When marketing websites and blogs, it’s easy to get wrapped up in a world of formulas, algorithms, and creepy little robot-spiders. Some get so wrapped up in outsmarting Google that they fail to see why Google keeps changing its formulas—to return better, more quality content for its users. You know what you want—better search engine rankings—but think for a moment about what your users want. Consider trying to work with Google, rather than against, for the purpose of creating content both your users and search engine spiders want to consume. Here are some commonsense tips for pleasing both users and search engines by getting back to the basics:
Keywords as a Starting Point
The use of keywords are a hotly debated topic in the SEO world—so much so that it’s unclear about whether we should care about them or not. The short answer is: yes, they matter. However, keywords should not be used as the focus, but rather the starting point of content creation. Of course it makes sense that a flower shop should include keywords about roses and anniversaries, but don’t put so much emphasis on the words that you fail to put them into context beautifully. Choose some of your most important keywords, then use them as seeds to sprout natural, useful content—and if you’re creating copy that is relevant to your business and audience, the right keywords should fall into place.
Do Link Where Links Are Due
Ever heard the theory that you can you can protect your precious PageRank by sculpting it with dofollow and nofollow attributes? To be fair, the basic idea of Pagerank does logically follow that 2 dofollow links on a page ranked 6 count for more than 4 dofollow links from the same page. However, obsessively controlling your links with nofollow attributes fails to take into account that Google seeks to reward informative and helpful websites—which includes websites that link to other helpful websites. If you don’t believe me, take it from Google engineer Matt Cutts (on his blog):
“I wouldn’t recommend (Page Rank Sculpting), because it isn’t the most effective way to utilize your PageRank. In general, I would let PageRank flow freely within your site.” In fact, he elaborates that parts of Google’s system rewards links to “good sites.”
Sure, a tacky, meaningless link could add a little something to your ranking. But what’s the point of ranking well if you don’t have visitors? I’m talking about paid links and other quick, dirty link tactics. When you look at linking from a user’s standpoint, there’s really no use for it unless there’s something in it for number one. So while you’re looking for inbound links, put yourself in the user’s shoes, and ask yourself what would cause someone to want to click that link to your website. Perhaps you posted a thoughtful guest blog post—now some people are wanting to learn more about you, and perhaps get more useful information from your blog. Maybe if you joined a discussion in a forum or comment thread, adding meaningful information, others in the conversation might decide to investigate your expertise a little further. Does it require more time and brain juices? You bet. Is it worth the effort for good traffic along with your inbound link? Absolutely.
Chris Turberville-Tully is the owner of Inspiration Inc, a digital marketing company who provides pay-per-click services, SEO Birmingham, web design, search engine marketing, email marketing and more. Follow Inspiration Inc: http://www.facebook.com/InspirationIncSEO