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FIVE KEYS TO BUILDING SEO-FRIENDLY CONTENT
It's clear you don't need to be a rocket scientist – or a Googler – to know how to make SEO-friendly content. But there are a few things you should know. Some of it may be a bit technical, but we'll try to keep it to the main points. Here are five keys to building SEO-friendly content:
1. Improved Crawlability – We know we don't want to crawl in today's fast-paced tech world, so we need to give our content some help. Crawlability refers to the ease with which a search engine can crawl and access your content. While search crawlers are always crawling for content, the goal is to make your site and content even more accessible.
“You can have great content, but some technologies that power websites can impact crawlability,” Gosch points out.
Adding text around images and ensuring content is readable in the HTML code are a couple ways to build crawlability. “The crawler is the VIP, so get the red carpet out for him,” says Gosch.
2. On-Page Optimization – Optimizing your site involves two elements:
a. Technical – This is about ensuring you have the right tags in the source code of your web pages so that your relevant content can be discovered by consumers using search engines. This includes the title tag and various meta-tags as well as descriptive tags for images and content. Gosch says the title tag is the most important tag for rankings since it can be influenced by a publisher (website owner) directly. The words you use there do indeed matter as they can, in turn, lead those travelling the Web to find you online. See Figure 22.3.
FIGURE 22.3 How Title Tags and Meta-Tags Display on Search Engine and the Example of Meta Tags Code
b. Editorial Content – Once your pages (and the source code behind them) have the relevant tags available, you need to fill them with relevant editorial content. You may have heard about optimizing your site. On-page editorial is about optimizing your page content. Make sure your content is both visually and informationally appealing to your audience. The search engines appreciate this. Your site should be built for users and not search engines. Use videos and photos for an improved user experience, but make sure they are compliant with search engine requirements so that they, too, can be found.
3. Content Strategy – This is the heart of what we're talking about: creating and sharing content that people will consume – matching those searching for something with those who have something relevant to offer. Content can include not just old-fashioned text articles or blogs, but videos, audio, and even short content bursts shared in the social media world.
4. Organic Link-Building – Engaging with consumers or other target audiences isn't just about creating good content; it's about providing ways for them to find you. There are ways that you can build linkage across the webosphere that will help bring you a greater potential audience and increase your presence in SEO results. Think about organic links – separate from those you might actually pay for – as recommendations; the more relevant quality links that point to your pages, the more likely your content will be shown to users searching for such. These strategies include the following:
■ RSS feeds – Just about any content management system has the capability for an RSS feed enabling people to access your content regularly and automatically. Other sites might publish your feed on their pages and provide you links as a result. The RSS feed automatically adds a link to your blog.
■ Internal Links – These are links within your content to other relevant writing you've created on your blog or website. Say you post a piece, “Top Dividend-Paying Stocks,” but earlier you also produced a related article, “Stocks That Have Increased their Dividend;” feel free to reference the latter within the former.
■ Partner Links – If a professional association, for example, asks for an article from you on a particular topic, ask for a link back to your site to be included when they publish it.
■ Other strategies – These include the use of local directories, online public relations, and related online community activities such as guest blogging or posting.
(For more, you might read “Link Building Tactics,” by Jon Cooper of PointBlank SEO.)
Gosch offers this warning about link-building: “If you do it wrong, the result will be the opposite of what you intended. If you have good content, you don't have to worry much, because the nature of the Web and the social nature will lead people to naturally find you.” And that leads to our final point.
5. Social Media – Perhaps one of the best ways to help others find you and your content is to build and leverage your relationships through social media. In this case, it's about share-ability – can your friends, colleagues, customers, and others easily share and interact with your content? Follow not only some of the strategies and examples discussed in this book, but also remember the power of nice. Little things like reaching out to someone and commenting on their article or blog; offering help to someone you meet on LinkedIn or at an event; calling a customer or prospect who sent in some feedback – all of these random acts of kindness may well lead to more relationships and more references (links) to you or your firm.
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