What is SEO?
Search engine optimisation is the process of trying to get your content to rank on search engines through organic search results. This means that you are optimising your content so that it appears higher up on search result listings.
What's the difference between broad-match and long-tail keywords?
Broad keywords are 1-2 words. In other words, when someone types a query into a search engine; a broad keyword would be something such as "coffee" or "coffee maker".
Long-tail keywords are generally considered as 3 words or more. An example of a long-tail keyword would be, "how to make coffee".
What are some tools to help with keyword research?
Keyword Planner: A great tool for discovering and comparing keywords when it comes to competition, cost and difficulty.
Answer the Public: An awesome free tool for researching long-tail keywords and exploring different topic and content ideas.
Google Trends: A great free tool for researching keywords locally and how topics and keywords change in popularity over time.
What are topic clusters?
Topic clusters are a new way of organising your content and website in order to achieve better SERP (search engine ranking pages) results. Basically, it works by instead of just focusing on keywords, topic (content clusters) clusters focus on topics.
First you need to create a pillar page that broadly, but comprehensively explains a given topic. Then clustered around that topic is subtopics. These subtopics are where you can include your long-tail keywords, providing more detailed information about the content covered on the pillar page.
Now, all these pages are interlinked. They link back to the pillar page and to each other. This interlinking helps both the pillar and the clustered pages to achieve better SERP results. In addition, clustering your content around topics helps to keep your content focused and can help you to be seen as a thought leader in certain areas.
For more info on topic clusters, read: Content planning how to organise your content.
How to on-page optimise your content?
URL: Optimise your URLs using both broad and long-tail keywords. If possible, use your broad keywords earlier in the URL.
Headers: Include your keywords in your main and subheaders. Subheaders are a greater opportunity to try rank for other long-tail variations. Use H1/H2/H3 tags so the search crawlers know that you are using subheadings.
Body: Use your keywords naturally throughout the main text. "Keyword cramming" will not help you. As a general rule-of-thumb, use no more than 5 of the same exact keywords per page. Instead, you can use keyword synonyms throughout your text.
Remember, Google wants to provide a good user experience for their searchers. Also, make sure that you check your copy for spelling and grammatical errors.
Image Alt Text: You guessed it. Include keywords in you image alt text and even file names. Search engines can't properly read images as yet so the way they understand visual content is through alt text and the surrounding copy.
Alt text is another great opportunity to include long-tail keywords.
What are search engines looking for?
No one knows Google's SERP ranking criteria exactly, but there is no doubt about a few things. Google is trying to provide the most relevant answer to the seacher's query. It's looking for quality content and linking pages and domains. More importantly, search engines want quality links from authoritative sources and domains.
This tells search engines that your page is worth showing to others. Lastly, don't forget about page loading times. Pages that are slow to load will see you penalised by both your website visitors and search engines alike.
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