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SEO Fundamentals to Follow

Have Great Content

Give your visitors high-quality content, a great user experience and a secure, technically sound website. That isn’t fast or easy, but it is the sure way to rank well and maintain your rankings. Search engines like fresh content, but they also like sites that earn clicks consistently.

Know your area of expertise and be generous in sharing insights. That markets your business to potential customers and helps search engines understand where your content fits with searcher interests.

Focus on original content over links to other experts in your area. While links to related sites are good for SEO, you need to generate a body of information that draws people to your website and your business.

Create the best quality content that you can, and consistently review and improve on it wherever possible. Demonstrate your expertise and stand out from the crowd.

Pay Attention to Speed

People don’t wait for sites to load. They move on. We all behave this way, yet we forget to check our own web presence for speed. Slow sites are not effective. Period.

Use Google’s free page speed analyzer often to make sure your site is fast to load.

There are several ways to speed up your website. Some may require more technical skill than you have, but it is worth the investment to bring someone on who can rev up your load time.

Images are one factor that you can control easily within your site admin area. Large, high definition images will take a long time to load. Always take the time to resize your images to the scale needed by your website.

Focus on Your Audience

You will only succeed online if you focus on what your audience wants and needs. Search engines aim to give users what they’re looking for. If your content doesn’t get clicked, you will never achieve good SEO.

Are you really offering searchers what they’re looking for when they type in their search? Are they looking for information or to take action? What do they need from you? Focus there.

Competition for attention is fierce. Users want to visit sites that solve their problem or provide the information or service they need. They don’t care about product-related jargon or why you want them to read your blog post. Always write for your audience.

Link Within Your Site

Link related content within your site. These are called internal links. These links make it easy for search engines to crawl your site to work out which articles are most important and to help your users find what they’re looking for.

Make sure that your most important articles also have the most internal links pointing to them. Use keywords in the link text to make the benefit of clicking the link clear.

Maintain Your Content

Keep your content fresh and relevant.

Do a site search for one of your most important keywords and see what comes up. Do articles overlap, and do you still need to keep everything? Delete or merge content as needed to ensure everything that is published is worthy of a click.

Avoid Getting Toppled by SEO Rule Changes

Focus on these SEO fundamentals and you will protect yourself from huge demotions as SEO algorithms change. All of these focus on providing great content that is meaningful to your audience. If you focus there, you can’t lose!

Top 10 No Longer Tops with Google

Have you noticed that Google changed the first page of search results? Being one of the top ten for a search term no longer guarantees that you will be on the first page of Google search results. Argh.

Google evolves search results pages to provide the content they think searchers will find valuable. There are now question boxes, map results and more mixed in with the standard page titles and links.

Today’s Google Search Results Page

Paid ads still live at the top of the results pages. There are also often Google Business results to the right and a box with common questions related to the search topic.

So, the good news is that the slots for organic search results are replaced with some additional opportunities for you to be found.

There’s another change that affects every search: personalization. Over the past several years, Google has worked to personalize search results based on the user who is searching. This means that a search performed by two different people likely will get different results. This is based on factors like location and previous searches and clicks.

Monitor Your Google Rank

No one knows the magic algorithm that Google uses to determine search rank. Some factors are generally assumed to be effective, such as keyword use in page content and providing meta description and photo tags.

For the best insight into your search rank, monitor your Google Search Console to ensure there aren’t any notices about issues related to your website. Some items are easily addressed. Others may need the support of a developer. The rules and technical requirements change all the time.

Three Ways to Find the Right Keywords

Knowing your keywords is the core of ensuring you are visible online. Your content needs to align with the words and phrases being searched today so that people can find you and your services. It is important to find the right keywords for your marketing.

Start with Your Audience

Before you start researching for the right keywords, you need a deep understanding of your target audience. It’s never “everyone” or “all men”. Your target has more characteristics than that. Define them, list them. Understand your customer so well that you can start to visualize what they are doing at this very moment!

Now that you know your target audience, you can research the words and phrases they use when they are looking for what you offer. Here are three ways to do that research.

Use Your People

Listen to what your target audience is talking about, online and offline. What questions are they asking? What are hot topics or trends that have their attention? What words and phrases are they using?

You can gain this intel from face-to-face meetings, phone calls, and social media conversations.  Often you can glean what you need just from listening and reading. Sometimes it helps if you ask a specific question.

You want to use the words and terms they use, ask questions in the way they ask them, etc. Oftentimes, the keywords a business thinks they should rank for or talk about are not the terms their customers actually use.

Google Tools to Find the Right Keywords

Google offers many free tools to help you identify keywords. All are free.

Google TrendsGives you a to-the-minute inside look at Google’s databases of searches. You can look at Google searches by regions, categories, languages, and set the time and search properties (image, etc.). You can look at a single keyword or compare multiple terms. You can determine keywords in your industry or category.

Google Autocomplete: When you start to type in the search field at Google.com, the site offers suggested finishes. Autocomplete predictions are populated to reflect actual searches. Therefore, they are possible keywords.

Google Ads Keyword Planner: You need a Google account to use this tool. Enter a keyword and Google will populate search volume (how often it is used) and the competition for that word (how many people or businesses want to rank for that word).

Social Intel

Most social media channels have search and other tools that give you insights into conversations and posts, which provides excellent keyword insight. Pay most attention to the channels you know that your target audience uses.