T he following information is not guaranteed to get you to rank your site number one in the search engines but it is a large part of what I recommend one does, as I do this for my own sites, and it is effective generally. It is really not much more than plain old common sense SEO but rarely followed by most.
One thing to remember is that following this exactly step-by-step is going to cause you more problems than provide benefits because many people will follow this exactly as I share it and thus create a footprint which Google will eventually see.
I continually update my SEO processes and share them on my Common Sense SEO website so be sure to follow along there as well as you will pick up adjustments in the process to rank the site as the algorithms change.
Go ahead and download this for reading at your leisure:
One of the first things I am sure to do, with any website that I own, is to continually update the site itself. That includes, not just content, but also images and videos. The search engines recognize content as having a large level of importance when choosing a site to put on the first page. They also look at your images and I believe videos are also something that are taken into account by the current algorithms.
Let’s start off with content itself. There was a time when people said your posts on your site should be 500 words long and your keyword density should be 3 to 5%. There was also a time when the Packard was the preferred vehicle and that has passed as well.
What I have found to be effective with adding content to my site is having articles with somewhere between 300 and 3,000 words. Now that sounds almost comical with respect to a standard of measure because of the wide disparity in the amount of content. In all reality that huge variance in volume does very well with the search engines. Not all articles need to be huge because there’s times when what you are writing does not need to be overly verbose. At other times, there’s no way you can get your point across and cover all you need to cover unless you expand on the content itself. So the days of “X amount of content being what Google likes and ranks” is well over and has been for several years.
How often should one add content to their site? There should be no set time frame for you to be adding content to your site or else again, you run the risk of building a footprint that Google can see. So if you think that adding content every day at 9:30 in the morning because that is when you are fresh is a good idea, take that idea and throw it in the woods because it will only get you in trouble.
Adding content daily? Sure that’s fine. Adding content daily at the same time every day? Nah, not something I have found to be effective at all; and I used to be that guy so I know it does not work. What you want to do is add content at different times of the day so that it does not appear as if you have some kind of robotic method working to generate and add your content. That may be a small thing, and it may be minor in Google’s eyes, but minor is plenty for me and I suggest it be plenty for you.
Back to the content itself. I know that I say 300 to 3,000 words but I rarely hit 300 as the low and rarely hit 3,000 as a high. I am generally somewhere between 500 words to around 2,300 words per article. When I sit down to write I typically have a general idea of what I want to say and can pound out 500 words in just a few minutes and 2000 in under an hour once I am on a roll. Oftentimes I will write several thousand words and break it into a couple or three articles because of the points I am making. I will then prepare the articles for publication but not at them all the same time. I suggest that you do something similar. When you’re in the mood to write, write. If you not in the mood, don’t sweat it. That is sort of how I operate 90% of the time. Fortunately I have more moves to write than not and thus can end up with a nice backlog of contents for those days when I feel like bumming.
As to keyword density when I write an article, I do not take into account. I know that sounds nuts and is the opposite of what you hear from almost anywhere else but to me that is natural for my writing process. I do edit my own articles so that there is proper keyword density but I do not write for the keyword as that generally does not come out natural. To me it’s important to have natural content that would engage the reader because you do get the one that swings by your site and actually reads what you have written.
During my editing I make sure that any changes I make still make the article flow and yet incorporate a certain level of keyword density. My keyword density varies, just like my work count in my articles, and can range from 1% to as high as 3 or 4%. I’m not overly concerned about keyword density typically because the vast amount of content I add to my sites generally make the search engines happy little campers and give me their ranking blessings.
I am careful to add
tag so I don’t add any others in the article. I do add
tags when it seems natural though. I’m also careful not to add
The final piece to the visual puzzle when I am writing for my websites is the actual bolding of keywords. I’m not overly aggressive when I bold my keywords either and if I am not using WordPress I make sure that the keyword is bolded using the tag as opposed to the tag as that makes a difference in Google’s eyes. What I will do when I bold my keywords is them in an LSI fashion so that it doesn’t look like I’m just trying to “Bold Stuff” on my website. That also helps in garnering traffic from ancillary keywords that wasn’t even trying to rank for and to me that’s huge. My goal when I build a website, is not just to rank for my chosen keywords, but for as many ancillary keywords possible as that generates extremely targeted traffic. My method of bolding in an LSI manner helps me achieve that particular goal.
One other thing that I always do for on page SEO is to truncate my articles in various spots. Although there are WordPress plug-ins for truncating I do not use them because I like to make sure that I do not truncate after the exact same amount of characters each and every time. You do know why I do that, correct? Footprints. I’m not a big footprint guy as you can see and that creates a possible footprint.
Too many people put up images on their website and do not take advantage of Image SEO. It is pretty typical when I look at a site that I see that the image is named image 123456 or some such thing and that does nothing at all to aid you in the process of getting your site ranked or of getting your images ranked.
Both are important.
There are several places where you can take advantage of some pretty easy on site SEO with a little bit of work and, odds are, the competition in your niche is not taking advantage of this so you’ll get an immediate leg up on them in Google’s eyes when the bots crawl the site and see your site in their little bot eyes.
The easy one to hit on in this process is the caption. Your caption can be your main keyword or a very small variation of the keyword to identify what you are sharing with the reader. I almost always just use the main keyword as the caption as I am stressing that point to the visitor that actually reads it.
There is a place to give your image an alternative name called “alternative text”. This is where I will either use a synonym or even go and use a longer tailed keyword. Do not give it the same name as your caption as that is wasting the opportunity to get more keywords in front of the bots face and thus missing out on some free easy SEO.
Nest place to consider when using images on your site for SEO is the description. Here you can really ride the wild stallion and add in 150 – 200 words about the image. I come real close to keyword stuffing here and, although what I put makes sense, I am it worried about it being Pulitzer prize material. I want to give the bots something to consider and take back to Google central so they say, “Hey, the guy from yPick.me has a pretty strong site, let’s rank it!” so there is some meat in that part of the image backend.
Let’s discuss “Category SEO” which is often ignored by your typical website owner and can also play a role in how your site actually ranks. In general your typical website owner will put up a post, assign a category or make a new category, and publish. And that’s fine for the guy who is just a guy. But for the person who wants their site to rank like a boss one of the things you need to do is take advantage of your category SEO.
Every category of course has a name. Every category would have a corresponding slug as well and those are generated by the website owner when they named category as the slug follows along. With very few website owners choose to do is to fill in the description of the category. Here you can take advantage of some semi-hidden content that is certainly not hidden by the search engines. I will spend time on the description and put together some
content that is no less than 600 words and has a keyword density of no less than 2%. 99.9% of your visitors will not see it or read it but the description is something that the search engines see each and every time and if it’s blank you losing out on a great opportunity to engage the search engine bots and give them an opportunity to file that in the “give you good rankings”department. Take the time to write out something for your description of each category as that is important for on-site SEO.
Also with your categories, if you’re building an authority site, you need to be very broad in your choices. I don’t like to have lots and lots and lots of categories on my sites. I will typically have no more than 10 or 15 categories and even then I’m teetering on pushing the envelope. To me a lot of different categories indicates a sort of micromanaging and, although it may work for some, I find it a little annoying, extra work, and less effective when ranking for the keywords on targeting from the websites.
Categories do matter but I don’t put a lot of stock in having them dominate what I’m trying to do which is ranked on the first page of Google for my specific keywords.
Another aspect of on-site SEO that I typically address in an LSI or synonym fashion or tags. When I get ready to publish an article I choose one or two tags at most and absolutely, positively never use the keyword that I’m targeting for the tag. What I will do is use a synonym or a very broad LSI term. More often than not though, I’m using a synonym because synonyms are recognized by the search engines as relevant and are often searched by people in lieu of the actual keyword you’re trying to rank. So you’re getting a double benefit when you use a synonym.
I’m also one of those people that allows the search engines to index my category and tag pages because I do not use duplicate content on either. There are many people that choose not to allow the search engines to index those pages, and they may be very smart in doing so, because it is nothing but duplicate content. I prefer to take the extra couple minutes and expand a little extra energy and make those sections of my site unique so that I get benefits from the search engines. To me it only makes sense to not do a complete job when building a website.