These days, it seems that everyone is obsessing over their SEO ranking, and it’s no mystery why! The higher your SEO ranking, the higher you show up in keyword searches via popular search engines (also known as spiders) such as Google or Bing. The higher up you show in a list of search results, the more page views you get. Ipso facto – SEO matters.
More than 4.7 billion people use Google for web searches on a daily basis. That’s an insanely high number of people looking for things to do, things to know, things to buy, and places to go. When a spider is used to search for a keyword, it scans millions of web pages in a matter of seconds and compiles a list of top hits.
So for today’s post we’re going to talk about a few of the key places you need to pay attention to so that these spiders identify your site as a critical hit for your top keywords.
1. Website architecture + layout
If the spider can’t get around your site easily, it’s not going to be able to quickly analyze your content and find your relevant keywords. Think of it this way: you’ve paid thousands of dollars for a high profile ad in a top-notch newspaper…. but you’ve given them the wrong address, bad directions, and failed to label your storefront. All that hard work to build a place that nobody can find or navigate!
When a spider scans your page, there a few specific places it will check first to see if your site is relevant to the keyword search: your page title, site map, and headers. If your keywords are strategically placed in these three places, you’ve passed the first test and successfully avoided the discard pile! The spider then moves on to scan any bolded text or links as well as your listed address and company name. Keep these places in mind when building your site and posting content. Play along with the spider's predetermined route and place big neon signs along the way.
If your site has a blog (and it should because uploading fresh content consistently is the best way to maintain your SEO ranking) there are a couple of critical places to keep in mind. Most content management systems have a section for entering keywords, tags, and descriptions. A lot of bloggers don’t use these features and that’s a big mistake! These backend places are the next stop in a spider’s journey through your site and should definitely be filled out before you take your post live. Follow the guidelines and recommendations of the program or plugin you are using. This article has some great recommendations for WordPress SEO plugins.
As I mentioned earlier, posting fresh, relevant content consistently is the best way to maintain a high SEO ranking. Good content consists of using any and all keywords that are relevant to your topic of discussion. Now, I’m not saying to list out a string of keywords in the middle of your blog post to boost your ranking. You want to use a wide variety of relevant keywords scattered throughout your post – and bolding them where appropriate doesn’t hurt either.
A good keyword has the following traits: low competition level, high search volume, high visitor value, and weak #1 ranking. So what does that mean? It means that you want to select keywords that are commonly used, but not dominated by someone else in your industry already. For example, if you are selling athletic footwear – you might want to steer clear of Nike’s top keywords and use something slightly different. This doesn't mean you should completely avoid words like “sneakers” or “footwear,” but pick at least one keyword that is entirely unique to your business and play it up! Use it in your social media promotions, taglines, and general web copy. Make that word YOUR word and nobody else's.
Ideally, you want a keyword that has only a few searches, is trending upward, and is used by a website with a weak domain authority. There are a number of tools you can use to find and analyze keyword strength as well as your competition’s domain authority. Some of our favorites are Google Analytics, Google Adwords, and Moz.
The key to high SEO rankings is to think like a bot. So keep these places and tips in mind as you build or update your site and post content!