SEO (Search Engine Optimization) can seem so mysterious and complicated that a lot of business bloggers would prefer to ignore it and hope their content somehow optimizes itself. But it doesn't have to complicated.
Recently I listened to a podcast episode of Internet Marketing for Smart People published by Copyblogger and Brian Clark. The subject was SEO and really, how simple it is. In Brian Clark's own words, SEO is:
Optimizing web site content so that it is friendlier to a search engine in the sense that the search engine finds that piece of content more relevant than other pieces of content for a specific search term.
It boils down to having excellent content as well as keywords, and links coming into your blog so Google thinks your content is important. And most importantly you want to use the "language of your audience" because it is people who use search engines. The search engines are responding to the words your target audience is typing into the search field. [I highly recommend you listen to the podcast with Brian Clark.]
How do you know what keywords to use and how do you know if what you've written is optimized to your best ability? The tool I use is Scribe (fee) because it practically does all the optimization for me. From suggesting keywords to scoring my content, to suggesting links, it saves me a lot of time. You can use the web-based tool or the Wordpress plugin.
You can also use free tools for keyword suggestions, like freekeywords.wordtracker.com, but you won't get the added support of analyzing your content and offering suggestions for improvement.
In the same podcast, Brian Clark talked about the recent Google Panda update* and the problems with "content farms." This is something you need to be aware of if you do a lot a article marketing with backlinks to drive traffic back to your blog.
With all content you create, whether it's for your blog or for articles, quality reigns supreme. With a few minutes of careful optimization, you will see see more traffic which means more people reading your content so you have more opportunities to create trust, credibility and relationships.
What tools do you use to optimize your content for search engines?
*If article marketing is a big part of your online marketing strategy, I recommend you check out a 75 minute program from Nicole Dean and Susanne Myers on Article Marketing Revisited that covers the Google Panda changes that affect article directories.