Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) can seem like an arcane science, wreathed in jargon and confused by conflicting advice. However, used properly, it can be one of the most effective methods of online marketing. Get to grips with the five simple SEO basics, and you’ll find SEO is a lot like riding a bike – lycra isn’t strictly necessary and you’ll get where you want to be much faster.
Content really is King. Without good quality, keyword-rich content that is regularly updated, you won’t get anywhere in the world of SEO. And if by some miracle you do, there’ll be nothing to keep people coming back. The first simple step is this – get some interesting, engaging and persuasive content for your site. Make sure it’s regularly updated, and be certain that it contains your keywords.
1: Content is King
The most often repeated mantra on SEO forums and blogs across the web is that content is king. The reason that this pearl of wisdom is shared by everyone from grizzled old hands to wet-behind-the-ears newbies is this:
Content really is King. Without good quality, keyword-rich content that is regularly updated, you won’t get anywhere in the world of SEO. And if by some miracle you do, there’ll be nothing to keep people coming back. The first simple step is this – get some interesting, engaging and persuasive content for your site. Make sure it’s regularly updated, and be certain that it contains your keywords a few times.
2: Better Do Meta
Even the most spectacularly put together meta tags won’t propel you straight to the top of the SERPs (that’s Search Engine Results Pages to the uninitiated), but they will give your site a boost when used in conjunction with your content. There are three main meta tags to use, each fulfilling a specific function.
Meta Titles: Your meta title sits proudly atop your page, in the browser bar, and it carries the most weight of any meta tag. Use it to announce what your content will be covering. Whether you’re selling shampoo, claiming the moon landings were faked or giving simple SEO advice, make sure your title reflects your content.
Meta Description: Twitter fans will love this tag. Your description is what’s shown in the SERPs, and it’s the length of a Tweet. Use those microblogging skills to explain more about your content and entice readers to click on your page.
Meta Keywords: Exactly what it says on the tin. All your keywords should go in here. Most of the Search Engines don’t give this tag more than a cursory glance, but every little helps.
3: Think Small – Win the War of the Keywords
It’s all well and good deciding that you’re an SEO copywriter, so you want to be found for “SEO” and “copywriter”, but guess what? Companies with marketing budgets far superior to your own have regarded those words with envious eyes and drawn up their plans to take them.
Do your research – there are plenty of phrases out there with the magic combination of low competition and high search volumes. Being top for a 500,000 result term with 500 searches a month will win you more traffic than being on page 23 for something that’s searched for 5000 times per month.
4: Remember the Lessons of The Lord of the Rings
In LotR, the forces of good, represented by Gandalf in his white hat, triumph over the Dark Lord Sauron, a giant disembodied eye who wore a black hat during the opening scene of the first film.
Now there’s no such thing as Giant Disembodied Eye SEO, but there is such a thing as Black Hat SEO. By using Black Hat, you can cheat, swindle and blag your way to the top – where you’ll be spotted by the powers that be and cast down into the depths of the SERPs. If you keep that White Hat firmly on your head, it might take longer to get to the top, but you’ll stay there. Don’t resort to unethical methods. Hidden text and the like go against the guidelines of most Search Engines, and getting caught is liable to ruin your day.
5: Links – Not Just an Ancient Golf Game
“If Content is King, then Links are all the little Princes.” Never has such sage advice been so strangely worded. Links will send much more than traffic to your website, so make sure you source some good quality, relevant links. There’s two kinds of links, both of which are useful.
Followed Links: The majority of links you can source are followed links. That means that search engine spiders can use them to seek out your site, and that reputation (in the form of Page Rank) can be passed along them. Followed links are crucial to SEO, but that’s not to say they’re the only kind of link you’ll need.
Nofollow Links: As their name suggests, nofollow links don’t let search engine spiders crawl along them to your site. However, the one thing they don’t stop is traffic. People. Readers. Customers. All of these can utilise nofollow links just as easily as followed links – so don’t disregard a link just because you won’t get any visiting spiders. After all, spiders never buy anything from a website.
If you’ve got any other simple SEO tips to share, let the world know in the comments section below.