Are you in a heated game of SEO and tired of being the Google bots’ last pick for the search results roster? If so, you might want to draw upon your youthful years to help you succeed. While raising your organic search ranking is far from child’s play, there are a few classic childhood games that can help you gain a better understanding of how to rise to the top of the search charts.
If you sell swimming pools and you’re solely focused on the #1 search engine ranking for “buy pools,” you’re in over your head. It’s perfectly fine to make these short-tail keywords your end goal, but if you’re just starting out, you need to focus on more attainable keywords.
When you find an immediate, specific correlation between your good or service and the value it has to your customers, you’ve found your keywords.
Instead of setting your sights on the #1 Google organic search ranking for “buy swimming pools,” try “swimming pools for elderly,” “pet-proof swimming pools,” “swimming pool kits,” or “8’ swimming pools.”
The slow and steady traffic you receive from conquering the top spots for these long-tail keywords will show the Google crawlers that your site is relevant and valuable. You’ll start gaining authority, which will naturally raise the ranking of those short-tail keywords you really want.
Why are the keywords we just talked about so important? They tell the search engine crawler bots what your site is all about. These bots are coming for you, and that’s okay—you want that. What you don’t want, though, is for them to misinterpret the relevancy of your content to your keywords when they reach you.
Google can’t read images, so if you’ve got photos on your site tagged “picture1” “picture2” and “picture3,” the search engine has no idea what you’re trying to show your audience. You need to edit your HTML to include appropriate alt tags on all of your images.
What else should you tag with your keywords? In most cases, your title and meta description.
Your title tag is your audience’s first experience with your site. It’s the big blue line of text that shows up at the top of each search result. Your meta description is the short blurb underneath that blue title line.
As with image tags, the web crawlers will take both your title tag and meta description into account when determining the value of your site. If the bots see that you’re selling pools, and pools seem to be a recurring theme on your website, your site appears relevant.
When people find your site because the Google crawlers deemed it relevant, and they click through because you provided the info the search engine promised, you’ll gain popularity. In the world of Google, relevancy + popularity = higher organic search ranking.
You’ve got about 50 – 60 characters in your title tag and 160 in your meta description to tell both query seekers and search engine bots what they’ll find on your site, so stay clear, concise, and relevant to your content.
The SEO tagging game has but one rule—don’t be deceptive. If you can’t naturally and accurately fit your keyword into your title tag, image tags, or meta description, then don’t do it. Without any players, there’s no point in the game and both the web crawlers and your audience will quickly walk away if you promise them a prize and give them an empty box.
Mother May I
Equally important to correctly tagging your content is telling Google when it’s not okay to display site content in search results.
In a perfect world, every single link that leads to your page would be exactly the same. In the real world, though, you can expect a variety of different backlink formats. You might find people arriving at your site via kittyblizt.com, www.kittyblitz.com, kittyblitz.com/home, or www.kittyblitz.com/home.
If you don’t tell Google to pay these duplicate domains special attention, the bots are going to get confused and divvy up your hard-earned web cred among them all.
When you have duplicate domains, you need a special canonical tag that says “No, Google. You cannot index this page. Instead, I want you to redirect those who try to access www.kittyblitz.com/home to my preferred page, kittyblitz.com.”
Be forewarned—if you’re new to SEO, canonical tags can be a bit tricky, so avoid common configuration mistakes by reading up on the topic before you dive into creating canonical redirects.
Linking to and from other websites is a lot like a game of red rover. Consider your audience your teammates, and you their captain.
You’ve got to choose some websites to call on over to your teammates, and if you choose the wrong ones, you’re going to lose.
Before you link to frankthemegatank.com, ask yourself if that site plays fair. Do they follow the rules of providing clear, accurate content that solves problems and answers questions? Do they have links on their pages that lead to spammy sites? Are they competition-focused, or just here to help out their teammates?
Likewise, don’t summon upon low-authority sites to link to you, or the Google bots might just lower your search engine ranking for hanging out with the wrong crowd.
In this classic game, one person thinks of a sentence and then must whisper it in another player’s ear. The whisper-receiver then must pass the sentence on to the next player, and so on. The goal of the game is to make each whisper so clear and enunciated that the final player can repeat the original sentence verbatim.
In order to achieve a high organic search engine ranking, you’ve got to make sure that your content is received well by your readers.
What sort of content will your audience best understand? They want content that is organized, accurate, and easy to read. They want content that solves their problems, answers their questions, and proves to have genuine value for its readers.
When your audience hears your message loud and clear, they’ll have no problem passing it along to the next guy or gal. They’ll share it readily, and the next person in line will receive it and share it, too. This is the key to organic traffic, and organic traffic is the key to high organic search rankings.
There are a lot of tips and gameplay strategies that can help boost your organic search ranking, but they all boil down to one main technique—making everything about your site audience-oriented. To take charge of your organic ranking, gain an understanding of who your audience is and what they want from you, then use this knowledge to create valuable keywords-focused content that satisfies this correlation. If you’ve done these things correctly, optimization will occur naturally and you’ll win this round of the SEO game.