There is a lot of advice out there about how to get great SEO. And sure, some of it will work. The truth of the matter is, though, that you have to make sure you’ve got two things in order if you want to succeed at SEO.
- – Find the right keywords.
- – Have content that people think is better than other people’s.
That’s it. If you can do those two things, the rest is just window dressing. If you can’t, the rest is useless. That’s not to say that the rest has absolutely no use. Window dressing also has its uses. It makes your house look prettier. In this case, having the right SEO tools will help make your house prettier for Google. And that’s nothing to sneeze at.
But, again, it doesn’t matter how nice your window dressing is. If you’ve got a tin shack and somebody else has a mansion, then they’re going to knock on that other person’s door.
Got that? Okay, so let’s get expand on those two points.
Get the right keywords
The first thing that you want to do is get the right keywords. You can’t just suck those out of your thumb. You’ve actually got to do some research. There are a lot of tools out there to help. Probably a good place to start is with Google Adwords itself. After all, why use a third party when you can get a great deal of the information straight from the horse’s mouth?
Make sure you try out a number of phrases. Once you think you’ve narrowed it down to a group that will work well for you, perhaps throw those phrases into another tool. For example, you can try Moz’s keyword explorer – particularly as it will give you two free tries per day, which might be enough if you’ve narrowed your search down enough already.
Don’t forget about long-tail keywords
Sure, you want to rate well with the single keywords that are related to your search. For example, this article will hopefully rate well for ‘SEO’. At the same time, if you’re good enough to rate for those kinds of phrases, you don’t really need my help. Your website is already a big hit.
If you can’t actually rate for those kinds of words yet, you should consider long-tail keywords. These are longer phrases that people might search for. Why would you want to rank for these?
- – You’ll face far less competition, as other people will not have figured all of these out yet. That means it’s far easier to get onto the first page (or even better, the first spot).
- – The people that are searching based on long-tailed keywords are far further along in the buying process. They’re no longer just searching for general information but are honing in on a specific product or specific information. That means that you’re far likelier to convert them into customers.
Broaden your scope
There are many roads to Rome. The great thing about the internet is that you can use all of them at the same time. That’s what you want to do with keywords. Don’t just focus on a few keywords for even if you do manage to rank well, it’s a fragile setup.
Perhaps somebody else comes along and blows you out of the water there. Or perhaps somebody actually pays to advertise on Google and takes over the top several positions, pushing you down.
And suddenly your traffic dries up.
If you try to rank for a lot more keywords, that’s a lot less likely to happen. So take the time to write a bunch of articles about related phrases and words. Sound like too much work? Then think about getting a custom writing job done. You can get dozens of articles for peanuts and rank for a whole host of different keywords – be they long-tailed or otherwise.
It used to be that the best way to convince Google that you had it had the right text was to use the keywords that you wanted to rank for repeatedly all throughout the text. The problem with that, obviously, is that the writing becomes very stilted.
They’ve come up with a solution for that and that is keyword synonyms. If you want to rank for a phrase, then it’s a good idea to check out what the synonyms are as well, as Google will give you brownie points (not the official name) towards the keywords you’re trying to rank for as well.
Where do you find these synonyms? That’s easy. Just type your keyword into google and scroll down to the bottom of the page. There you’ll see a whole host of related phrases. Google thinks that are related to your search term. So throw a few of these into your text as well, if possible.
Other people’s opinions
Realize that none of this will work if you don’t take the time to make sure people think your content is good. You see, Google doesn’t know what a good content is. At least, not yet. Instead, they use a proxy. They use other people’s activity to decide if something is worthwhile to rank highly.
If other people share, link to and get involved with a piece of writing, Google assumes more people will want to do so.
What does this mean for you? It means you can’t just write a great piece and leave it at that. You’ve got to get people to read it. That means sharing it across social networks, linking to it from other articles and getting people to talk about it. Only then will the above tricks get you ranked highly.
And only then will the traffic start coming in.
About the author: Steven Mehler is an experienced writer, blogger, SEO specialist and social psychologist that works as an editor at a local newspaper and a custom research paper specialist. Steven also runs his own content agency and is writing a book. He has a long-term experience in writing articles based on blogging, marketing, SEO and social psychology.