When doing business on the Internet, one of the highest goals a website can aim for is to be first on the list when someone searches for a particular term on any given search engine. There is a technique used for creating website content that lands at the top of the first page of a relevant Internet search known as Search Engine Optimization, or SEO. What is SEO? You are looking at it right now.
SEO uses metrics and calculations from various sources to develop written content that attracts search engines. For instance, if I search for ‘red apples’ in a given search engine, I’ll be given a list of websites that the search engine believes are most relevant to my input of ‘red apples’. In its most basic form, the search may simply return the website that has the phrase ‘red apples’ appearing most often in its content. This may or may not help me, the searcher, in my quest. It will definitely lead to website creators stuffing the term ‘red apples’ into their content as often as possible. As a result, search engines have begun using more and more complex algorithms to find the best, most relevant content for my chosen search phrase.
Google, Inc. has become a household name synonymous with the phrase ‘search engine’. It has done so by developing the largest collection of information utilized by the pickiest and most accurate algorithms in the business. With its latest advances, Google can literally give a user a relevant list of websites before the user has finished typing in their search terms. That’s pretty darn quick. It should come as no surprise, then, that website creators now try to cater their content to Google specifically, rather than just search engines in general. SEO designers charge quite a bit of money to review and change your website content so that it appears at the top of the list of search suggestions on Google’s home page whenever someone enters a search term relevant to their clients’ business.
There is a definite art to SEO. Google and others have begun weeding out content that they determine to be stuffed with keywords. If a piece of content has a particular term in it twenty or thirty times in a short paragraph, the search engines assume that the content creators are up to no good, and block that content from appearing in search lists. But, if content has your relevant term in it just one time fewer than the limits set by the search engine, that content will likely pop up at the top of the list of suggested websites. How, exactly, does a website owner make the best use of this?
The easiest step is to create a title that has popular keywords in it. This is heavily weighted by search engines and can often be enough to get a high listing. Most content creators use tools such as Google Trends to find popular terms and write their titles accordingly. This is where the Myth of the Red Summer Dog Cake comes in.
Let’s try an example. By using Google Trends, look for the most popular term among the list: red, yellow, green, blue, and orange. You’ll see that the highest steady search term is red. You’ll also see that it pops up in news reports the most. Now, do the same thing for popular terms in seasonal categories, pets to keep at home, and desserts for family gatherings. In the end, you’ll most likely come up with these terms: red, Summer, dog(s), and cake. It only stands to reason that content written with a title containing all of these terms would skyrocket to the top of every search engine on Earth. Hence, my new article on Red Summer Dog Cake – The Latest Craze for Cool People.
Unfortunately, that’s not quite how it works. If it were, I’d be rich from advertising and so would millions of other web surfers around the globe. Though many people make a very good living strictly through the application of good SEO practices, those practices don’t end with keyword selection techniques that generate such horrific ideas as the Red Summer Dog Cake, or English Hot Lunch Cereal. Get the picture?
The best way to drive traffic to your content is to create copy that tells people what they want to know about a particular subject in a fresh, straightforward, and enjoyable way. Your readers will spread the word and forward your links and your site will go viral over night while other web masters think of engaging new topics based solely on trends and soulless keyword stuffing.