A client recently asked me:
“What’s the ‘trick of SEO?’ What will get me to be Number One on Google?”
SEO is not about tricking some system into finding you, it’s about writing good content with real connection to specific key words.
Remember writing a book report in 6th grade?
The title of the book goes at the top with the author’s name and something specific to prove to the teacher that you read the book. You used the names of the characters and the place names. That way when the poor teacher, who had to read 30 papers, got to yours, it was clear exactly what they were supposed to be thinking about when they plowed through it.
That’s kind of like key words.
“Black Hat SEO”
It’s just what you think: the baddies in the cowboy movies
Way back in internet dark ages (like 1995) there was a (bad) idea that if you crammed all your key words onto a white page and with white text color then you would get you good ratings. I’m guessing if those key words EVER turned your site up first, it did for about a day and a half. Even early search engines you’ve probably never heard of figured out what was going on and nixed the practice.
Then there was the notion that all of search was based on key words in meta data (words obvious to the internet but not to the untrained eye). People crammed (and sometimes still do cram) way-too-long a list of possible key words there hoping that the search gods would smile on the page.
SEO is no longer dependent on keyword listings in meta-tags that real people don’t read and can’t see. And there is a debate on whether they do anything at all.
The way to the searching hearts of Google, Yahoo!, Bing, and AOL is with well-crafted content specifically relating to the key words you determine to be important.
Don’t bury the lead
Print editors say: put the important stuff up front. For SEO that means put important words (key words) in the title of the piece, in the first couple of lines. Help your reader (and the search engines) to figure out exactly what you’re talking about.
If I have to read a paragraph or two—not related to real content—I’ll get bored and probably won’t read the rest of the piece. I might forget what I am trying to learn and wander off before the real meat shows up
The mother Google is the same way. If she doesn’t find appropriate content in the very beginning she gets bored and goes away without you.
Don’t try to be cute
I once heard a man at a toastmasters meeting give what was supposed to be a funny speech. I really don’t remember the full gist of his story, but it sounded horribly horribly sexist and appallingly incorrect. In the end, he let on that he was talking about looking for moose in Maine! That shed a whole different light on the story but not before almost everyone in the room tried to figure out where the bathrooms were.
It’s about the writing
SEO is a page-by-page, post-by-post process. Everybody who finds a link for your widgets does not start on your home page. So think about key words on every page.
Perhaps the biggest problem for many people struggling with SEO is that it’s about writing and not tricks. You can’t just slap together some stuff for your website about you and your business and believe that you’ll be rolling in visitors in a week.
Try this: Write a piece and ask somebody else to read it. If they say, “Oh that’s wonderful”… then probably it isn’t. Your friend doesn’t want to hurt your feelings or else he doesn’t know what s/he’s looking at. If he notices that you used “fair” instead of “fare” that’s only slightly more helpful.
So ask your friend if they can tell you what the article is about. Whatever words he uses are probably what the keywords really are. Then be sure those words are in the article, near the top, and probably in bold and bullets.
- Think carefully about what you want to say before you write or pay somebody else to do it.
Fixing SEO requires making changes to your content
You have to be OK with that. You have to understand that every word out of your mouth is not perfect in every way.
If you’re just starting, if you only have a couple pages of content, don’t pay somebody to help your SEO. Get some information on your site. Some articles that are more than 300 words long. Figure out exactly what you want to write about. Then call chat with some professionals–real ones who don’t say, “Don’t worry. We’ll take care of it all.”
Personally, I like the guys at WebMechanix.com. Check them out. Tell them Kerch sent you.