Google set the stage by changing the way your web / blog site shows up on the SERP’s, (Search Engine Result Pages), when they changed from their complex algorithm to mostly ranking based on the amount of content you have. Google called these massive changes “Panda”, “Penguin”, and “Hummingbird”. Quickly after Google changed the way analyzed their search all of the other search engines follow suite.
These changes took web pages that have been performing in the top one, two or three listings on Google and sent them to the search engine Siberia; the 20th page or worse! This really ticked off a lot of SEO people and web site owners who spent years and thousands of dollars optimizing their pages to meet Google’s requirements.
Google, Bing, Yahoo!, etc., all used an algorithm or mathematical equation that looked at about 148 different items on a web / blog page. They still do to some extent. Google analyzed each criteria and gave it a weight; a multiplayer based on it’s importance, then took all these numbers and mathematically reduced them to a final number between 0 and 9; 9 being the best. This was Larry Page’s (founder of Google) definition for Page Rank.
Based on the keywords used in the content of each page and the page rank, Google (and all the others) would display those pages for a given set of keywords (or keyword phrases*), in order of their page rank. These keywords are still important as it’s the keywords used in your content that ties YOUR page to those industry key-words.
* A keyword is one important word. A keyword phrase is simply more than one key word. The most affective keyword phrases are three keywords. One word is to general and will return way too many generic and useless SERP’s (Search Engine Result Pages). Two words are better, but are still too general. When you enter “three” key-words, your search is likely to be very targeted and closer to what you are looking for. The chance that someone would type in three exact words, makes it very statistically close. Think about how many words you normally use in your searches without thinking about it.
From what we can tell, four of the 148 items that Google rated, are used; Freshness, Google Juice (number of indexed pages for your domain for a given set of keywords), Link Love (the number of External Reputable Links), and Keyword Density (the number of times a given set of keywords are used on a page).
Here’s a little more background on each of the top four:
Freshness: Blogs are, by definition, fresher than standard HTML web pages. Blogs are written often, while web pages can sit untouched for long periods of time. When was the last time you made a major overhaul to your home page or second or third level pages? You also win on the freshness scale when you use something like WordPress for your blogs, on your site (root directory), to publish your blogs regularly. Even posting here gets priority treatment in the search engines, because they are fresh, are posted, and roll to the bottom, quickly.
Google Juice: This is a number factor where size matters. The more content you can create and post about topics that contain your keywords such as: “keynote speakers”, “speaking”, “social media”, “marketing”, etc., the more pages Google will have indexed for your domain, with your name as a keyword, and all those keywords that your customers are looking for. You should always be working on creating more and more content. The more, the faster, the better. Google Juice now, has the highest ranking value overall.
Link Love: Or what is actually called “External Reputable Links” is when your site and blog pages are linked to from an outside reputable web site, such as Mashable, or Social Media Examiner, or just other blogs. This linking from other sites, with similar content / keywords, gives your blog higher credibility; it makes it reputable. The more external links, the higher your page rank.
Keyword Density: You can no longer cheat and spike the keywords in the Meta Keyword section of your web page code as Google doesn’t read that anymore; however, you can include specific (industry) keywords in your content that tells the search engines what the blog post is about and how it should be categorized. A good rule of thumb is that about 1% to 3% of your words might be your target keywords. Any more than that and it could be viewed as spam by the search engines.
Other Tricks You Can Use to Improve Your SEO Ranking
Titles and Content: Every photo, PDF, Word Doc, attachment, link, etc. should have keywords in both their titles and in their content. Google actually opens the Word document, PDF, etc. and looks for the same keywords inside that document. If they are found in the document content, you get a higher ranking for those keywords.
Alt Text: Whenever you insert an image into a page or blog post, you are asked for the alt text (alternative text). This text is displayed when the image isn’t. You see that in your emails before your hit “download images”. Many people nearly always skip this step, but shouldn’t. Google assumes that if the alt text also shows the same keywords, they must be “key” words and important, so you get extra points for them.
SEO Plug-Ins: If you are using WordPress, it has dozens and dozens of SEO plug-ins that help you automatically create built-in keyword tags for the search engines. And, because it’s WordPress and respected by all of the search engines, these keyword tags are considered. Plug-ins like “SEO WordPress”, “WP SEP Tags”, and “SEO Helper” are all rated 4 stars or higher and allow you to click and choose your most important keywords and install them from “behind the scenes” for the search engines to find and rank you higher on. Find a plug-in that you like and remember to use it for every blog. It helps!
Headings, bold, and hyperlinks: Use your keywords in headings, bold, and hyperlinks. Google still assumes that if a word is in a headings, bolded or hyperlinked and is important to the reader, then they must be important words for them to index and connect you with, so you get extra points for those keywords.
Keyword Tags: We all have abused keyword tags. For years we pasted every possible word we can think of in our keyword tags to try to trick the search engines into believing that ALL those words were important to the reader and should be connected with our content. As a result, Google and other search engine don’t pay any attention to these words any longer. But, there is still a way to get your “valid” keywords recognized by the search engines. Put them in the content. Use them often.
Another way to legitimately help increase your keywords in your content is to just type those keywords as “Tags:” at the bottom of your blogs such as “Tags: social media bible, lon safko, fusion marketing bible, keynote speaker”, see below. Many blogging platforms do that automatically so it doesn’t attract attention from your readers, but does from the search engines. By adding your keywords to the content, it appears to the reader that the blogging platform simply summarized the keywords, while the search engines see this as an increased Keyword Density and scores your page and web site higher for the words.
Sign Your Blogs: Another trick I use is that I sign my blogs “Lon Safko”. To the reader it just looks like I signed my blog, but to the search engines, it adds my name again to the content and ties my name in as keywords to that particular content, which strengthens my name’s association to those other keywords.
Focus on these key items and you’ll be well on your way to your goal of getting a #1 spot on Google, Bing and Yahoo! And remember, the most important SEO trick is just well designed content. The more you have, the higher you will be ranked.
Tags: Lon Safko, social media bible, fusion marketing bible, keynote speaker, bestselling author