By Rakesh Raman
After my recent article on Search Engine Optimization (SEO) in which I had said that companies should not spend even a single penny on buying SEO services, here I want to discuss more on SEO.
My idea is simple: If you can create content yourself, you can also do SEO yourself without paying any money to outsiders for this work. I want to empower you to handle this mundane task yourself, although search engine technology – as I said in the previous article – is not yet fully developed.
Remember, SEO by itself is just zilch or zero. And if SEO works, it works on content. If you don’t have content, you can’t apply SEO at all. Actually, even the term SEO is wrong. It’s not about search engine optimization. Rather, it is content optimization for search engines – COSE, I suggest.
But for the time being, let’s use the term SEO. So, how to achieve SEO for your content pages on the Web?
Search Engine Optimization
First thing first. You start updating your site regularly – say, at least five updations a week – with fresh and original content developed by your in-house people or specialized content creation agencies. Then you can look toward SEO application. After all, SEO can be done only on some content pages on your site; it can’t be done on an empty or stale site.
Also remember that if you fall prey to the tricks of shady SEO agencies that use fraudulent ways (termed as black hat SEO techniques) to artificially improve the rankings of your site, your site can be penalized and blacklisted by search engines like Google. Then it will be very difficult for you to get it restored.
Now, let’s discuss SEO. Here are these 10 commandments that you can follow to achieve some results on search engines provided your site is carrying sufficient quantity and good quality of information.
Select the focus keywords or phrases about your business. These are the words that users will put in the query box of a search engine. You need to choose these words carefully because common words return excessive amount of search results and uncommon words are rarely used by users while searching.
Use the keywords intelligently in the title of your Web page. If, for example, one of your focus keywords is “Handicraft,” your SEO title for a page on which your handicraft products appear can be: “Top 20 Handicraft Items for Your Home.” It will still be better if your focus keyword is the first word in the title.
3. Keyword in First Paragraph
While writing the content for your Web page, make sure that the keyword that you have put in the SEO title, appears in the first paragraph of the text.
Avoid repeating your keyword unnecessarily in the content that you write. Search engines will ignore the page if the density of your keyword is more on a page. As a rule of thumb, it is okay to have one occurrence of keyword for every 150 words. So, for a page of 600 words, you can use the keyword four times.
Also use your keyword in a subhead of your page. For example, “Affordable Handicraft Products” can be a subhead for your content. Preferably, you should use a bigger font for your subhead.
Your Web page should have at least 300 words of text. And try to keep the length of page under 800 words. If you have more to say about a particular topic, create a new page or a post depending on your need.
7. Picture in the Body
Instead of creating a text-only Web page, put a picture in the body of the text. If you don’t have a relevant picture, you can even create a text blurb in the form of an image. And always write a good and brief description for the image while using your keyword in the image description text.
8. Meta Description
Meta description of a Web page is an important feature. Usually written in not more than 156 characters, it is supposed to provide a brief description of the page. A carefully written meta description will prompt the users to click the link when it appears in the search results.
While writing your text for a Web page, create hyperlinks that should direct the user to an external reputed site. These are called external links or outbound links. Although this is not considered a good practice to redirect Web traffic to other sites, it is recommended for SEO purposes. Some companies that have multiple Websites create links that direct traffic to their other sites.
10. Content Quality
This is the most important aspect of SEO. The SEO techniques work effectively only if the content that you produce is flawless. If the quality of content is not good, you will not be able to leverage SEO for your pages or the site.
The content quality is a combination of content structuring, flow of thoughts, quality of expression, uniqueness of the subject, communicative language, sentence construction, paragraph structures, use of visual elements, and so on. If you can’t create quality content, you can’t leverage SEO. Period.
These are some of the techniques that you can use to do SEO for your Web pages. These techniques will only increase the search probability of your pages. So, don’t expect your pages to appear instantly at the top of search results after applying these techniques. Keep trying.
By Rakesh Raman, the managing editor of RMN Digital.