Category Archives: SEO

Find Beaverton Writer

If you’ve read about search engine optimization (SEO) or attended workshops on improving your search engine results page placement, you’ve probably been introduced to the concept of long tail keywords. They’re a series of words or phrases that folks enter to narrow the field of results on Internet searches – e.g., “Portland Oregon movie theaters” instead of simply “movie theaters.”

want adLong tail keywords offer two important benefits:

  • If you’re searching for information, you’ll increase the odds that you’ll find what you want quickly.
  • If you want to get found, you’ll increase the odds that your web page or blog post will land among the first few pages of search results.

For example: A search on the word writer yields 527 million results. A search on Beaverton writer narrows the field to 1.1 million. Place quotes around “Beaverton writer” for an exact match and the field narrows even further to 600+ matches.

Of course, 600 matches = 60+ pages of search engine results. So what are the chances that your site makes it to the top of the list?

The search engine will weigh in on the total traffic to your site, the breadth of content relevant to writing and/or Beaverton, and the number of reputable links that deemed your content noteworthy. Absent a strong showing in one or more of those factors, you’ll need to choose an even longer string of words – perhaps Beaverton writer and editor – to get noticed.

But wait? Do I really want my on-line presence to be dictated by long tail keywords? Won’t it hamper my creativity, or make my writing stilted?

If you’re generating mounds of content for the sake of getting noticed by search engines, then you need to be attentive to long tail keywords. The practice of optimizing content for targeted phrases will improve your rankings and make it easier for your prospective clientele to find you!

HOWEVER… you want to impress your readers once they accept the invitation for a visit. Stilted writing is not attractive. Use your creativity to weave your long tail keywords into the natural flow of ideas.

I’m all for an effective SEO strategy, but you can’t overlook your responsibility to be relevant, conversational, and informative.

How To Get Google to Notice Your Website

Everybody wants the coveted first position on the Google search engine results page (SERP). Those first few listings garner the lion’s share of user clicks. While some pay a pretty penny on advertising to grab attention, users tend to bypass the paid-for placements. They’re more interested in sites that Google rates highly on their own merits.

get google to notice my websiteGoogle’s formula for rating websites is a closely guarded secret. However, the factors that drive top search engine ratings are pretty straight-forward:

  • Lots of visitors to the site
  • Lots of great content relevant to the search criteria
  • Lots of referrals (links) to that content

Notice the theme that cuts across all three factors: LOTS.

If you’re a celebrity, or you’ve developed that “must have” product, or you’ve created an exceptionally entertaining or topical web page, you may draw a lot of visitors with a single page or posting. Otherwise, you’ll need a collection of engaging, relevant material to attract an audience and keep them coming back. What’s engaging and relevant?

  • Answers to their questions
  • Solutions to their problems
  • Information on things that matter to them
  • Breaking news
  • Interesting editorials
  • Amusing content

While text and images are a common means to share information, you’d do well to offer a range of media (e.g., text/images, videos, slide shows, podcasts). Reading/scanning content works for some. Others are visual learners. And still others like to download audio materials that they can enjoy on walks, in the car, or at the gym.

Lots of fresh, high quality content makes your site more interesting to search engines. If they see that you’re posting regularly, they’ll stop by more often to crawl and index your site. It also makes it more likely that you’ll acquire referrals (links) to build your reputation as an authoritative voice in your industry. If you get recognized by an especially well-respected individual or site, you’ll see tremendous benefit.

Of course, having loads of great content won’t help if no one knows it’s there. Make sure you get the word out by adding links to your email signature line, your marketing materials, your public presentations, and your social networking sites. Don’t be afraid to invite folks to stop by!

Use Long Tail Keywords

If you recognize the importance of search engine results page (SERP) placement and the role that long tail keywords can play, it’s time to integrate long tail keywords into your web content. Here’s how:

  1. walk in customers shoesWalk a mile in your prospective customers’ shoes. Think about the words and phrases they might use to find you on the Internet. Make a list. Ask friends and colleagues to brainstorm with you.
  2. If you run dry on ideas, do a Google search on a selection of your keywords and keyphrases. Click on the first few unpaid results. Right click on your competitor’s page and select the “view page source” option. Look for the meta name=”keywords” tag near the top of the page to see the keywords and key phrases they used to attract visitors.
  3. Take a break and then review the list. See where you might add synonyms (e.g., Beaverton marketing consultant vs. Beaverton communications consultant) or change the order of presentation (e.g., Beaverton marketing consultant vs. marketing consultant in Beaverton). Keep building the list until you have a few hundred entries. [Yes – I really did say a few hundred!]
  4. Use a keyword grading tool to determine the phrases for which you have a running shot at garnering attractive SERP placement. Subscription services include Wordtracker and Keyword Discovery. Both offer free trial periods.
  5. Rank order the top 40-50 phrases based on their relation to your product and service offerings and potential for SERP placement. Develop a plan to build a web page or blog post around each one.
  6. Work with your web developer to create search-friendly content. In particular:
    • Include the keyphrase in the title tag, the keywords meta tag, and the description meta tag (at or near the beginning of the description).
    • Include the keyphrase in the page title using your first level heading tag.
    • Place the most important content in relation to your keyphrase as close to the top of the page as possible.
    • Don’t overuse the keyphrase in your text or you risk being placed in a search engine “penalty box.”

Once you’ve worked through your initial list, set a new list of priorities and keep churning out useful, relevant content.

Long Tail Keywords Matter

In my last post, I talked about the importance of placing well on search engine results pages. As the data shows, if you don’t land on the first few pages, it’s unlikely you’ll get noticed. One strategy for improving placement involves consistent use of long tail keywords.

“Long tail keywords” are strings of words that help search engines narrow the field of results. The more words entered, the smaller the number of pages and posts that match the search parameters. Here’s a simple example drawn from last night’s meal planning:

long tail keyword results

My initial quest for a Thai restaurant yielded over 9 million results. As I added details to the search criteria, I brought the otherwise mind-numbing volume of information down to a manageable level. After I entered “thai restaurant portland oregon takeout,” the Googlemap to the right of the results display helped complete the mission. Voila – dinner was served!

The total length of a long tail keyword depends on the nature of the inquiry. For example, if you wanted to find me, the short tail keyword “Maren” yields over 6 million results. The long tail counterpart “Maren Symonds” puts me in the first position on the first page. [Lucky me!] However, if my folks had named me Jane Doe, you’d need a much longer string of words before you’d have any prayer of finding me.

So what do long tail keywords have in common?

  • They contain a greater number of words than short tail keywords.
  • There’s a smaller population of web pages and blog posts that match the search criteria – hence, there’s less competition for choice spots on results pages.
  • They draw far fewer search requests than more generic (shorter) expressions.

Here’s why you should include long tail keywords on your web pages and blog posts:

  • You increase the probability that your content will appear within the first few entries (or pages) of organic search engine results.
  • People who enter long tail keywords tend to be further down the “sales cycle.” They are much more likely to click through links, read content, and make commitments (purchase, donate, subscribe, join, etc.)
  • It’s less expensive to secure paid search engine result placement because there’s less competition for them.
  • Advertising campaigns can be tailored to specific user needs and/or offers (products, services).

Of course, long tail keywords by definition trend toward low monthly searches. However, if you consistently publish content that features a different long tail keyword on each page or post, the “sum of the parts” will eventually amount to a whole lot of searches.

The Importance of Search Egine Results Page Placement

Three out of four people in the United States are Internet users. We’re an emailing, social networking, net-surfing, multi-media-thirsty society. Where we once “let our fingers do the walking through the yellow pages,” we now turn to search engines to scour the worldwide web and help us find what we need.

Search engine results page placement is crucial for attracting visitors to your web site. User clicks drop like a stone beyond the first few items on the first results page. Interest ratchets down even further when users need to access a second page.

clicks by search engine result

What happens when we don’t find what we want on the first page? Most of us go back to the drawing board and get more specific about the information we seek.

What does it take to get superior search engine result page placement? Here are factors that search engines consider:

  • The content on the site or selected page(s) is a close match with the words or phrases that the user entered.
  • The site or selected page(s) consistently receive a lot of visitors. Hence, other people think the site’s content is worthwhile.
  • Other web sites have provided inbound links to the selected page(s). The higher the “authority” of the linking site, the greater the weight of the link. [You’ll get a lot more credit for an inbound link to your latest novel if it comes from Oprah versus the book editor for your local paper.]
  • Your inbound links from other sites are not included among “laundry lists” of other links – i.e., your content is special.

There’s an art and science to creating a dazzling web site that attracts visitors, inbound links, and search engines. It takes time, planning, careful execution, and marketing.

If you’ve got more money than time, pay-per-click advertising lets you secure placement in special sections of the results page. However, most user clicks (75%-80%) are awarded to organic search results instead of the paid ones. So whether you choose to pursue pay-per-click advertising or not, it’s worthwhile to take time to craft a search-friendly site.