Putting Copy at the Centre of Your SEO Strategy

Around 80% of all website visitors come through the search engines. Thus, it’s clear that SEO must be a priority for any business that takes their website seriously. A large part of SEO is related to keywords included in the web text, so relevant, considered copy really is crucial in achieving SEO success.

There are a few straightforward ways of ensuring SEO, and despite the ominous warnings issued by professional SEO companies, you don’t need to hire out any such organisation to do it – you just need to invest a bit of your own time and effort.

A popular and much-used slogan on the web is ‘Content is King’, and it profits to bear this in mind when attempting SEO. Search engines are always competing with each other to provide the most relevant results for their users, and they do this by a keyword analysis – so make sure your site boasts plenty of relevant keywords. For example, a graphic designer would want things like ‘graphic design’ and ‘visual images’ ranking highly in his or her site.

Think about how things work when you use Google – you type in a word, or words, and a list of websites appear. You see the websites you do because Google prioritizes the sites by how well they meet your search criteria. So if you searched for ‘plumbers in Richmond’, a business that described itself as ‘Richmond Plumbers’ would rank higher than one entitled ‘Plumbing in the South-West’ (assuming that other SEO criteria have been met).

There are several online sources which can help you determine the most profitable and pertinent keywords for your business. Two good resources are Google’s keyword tool (Google it!) and Wordtracker’s keyword generator.

Although keywords are very important, don’t over-do it, as a site over-loaded with keywords is often treated as a spam site, and ignored by the search engines. A keyword density of about 5% is optimal, and there are various free tools available that let you check the density of your text.

Also make sure you update your site regularly – the search engines favour frequently refreshed sites, because they are more likely to be up-to-the-minute and relevant. A website that is launched with 100 pages and never changes will rank much lower in the search engines than one that begins with 10 pages, but adds more on a regular basis.

Of course, it’s no good aspiring for SEO if the search engines don’t know you’re there – so to register on their results pages, you’ve got to tell them. There’s a very quick and easy way of doing this, so don’t waste money paying someone else to do it for you.

Simply visit:

Google: http://www.google.co.uk/addurl.html

Yahoo: http://search.yahoo.com/info/submit.html

Here you enter your website address and a few of your keywords, click submit, and that’s it, you’re fully registered and visible in searches.

Another very useful step is to secure some ‘back links’ for your site. That is, links to you from other websites, that don’t require a link to them in return. When other sites link to yours, it tells the search engines that your site must be of some importance.

Not just any old site will do, though. It’s critical you get your links from relevant, and preferably popular, sites, with the same subject matter and keywords as yours. How do you get these sites to link to yours? Easy! Just offer to do something for them. For instance, if you’re a web designer, you could offer them some free web design, in exchange for a link to your site.

One final and crucial piece of information is, don’t get blacklisted! The search engines will crack down hard on sites they consider to be using dishonest methods of securing web hits.

There are a few easy ways of avoiding this unsavoury fate: one, don’t use duplicate content – the search engines like originality, and furthermore, copying someone else’s text contravenes digital publishing laws; and two, make sure the content of your page is visible. Many sites have fallen foul of Google by adding hidden pages of text to their site to ‘trick’ the search engines into thinking the page was being updated regularly.

Follow these simple steps, and you’re well on your way to achieving absolute Search Engine Optimisation.

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