To be found on page 1 of Google is not only the dream of every website owner, but it is also a pure necessity if you want to attract online customers in Denver or Colorado Springs.
Search engine optimization, SEO for short, is an extensive subject area in which many companies have specialized in the meantime. This shows the importance of the topic. And it shows also that the conversion requires some at special knowledge.
But already with few bases much can be achieved. The most important SEO or search engine optimization basics I would like to introduce to you in this article. You will see that it is not so difficult at all to optimize a Blogbeitrag or a web page for the search machine Google.
Plugins do not automatically provide SEO
If you are working with your own WordPress installation, you may have heard of so-called SEO plugins. However, these plugins do not optimize your posts and pages for you but only help you – in the form of an intelligent checklist. The two best-known plugins recommended by SEO Denver are the Yoast and wpSEO plugins. If you can’t use any of these plugins (e.g. because you work with WordPress.com, Blogger.de or a homepage construction kit like Jimdo or Wix), you can download the checklist at the end of this article and take the most important steps with it.
Understanding Search Engine Optimization
In order to be able to optimize a text for search engines, one must at least understand a little how search engines work and what they pay attention to.
Actually I should write: How Google works and what Google pays attention to. Because in Germany Google has a market share of over 96 percent! The remaining percentage is distributed among Bing and Yahoo and search engines like DuckDuckGo or ixquick.
In the following, I will concentrate on Google – because what works here also works for the rest (at least well enough).
Also, you should know that you can’t get to the first page of Google “with your site”, but only with a single page.
In addition, you can’t reach page 1 on Google globally, but only for specific keywords (called keywords in the following).
The shorter the keyword, the harder it becomes to fight your way forward, because the more competition there is for the keyword and the more “misses” you can have. Just think of the kettle words like “high pressure”, “cancer” or “cross”.
Most Google users have now recognized this and are looking for longer word combinations. The results that Google delivers to them are usually much better and lead faster to the desired result.
These longer keywords are called long-tail keywords. Long tail is very nice figurative and means as much as “long tail”. For example, a long tail keyword is “basic search engine optimization for beginners”.
Meanwhile, Google is also so intelligent that you can ask questions in normal syntax. For example: “what do I have to consider with seo”. Especially if you’re using voice input to search on your smartphone, such “natural phrases” are a good idea.
Usefulness and relevance
Overall, Google is expected to use well over 200 factors according to which the positioning takes place. As amateurs, we can’t and don’t want to know them all. Much more important, however, is the following: For some time now, Google has been taking particular account of the usefulness and relevance of an Internet page. In addition, the clicks on the search results and the time spent on the site are included in the ratings.
How does Google measure usefulness and relevance? An important element is the length of a post. Therefore, the rule of thumb is that a post should not be shorter than 300 words, because under this word count a topic – no matter how narrow – can hardly be treated comprehensively. Then you may have heard that a post should better contain 1000 or even 2000 words or more. These are also fist values. Not everyone likes to read such long contributions. Nevertheless, measurements have shown that long contributions are more often shared and likened. Through subheadings, word highlights, enumerations, and summaries, you also make longer contributions appealing to readers who don’t like to read long texts and skim them more.
Researching the right keywords
Before you write a text, you naturally think about what you want to write about and what you want to achieve with your contribution. If you know this, you start with the keyword research. This means that you look at what people are actually looking for, that is, what they are interested in or want to know. Because what use is the most beautiful search engine optimized text to you if nobody wants to know what is in it?
The easiest and fastest tool for this is the suggestion function in the Google search itself. This will give you a first impression. It will be more precise if you use special tools for it. The tools range from free of charge (Google Keyword Planner in Google Adwords can be used free of charge by registering with Google Adwords, even without wanting to place ads) to really expensive. Beside these two I like to use KeywordTool.io Ubersuggest, KeywordPro, and Keywordtools.org.
You optimize your text best only for one (long-tail) keyword. But that doesn’t mean that you have to use the keyword again and again in the same form. You are allowed to use synonyms and grammatical flexions. But you should already place your main keyword in the relevant places. These are:
- the main heading (the title or also the H1 heading)
- the permalink (= the URL of the page)
- the beginning of the post or page
- the subheadings (H2 and H3)
- the ALT tags of the photos you include in your post
- the meta description in the source code header
What all this is exactly and how it looks like in WordPress, you can find out if you download the checklist I linked at the end of this article.
Keyword density is out
Even if this value is still specified in the plugins and many contributions to search engine optimization deal with the keyword density. Basically the topic is out. Take the hints as fist values, similar to the text length, which should help you to keep an eye on the relevance of your article while writing. A better method than the pure percentage is the measurement of the so-called WDF*IDF value, which takes the keyword density into account in proportion to the text length.
What else is important for Colorado SEO?
Your contribution should have at least one picture, better still several pictures in the text. Here the so-called ALT tag offers a nice possibility to “hide” your keyword. But be careful with it: The ALT tag serves users of pure text-based browsers as information about what can be seen in a picture. Does this seem strange to you? Well, visually impaired or blind people, for example, use special software that reads the web pages to them. The text in the ALT tag is read to them. What is written here should also make sense for these users? Don’t use the ALT tag to spam!
Also, the file name is important. Instead of naming a picture with DSC-20010112210500.png, use a file name like “seo-001.png”.
The Internet lives from links. Without links your pages will not be found. Without links every page becomes a dead end in the internet. The Internet lives from a culture of sharing and networking. This is also seen by Google – therefore not only incoming links to your sites are welcome, but also outgoing links from your site. Google also loves links within your site – because you make your content more accessible to visitors.
Page descriptions with keywords
The page description (Meta-Description) once had much higher importance than today. With the page description, you can influence the text in the search result of Google (the snippet). But only if Google likes it. I always use my search engine optimization plugin to create my own page description – as long as I don’t find out that this is explicitly harmful – like the next point.
In the past, the keywords were also entered in the header of the source code, the so-called meta-area. However, since this possibility was quickly abused (some “search engine optimizers” entered hundreds of keywords there, even those that did not have much to do with the content of the text on the page), Google stopped evaluating them a long time ago. In the meantime, it is even very unwise to enter your keywords there because this way you only make your competitors aware of which keywords you have optimized your texts for.
Tips for reading more about SEO
These are now my most important basic tips for search engine optimization for you. Of course, you won’t automatically get to page 1 with this, but you will have already made a good part of the way. When dancing one would talk about “duty” – the rest (on the way to the top) is the “freestyle”.
If you want to get deeper into the topic, I recommend the SEO Basics series from WordPress-Ninjas and the contributions to the SEO texts on Chimpify. Both are written well understandable for beginners and help you to get deeper into the topic.