18th Sep 2013

The ROI on SEO

The use of search engine optimized writing (SEO) has been the mainstay of all internet offerings for a long time. The cold hard fact is that anything that has been built around specific keywords will improve the pages performance in the rankings and the return on investment (ROI). In short, SEO optimization works … for a while. To keep ahead of these figure manipulating words, search engines continuously tweak or change the algorithms that control the ‘bots’ that collect the ranking data. To get the best ROI on your SEO content make sure you follow the latest guidelines, but there are some basic rules that are not susceptible to the whim of the bots.

It’s easy to do, but don’t get slavishly carried away with SEO, never forget you’re writing for humans, not bots. No one wants to read content that is obviously optimized for search engine ranking – not even the bots! The search engines are looking for good quality, natural content and ranks it higher because excellent content sells. The corporate image of a search engine is based on the quality of information it provides and turning out pages of trash does not impress the public. Help the bots recognize your page, but make sure the content is King – who wants to read bad content, no matter how high in the rankings it is?

If you listen to the myths out in internet land, keyword density is 1/100, keywords need to be used in a title or subtitle and Elvis is alive and well and SEO copywriting in Dead Mans Fang NB. That may have been the case, but not so much now. Keyword density has moved over the make way for readable, informative and engaging content. Don’t worry about how many times you use a keyword, just use the keywords naturally and concentrate on saying something enthusiastic, educated or intelligent. Who goes to the internet for fun anyway? Oh yeah, grumpy cat followers …

When writing SEO content think ‘Scrabble’ – in a way, that’s what the bots do. When you use a keyword, try and link it to other words. When the bots trawl a page the not only look for known keywords or phrases, they look for related keywords and synonyms. This is LSI or Latent Semantic Indexing.  The bot is trying to match the words typed into the search engine with an appropriate page, so the more it recognizes keywords and synonyms, the higher your page will be for that user. It is also a MASSIVE advantage to writing good content. If you can use a similar or linked word instead of the keyword over and over again, you’re not constantly trying to ram the keyword up the user’s nose. Believe me, they’re very picky about things like that.

The average length of a front page web ranking is 2,000. This is a tricky one to successfully incorporate. If content is King, 2,000 words of content does not always make you the best of the best of the best. If you can write an in depth report and have it educated and enchanting, do it! But if you can’t make it educated and enchanting – save yourself the shame! Throwing in bigger words and rewriting the question over and over again like you did in high school finals will not work. For instance; If you’re writing 2,000 words on the contents of your mother’s wallet – stop when there is nothing left to say, even if it’s only 300 words. More isn’t always better with SEO, more sometimes just means … more.

Don’t be afraid to write around a long keyword. For example, you can write based on ‘new car’ and the results will be high – so will the competition. Writing based around ‘How reliable is a new car’ narrows down the field and will get you higher in the rankings. A bonus is – you’ll come up in the ‘new car’ search rankings anyway. Answering a typical question a consumer may ask is always a good idea as it helps raise your perception as being authoritative and knowledgeable on the required subject.

One thing you need to do to optimize your optimization is to make sure you are shared. Any avenue that gets your link on a page boosts your rankings. Google+, forums, twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, blogs, etc all provide a double-edged service. They get your name and company out there, but also leave a breadcrumb trail of backlinks for the bots. The bots see the backlink on other media and think, ‘This piece is really popular and relevant, everyone needs to know about it’, and voila! Bot propulsion.

Taking a little time to write what is worth reading is the best ROI you can get on your SEO. It takes skill to write a great piece and make it SEO rich for the current batch of bots, but it can be done. Do what you need to make it worth your while or its waste of words – and a waste of space. Dare to make it so … or you can always turn it over to Elvis.