Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is an important part of any PR and marketing effort.

Your brand lives on the web, and when someone Googles your organization, you want it to be found as high up in the search engine results pages (SERPs) as possible when they type in the keywords that are most important to your line of business.

As most SEO experts know, there are two ways to impact your search engine optimization: organic search and paid search (either PPC or PPM). Organic search is where your webpage appears in a Google, Yahoo, or Bing search (or whichever search engine you’re using) in the main search results section. Alternatively, paid search is the advertisements or ‘sponsored links’ that appear above and beside the organic content.

This “how to” looks specifically at optimizing your content for organic search in order to achieve better results for your core keywords.

Developing a list of keywords for search engine optimization

First step, make a list of the keywords and phrases that are most important to mention when talking about your company. These are the breadcrumbs you want to place out and optimize in all your online content in order to help your target audience find you in organic search results.

Google has a great keyword tool that you can use to help look at local monthly search volume and competition for your core keywords and which also suggests other related keywords for your consideration. Once you’ve chosen a final set of primary and secondary keywords and phrases, make a list of them, ranked by volume, as they will form the basis of your search engine optimization strategy.

Writing search engine optimized content

Now that you have your list of keywords keep them in mind when writing your content but don’t let them hinder your ability to communicate clearly. Best practice is to use your keywords as ‘naturally’ as possible in your copy. Try to use them in strategic places such as headlines and sub-heads, but avoid repetition in the body of your copy and consider using secondary and tertiary keywords instead.

The ideal word length for one page of content, when writing with search engine optimization in mind is 300-500 words. That length enables you to write a focused piece that has one main topic and maybe a few secondary topics to keyword optimize. The idea here is to write multiple pages or pieces of content at that length with a different keyword focus for each page. That allows you to naturally focus on what the important points are for that keyword without allowing the content to become artificial or overworked to try to optimize too many keywords. A short focused piece, written with your audience in mind is the best content for SEO.

So, how do you write with your audience in mind? A few questions to keep in mind:

  1. Who is my audience?
  2. What do they care about?
  3. What type of language/jargon do they use when communicating to peers and colleagues?
  4. Do I clearly articulate a complete idea from start to finish?
  5. And once the piece is written, have I incorporated my main keywords into the title and do they appear in the piece?

Integrating your content into your website for best Search Engine Optimization

Once you have the search engine optimized content, there are a few additional items to keep in mind when placing that content on the web.

For your website:

  • The Title Page and URL for the new page should include your primary keyword. This is how Google understands what the page is about
  • When added to your website, the page should appear as close to your homepage as possible for optimal ranking, the best position being on the main navigation bar
  • Add a concise Meta Description. This is the text that appears under your page title in search results and is crucial for converting impressions into click-throughs

For the rest of the web:

Where your content appears on the web will also play into search engine optimization. For example, if your content appears on a well ranked site, like The Wall Street Journal, which also ranks well for those keywords, it will help your search engine optimization more than that same information appearing on a site that the search engine does not deem to be as credible. This site status is a multiplier taken into consideration when determining your search engine ranking. Other multipliers include use of dynamic content such as video, links to the content on social media channels and also whether the content is unique. For this reason, while press releases sent out on a newswire play an important role in improving SEO, PR professionals also play a valuable role in cultivating the development of unique editorialized content, interviews, and exclusive byline articles. When written with search engine optimization in mind, the development and placement of this content by PR professionals can be invaluable.

Indexed Pages on Organic Search

To see how many pages Google has indexed for your website you can type in the Google search bar Index: http://website.com

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