Get Specific to Excel at the New SEO



The old school of SEO thought involved rigid keyword densities, exact matches and clever search string manipulation that led to content rife with clumsy phrases. Thanks to Google's Penguin and Panda updates, that formulaic strategy is looking more and more outdated. While that's good news for Google users, it's a major challenge for webmasters and online marketers. Sites that once ranked well no longer measure up and may even be penalized for thin content, low-value links and high keyword percentages. With a few simple updates, you can keep up with Google's changes and regain lost page ranks. 

Use Natural Text

Google's algorithms have gotten vastly more sophisticated. The search engine no longer looks only at a single exact key phrase when assessing relevance; it takes related words and phrases into context. For example, a search containing "heels" could mean anything from shoes to podiatry to dog training, so Google looks in the surrounding content to provide context and return more relevant results. Good content relies on those interrelated concepts to appeal to Google and to human readers. With this more nuanced model, a page may not even contain a given keyword and still rank well. 

Get Creative with Synonyms

When people search, they often use modifiers. They look not for cars, but for used cars, vintage cars or pre-owned cars. They might even look for trucks, autos or vehicles. Working these modifiers and their synonyms into content improves its relevance to readers and therefore its value to Google. It also makes the piece easier to read for your visitors. A thesaurus can help if you find yourself stuck for synonyms. 

Showcase Your Brand

Brand recognition is vital to building your customer base, but search engines also identify you by your brand. Use your company name throughout your online writing both as hooks on which you can attach links and to make you more recognizable to Google. Combine it with the previous suggestion and use your brand's name in a variety of contexts. If you're marketing Mary's Chocolate-Dipped Pretzel Company, you might refer to it throughout your copy as Mary's, the Pretzel Company or other natural-sounding terms that buyers might use to describe it. 

Drop Names

Establishing social proof via Facebook, Twitter and Google+ is key to successful SEO content. By putting your name and the names of affiliated experts in your content, you build that reliable social media presence naturally. Names are valuable because they're highly searchable. When possible, replace "researcher," "owner" or "expert" with a known name.