Search engine optimization, more commonly referred to as SEO simply, is a way of boosting your site’s search rank on Google, Yahoo, and other search engines. As opposed to paid or sponsored ads, SEO is a free way to drive traffic to your site and increase sales. When we talk about SEO, we talk about keywords. Using the right keywords, within appropriate content and at the right frequency, can significantly improve your ranking on search engines.
Why do you need to increase your site ranking?
Out of all online experiences, 90% start with a single Google search. If you need to write an essay on tsunami for school, you google the word “tsunami”. If you have to draw up an infographic for your web content, you search for “designing an infographic”. This is what we all do. As a site owner, your ambition is to have people land on your web page when they are searching for something relevant to your site niche. If your site is about fitness and you are an affiliate for Amazon fitness products, you certainly need site visitors to, in turn, direct them to Amazon and earn affiliate revenue. As a freelance writer, you probably want to drive readers to your blog so that you can eventually put your e-books on sale or offer your services. In any case, it all begins with them finding your website in the first place.
So, how are pages ranked on Google?
Simply put, Google picks the best content on the search keyword and displays it on top of the list. How exactly does Google do that? It does so by choosing authority pages. These pages send out authority signals by constantly being shared on social media, liked and spread across the web. Google soon figures out that this is the content that users are most likely to find helpful. After all, Google also has to maintain the reputation of being the most helpful search engine.
The Power of Keywords
The words that you use when carrying out an online search are called keywords. Why? Because they are key to finding the content that you need. So, it makes perfect sense to have the right keywords in your content if you want it to be found easily. SEO experts have mastered the art of keyword research. They can tell you exactly which keywords to use so as to target the right audience for your site. However, you can do so on your own as well. It is no black magic. In fact, it is not even as complex as most marketers tend to make it sound. With some basic SEO knowledge and a few resources, you will do just fine.
Finding the Right Keywords
First of all, you need to be specific about your site niche. Does your site promote overall health and wellness? That’s your niche. Does your site review babies’ products only? That is also a very specific niche. Once you identify the right niche, there are many online resources that you may use to generate the right keywords for your site content.
For example, Keyword Tool is a free means of generating keywords. I only recently started using this one, but it works like a charm. It generates unique keywords, provides information on the search volume, the cost-per-click that advertisers are paying to bid on the keyword in Google Adsense and the competition level of the keyword.
Another tool is, of course, Google AdWords. When we talk about keyword research, we refer to the Keyword Planner of Google AdWords. This tool allows the user to see the performance of a keyword, gets statistics and even create a new list by merging a few keyword lists together.
If you search for “keyword research” on Google, you will find many helpful tools to optimize your content. After learning how Google displays web pages, you should rest assured that the first few results will be the best ones.
Long Tail of Keyword Demand
Let’s say you have an online supplements store. Wouldn’t it be awesome to have your site ranked first on Google searches because you used the keyword “supplements” appropriately in your content? Definitely. But how about having hundreds of site visitors but no sales returns? The sad reality is that although you may be successful in driving a huge amount of traffic to your site, sometimes you may end up with no sales.
Here is why. Having a keyword that is searched for 10,000 times in a day is great. But popular search terms such as “supplements” actually account for less than 30% of the online searches performed. The rest of the 70% carry out long tail searches. This technique combines millions of unique searches that are repeatedly conducted at different times. When taken together, the long tail searches amount to the largest portion of the world’s search volume.
For instance, an individual who searches for supplements online is less likely to have decided on purchasing supplements than the person who googles “cheapest whey protein for mass gain”. The second person is practically ready to take the money out and make the purchase. In this case, “cheapest whey protein for mass gain” is the long tail keyword.
I often link one article to another. Why? It’s simple. Once you land on one of my articles, I want to direct you to another one and yet another one and so on. You only came for one article, but through links, I managed to send you over to another article. This is what you want to do with your site visitors too. They did not like the product on your homepage? Increase your chances of making sales by showing them other products.
Also, one of the key elements that Google uses to rank sites is links. When an authority site links to your web content, Google gets the clear idea that your content is worth it. Over time, Google gets the signal that you are a quality website and that your content can be trusted. However, link-building does not mean you should compromise quality. Only link, or get linked, to trusted and high-quality content.
Take Home Message
This is a beginner’s guide to search engine optimization (SEO). If you want to acquire advanced knowledge on the subject and optimize your web content like a pro, there are many useful free resources online. Try the magic of Google search and see which sites rank first and why. Observation is often the best way to learn.