The Word Strategist

Posts Tagged ‘SEO’

Are Keywords Still Relevant?

Posted on: June 17th, 2015 by Wendy Gittleson
Featured image via eSocialMediaShop on Flickr.

Featured image via eSocialMediaShop on Flickr.

In the prehistoric days of search engine optimization (SEO), keywords were, well, the keyword. Writers scrambled to make their content fit with a predetermined set of words.

When used right, keywords were an excellent tool to help guide content. When used badly, the content was an obvious afterthought and keywords looked like puzzle pieces, with obvious seams.

Fortunately, keywords don’t have quite the same hold over writers that they did in the past. Google, being Google, is always a step or six ahead of us, so that could change, but for now, Google’s bots search far more comprehensively and they look for good content, not just a cheap attempt to fill in all the keywords.

That being said, Google isn’t psychic. Your site still needs to tell it and your customers what you do, you just don’t have to repeat it. In fact, Google frowns on repetition.

Google’s first focus is going to be on the body of your homepage. If you own a furniture store, “furniture store” should be in the body of the homepage, but you already knew that. If furniture delivery is a big part of your business, your delivery area might be important as might the main lines of furniture that you carry. Don’t save those crucial bits of information for the subpages.

You should also mention other search terms. You might, for example, mention “sofas” or “tables” but you can do that on subpages.

Google also does something these days called “semantic search,” which basically means that Google’s gotten a lot smarter. With semantic search, instead of searching for keywords, it’s searching for meaning within your website. For example, if you own a Subaru repair shop and a user searches “oil change Outback” your shop should show up, even if your website doesn’t mention oil changes.

The site is just as important

Google ranks sites that are good and popular higher than sites that are bad and unpopular. A quick loading site will rank higher than a slow one. Easy navigation is key. Run your site by a 3rd party or two before releasing it to the public. Does the layout make sense? Is the navigation bar intuitive? Take advantage of headers, footers and sidebars.

Fortunately, though, gone are the days when writers are slaves to keywords. Google can pretty much figure out that if you’re an art supply store, you probably sell stencils. If your content is accurate and relevant and your site offers a positive user experience, you will see your ranking climb.


Why Write a Business Blog?

Posted on: June 17th, 2013 by Wendy Gittleson

Keeping up with a weekly or bi-weekly blog is tough – I know. Sometimes I have trouble following even my own advice. Once I’m done writing my clients’ blogs, websites and other needs, I have little time to dedicate to my own business, which as any first year business student will tell you, is the biggest mistake you can make. A blog is one of the easiest ways to separate you from your competition and to boost your search engine ranking. It also provides your clients and customers with an easy reference library – without having to leave your site.

Your website, no matter how well written, is most likely just an overview of the wealth of your knowledge. A blog provides you with the opportunity to address a specific topic that might be of interest to your customers.

This can benefit you in a number of ways. A well-written blog will be keyword heavy, which means that when a person is looking for information, a search engine might point them to your website.

If someone is thinking of using your services or buying your products, they can scan through your blog posts and have questions answered quickly and efficiently. A well-done blog will show them that you have the chops to do the job. It can also be fun to peruse – almost like a magazine.

Search engines hate static websites. If you don’t regularly update your content, the search engine “crawlers” will eventually start passing you by and your rank will start going down and down. Updating and optimizing your regular web pages can be expensive and time consuming. Writing a blog post, on the other hand, can give you the freshness that search engines seek and the time/cost investment is a fraction of what an optimized web page costs.

In the days of social media, it’s often tough to find things worthy of sharing. A captivating blog post can help increase your social media viability.

What exactly is a blog?

In short, a blog is about 300-700 words on a topic that would specifically be of interest to your clientele. It should be written in a way that is casual and conversational. It should not be an overt sales tool. You want your customers to view your blog as information, not as an advertisement. Sure, you can mention your company, but like the rest of the blog, make it casual.

A blog can be a great way to showcase some of the work you’ve done, whether it be through video or through images. You can demonstrate a point with videos that are available to share on YouTube. It will be better read with compelling images and video, but don’t force it. If it doesn’t make sense to include a video, it will come off as desperate.

You don’t have to be an expert writer to have an expert blog. If you are a fairly good writer, the casual style of blogging might suit you well. However, a blog should still be well-written. You want it to flow and to be free from errors. Once someone starts reading, you want them to want to continue.

If writing is not your forte, that’s okay. If you simply don’t have time, that’s okay too. Hiring someone to blog for you is typically not that expensive. You can provide the expertise and the writer can put it to words. In most cases, the writer will envision a topic and research it. All you would need to offer is input.


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