SEO Tips for Dummies and Everyone Else

I know sometimes I’m overwhelmed with trying to get search engine optimization right, as it can be overwhelming. I just finished reading Search Engine Optimization All-in-One for Dummies by Bruce Clay for that reason. Don’t be daunted by its size: it’s actually 10 books in one, each a little more advanced than the next.

For Beginners

Clay does a fantastic job of outlining exactly what SEO is and why businesses should care. He goes on to provide tools and resources for doing your own keyword research and finding the words you want people to use to find your website.

One point I found useful is his discussion on keyword density. This refers to the number of times a given keyword appears in text in relation to how many words there are on the page. So if your have an entire page of the word “keyword,” 500 times, your keyword density would be 100%. This is bad! Clay suggests having a density of no more than 5% of your total page content.

He breaks it down for a 750-word article with 5 paragraphs:

  • One keyword in the first sentence.
  • Twice in the first 200 words (including that first one)
  • Once in the second, third and fourth paragraph
  • Once or twice in the fifth

Something I’d add to this equation is the natural flow of the keywords. We’ve all seen content like this on spammy sites:

Sugar makes food taste sugary. It’s sugar taste adds a zest of sugar to any sugar-filled item.

This turns readers off, and search engines too. Focus on using the keywords naturally throughout the copy without stuffing them in unnaturally.

For More Advanced Readers

Clay’s book is great because as your knowledge advances, you can learn more in subsequent books within the bigger book. Like using title tags, meta descriptions, headings and keywords. These are tools search engines use to determine what your page is about. They can’t be seen by readers of your site (except the title and description, which appear in search engine results). You can use your keywords here as well. Clay suggests looking at your competitors to see how many words they use in each of these areas, and matching or beating them. Use targeted keywords sprinkled in, and use different keywords on each page to target different searches.

If you’re looking for a primer, or even a resource to step up your SEO game, check out Search Engine Optimization All-in-One for Dummies.

Susan Payton is the President of Egg Marketing & Communications, an internet marketing firm specializing in marketing communications, copywriting and blog posts. She’s written two books: 101 Entrepreneur Tips and Internet Marketing Strategies for Entrepreneurs, and has blogged for several sites, including The Marketing Eggspert Blog, as well as MashableSmall Business TrendsFutureSimple, BizLaunchandLead411. Follow her on Twitter @eggmarketing.

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