How It Works
When people “google,” that is, when they type in something to search for, the search engines take the keywords and phrases entered and match them to the most relevant sites for those keywords. They do it by crawling the web and searching several things in a page including the underlying code of the alternate text for images, meta tags for page description, title tags, etc. (Though the “keyword” tag is still a valid tag, it is not looked at anymore by the major search engines. Its abuse over the years has reduced it to an incidental piece of code.)
The most important searchable portion of the page, though, is the actual copy – the text on the page. It is not just important for the search engines, but it is primarily the most important feature for people searching. In Google’s own words: “Google’s aim is to give our users the most valuable and relevant search results.”
This is why you should write your copy not for the search engines, but for your clients and potential clients. If you are appealing to them and their need for relevant information, you are doing exactly the right thing as far as Google is concerned.
What You Do
Write intelligent, grammatically correct, relevant copy.
When you write your text, you should consider keywords. You may naturally add relevant words and phrases, but by thinking of your audience and what search terms they might enter when they “google,” this will help you write more search-friendly copy.
Additionally, write what is relevant to each page within your site. Narrow down the essence of the page and write unique copy. If the page is featuring doorknobs, focus the writing on that and particularly on what you have that people may want from a doorknob and what may set you apart from other people who sell doorknobs.
Sometimes, an attempt to be cost-effective in building your site will preempt your option to separate all you have to offer on multiple pages. Combining services is cost effective. Though not necessarily the perfect scenario for optimizing a page, a single page full of content about multiple and diverse services is acceptable; however, it should be logically arranged.
The more keywords that are used, intelligently and relevantly without overdoing it, the better. Still the ultimate goal is don’t write for the search engines. Write for the user.
Often termed Black Hat SEO, the practice describes manipulating how your site is perceived by internet users and the search engines in order to boost page ranking and attract more website “hits,” etc. These are just a few examples of techniques to avoid:
Which means if you sell donuts, you do NOT write copy like this: “Our donuts are the best donuts of all the donuts and non-donuts in the world. Taste our donuts – dollars to donuts, you’ll think they’re the best donuts, too. Yours in donuts, the Donut Queen.”
If your site sells donuts, don’t fill your copy with irrelevant search terms simply to attract people searching on those particular words or phrases – iPhone, Lindsay Lohan, etc. If it’s a natural comparison or legitimate reference, this is fine, but there should be at least a tangential relationship to your donuts.
This is a way of stuffing a page with highly searchable terms and then redirecting the user through the underlying code to your target page. Don’t confuse this with a solid, information filled landing page. A landing page allows you to target a searched subject and then give people the opportunity to fill out a form, find more information, etc.
Don’t let an unscrupulous SEO “expert” bait you into paying for placing your link into a link farm. They likely won’t call it a link farm, but you have to be aware of what it is before you can recognize it. A link farm is a page or website or multiple websites that list link after link after link in no order or relationship to each other or the website. It is solely used to generate inbound links. Even being associated with a link farm can harm your relationship with the search engines. Link building is a long-term process, not an overnight event.
These are just a few no nos. Search engines may ban you from the search index if they find you are abusing the system and the internet user by practicing unscrupulous methods of search engine optimization (SEO).
Stay tuned for more about SEO!