In an effort to appear in search engine results, marketers of the 90’s would stuff their websites with keywords commonly searched by internet users. Search engine optimization (SEO) techniques focused on inserting as many keywords into the content of the website as possible. This practice usually sacrificed the message of the content, often times stuffing it with so many keywords that the content was difficult to understand.

Over time, changes to Google’s algorithm placed less emphasis on keyword-stuffed content and began penalizing websites that used too many keywords by hiding them deeper into the search results. In September, the Panda 4.1 update to Google’s algorithm started to penalize websites that stuffed keywords into the title tags and meta descriptions, as well as in the content of the page.

According to Shareaholic.com, Internet search results account for one-third of all internet traffic. Learning to optimize your website the right way is important to your success. Google’s algorithm for search results is constantly changing, which can make it difficult for content marketers to succeed. However, there is one rule everyone seems to agree on when it comes to SEO:

Forget the Keywords and Just Write Quality Content

Focus on Quality Content for a Target Audience

To improve the SEO for your website, focus on quality content targeted to your audience. What does your target customer or reader find important? Instead of building the pages of your site or basing your blog articles around keywords, take time to plan content that relates to the needs, wants, problems, or emotions of your target customer.

Avoid Advertising in Your Content

It’s tempting to use your website or blog posts to promote your products or services. After all, that’s the reason you have a website in the first place, right? Self-promotional pitches and blatant advertising will not result in repeat readers or sales. Don’t use your website real estate like a billboard. Instead, create content that is unique and offers value to your readers.

SEO Requires You Pay Attention to the Little Things

Since keywords don’t play the role they used to play when it comes to SEO, there are the other things you can do to help your site show up in the search results. Moz.com recommends trying these techniques:

  • Keep URL under 90 characters
  • Keep page title under 75 characters
  • Keep meta descriptions under 160 characters

Long-Tail Keywords May Help Your SEO

Using one specific keyword creates a problem by placing limits on your search discovery results. This not only makes it difficult to rank on search engines, but you also miss out on the niche markets your competition might not be focusing on. Most people use multiple words or a phrase to find information on search engines. These three to four word groupings are called long-tail keywords. They relate to your brand, your products, and your services and can help your website gain visibility over time.

For example, a business that sells furniture will find it nearly impossible to rank in the search results by using “furniture” as a keyword. The competition is far too great. Going with a specific, long-tail keyword like “chestnut bonded leather sofa” will bring more targeted traffic looking for that exact product.

Remember Mobile Users

A report from Marketingland.com states that 60% of internet access is made from a mobile device. Therefore, when creating a website, it’s important to make it mobile responsive. Google is starting to look at the usability and functionality of a website as part of their SEO algorithm, so making your website mobile responsive is a good quality to have in order to get higher rankings.

Focusing on the overall usability of your website and providing quality content will keep you ahead, rather than trying to use temporary SEO strategies to help your site gain in the search engines until the next algorithm change.

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