>

Headline 5 <h5>
Headline 6 <h6>

Choosing which headline tag is really up to you, but I suggest using them for what they were intended  – headlines and sub-headlines. You should use the strong tag to emphasize keywords in your article.

Conclusion

Search Engine Optimization is a process but very rewarding if done correctly and maintained. The process outlined above provides some easy ways to get started, but remember this is only the beginning!