Ten SEO Tips to Better Optimize Your Article for Search
It has been awhile since there has been an SEO page optimization article on HTMLGoodies, so it seemed like a good time to post a new article in case you are new to SEO or to remind you of some of the core basic SEO tasks if you are experienced. In this article, I've included 10 SEO tips for better optimizing your article, blog post or any other page on your site. Note that is in no way a complete list of SEO tips, but rather just some of the low-hanging fruit that you'll want to do to get closer to those that are doing full-fledged SEO optimization. In short, if you aren't doing these, your content is at a disadvantage.
SEO Tip 1: Pick Keywords Before You Write
What topic within search are you targeting? Pick a couple of words or phrases that fit that topic to use in your article. You should consider words that are neither too broad, nor too specific.
If you are unsure what a keyword is, then Google can help. When you start typing into the search box on Google.com, it displays a few suggestions for what it believes you might be looking for. These suggestions are 'keywords.' Note that a keyword might be a phrase rather than a word! Once you pick a keyword or two, use them diligently in what you are writing. While you might have learned in school that you should use synonyms rather than repeating the same term over and over, that is not true with SEO.
SEO Tip 2: Use the Keyword in Your Title
If you've picked keywords that are important, determine which one is the most important. That keyword should be in your article's title. If it doesn't fit in your article title, then you might have picked the wrong keyword, or you might be writing the wrong article. Additionally, keeping the keyword towards the left shouldn't hurt either.
SEO Tip 3: Use Your Keyword in Other Key Areas of Your Article
In addition to the title of your article, also include your keyword in other places such as the description, any tag lines you are using, in figure captions, and anywhere else where it makes senses. Of course, don't use it in a location in which it doesn't fit. When using the keyword in places like figure captions, consider bolding or emphasizing it to provide a variety of formatting.
SEO Tip 4: Use Your Keyword in Places Readers Can't See
This is starting to sound repetitive, but clearly using the keyword that you want people to find via search is important to optimizing your article for search.
In addition to placing the exact keyword in the visible locations on your article, you should include them in the places that are relevant, but less visible. These areas would include place such as your article's Meta tags for descriptions and keywords. It would also include your article's filename. Another less visible area is within alt tags for images
SEO Tip 5: Pick the Right Site for Your Article
If you want to buy food for your cat, you don't go to a hardware store. Similarly, when you post an article, you should make sure it is posted to a site that reflects the topic of on which you are writing. If you post to a site that focuses on a topic that is unrelated, that can semantically hurt the SEO value of your article.
SEO Tip 6: Page Size Matters
Page size matters to SEO. This is not the size of your browser screen, but rather the size of the information that composes the article you've created. Text is relatively small, but images and graphics can be huge if you don't optimize them. A simple image from a phone's camera can be megabytes in size, which can be like putting a bowling ball in a person's backpack. Just as the bowling ball is a quick way to get a person to avoid that backpack because it is too heavy, huge images can cause pages to load slower and thus cause readers to avoid your page. Search engines will avoid large pages as well. Rather, you should optimize your images before adding them to a page.
Optimizing images can be done two ways. You can reduce the dimensions of the image. If most people are using a phone to read your article, then having an image that is wider than 1000 pixels is unnecessary. Even 1000 pixels is likely 2 to 3 times wider than most images need to be. Additionally, the color details in an image can add to the size. Chances are that the image can be optimized using free sites and tools to reduce the colors without changing the appearance of the image. Check out the article "So You Want to Optimize Your Images" for more on optimizing images!
In addition to optimizing images that are a part of our article, you should make sure that any images used in the structure of your site are also small.
SEO Tip 7: Share Your Article to Relevant Places
In SEO Tip 5, it was stated that you should make sure your article is relevant to the site where it is being posted. Similarly, you should work to get your article linked from other sites on the internet. When you do this, however, you should make sure the sites that are linking to you are relevant to your article's topic and keywords.
Getting your article listed on an unfocused directory site of links might seem like a good thing, but if that directory site contains mostly topics unrelated to your article, it could actually hurt your SEO ranking. In fact, avoiding directory sites (sites that focus on linking rather than on content) is probably a good idea. Better to focus on content sites
SEO Tip 8: Anchor Tag Your Keyword
Speaking of getting links from third party sites, you should also work to get a link using the right anchor text. Anchor text is the text used in the link on a third-party site. You should try to get the linked text to be the keyword you are targeting. Of course, many sites will link to the title of your article, so if you used your keyword in the title (aka SEO Tip 2), then you have gotten a link that uses your keyword phrase!
SEO Top 9: Write an Interesting Article
Stating the obvious, you should write an article that is interesting. More importantly, you should write an article that is worded in a way that is easy to read. Don't try to change your writing style to mash words together for SEO purposes, nor should you try to write an article that is longer or shorter than needed to cover the topic you are representing. Write the right words for the audience and simply work your keywords in where they make sense.
SEO Tip 10: Keep People on Your Site
If you do Tip 9, then people will read your article. More importantly, they are more likely to read your article from beginning to the end. This means they will be on your site and on the page with your article for more than a few seconds. This is important. Google keeps track of how long people spend on a web page. The longer they spend on a page, the better the page is assumed to be.
Similarly, if people stay on your page a longer amount of time, it is more likely they will click on something on your page. Getting people to stay on your article is important. Getting them to click to something else on your site is also important because it indicates your site has more interesting content.
If someone comes to your article from search and immediately leaves, that looks bad because it shows a low time on the page. If someone comes to your page and stays on your site (doesn't immediately leave to go somewhere else), then your page earns a low bounce rate, which looks good to the search engines as well.
Final Thoughts on the 10 SEO Tips
This article presented 10 relatively simple ideas or reminders on improving your article's chance of being found in the search engines. Most of these are simple to do. Clearly, keyword selection and use are core to ranking within the search engines. After all, if you don't use a keyword in your article, it is hard to be found by searching for it! If you do use a keyword, then applying the tips in this article should increase your chances of being found.