As an SEO expert, especially in the realm of marketing writing, I have my ‘secret optimization’ tips that I use to really grab Google’s attention in the SERPs.
These are my three most powerful SEO tips.
SEO Expert Tips
These secrets aren’t some arcane knowledge available only to a powerful few. They aren’t really secrets, either — just search engine optimization techniques that the average site owner or blogger doesn’t bother with using.
- Optimize your images
- Use plenty of internal links
- Write in a natural, conversational style
1. Optimize Your Images
Images are the unsung heroes of search engine optimization. Many people use Google Images to find out more about a topic of interest. Just the other day, I used Google’s Image search to identify a bug, check on a rash on my cat, and find a map of a city I used to live in. Okay, weird searches to be sure, but a Cooperative Extension website, veterinary hospital site, and a town website each received search engine traffic from those images.
When optimizing images, be sure to incorporate several best practices:
- License images properly and be sure to follow use and attribution requirements or take your own pictures
- Resize images from your camera to minimize the file size! This is super important. Big images slow down your website and Google hates slow sites. Resize as JPGs to the proper size for your site.
- Use a compression tool such as the Smush WordPress plugin to further shrink image file size and make them load faster.
- Rename the file with your keyword phrase.
- Add an alt tag that accurately describes the image and utilizes a keyword phrase or synonym if appropriate
SEO experts agree that optimizing images may help boost your posts!
2. Use plenty of internal links
I love internal links for SEO for a variety of reasons. Not only do they link to other content on your site as a helpful resource to readers but they give Google’s crawls more pathways to follow to find and index additional pages.
Use plenty of internal links but be sure to link from a keyword phrase or at least a useful phrase. Avoid “click here” and “learn more.” Yes, I know, this SEP expert has indeed done that on this website, but I do so only when it is a simple call to action. Blog posts like this one are linked from within to juicy keyword phrases.
3. Write in a natural, conversational style
Have you heard of BERT? BERT is Google’s new natural language processing code and it is driving an enormous change throughout many industries. It’s an open-source code, which means that Google has shared it with other companies, too.
BERT processes language in context. It can read the words both before and after a phrase to understand a search query better. Unlike other artificial intelligence language processors that look at words in sequence, BERT can understand everything in context…so it knows when you mean the past or present tense of the verb “read” for example.
More people search using voice-activated tools than ever before and that trend is likely to continue in the future. The more natural your online content sounds, the better.
Avoid stilted, outdated SEO writing that uses rigid rules to infuse keyword phrases into the content. The days of writing X keywords Y number of times into the content and calling it a day are over and have been since 2012.
Natural writing, conversational writing, and writing that matches a user’s query exactly carry more weight with Google than ever before.
Revise, Refresh, Keep Writing
Revise and refresh old blog posts. Keep writing new ones.
One of the beautiful things about the internet and search engine optimization is that it’s never-ending. I used to think of it as “once and done” but it’s really an ongoing, evolutionary process.
As you learn more about SEO, use what you have learned to improve old posts..
If you need help, we’re running a Winter Blogging Special to help you produce SEO blog writing that gets your blog noticed.
Jeanne Grunert, president of Seven Oaks Consulting, is an award-winning direct and digital marketer with over 20 years of senior marketing leadership experience. She’s passionate about mentoring marketing managers and providing exceptional content marketing programs and services to Seven Oaks clients. Jeanne holds an M.S. (awarded with distinction) in Direct and Interactive Marketing from New York University and frequently lectures on content marketing, search engine optimization, and project management techniques.J