These 9 SEO Tips Are All You'll Ever Need to Rank
Entrepreneurs hoping for strong SEO (search engine optimization) rankings might take a lesson here. They can create a checklist of their own to make sure everything is perfect for their next website article. No, an SEO checklist won't protect you from crashing and burning. But it will help ensure that your post has the best chance it needs to rank high in Google.
So, before you publish your next piece of web content, run it through the following 9-point checklist for the best SEO tips.
1. Pick a good keyword to focus on.
The first step is to simply pick the search term or phrase you want the post to show up for. If I am writing about the best dog toys for small dogs, I'll want to find out what people are actually searching for. The easiest way to do this is use Google Keyword Planner, a free tool that will show you an estimate for any search phrase. (Although Keyword Planner is free, you may need to set up an AdWords account to gain access.)
For example, I noticed that "small dog toys" receives 590 monthly searches -- higher than any other related combination of words. However, I'm still not totally ready to start writing about this topic. First, I need to do some research.
2. Research the competition.
Now that I have a term I want to try to rank for, I'm going to go undercover and do some recon! Jump over to your "private browsing" mode on your web browser ("Incognito" in Chrome, "Private" in Safari and Firefox, "InPrivate" on Internet Explorer) and head to Google.com. (At my company, we do "private mode" because we don't want Google to use our past search history to influence what we see on the search results page.) Take a look at all the content on page one of Google, ignoring any ad results at the top. The 10 (or so) results are your competition! What are they missing? Can you do better?
3. Write the best content.
Now that you know what your competition looks like, it's time to create the content that is going to blow those folks out of the water. This is perhaps the most difficult part, but it's the most important. It needs to be amazing. I don't care if you are creating a blog post, ecommerce store page or sales-landing page. It needs to be better than the rest, or else neither Google nor your audience will ever take note.
For an example of an article I recently wrote -- with just this goal in mind -- check out "How to Become a Millionaire: The Ultimate Guide.". My goal with that post was to write superb content about that topic. How did I do? Related: 5 Ways Small Businesses Can Compete With Giants in SEO
4. Put the keyword in your page title.
This should be a no-brainer, but I'll say it anyway: Your page title should contain your keyword, but that doesn't mean it has to be exact (though it can be). Additionally, the title must also be interesting enough that people will actually want to click on it! A good example of this would be PT from PTMoney.com, who wrote a great post about "making extra money." However, rather than a boring title, like "Make Extra Money," he titled it "52 Ways to Make Extra Money." Now that is something I would want to read.
5. Put the keyword in your header.
You can organize most webpages by having a large title at the top, followed by several sub-headers throughout the page (like the sub-headers in this post). This organization is helpful not only for people in skimming blog-post articles, it's helpful in showing Google exactly what your blog post is about. Therefore, be sure to use your exact keyword phrase at least once in your sub-headers.