Applying the 80/20 rule to SEO
In case you haven’t realized it yet, SEO (Search Engine Optimization) can be pretty challenging.
Keeping up with the constant changes in the world of the search engine algorithms is a continuing battle. The search engines always seem to be one step ahead of everyone else!
Indeed, some companies find that their carefully cultivated first-page SERP rankings can disappear literally overnight, thanks to sudden changes in the algorithms.
Simply put, attempting to “game” search engines pays fewer and fewer dividends anymore. It’s no wonder that so many companies have all but given up on SEO, and focus more of their energies and budget on paid search instead.
Here’s the reality: Getting higher rankings in search engine results is mainly a function of having the most relevant content on a web page. Focusing on the following five SEO “fundamentals” will deliver the sort of 80/20 result most marketers would prefer, given the budget constraints of many marketing departments:
- Target one keyword term per web page. Choose one word or phrase that best matches the topic of your page, and that resonates with your target audience.
- Include that precise keyword in your page content. This isn’t undue redundancy; visitors expect to see the words they searched for in your copy. To “juice” page relevance for the search bots, use the keyword three or four times – or even more if your copy still sounds natural.
- Use the exact search term. While it’s true that search engines have gotten quite good at “interpreting” a searcher’s intent, they generally rank pages higher that match a searcher’s exact query.
- Optimize for SEO, but … Remember that you’re presenting content for humans, not search engines! Aim for copy that reads well instead of just meeting an SEO objective.
- Pay attention to page length. There’s no single standard for page length. But you’ll find that longer copy provides better opportunities for keyword placement while keeping the copy natural-sounding. A 300-word minimum is a good target – but make sure it’s quality content with no obvious filler material.
Follow these practices, and you may well find success in SEO without resorting to the latest “tricks of the trade” proffered by high-priced outside agencies.