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SEO

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So you know that in order to get your content marketing strategy in place, you are going to need keywords to focus on. These keywords form the foundations of your SEO so it is important to get it right.

But while you know that you have to use keywords, how do you know what keywords you should focus on?

In this post, I will take you through 2 types of keywords: short tail keywords and long tail keywords.

They both have their own pros and cons so it is best to learn about each of them before diving into keyword research.

But first, I need to talk to you about the conversion funnel.

Conversion Funnel

To put it simply, the conversion funnel refers to different stages that the average customer will experience before converting.

Though each funnel does vary, there are typically 3 main stages: Awareness, Interest, Conversion.

It is referred to as a funnel because the first stage yields more potential customers, and as they go further down the funnel, the number of prospects reduce, leaving only prospects that are more likely to convert into paying customers.

The conversion funnel is an important factor to mention because what keywords your prospective customers use will indicate where on the conversion funnel they are currently sitting at.

Short Tail Keywords

Short tail keywords consist of 1-2 words. As you can see, because of its short nature, these searches will not yield specific results or answers. Rather, they are general searches.

Most people who use short tail keywords in their search are those at the top of the conversion funnel. They are merely researching and gathering information.

This is why people will type in “running shoes” as opposed to specific questions or phrases. They just want to learn more about this term. The short term search will yield plenty of results so that they can start deducting what information they need to make an actual (potential) purchase later down the track.

Advantages

Higher search volume/impressions: Short tail keywords generally elicit a larger search volume. Because they are more general and less specific, these are keywords that are more commonly used than long-tail keywords and subsequently, you will get a lot more impressions (number of times your webpage appears in the search engine result pages – SERPs).

Ranking for these keywords will be great because you will definitely generate a lot more traffic to your website, granted that your title tags and meta description are all optimised.

Disadvantages

High competition: Because the keywords are so generic, the competition to rank for them is generally much higher. For example, if you want to rank for “running shoes”, imagine how many other shoe companies there are that you have to compete with that want to do the exact same thing!

While it can be an excellent benefit to be on the first page for similar keywords, it is pretty difficult to do unless you are a big international company.

Low conversion rate: These keywords are targeting customers who are at the top of the conversion funnel and are still just researching the product or service that they are after. There is less chance that these customers will convert into paying customers (at this point).

Related: A Detailed Introduction to SEO for Beginners

Long Tail Keywords

On the other hand, long tail keywords are typically made up of 4 -6-word phrases.

These keywords are more “targeted” than your short tail keywords. They are typically used by prospects that are further down the conversion funnel. These customers are the ones that are more likely to turn into paying customers as opposed to users just looking for more information.

For example, instead of “running shoes” they may search for “black running shoes for women”. You can get even more specific such as including a location in the phrase, e.g. “black running shoes for women in Sydney”.

The more specific the term is, the lower in the conversion funnel the user is. This means the higher the chances that they will turn into a paying customer.

Using my example, now that the user knows more about running shoes, they are clearly looking for black shoes and searching for a store in Sydney.

By narrowing their search term, they are also narrowing down to the results that will give them what they want (aka YOUR business).

Advantages

Higher conversion rates: These users are in the conversion part of the conversion tunnel, meaning that you are more likely to turn these users into customers. With these specific search terms, they are actively looking for your business to get them what they want.

Low competition: Unlike with short tail keywords, the competition for these phrases are lower as they are more specific and targeted.

High visibility: As there is lower competition for these keywords, it can really increase your website’s visibility in the SERPs.

Disadvantages

Lower search volume: One of the things that put a lot of marketers off is that there is a low search volume with these long tail keywords. However, this doesn’t always necessarily mean it is a bad thing. Would you rather have 1,000 impressions of a short tail keyword and turn only 1 or 2 of them into paying customers, or a search volume of 100 and turn 10 of them into paying customers?

So Which Keywords Should You Use for Your Business?

As you can see, short tail and long tail keywords both have their advantages and disadvantages. I don’t think you should stick to just one type or the other, and instead, I recommend using a combination of both with slightly more emphasis on long tail keywords.

The short tail keywords can generate a lot of traffic to your website and help to position you as an expert in your industry. On the other hand, long tail keywords can assist in really targeting users that are more likely to convert into paying customers and increase visibility.

Using both these types of keywords will give you a well-rounded SEO strategy.

Related: SEO Dos and Dont’s: How to Drive Traffic to Your Website the Right Way

How to Look for Keywords

Now that you know what type of keywords to focus on, here are some tools that can assist you in choosing keywords for your business.

Related: 5 Best Free Business Tools That Save You Time and Money

Google Keyword Planner

Keywords: Google Keyword Planner

Of course, you can’t talk about a keyword research tool without mentioning Google Keyword Planner. This tool helps you find new keywords while also showing you search volume data and trends. This way, you can see how well your chosen keyword has performed over a specific period of time to see whether it is worth focusing on.

A great feature is that it even lets you input negative keywords.

Negative keywords are phrases that you don’t want to include in your search. For example, if you are selling wine glasses then you don’t want to include keywords that are related to eyeglasses or sunglasses. It helps to eliminate keywords that seem related to yours but are not.

Übersuggest

Keywords: Ubersuggest

Übersuggest promotes itself as a keyword search tool that tells you keywords that are not available in Google’s Keyword Panner. Using this tool is fairly simple.

Just enter a keyword or phrase that is related to your business. Then it will come up with a list of potential keywords that you can focus on. It is sorted out in alphabetical order so it is easy to review each keyword properly. If you are a more visual person though, you can turn this list into a word cloud.

It also gives you the option to look at Google Trends Data (by clicking on a selected keyword). This way, you can see how well the keyword has fared lately. However, for some reason, this never works with me and only comes up with a blank screen but hopefully, it works for you!

If you want to export the list of selected keywords, then you can also do that.

Ubersuggest is a really simple and easy tool to use if you want an alternative to Google Keyword Planner, or like with short tail and long tail keywords, you can just use both.

What keywords do you use for your business? Do you find that short tail or long tail keywords yield better results for your business? Or do you use a mixture of both? Leave me a comment below, I would love to know!

Search Engine Optimisation, or SEO, refers to a set of strategies used to drive organic (unpaid) traffic to your business website. It involves both on-page and off page techniques, that when leveraged correctly, can give your business great benefits.

Related: A Detailed Introduction to SEO for Beginners

But like with most things, there are ways that you can “cheat” the system. And like most of these things, there are certain repercussions and consequences that will occur if you are found out. In regards to SEO, this includes being de-indexed or banned from search engines.

As an ethical business owner, you want to make sure that you are driving traffic to your website the right way. This means employing ethical and accepted SEO strategies, referred to as “white hat SEO”. On the other hand, unethical practices used to take shortcuts and manipulate search engines and users are named “black hat SEO” and should be avoided at all costs.

So before you start implementing an SEO strategy, read this article first. I will tell you the white hat SEO dos and black hat SEO don’ts so that you don’t make mistakes that will affect your greatly business ranks.

Drive traffic to your website the right way, using SEO best practices

Don’t Keyword Stuff

Keywords form the foundations of your SEO strategy and they play such a critical role in how well your website performs (for more information, please read my detailed introduction to SEO for beginners here).

This is because these keywords are then used in all areas of content such as your website content, blog posts, articles, meta and title tags, alt images, etc. Not only should this keep your search engines happy but you also need to find the balance in keeping your human audience happy as well.

For example, if your keyword is “freelance copywriter”, you don’t want to use it in every sentence just to increase the number of times it appears. You still need to consider your readers and what will read best for them.

“I am a freelance copywriter from Sydney. If you are looking for a freelance copywriter who can help promote your business, then I am the freelance copywriter for you.”

See this example? In these three sentences, I have integrated the keyword three times. While I may think this is great for search engines, how did it read for you?

Not only is it repetitive but it doesn’t flow naturally and makes the content disjointed.

This is called a black hat SEO tactic called keyword stuffing and it can kill your SEO.

Don’t Hide Text

Another black hat technique regarding keywords is making the font very small and changing the colour of the keyword to the web page background. This way, when the page appears, users are unable to see the keyword as they are “invisible” but search engines still pick it up.

While this can work on a short-term basis, chances are, search engines will pick up on this unethical SEO practice and punish your website for it. It can remove you from search engines altogether and this is something that will definitely not help drive traffic to your website.

So what can you do instead?

Do Integrate Keywords Seamlessly

The key is to reach 2-3% keyword density. This percentage relates to your keyword and word length ratio – a smaller word count means a smaller keyword density and vice versa.

In fact, once you reach optimal keyword density, the extra times you have included your keyword don’t really benefit you much at all anymore so it is best to aim for 2-3%.

For example,

“I am a freelance copywriter from Sydney. If you are looking for a writer who can help promote your business, then please contact me.”

This reads so much better and still seamlessly integrates the keyword into the text. Better still, it only uses white hat SEO.

It can be difficult to write great copy that is informative, SEO compliant and easy-to-read. This is why I recommend hiring an experienced copywriter to help write your business content for you.

Don’t Use Link Farms

Another important aspect of SEO is the number of backlinks that link to your website. This can be a difficult technique to put into practice because you are relying on others to promote your website.

Subsequently, some may opt for the easy way out and use link building websites.

Have you ever come across a site that had nothing but links on it?

That site is a link farm and they serve no real purpose other than trying to cheat the SEO system and increase the number of backlinks to the website.

Don’t get involved with link farms. There are other effective ways to increase inbound links.

Do Improve Link Building By Guest Posting and Other Means

There are many other ways to increase backlinks to your website that follow white hat SEO.

One of the more popular ways is guest posting. This is writing a guest post on another relevant website, preferably one that is an authoritative site, and linking back to your website in your byline.

In these cases, the other blog owner will also write a guest post for your blog, so you help each other out.

It’s a win-win situation.

Other ways include creating share-worthy content that people want to refer back to or recommend to others, such as detailed and informative blog posts or even graphics such as infographics.

Related: 8 Proven Strategies I Learned From Neil Patel’s Advanced Customer Acquisition Webinar

These are the right ways to drive traffic to your website so don’t rely on short-term black hat SEO.

Don’t Trick Users With Irrelevant Content

Don’t you just hate it when you see a search result that uses the right keywords and indicates that it hold the answers to your query? But then when you click on it, it comes up with something completely unrelated?

Tricking your customers to visit your web page even if it is irrelevant to their search is an annoying and frustrating black hat SEO tactic. While it may get visitors there, it certainly doesn’t help to maintain them and they will click the back button as soon as they realise. Not only is this unethical but it will increase your bounce rate.’

Not only is this unethical but it will increase your bounce rate.

Do Publish Relevant Content

The traffic that you want to generate to your website should be visitors who want to be there because you are providing them with something of value. This includes making sure that the content on your website is relevant to their search query.

This goes back to keywords. Make sure that you use keywords in your title tag and meta descriptions and that the main content on the page focuses on that keyword as well.

Doing this will enhance your reputation as a knowledgeable source in your industry and one that your customers can trust.

And above all else, it will drive traffic to your website the right way.

Don’t Spin Articles

One black hat SEO involves copying or plagiarising content from other popular sites. Doing this will help the website appear higher in the ranks when people search for it.

However, some may have discovered a loophole around this called article spinning. Rather than copying and pasting the content and publishing the exact copy, they will change some words, sentences or even paragraphs to create some variation between the original and the copied version.

This also helps to prevent search engines from identifying copied content.

However, not only is this black hat SEO but this is still plagiarism.

Do Write Original Content

Gain followers that want to read your content by making sure that everything published on your website is original and helpful.

If you really do like another article or post, then you can quote or cite sources from it. Just make sure you include who commentator or author and provide a link to the original version.

But just remember, the majority of the published work should be your work.

Make sure you only use white hat SEO

Now that you know how to drive traffic to your website the right way, make sure that you only use white hat SEO strategies. Yes, black hat SEO may yield short-term outcomes and white hat SEO does take a long time to see the same results but it is well worth the effort.

You will generate organic traffic made up of people who actually want to visit your page because they see the value in it.

In saying that, it is good to be aware of black hat SEO just so you know what techniques to avoid to drive traffic to your website the right way. This way, you eliminate the risk of being penalised by search engines such as not appearing in the SERPs and being de-indexed.What other black hat or white hat SEO techniques do you know?  Leave me a comment below, I would love to hear them.

And this is something that will definitely not help your SEO strategy.

What other black hat or white hat SEO techniques do you know?  Leave me a comment below, I would love to hear them.

Search Engine Optimisation, or SEO as it is more commonly known as, is the organic way to drive traffic to your website using SERPs.

SEO? Organic? SERPs? Do these terms confuse you?

Do not worry, this is why you clicked to read this article. In this post, you can expect a detailed introduction to SEO for beginners that covers these topics (and acronyms):

  • What is SEO?
  • Why does my website need SEO?
  • What are some basic SEO techniques I should implement on my website?
  • What are the advantages of SEO?
  • What are the disadvantages of SEO?

Keep reading to learn more about SEO for beginners

What is SEO?

As I mentioned previously, SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation. It refers to the organic traffic that is generated to your website, that is, unpaid traffic that comes from mostly search engines but also other sources such as social media.

When you want to look something up on the Internet, what do you do? Type a query into a search engine such as Google.

The results appear on SERPs (Search Engine Results Page). There are usually two types of results that come up: organic, which is what we are covering here, and paid ads. These ads are typically at the top and bottom of the results, and are labelled as “ads”.

The organic results that you should pay attention to are the 10 blue links that are not labelled as ads. There are 10 on each SERP.

The intention of SEO is to get your website to appear as high in the SERPs as possible. The higher the rank, the more visitors you will have to your page because let’s face it, who clicks on page 2 of the search results anyway?

Why does my website need SEO?

So how exactly does one go about improving their website rank? Through SEO. This is why you website needs it. It will increase your rank, meaning that more people will see your website link and be inclined to click on it.

Without SEO, you will be missing out on key growth opportunities to generate qualified leads for your business using your website. You will also need to rely on other forms of marketing such as paid traffic (AdWords, sponsored posts) and social media. While these methods are effective, incorporating SEO into your marketing strategy will greatly enhance it.

What are some basic SEO techniques I should implement on my website?

There are many SEO techniques, on-page and off-page. Each of them plays a specific role in contributing to your SEO strategy.

On-Page SEO

Keywords

Keywords are the core element of any on-page SEO strategy. It is these keywords that you will apply to other techniques that I will be explaining below.

When you type a query into a search engine, you may type in a full sentence, or more likely, “keywords”. This is when only the important key words of a sentence are used.

For example, instead of “a detailed introduction to SEO for beginners”, you may write “SEO for beginners”.

Keywords is a crucial element because it is used in most of your on-page SEO implementation so it is important to choose the right ones to focus on.

Title Tags

When you search something on the Internet and the list of organic links appear, the title tag is the heading of this link, i.e. the blue clickable section.

This title tag is vital because it is what captures the visitors attention and helps persuade them that this is the link that will give them the answers to their query.

You should make sure that title tag is under 70 characters, as this Google’s cut-off point. This way, you will be able to fit your entire title tag in without Google having to truncate it with ellipses (…).

Every post or page on your website should have a unique title tag as well.

Meta Description

The meta description is the brief summary that appears below the title tag on the SERPs. Along with the title tag, the meta description is what tells the audience what the link is about.

It is important to include the keyword in the description as well because the visitors need to know that it will be relevant to their query.

Google usually shows 150-160 characters without having to truncate the sentence. Please note that the meta description and title tag will not appear in the copy once the link is clicked. It is only shown on the SERPs.

Heading tags

Regardless of the length of your written content, it is best to break up the information into paragraphs for easier readability.

It will help users scan the information without being confronted with large blocks of text. This can actually deter people from reading your copy, which is the exact opposite of what you want.

Heading tags comes in handy in these cases.

They can help tell the readers what they can expect in each paragraph of section of the content, and so should include the focus keyword/s to show them that your copy is relevant to their query.

But remember, not all headings are created equal.

There is a heading hierarchy. The headings go from the largest <h1> to <h6>.

The most important ones should be larger, and subheadings can use the smaller heading types.

Alt tags

This SEO for beginners tip is intended for images. Images play a part in on-page SEO but unlike written content, images do not have descriptions so search engines are unable to pick up what they are.

This is where image alt tags come in.

You are telling search engines what they are so they can appear when relevant image searches are conducted by including alt tags in your images.

Make sure you incorporate your keyword too, for better optimisation.

Internal linking

A great way to keep visitors only our site for longer, and make it easier for them to navigate through it, is by including many internal links within the content of your pages when relevant.

For example, if you are really enjoying learning more about SEO but are still unsure about how to implement it yourself, check out my SEO and SEO copywriting services so I can do it for you. See what I did there?

Fast page load speed

In a world where we expect instant gratification, users will not wait if a page takes a long time to load. To get the best user experience, Google and other search engines will reward sites with fast page load speeds, so it is crucial that your site speed is up to scratch.

There are many ways to do this such as compressing images. This will help to make your page load faster without compromising on quality.

Off-page SEO

Off-page SEO refers to the strategies that take place outside your website that still drive organic traffic to it. This can refer to social media and link building such as backlinks. Your off-page SEO can tell search engines how authoritative your site is and plays a major part in determining your rank.

Social media

To help generate traffic to your website using this off-page SEO tool, write an update across all your platforms with a link leading to the new blog post that you just published, and make sure you include the URL in your “About” sections so people can access your website.

Backlinks

Backlinks refer to the links on other websites that lead back to yours. It is an important element because it tells search engines how authoritative your site is. The more backlinks you have, the better. However, building backlinks can be difficult to accomplish because you rely on other people and companies to help include links to your site.

You can assist in building up your backlinks by guest blogging or leaving thoughtful and insightful comments on other sites and including a link back to yours. The key here is thoughtful and insightful to show that you actually read the post, and are not just commenting solely to leave your website URL for your own benefit.

What are the advantages of SEO?

Drive traffic

The intention of SEO is to increase your ranks to drive more traffic to your website. This means that you will have more website visitors to learn about your business and product/service to turn into sales.

Increased brand awareness

Following from the first point, the more people who see your website, the more aware people will become of your business. The higher your rank is on the SERPs, the better your reputation will be as well. It illustrates that you have more authority no the subject, instilling trust in your customers.

Cost-effective

Because it is organic, it means that you do not need to pay to drive users to your website. It is completely free, making it one of the best cost-effective marketing strategies.

Long term results

Unlike with paid traffic where it stops once you cease running your ad campaign, SEO yields long term results. As long as your published posts are optimised, even ones published years ago, people will keep finding your website from them. This continuous flow of traffic can really help enhance brand awareness and reach.

What are the disadvantages of SEO?

Long time to see results

Because SEO relies on organic traffic, it may take a long time to see the results you want. Compared to other strategies such as paid advertising, instant gratification and immediate results is not something you will see here.

No-guarantee

While SEO can really assist in growing your business and increase your ranks, there is no guarantee that it will make it to the first page of the SERP.

In saying this, it is important to bear in mind that any SEO expert or company that promises you first-rank pages are companies to avoid. No one can guarantee this, which leads me to the next point.

You do not have full control

As I mentioned before, no one knows the exact algorithm that Google or other search engines use to determine ranks. While you can, and should, implement these SEO tactics into your strategy, the exact method remains unknown.

Risk of being penalised

There are two types of SEO that you can implement, white hat SEO and black hat SEO. The techniques that I have listed in this SEO for beginners article are white hat SEO; they are ethical methods that are acceptable for both search engines and humans.

On the other hand, black hat SEO is used by those who want to cheat the system and disregard the stipulated guidelines. You do so by prioritising search engines over your human audience, increasing the risk of being penalised. Consequently, you will lose your rank, and hence traffic.

(If you want to learn more about white hat and black hat SEO, I will be writing an SEO for beginners article on this, so stay tuned for that!)

I hope that this detailed introduction to SEO for beginners is something has helped you learn more about organic traffic.

If you would like to implement an SEO strategy into your marketing plan but don’t know how to, then check out my SEO and SEO copywriting services that I offer to help get it kickstarted.

What other SEO topics would you like me to write about? Is there anything else you would like to find out in more detail? Leave a comment below and let me know!