Last week, we talked about some SEO (search engine optimization) keywords to help all the SEO laymen get a better understanding of this often confusing aspect of online marketing. Today, we want to continue our discussion by talking about some SEO best practices, or “commandments” that can help SEO newbies get a better feel of just how SEO should be done.
SEO is a crucial part of the build of any website and any campaign to increase usage of the website as an informational referral and sales tool. In basic terms, it is the strategies that marketers use to have your website listing appear on the first page of results when someone is performing a search for services or products related to your business. One of the goals of SEO is to gain more viewers to your website from the free, or organic, listings on search engines (as opposed to paying for an ad on Google that might lead someone to your website). All search engines (Google, Yahoo, Bing, etc.) produce pages of results when users search for something, where web pages and other content such as videos or local listings are shown and ranked based on what the search engine considers most relevant to users (based on the search term input of the user). So, if someone searches for “home care San Francisco” for instance, the results will be listed in order on many pages, and the key to getting someone to find your business on the Internet most likely will be based on how your business ranks organically (not paid), and being on that first page is the goal.
How a website displays in this ranking is largely based on the work that has been done on the website to optimize that site, or the SEO of the site.
corecubed’s Ten SEO Commandments
- Honor Thy Target Market: In order to reach potential clients, you have to think like your potential clients. Perhaps you’re trying to reach adult children of aging parents or you’re targeting home health care agencies in order to sell your agency management software. Whatever part of the aging care industry you’re in, you must gear your content toward your target audience in order to reach them in a search.
- Thou Shalt Not Stuff Keywords: Something you’ve likely heard in your SEO research is the term keywords. Keywords are words that a user enters in his or her search. While having a significant amount of keywords within a page on your site (often referred to as keyword density) was an SEO tactic at the very beginning of the Internet-for-marketing strategy, keywords are no longer as highly valued by Google’s search algorithm. And keyword density really means that the keywords used to describe your service should read naturally in their placement, and not be overused.
- Thou Shalt Create Relevant Content: The better your content, the better the chances that others will find it valuable. In the past, unethical tricks like keyword stuffing used to increase a website’s chances of appearing in a high position in a search. Now, however, Google puts a higher value on the quality of the content, not how many keywords it contains. So, make sure your content is well written and relevant to your target audience.
- Thou Shalt Not Duplicate Content: While it can be tempting to reuse content throughout your website, this is a big no-no in Google’s eyes. Content on each page of your site should be relevant and original. Having duplicate content on your website, or content that is copied from another website entirely, could cause your site to be blacklisted, or banned, from search engines.
- Thou Shalt Not Disregard Keywords: While a high keyword density won’t benefit your page the way it used to (and can even get your site blacklisted by Google), keywords are still an important part of your search engine marketing (SEM). Research the keywords your target audience is using and be sure to include them as organically as possible in your site as well as when posting on social networking sites. Suggestion: if the page reads right to a human, the search engines will like it as well.
- Thou Shalt Avoid Black Hat SEO: Black hat SEO tactics are defined as techniques that are used to get higher search rankings in an unethical or unusual manner. Black hat SEO is frowned upon by the major search engines and can result in your page being blacklisted. Keyword stuffing, mentioned earlier, is a prime example of a black hat tactic. Stay tuned to the corecubed blog for a post solely devoted to the many “hats” of SEO
- Thou Shalt Be More Social: Having an active presence on social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn and Google+ can help increase your search engine presence. These sites can be used to provide customers and potential customers with news and special offers or to obtain visitor interactions as well as generate in-bound links. As Social Media Today notes, “One of the Holy Grail elements of SEO is to gain in-bound links for your website. This is where a third party website [like Facebook] provides visitors with a link to your website. Search engines deem this type of activity as favorable, as in-bound links are seen as a form of endorsing a website in most cases.”
- Thou Shalt Blog: Another thing that search engines love to see and promote is a site that produces relevant, frequently updated content. Having a blog on your site that you update on a regular basis shows Google that your site is active, and also allows you to include some of your target keywords in a more organic fashion.
- Thou Shalt Not Overuse Flash: OK, technically, this is a personal preference, but for good reason. Flash sites are those slick-looking websites that feature animated images. A good example is the new Fantasyland site from Disney. It’s a beautiful website, but the problem with Flash animation is that, because it primarily uses images, it decreases the amount of SEO content within the site. Therefore, Google has trouble ranking a Flash site. Additionally, certain mobile phones and devices do not support Flash animation, which means your site could be invisible to a large chunk of the population!
- Honor Thy Google Rules: Google is definitely the king among search engines, so it’s important to know and follow their rules when creating and marketing your website. Learn them, live them!
There. Did that clear up some of those nagging SEO questions? If not, you can always catch us on Facebook, where we’ll happily answer all your SEO and aging care marketing questions! Need some SEO help for your business right now? Give us a call!