I'm not an SEO Guru. I don't even play one on TV. But lest your temptation to hit the Back Button overpowers your natural curiosity, you may take comfort in the fact that a lot of what goes into SEO is Educated Guessing, based on trail, error, and discovery—combined with good old fashioned common sense.
The famously infamous, Matt Cutts, Google's voice to the people, has let us know that there are over 200 elements that comprise the algorithm for where your website sits on the SERPS. For obvious reasons, Google keeps their exact criteria a secret. But some basic concepts have emerged that are universally recognized as among the things you need to do.
A proper treatment of the subject requires a book, not a blog post ;-), but I have found a few simple things that work for my own sites that have brought near instant increases in Google Traffic. These are easy for a small business to implement, and they don't require a great deal of time.
New Content almost daily
I know you've heard this one before. You also know not every situation is conducive to daily content. But not everything has to be about your product or industry.
You can include Human Interest pieces, possibly in a special section of your site. It may seem that Content unrelated to your business message would dilute Keyword Density. But there is an argument that each page of your site stands on its own in many ways, and besides, there are many ways in which you can maneuver General interest into a relationship with Targeted interest.
To be honest, if your business is boring, most of your customers aren't especially interested in reading your Core Business Message everyday anyway. Try giving them something uplifting in addition to product specs. They will soon look forward to stopping by to pick up a smile 🙂 If you can somehow tie that smile together with your product, you have a winner!
A daily Human Interest post can be pretty short. Add a picture and you can double the size on the page. Choose your picture well and that could be the most important part of your post's written Content.
It doesn't take long to put together a short post, and doing so can give Google a reason to Spider you daily. Daily Spider crawling gives them a reason to send you more Traffic.
Although these pieces may seem to dilute your message, giving your customers a pleasant reason to come by each day can reinforce positive emotions about your company.
Be sure to include some kind of business reminder somewhere on the page, as well. This could be a simple box with a short message.
This is where the bulk of your Core Message Content comes in. Meaty articles that really delve into your industry, your products, and solutions to your customer's problems. Google loves long articles as much as they love short, daily posts. The combination of the two can be an irresistible pairing.
Obviously, these are not something you produce on a daily basis. But they help to establish you as an expert in your industry. With just a little reworking, they can be submitted to paper & ink Trade publications (they need your Content, anyway), giving you much more exposure with little additional effort.
And this in-depth Core Content will give you the balance you need to offset any concerns about short fluff pieces diluting your site's Core Keyword.
Your goal here is to created articles that are so powerful that others in and around your industry will be compelled to refer and to link to them.
Tie to an Unrelated but Popular Search Term
We already touched on the idea of writing Human Interest Content. Now let's take that a step further with an idea that's a bit controversial. If you write an article comparing your machine tool widgets to a big Entertainment Star, and include a picture of the Star, you are virtually guaranteed some traffic.
This is not Targeted traffic, and probably won't help your sales any, unless you are in the music or entertainment industries 🙂 The more you can somehow relate your product to the Star, the more "Relevant" your post will be to your Core Message.
Traffic Begets Traffic. When Google gets into the habit of sending you traffic, they just can't help themselves, and they will find other reasons/excuses to send you more traffic.
Keywords in the Graphic Name and ALT Tag
People don't like to read articles so obviously stuffed with Keywords that the actual Content is obscured. But every graphic is supposed to contain an ALT Tag, which is not really seen by the reader unless the picture doesn't load to the screen for some reason. So I do my Keyword "stuffing" here. The article Title should always have your Keyword(s) for your page, so a very legitimate way to Name your graphic is with the Name of the article. This keeps your graphics well managed, and allows you to repeatedly use your Keywords without penalty. I also use the Title for the ALT Tag.
Example: seo-guru-typing-keywords.jpg alt="SEO Guru Typing Keywords"
In the example above I could have simply named the graphic, keyboard.jpg or typing.jpg, but this way I can see the file months from now and know exactly which article it belongs to. If your post is an unrelated Human Interest story, then use the Keywords of your site.
Example: financial-security-happy-customer.jpg alt="Financial Security"
One last tip: Whenever you have contact with a customer or prospect, invite them to visit your website. Google will take notice of the Traffic you are generating on your own—and reward you by sending you more.
My recommendations are based on my own personal experience. And like I said at the beginning, I'm not an expert, I just know what has worked successfully for me. In any event, your own mileage may vary. But these ideas are simple to implement on a daily basis, and have certainly made my own site Google friendly. When I publish a new article, they are often Indexed within 2-3 hours depending on time of day. This shows that the Spider pays me a visit on a daily basis, looking for new Content to give to their hungry Searchers.
It's nice to know that there are simple things you can do for yourself beginning today!
52 thoughts on “How to SEO if You’re Not a Guru”
Thanks for the explaination.
I agree with your line of thinking. Exposure of your content to humans may result in links, which may result in rankings, which may result in traffic. But with all due respect, I don’t think that’s what Rick was saying. haha.
I think Rick’s point was that Google will see that your site can already attract people on it’s own, and Google will use that as a signal that your site in credible, and in turn, Google will send you more traffic.
I’m totally cool if your explanation is what Rick intended to say, but if that’s the case then I think the post should be updated to express that more clearly.
If it was my second explanation that Rick intended to express, then I think further dialog is needed.
Either way, I love Search Engine People, and I think all their authors are excellent. I just want to make sure that people don’t misinterprate this SEO concept. It’s hard enough to kill the SEO myths already out there, none of us want to battle new ones.
Much respect to both you and Rick.
Love how you're taking care of what's out there regarding SEO, Dan. Much appreciated.
Speaking on behalf on Search Engine People I can say that in general and initially we belief the relation between traffic and ranking is non-causal. We don’t suggest anyone to start a botnet of traffic to their site in the hopes it would cause better ranking.
However, traffic patterns and traffic sources (equals: backlinks, mentions, citations) are part not of “the” algorithm but are algorithmic parts.
Back when I had more time to test personal sites via looking at varying a publishing schedule it sure seemed either a little content uploaded regularly or, very unique stuff / including but not limited to bad grammar, opposite of popular opinion, exchange between plural and singular in focused topic/ resulted in lots more google traffic which didn’t necessarily correlate to an increased crawl rate. Add basic on-page Seo stuff and wow.
Downside is it also seemed very much that site A gets pegged in a self inflicted publishing schedule where you CAN see noticeable reductions in referral traffic from google, once your “established” publishing schedule is left unattended.
Moral of the story: if you want SERPs but have little time to write, or even hate writing, then sporadically publish larger types of topic specific content and throw it all on one long page. If your domain has been around for while even with very few links, an almost silly but longer page can outrank sites with 100k plus links and thousands of pages.
Yes, I would go for the Long Article if I had to make a choice.
Also, I usually don’t have a “schedule” for when I post.
But it was never really my intention to have a “Blog.” Back when I began all this, it was all about a website full of information.
Once everything necessary was covered, there was no real need to continue posting.
Thanks for stopping by 🙂
Great post Rick!
Seriously refreshing too
Man I love your style – been too long between drinks too I might add
I appreciate the Thumbs Up 🙂
Oftentimes I see people forgetting all the basic SEO tips you mention. Something so simply as On-Page SEO (alt tags and optimized titles) are something that everyone should pay attention to and yet I see many people forget about them.
At first I thought it was a bit strange that you have random images under every title. After a bit of consideration I actually really like this, although the pics are pretty irrelevant they really help make the content stand out and I keep scrolling to see what other cool pics you’ve got. I would recommend you optimize the alt tags a bit…For every image under a header I think you should add the title of that section for the alt tag of that image. This will keep your kewords consistent and google will love you.
I love the DIY articles generally speaking, but this one is way too awesome and extremely useful, I think I’ve never read before such a helpful and full of useful informations article. I try to keep the SEO simple because that’s the best way for me. I follow the basic and advanced rules but I don’t tend to complicate and stress out with pro SEO. It’s a matter of perspective and choice, if you think SEO is hard – you will SEO hard so it will be hard. Thanks for sharing!
Thanks for these tips! I think you actually highlighted one of them through the use of your own pictures and images. I personally find that pictures can totally enhance a post or article no matter what the length. But then, I’m a very visual person. Others like myself may enjoy great photos and images as well in a post and sometimes that’s all that is needed to bring in regular visitors. Thanks for pointing out all of the other tips as well.
Rick, great article! Easy read and talking to the point. I’ve actually tried experimenting with daily posts (shorter) but didn’t find it useful. Now I’m at weekly, more comprehensive posts. I guess I should try the combination of the two as you mention. Thanks again!
The decision on what to post when comes from both sides; you — and your readers.
For example, what might be a “wow, this is way too short!” 150 words post to you or me may be all the content snacking a busy office worker has time for early in the morning.
Thanks for commenting, Alexander
Longer articles certainly seem the way to go in these “post-Panda” days. And I suppose it makes sense that people who really know their stuff will be able to write at greater length. But I think it’s also important to engage your visitor with a variety of content, such as video. Helps to keep them on your site longer, too.
Such a great article.. This would be very helpful for us, Especially in my case because I’ve a site which is 1 year old already but never getting much traffic, I will definitely do the tips that you shared, Thanks for this! 😀
I managed to do at least 3 of the things you listed above. I’m no SEO expert myself but I can say that doing constant short post is a great help. Based on my experience as well these are the simple things that most of us forget.
Unrelated but popular search term may be good for your SEO but it may also increase your bounce rate, which in the end won’t help your SEO efforts.
I was wondering how many of these seo points are still valid today, when Google is hellbent on making changes to it’s algorithms, sometimes even screwing it up, costing people their search engine rankings!
Some very helpful tips! I always thought Google frowned upon short posts. I also think that variety is good, but quality in both. Thanks for sharing.
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