In the early, Wild West days of the Internet, ranking a site for specific search terms was pretty straight-forward. Just fill the page metatags with keywords. If you were particularly daring, you could even find some creative ways to stuff the page content with hidden text or iframes to help improve rankings. Those days are long gone however and search engines have been effectively ignoring the keyword metatag for more than five years now. Search algorithms have gotten increasingly smarter as well and now penalize sites for using many of the gray and black hat techniques once used to boost a site’s rankings.
Yes, thankfully those keyword-stuffing days are long gone in favor of search results pages designed to provide the best, most relevant search experience.
So how do we attract targeted, organic traffic now? How do we rank on page one of Google’s search engine results pages (SERPs) for a particular search term?
In this post-Panda / post-Penguin era – Content is King. Website content is a major factor in improving rank and attracting more visitors to your site. There are a hefty number of variables tied to ranking pages for specific search terms (more than 300!), here are a few best practices to keep in mind to write effective SEO content for your website:
Include keywords in the title of the article
Search engines place great weight on the title of the article or blog (as well as the h1 and title tags – read more about these SEO tweaks).
Use subheadings and put keywords there too
Busting up long articles with subheads not only makes the content easier to digest for the reader, it also gives you an opportunity to include supporting keyword phrases in your h2 and h3 subhead tags, which can also improve rankings
Strategically place keyword phrases every 150-200 words.
There’s no magic formula for keyword density (ratio of keyword phrases to total content), but it’s a good idea to sprinkle in keyword phrases every few hundred words as it makes sense in your content. Don’t make a rookie mistake by unnecessarily including these terms too often. Inject too many keywords (keyword stuffing) and search engines may assume that you’re trying to artificially improve your rankings and you’ll end up getting penalized.
Begin your article with your keyword phrase
Include your keyword or keyword phrase as close to the opening of the article as you can.
End your article with your keyword phrase
Pretty self-explanatory I think.
Use keywords as link text
Making the keywords a clickable link adds additional weight to those words, further helping improve ranking for those terms.
The goal is to rank on the first page of the SERPs for the keywords that are relevant to your website. Again, there are more than 300 variables used to determine where any particular website should rank for any given search term. Many of these variables are kept a secret to prevent SEOs from monopolizing the SERPs, and search engines are constantly tweaking their algorithms in an effort to weed out irrelevant content and provide the best possible search experience. Keep these best practices in mind when generating content for your site and you should start seeing organic rankings climb for the keywords that are important to you.