SEO or Search Engine Optimization is all About Keywords and Search Behavior.
Now that building a website has been demystified by the ease of blogging (no more calling up the webmaster to make changes to your site), a recent army of SEO experts have emerged. Many of these “experts” are flexing their muscles by claiming that an understanding of SEO is beyond the scope of most business owners…Not true.
What Did She Just Say?
I know, I know…I can hear it now. Another round of ‘who does she think she is?’ Well, anyone who disagrees with me is most welcome to exit this site by using that charming little x located at the top right-hand corner of the screen.
SEO is not a mystery. Are there a lot of useful tools that can simplify the basics of keyword optimization? Of course. Do you absolutely have to use all of the bells, whistles and pages of data to rank with Google? No….
It does take a certain knack, but can easily be understood and quickly picked up by just about anyone.
What is the Bottom Line?
In a nutshell, the bottom line involves these two facts.
Fact number one: Your business blog must have a common theme that obviously shows throughout the entire site.
Side Note: In order to enjoy optimum rankings you need a blog. (Blogs receive lots of page-rank love from Google…This is covered in an exciting presentation by Matt Cutts, the head of the webspam team at Google who specializes in search engine optimization (SEO) issues. He highly recommends WordPress for fast indexing by Google)
Now back to the explanation of the necessary ‘common theme.’
Example: If you sell tires online and have a blog, your articles should all involve tires in some way. Types of tires, how to dispose of old tires, top 10 best tires, most reliable tires, etc. If a new Fast and the Furious comes out, go ahead and blog about it, but be sure to tell your readers what type of tires the car has and how well these tires perform.
Keeping a common theme will force you to naturally use keywords and keyword phrases that all pertain to your main objective—selling tires.
Fact number two: Think like the average Google searcher thinks.
Consumers who use search engines to locate information on the web are similar to people who are hungry. Instead of food, searchers are following impulses in varying degrees to supplement them–like a mental or emotional snack that essentially seeks fulfillment to satiate the desire.
If you can simply think like the ‘hungry searcher’ thinks when they are typing words into that little Google search box, you will be able to easily optimize and position your pages for mass consumption.
Keywords (or the words that a searcher types) represent the face of quantified intent. If increasing organic search engine traffic is important to your business, you are going to have to understand this part of SEO. Anyone searching is a potential motivated buyer. In order to be found, your pages must appease the way that THEY search.
Because of the human element involved in search queries—technology, keyword analysis and SEO tools can only take the “search engine guru” so far in site optimization. In order to blog for the potential buyer you need to take the way individuals search into consideration.
Let’s use myself and my husband as prime examples. If I were trying to find the mailing address for the Notre Dame football coach, I would use main keywords only. My search query would look like this:
- Notre Dame football Charlie Weis mailing address
I might also add the word 2009 to the query, just to be sure Google returns recent information. Now my husband is a different story. His Google searches look like he is talking to a live person or a crystal ball. His search query would say:
- How do I write a letter to Notre Dame’s coach Charlie Weis?
So, which is right? Well, of course, in my mind—mine is right. I can generally find information on the web much faster than my husband can. But what if we are both customers looking for a product. Then who is right? Should he lose out and not be able to purchase what he is looking for because he is not searching the proper keywords? That kind of thinking is ludicrous.
The consumer should not be the one to change. In order to attract the maximum amount of traffic, the blogger is the one who needs to change. By using common sense (and by observing how other individuals search for information on the web) you will soon be able to maximize your traffic to include every type of hungry searcher.
Immediate Changes You Can Make
Now that you are aware of this little gem of information, you can immediately begin to put it to good use. How? By modifying titles, meta descriptions, as well as internal and outbound links, to accommodate every type of searcher.
Want swarms of traffic from this ‘other half’ of Google searchers? Start implementing these phrases:
- How to
- How Do I
- I Need to
- What is the Best
- Pricing for
- I Want to Buy
- Should I
You would be amazed to see what some people type in as keywords:
- How Do I Find Out What Oil to Put in My Car?
- How Often Should I Change my Oil?
- I Need to Buy a Detroit Tigers Jersey.
Some people (like my husband) search how they talk. The point is this, contextual long tail keyword phrases placate tremendous search volume by their very design. We can discern the urgency or emotion behind the persona of the searcher by observing these traces of search intent.
By taking the time to think about the mindset of the consumer who is trying to locate your specific product or service, you can come up with an entire list of phrases that will bring eager consumers to your site.
The True Essence of SEO
SEO is not just about numbers and driving random traffic to your blog. SEO is all about targeting intent.
Think outside the box. Look beyond traditional keyword research tools and identify emotional triggers and catch phrases with significant volume attached.
Another huge mistake bloggers often make, is leaving off meta-descriptions. The meta-description is the little blurb that appears on Google’s search engine page. It is the first thing an individual reads when skimming the search engine results page and is a critical part of the SEO formula. Changes here can result in dramatic post-click marketing conversions.
The key is to capture the fleeting intent of a consumer and initiate the post-click marketing when they are in the heat of the search.
Content is Crucial
Now that the hungry searcher has clicked on your site, you must be able to feed them with benefit-rich, valuable information along with an emotionally-charged call to action such as:
- How to Increase Your Chances of Landing the Job You Really Want by 500%
- Cut Your Electric Bill in Half in these 3 Easy Steps
Look beyond keyword phrases that use less than four words. These are wonderful, but highly competitive for page one Google rankings. Use them along with long-tail phrases and you will have the best of both worlds in terms of traffic.
Here’s another myth debunked: The falicy that there are specific rules and ‘tricks of the trade’ to keyword research.
There are no cut and dry rules to keyword research, aside from finding the sweet spot of conversion. Since its all about matching queries with products and services, don’t be afraid to break away from the pack and devour a niche from targeting contextual conversation (in query form) to increase traction from consumers already eager to purchase.