By Danielle Dandridge
As I touched on in my last article, “Five Basic SEO Tips for Beginners“, content is the backbone of successful search engine optimization (SEO). Think of it as the foundation of a house. Without it, the whole thing comes crashing down. Having well written, clean copy is an excellent way to get indexed because your site will be easier for search engine robots to read and parse for keywords. It’s important to be sure to make good use of keywords within the main content of your pages. Try to use them as often as you can in as many different ways as possible without being redundant. This takes a little creativity but can be done effectively. It is a good idea to do some keyword research, identify your most relevant keywords, and write your copy accordingly. Also, updating your site with fresh content on a regular basis is an effective way to achieve visibility because robots are always crawling in search of updates.
Striking a balance between having too many keywords and not enough is imperative because the over use of keywords can be construed quite poorly by search engine robots, but the under use of them may not get your site noticed at all. If the frequency with which the keywords are used is too high, search engines may even view this as “keyword stuffing” which is a nefarious and punishable practice. Traditionally, keyword stuffing had to do with simply listing keywords repeatedly on the page. Some unscrupulous webmasters even tried sneakily hiding them in the page, which basically consisted of making the font color the same as the background color, so the keywords could not be seen by the naked eye. Conversely, if you have too few keywords, as was previously mentioned, the robots may not be able to pick up on them at all.
This is where we tread some controversial water regarding content and meta tags. In “Five Basic SEO Tips for Beginners”, I mention the importance of meta tags in SEO. The proficient use of title, description, and keyword meta tags will go a long way toward the production of successful SEO. The title tag should be keyword rich, as this is actually the most important tag as far as the robots are concerned. Your meta description should also include a density of your keywords, and your meta keywords should be the same as the keywords used within the content of your site.
Here comes the controversial bit. I would like to take this opportunity to dispel and/or confirm some rumors. For those who don’t already know, it is absolutely true that Google does not even consider the meta keywords. In fact, they blatantly disregard them. Their stance on the meta description is that they use it as the “snippet” for your search engine listing, but they do not use it to index your site in any way. You may be asking yourself, “why have I been bothering with meta keywords and descriptions for all this time when they don’t even matter?” Not so fast. Some will find relief in this, while others may be upset that they’ve been wasting their time, but all is not lost. I only said Google has confirmed that they do not use these meta tags; however, they are certainly not the only search engine available. Just because Google disregards them, it doesn’t mean that all other search engines do as well. In fact, directories like Yahoo! do use them to index sites, so don’t abandon your meta tags just yet. It is entirely possible to optimize your site for Google, other search engines like Bing, and directories, even though they have different criteria. Google will not penalize you for having meta tags, so leaving them in for the convenience of other search engine robots will not do you any harm, and they will still increase your chances of being indexed by those sites that do use them.
The content of your site and your meta tags can and will work in tandem when properly optimized. If you take everything one step at a time, do your research, and write optimal copy, you will have achieved harmonious content to meta tag relevancy and taken the first step toward successful SEO.
One final tip about writing your copy. Get ready to dust off your old prewriting techniques from high school or college, unless you are currently a student, of course. If the thought of writing your copy is overwhelming, brainstorm your keywords, then make a brainstorm of the information you want presented on the page from that. Next, draft an outline using your brainstorm, filling it in with some more information. Then start writing your copy. Taking this step by step approach may calm some of your anxiety. This will also keep your thoughts organized, and your transitions from sentence to sentence and paragraph to paragraph will flow cohesively throughout the page.
About the Author: “I’ve been the CEO and Website Solutions Specialist of Paradigm Shift Website Solutions, LLC for 3 ½ years. For information on our services, you can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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