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The Ultimate SEO Cheat Sheet

Someone is looking online for a thing-a-ma-bob, which is exactly what you happen to make. Surely you’ll be at the top of search results, right? But when “thing-a-ma-bob” is typed in that search bar, and up pop the results…where are you? Not in the top five options? Not even on the first page? OMG! Looks like your SEO needs some TLC, A.S.A.P.! In other words, you need to optimize your site, and you need to do it now.

67% of internet users don’t go beyond the top five results shown, and 95% don’t go beyond the first page! That means whether you’re #1 on the second page or buried on the fifth, same thing — you won’t be found. We’ll give you some time to digest that fact.

(Long Pause)

Now, let’s get you in a better position to bump out competing thing-a-ma-bob makers and make your way to the top of the first page with these SEO best practices:

Add Unique and Relevant Content.

Search engines love to serve up new, quality info, and the more you provide, the more likely search engines will pick up what you’re laying down. Make sure articles are at least 300 words, then check to ensure what you’ve written doesn’t contain any duplicate copy (there are web tools to help you do that. As they say: Google it).

Incorporate Long Tail Keywords.

Yes, keywords are indeed still important, it’s just that search algorithms are far more sophisticated nowadays. They know when you’re “stuffing” too many words in that don’t even make sense in the context — don’t do that! Instead, do a little research to discover words and phrases (long tail keywords) used by your audience in searches, then incorporate those where they would naturally fit into your content. It doesn’t even have to be the exact same word, and in fact, shouldn’t be — better to use a synonym or phrase with a similar meaning. Search engines are smart, they figure that stuff out. Don’t forget to use your primary keyword in the title, image alt tags, and meta description (the block of copy that pops up with your search result).

Speaking of titles and images and meta descriptions (oh, my!)…

Count Your Characters.

Like content, meta descriptions can be too long or too short, as well as considered duplicate. On top of containing a keyword, make sure your meta description is unique and in the range of 150 – 250 characters in length. Titles should be no more than 55 characters or they will be cut off and not make sense. For this reason, it’s also a good idea to use your keyword as early on in the title as possible.

Don’t Use Naked Images.

One would think this would go without saying, but we’re not talking about the image itself (shame on you!), we’re talking about making sure you don’t put an image out there without an alt tag or title containing a keyword.  

Give Your Links Some Love.

Links are more important than you might think. They help gain attention, build authority, increase traffic from the search engines and encourage more page visits. So, make sure none of them are broken, that internal links lead to relevant, related content, and external links are coming from quality, respected sites. Search engines will reward you!

One last helpful hint: these guidelines are what currently make search engines happy enough to offer you up as a top result in search rankings, however, search engines are as fickle as Grumpy Cat, and algorithms change quite often, which means what qualifies you as a good result today, may not float in the future. Search engine optimization is an ongoing process that you must stay on top of in order to stay on top of search results. Follow these guidelines, but make sure to keep an eye out for algorithm change alerts too. Do that, and the next time someone types “thing-a-ma-bob” in a search bar, you’ll be far more likely to get that coveted click.

For more help with SEO or anything marketing, give us a call at 231-727-9778 or go ahead and take advantage of one of our free resources, like, say, this ebook for example…

Kelly honed her writing, editing, and management skills during her years as a writer and Associate Creative Director at Detroit area agencies. After freelancing from home so she could raise her two kids, she added internet marketing to her skill set. She also has held or currently holds such prestigious titles as Addy, Caddy, and RAC awards-winner, University of Michigan Mom, hockey mom, soccer mom, and other variations of Mom, and Alma College Athletic Hall of Famer in track and cross-country.

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