SEO – Best Practices

Keyboard of the laptop

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is necessary for sites that need a high profile in the Search Engine Rankings Pages (SERPS), and to get highly placed you have to adhere to some of the known rules. The problem is that no one knows what Google’s rules are. We do know that Google penalizes sites that try to manipulate their rankings, and the recent updates to the SERPs appear to have finely tuned these algorithms. There are two things you need to be careful of.

Keyword-stuffed pages full of useless content

The first thing is that Google does not like to see keyword-stuffed pages full of useless content. They were, are, and will be punished for it. Gone are the days when a site could simply load your chosen key phrases into their H1 title tags, and you’d get top rankings. Google’s spiders are now much more developed, and they don’t just look at the words which appear on a page. They look at all of the content on the page and decide whether it is relevant to the search being carried out. It is much harder (and harder) for sites to obtain top rankings if they try to keyword stuff their pages. If you want to get – and stay – on top of the scene, you need to produce a website that is simply full of informative, well-written content, which is keyword rich, and also makes sense. By that, it means it should be written in a way that would be easy for most people to understand and make use of.

The second thing to bear in mind is that Google does not want ‘Fit all of Google’ all of the time. They like to see a site that is all by itself, with a distinct theme and content. That way, they know where the site should rank. If all of your keywords are the same, not only is it hard for the spiders to read your site, but it also looks unlikely that your site will have very many links from other sites. So, you’ve got to make your site different from all others that are competing with you for that keyword.

But back to the keywords. We’ve already mentioned a few. But we’ll go through a few more in detail below:

Keyword Density

Remember those questions we asked you at the start of this article – What should my site design/info page/pages be about? and What keywords should I choose? Keep these in mind.

Now, here’s a list of things that our site design, info pages, and so on should have in common.

  1. Keyword in the URL
  2. Keywords in the Title
  3. Keywords in the headers
  4. What words are being used in the written content?
  5. Keyword in the article title
  6. Using a keyword in the first and last sentences
  7. Avoid keyword stuffing (defined as repeating the same keyword or keyword phrase too many times on the page)

The articles, titles, and so on are going to be the most important ones. We’ve already discussed the titles. With keywords in the title being highly important, you should choose your keywords with care.

Three simple questions to ask yourself when putting together your keyword strategy:

  1. What are the search terms I want to bring me traffic from?
  2. What questions am I trying to answer?
  3. Are these keywords likely to get me traffic?

The second one – the keyword density – is being accurate regarding how many times that word or phrase should occur on the page. Don’t include a keyword where it doesn’t seem natural. The ideal is to have your keyword density (number of times per written page) between 1% and 3%. Just note that there are different algorithms used by search engines to calculate the keyword density. So the value offered by some search tools can be different.

Keyword in the site context

The third question is whether you are including keywords that pay – what in our eyes is the keyword that best supports the context of the page. Again, there is a certain formula that is used to decide this. It’s usually between 3% and 9%, depending on the search engine. A higher keyword density is always better, and the optimal value I would shoot for is between 6% and 15%.

One last thing on the keyword density is included in the Algorithms. As part of Google’s algorithm, they calculate how relevant a page is to the search keyword. This is generally done by determining how many other web sites link to your website. The incoming links to your site are referred to as backlinks. The more backlinks that Google recognizes, the more relevant your page is seen to be by Google about the keyword being searched for.

It is impossible to make your website relevant to every possible search keyword. There are simply too many of them.