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Doing SEO for the people and not the search engines could pay off more in the long run
When you're doing SEO for yourself or a client, you may think you need to do everything specifically for Google. What if I told you that Google wants you to do everything you can for the reader and your visitors? Yup, they want you to optimize for the people coming to your website and not their search engines in particular. If you can deliver the best user experience, while optimizing your pages, you have a winning combination that Google will love and send traffic to gradually.
Below I'll go over some things you should focus on when it comes to optimizing for the user and not just the search engine, and they are.
On Page Optimization
Your on page optimization is pretty much your business card when people come to your site. It won't be the first thing they notice, and it shouldn't be, but it will be sprinkled in there just enough for the search engines to be happy.
When you name an article or page, you need to think of the people in mind. No one wants to click on something that is stuffed with keywords and doesn't make much sense. All you have to do is write a title that you would click on, and people will follow. Don't over optimize but be sure to get your targeted keyword in there once, so the search engines are sure what the page is all about.
A lot of people worry so much about their keyword density and will go back through their article if it's only 1% or 2% and then stuff some additional keywords in there until they get to 3%, 4%, or 5%. This will usually make your article less user-friendly, and Google will notice. Sure, having a keyword density of 5% or lower will be good for your rankings but you need to understand that the content has to be readable and high quality. If you finish your content and it only has a keyword density of 2%, then let it live like that. People will like it, and Google will love that they like it and boost your rankings.
Custom images always do better than stock ones, and this is because it shows you took the time to make an image for your website instead of paying $10+ a month for a stock image website. Sure, you could use a stock image and edit it, so it's unique, but it will still look underwhelming than if you were to bite the bullet and purchase a high quality image for the blog post or page. If it's for a static page, then you'll only have to buy it once, and it will work for a long time. Blog posts are usually visited less, and you might not want to use high quality images, and that's ok because you can change them out later, but you'll want to use great images more often than stock ones.
The beauty of this is that Google can't read an image just yet, so they rely on your alt tag to tell them what the image is about. This is where your optimization skills come into play, and you can edit the file name as well as the tag for better effect. Your users won't see the optimization, but you're using unique and high quality images, which is where the user experience comes into play.
You want to be transparent, and this means you should always have a detailed "Contact Us" as well as an "About Us" page for people to see how you are before calling your office. If you don't have these, you will be seen as a website and not a business, which is not what you want to be seen as, because it's going to reduce your success rate.
This isn't so much an SEO trick, it's more of a user experience and trust building action, and you should always be doing this no matter what website you're putting up.
Off Page Optimization
Your off page SEO is more than building links wherever you can, and using short-tailed keywords aimed at your homepage. You need to do various things and think of your users in the end, so Google loves you more than usual.
When you're building backlinks, you have to use your anchors just right. You need to use your domain name as a keyword, your short keywords, and your long-tailed keywords all as anchor text. If you do this you will have a varied anchor profile across all of your links and this will help the most overall.
When you're linking to your website you can't just link to the homepage, you need to connect to subpages and blog pages as well. Your posts, guest posts, and any other type of backlink you're creating need to be wrapped in relevant content to the page you're linking to have the biggest bang. You also need to keep it light and simple, no need to use complicated jargon that 90% of the readers might not understand, so remember you're writing for the reader and not the search engines.
Branding Your Website/Business
Building backlinks with your business and website in mind, rather than a backlink with exact anchors, will help you out in the long run when it comes to branding. This will help you get seen as an authority in the eyes of the reader/user, and they will usually trust you a bit more because a 3rd party website was talking about you and not just your services or products.
Social media doesn't have a significant impact on your rankings, but it will be where a lot of your visitors will try to contact you. It doesn't matter if you have a detailed contact page with phone numbers and emails, people will still message you on facebook, so be sure to be active on most of the big platforms, so you don't miss anything.
If you respond quickly enough, with great information, you will boost your credibility over time, and they will likely tell their friends and family about you later on down the road.
In the end,
When you're doing SEO, you always need to think of how Google will see your actions, but you need to do all the work for the people you're targeting. You need to prioritize a users experience first because that's what Google wants. The search engines want people to have the best time possible, which is why you're doing visitor/reader SEO and publishing content for the people, not just the engines. Do this, and you will see your rankings gradually increase, and we never know what the future algorithm updates are doing, so you could be ahead of the game
Thanks for reading
- Tommy Carey