Ingredients for Great SEO
First things first, I really like chocolate milkshakes. (There, I said it… No turning back.) I think they are delicious and no two are exactly the same. (Unless you buy two from same place, then they’re more or less exactly the same.) Though some are chocolat-ier and some are creamier than others, a chocolate milkshake is still a chocolate milkshake. Unless you go to Wendy’s, then it’s called a Frosty and it's delicious.
The point I’m making is that chocolate milkshake’s are made up of 3 main ingredients; Ice cream, Chocolate, and Milk. Great SEO is made up of 3 main ingredients too; On-page and Off-page optimization, and Great Content. Even though you put these 3 main ingredients in, you can end up with a slightly different product in the end if you adjust the quality. By quality, I mean time and effort.
Any great SEO will tell you that SEO takes time and you will get out of it what you put in. The more time and effort you spend, the better your results will be. Now, let’s take a look at the 3 main ingredients in a great SEO chocolate milkshake.
On-Page SEO (AKA the Ice Cream)
If SEO were a chocolate milkshake, on-page optimization would be the ice cream. There are quite a few factors to consider with on-page SEO such as keyword density, page format, and CTA’s; unique page titles, meta keywords, and proper meta-descriptions.
To date, there is no official mathematical formula for the perfect on-page keyword density Keep your keyword usage natural for the reader. The search engine bots are getting very smart, and are starting to look at websites the same way a human does.
Here’s an example of an unnatural way to use keyword density using the keyword “best potato salad":
The best potato salad comes from the best potato salad factory that we built using only the best potato salad. We love the best potato salad simply because it is the best potato salad. You can taste our best potato salad and BestPotatoSalad.com.
If I continued on, this post would be seen by both the user and search engine bots as unnatural, and ultimately provide end users with no real value.
Having a Unique Page Title is very important to SEO as well. If every page is titled the same “Home | Best Potato Salad” or “Blog | Best Potato Salad,” it can limit your site from being ranked for multiple keywords.
Page format and style are additionally an important factor in SEO. A best practice is to design a clutter-free page with the most valuable information above the fold, or invest in responsive web design If your page features a large amount of ads above the fold, it is likely to get dinged in the search engine results page (SERP).
Writing Unique Meta-Keywords and Meta-Descriptions are essential to gaining a higher click-through-rate. Most search engines no longer use this Meta-Data in their algorithm for results, but it will help you draw people into your site. A common mistake I see is that people use the same Meta-Keywords and description on every page. (“Our Potato Salad is the Best Freakin Potato Salad you’ve ever had, period!) Make your description unique, but relevant to every page. As far as length, you’ll want to keep your Meta-Keywords to 70 characters or less, and your Meta-Description to 150 characters or less.
Placing Alt Text on any images you have on your page will help those images appear in the Image SERP. The text should be relevant to the picture.
Using proper header tags throughout your page (H1, H2, H3, etc.) shows the search engine bots a level of importance. The title of your page should be in H1 format, giving it the highest importance. The subtitle should be in H2.
Off-Page SEO: (AKA the Chocolate)
You can’t have a great chocolate milkshake without the chocolate, thus bringing us to Off-Page SEO. The primary components to Off-Page SEO are building quality links and earning social media shares. These days, link building isn’t as easy as it was a few years ago. Link building is like strategic networking where quality wins over quantity. If you have a high quantity of poor links pointing your direction, you can get heavily dinged in the results. (Example: You have a Potato Salad website with a high majority of your links coming from various Pay Day Loan sites.)
If you haven’t checked your back links in a while, it’s a good idea to get it done A.S.A.P. Also, make sure that you put “checking your back links” on a monthly or bi-monthly checklist.
Great Content: (AKA the Milk)
If SEO were a chocolate milkshake, great content would be the Milk. After all, you can’t have a milkshake with the milk (that would just be ice-cream, which is also delicious), Great content is something that gives the end user useful and engaging information. Without the end user sticking around to read what about you’re selling, showing, or saying, there’s really no point of making a webpage.
In contrary to what a lot of websites put out there, great content isn’t always about you. You don’t always need to write about how awesome you are, and how eating your companies World’s Best Potato Salad will help you get lucky tonight. (Actually, I would read that one..)
The point of providing great content is to give the end user valuable information. This will make you and your company the authority on the subject ultimately giving the end user a place to turn when they are ready to buy.
P.S. This post was not intended to offend any of the following people.
- Potato Salad farmers and/or growers
- Potato Salad factory workers
- As well as anyone in the Milkshake industry
(I love both Potato Salad and Milkshakes, just not at the same time.)
image credit: stuart miles/freedigitalphotos.net