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Understanding SEO

SEO on Computer Screen

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization and is important for any business that has an online presence. Creating a website is no longer enough if you want to be ranked on Google, Bing, Ask, etc. SEO requirements are constantly changing, and some things that used to be a requirement are now considered spammy. It’s important to stay up to date. SEO is meant to increase your organic reach and ranking higher on Google makes you seem more legitimate. If you are the third site in the rankings then that generally means you will be the third site that is checked, if the user even makes it down that far.

Meta Tag Basics

Meta tags are one of the most important SEO tools. However, their functionality has changed over the years. Meta tags are tags inserted into the code that search engines can see, but people visiting your site can’t.  The two meta tags that matter the most are title and description. If you google something the Meta title is the first line of the search result. This is a short title that explains what is on the page. The meta description is the paragraph under that title that explains in detail what is on the page. Both of these have a preferred length, if they are too short or too long it will hurt your ranking.

Keyword Basics

When you read about SEO you will hear about keywords. How you handle keywords has changed over the years. During the early 2000’s search engines would use meta keywords to rank your website. As marketers learned about the impact of keywords they noticed they could insert completely random keywords and it would allow them to rank for those topics even if it had nothing to do with the content on their site. All of the major search engines confirmed in 2009 that they do not look for keywords anymore because they were being used.

How Should We Use Keywords Then?

Google uses keywords to match search terms and search results. Instead of getting keywords from the meta tags they get them from the content on your site. When google crawls your site they look for an overarching theme. They don’t worry about the name of the page as much as they worry about the content. If your page is about coffee, but you don’t mention coffee on the page then it won’t rank well. They look for keyword density, the keyword showing up in heading/sub-heading tags, outbound links, alt tags on photos, etc. Choosing a good focus keyword and making sure it shows up in the right places is how you improve your SEO. And you have to be careful not to over-do it because google will penalize you for that too!

Content is King

If you want to improve your SEO then you will need to create more content or improve your current content. Creating content that is relevant to your field gives Google more data about your site. A good website needs a lot of content anyway, so having good content that fits within your field is going to help your SEO immensely. Each page should have at least 300 words and a clear topic. Be careful when putting your pages together. Make sure that each page has a clear-cut topic. If you have a page that has multiple topics then consider splitting it up, this will allow you to rank better for specifc keywords.