Have you ever heard that the customer is always right? I can say this statement isn’t completely true in regards to Digital Marketing. Sometimes, people with no expertise and an eagerness to improve a website’s search ranking, will take the matter into their own hands. After researching on google for an hour and reading a few basic articles, they’ve discovered the formula for SEO success, or at least that’s what they think. More backlinks, more keywords, more, more, more! That sounds easy enough, so why pay an expert? Unfortunately, this thought process can seriously hurt your website’s performance. Digital Marketing is like any skill, the expert makes whatever they are doing look easy, but the difference between success and failure is in the fine details, not the quantity.
When it comes to SEO, most people know link building and keyword placement are important for a website’s rank on a SERP. However, most people aren’t Digital Marketing experts. In this article, we are going to review the basics of these two factors and show that the difference between success and failure is in the fine details.
HOW BACKLINKS TO YOUR WEBSITE AFFECT SEO
To answer this question, it’s important to have a solid grasp on how Google views your website and the links connected to it. According to Moz.com, “The Google Algorithm can not only analyze the popularity of websites and pages based on the number and popularity of pages linking to them, but also metrics like trust, spam, and authority”. In a nutshell, Google can tell if a website is receiving links from trustworthy or spammy sources. Trustworthy websites can be government or university-related as well as simply popular. For example, NYTimes.com is a trustworthy website because it’s popularity is high with thousands of links pointing to the domain.
If Google sees that trustworthy websites are linking to your site, this will positively affect SEO. This idea applies both ways. Would you want to have a link on your website that sends visitors to a spam hub? Of course not. Well, you don’t want spammy sites linking to your website either. If you have nonsense backlinks to your website, the search engine algorithm will likely associate your site with spam, something unworthy of ranking high for searchers to easily find. When it comes to link building for your website, choose quality over quantity.
HOW KEYWORD PLACEMENT AFFECTS SEO
Keyword placement is straightforward, you can’t rank for keywords that aren’t incorporated in your text. If you want to rank for a certain keyword or a group of keywords, there are a few solid practices. We’ve picked three big hitters that will dramatically boost SEO if done correctly – Title tags and meta descriptions, file names and alt tags for images, and keyword density and readability.
TITLE TAGS AND META DESCRIPTIONS
With a simple search, Google explains, “Title tags and meta descriptions are bits of HTML code in the header of a web page. They help search engines understand the content on a page”. That being said, it’s extremely important to have your title contain the keywords that you want to rank for. For example, I’d like this blog post to rank for a question like – How does keyword placement affect SEO? Both keyword placement and SEO are included in the title tag of this blog post. The meta description should be directly related to the title tag, offering a short snippet for searchers to read through; a preview of what’s in your blog post.
Note how the title tag and permalink are exactly the same. WordPress automatically sets this up for bloggers because it’s important to have your keywords in the permalink as well.
FILE NAMES AND ALT TAGS FOR IMAGES
Whenever an image is uploaded to a website, the first bit of information provided to Google is the image file name. This type of fine detail is commonly overlooked but can make a huge difference in the amount of traffic your website receives. Just think, how often do you search for images on the web? The more information we can provide searchers regarding the picture, the more likely they will click on the link to your website.
Furthermore, adding alternative text is a great way to give Google and searchers even more information regarding the image. For example, let’s pretend the palm tree on the right was in a blog post identifying the different types of trees in Florida. The alternative text might be “palm trees are found predominantly in South Florida”.
KEYWORD DENSITY AND READABILITY
In order to rank high on a SERP, it’s clear that your text needs to contain the keyword. What’s not clear is how often the keyword should be mentioned. There is no definitive answer to this question. However, you might be wondering, what is the difference between incorporating the keyword eloquently and going overboard? Keyword density is simply how often the keyword is used throughout your text. A good rule of thumb for this metric is to keep your writing focused on the topic at hand. People who start reading your article are probably trying to answer a question and they’re hoping that they’ll find it in your text. If you provide them with a focused answer to their question, keyword density will develop naturally and won’t need to be overthought.
Readability is directly connected to keyword density. If a blogger is focused too much on increasing their keyword density, they might try stuffing keywords throughout their text. This usually makes for choppy writing that isn’t pleasant to read. It’s as if the writer is more focused on pleasing the Google search engine than the real-life person who’d read the article. Here’s an example of keyword stuffing:
This is an extreme example, but keyword stuffing happens frequently. The best way to avoid this mistake is by providing your readers with the best content you can offer without worrying whether or not your keyword density is high enough. If you stay focused on the topic, the article’s keyword density will be appropriate and keyword stuffing can be avoided completely.
We hope that after reading about backlinks and keyword density, you will be able to implement good SEO practices for your website. Even though I said before that the customer is not always right, they usually are. For people interested in Digital Marketing services, remember that you have a customer to serve, whoever is visiting your website. Digital Marketing is a failure with just quantity, it’s about quality and the finer details that bring success. If there are quality links connected to your site and you write content that can answer questions in a focused manner, your customers will be happy and you can both be right.