If you own a website or are a freelance writer or are considering getting a new website for your business or personal use, you’ve probably heard the term SEO. SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization, and it gets a lot of hype in most ‘How to Promote Your Website and Get Better Search Engine Rankings’ articles. In fact, if you read a lot of those, you really will get the impression that SEO is absolutely the number one and possibly the only thing you have to do to get more visitors to your website. After all, if you’re number 1 in Google, you’re going to get all the traffic. This isn’t quite true, and if all you’re considering is SEO for your website, you’re going to be greatly disappointed.


Understanding SEO

SEO is anything anyone types into a search engine to find information, a product or a service. This means that every time you use a search engine to search for anything on the Internet, you’ve put in an SEO search term. While there are common search terms that people are mostly likely to use when searching for a particular thing, not everyone types the same words. 

For example, I was searching kidnapping and prison terms and punishments for kidnappers the other day in an effort to find out information that is relevant for the novel I am currently writing. I typed in various search terms, including:

  • Kidnapping Charges

  • Degrees of Kidnapping

  • Types of Kidnapping

  • Kidnapping Defenses

  • Kidnapping Prison Sentences

Every single one of those phrases is consider SEO because that’s what I used to search for legal information. You may be wondering why I used so many. It’s because different information and websites are displayed for each of those key terms, and I wanted to make sure I had thoroughly researched the topic. To research the same information, you may not have chosen those keywords, which is what makes SEO so difficult to predict.

Understanding SEO Optimization

When it comes to websites, you want to make sure it is SEO optomized. Even if you have no concept of SEO optimization, you know that it has something to do with the words people type into search engines to find products, services and information. 

SEO Optimization is the process of tagging your website and the articles in your website with specific terms related to the topic or service being explained in the article or on the website.

Where Do Website Developers and Administrations Put SEO Search Terms?

The short answer is everywhere, and it starts with the domain name. For example, I used my own name as the domain name for this website, but if you own a business or company, you probably want the name of your business or company as your domain name. Just think about Walmart, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, Google, Microsoft. All these companies use their company name as their domain name. This is because once customers, clients and potential website visitors know who you are or the name of your business, that’s what they are going to type into the search engine to find you.

Where Else Do Web Designers and Administrators Put SEO Terms?

  • In the site description (SEO Site Meta Description)

  • In the site name (SEO Site Name)

  • In the site keywords box (If you have one. You should have one.)

  • In the titles of all articles and webpages

  • In the SEO meta descriptions and keywords for all articles, blog posts and webpages

  • In the SEO boxes for all menu items

  • In category descriptions

  • Inside the articles themselves as part of the article text

  • In any other element that has a text input box

Where Do People Find SEO Keywords?

Since SEO is such a guessing game, many webdesigners and web admin use programs to help them find good SEO keywords and article topics that are SEO optimized for the most commonly used terms. Probably the best one to use is the one located in Google Adwords. You’ll want to click on “discover new keywords”. It’ll ask you to put in a term. I put in ‘thriller author’ as an example and I got back such fantastic and relevant results as:

  • Paula Hawkins

  • Books Like Gone Girl

  • Catherine Coulter FBI Series

  • Best Selling Thriller Books

  • Orphan X Books in Order

None of those keywords are really relevant to what I do, aside from Best Selling Thriller Books. I could do something with that. The rest of it is pretty useless for my needs, and when you search for good keywords for your website and articles, you need to be able to make that determination. A lot of people who work on and develop and maintain websites don’t think about this. They want to answer one question – What SEO keyword will send my website to the top of the Google Rankings so that I can get all the customers and increase my website revenue to the stratosphere?

Well, if that’s the only metric, I guess I’m going to write a bunch of articles on Paula Hawkins. That was the first result returned. It has low competition and anywhere from 100 to 10,000 people search her name for the given time period, and I have clients that do this, except they want a topic that has nothing to do with that keyword. An example of that would be someone who wants an article written on Best Western books or Western Fiction authors with the keyword Paula Hawkins. There’s only one problem with that. According to the research I just did, Paula Hawkins doesn’t write Westerns or anything cowboy-themed. She’s written two books. The Girl on the Train, which is listed under Psychological Thrillers and Contemporary Romance. Her second book, Into the Water, is another Psychological Thriller also listed in Women’s Fiction and Supernatural Thrillers. As a writer and a website owner, I can reasonably assume that individuals who want great western books, probably don’t want to read a psychological thriller. While writing something like this may increase website traffic, it’s probably going to piss off more visitors than it will entice.

This goes for every other industry too. If someone is looking for a new home, they don’t want to read articles on how to renovate their current home or how an addition will make their home so fantastic they’ll want to stay in it. If someone is looking for space heaters, they’re probably not looking to replace their current furnace. There’s a big price difference between buying a space heater and installing a new furnace. Not to mention, there may be someone in the house, like me, who is chronically cold until it’s about 85 degrees outside. I need a space heater. The rest of my family doesn’t want to feel like their in a broiler.

What Other Programs Can help You Find Keywords?

There are lots of programs and websites that can help you find good SEO keywords. It’s up to you to make sure they are relevant for your blog post, article, webpage and website. Some other places include:

  • KWFinder – I have never used these guys

  • SERPS – I have never used these guys.

  • Keyword Tool – I have never used these guys

  • SmallSEO Tools – I use these guys, but mostly just their plagiarism tool

Human Readability and SEO

Another huge factor in how well your website ranks in search engines has to do with the human readability of your site. In other words, can your site be read and understood by humans. Google uses human readability as part of its ranking algorithm. This is because if your website is not easily understood by someone reading it, they aren’t going to stick around. In fact, when I was searching kidnapping yesterday, I found more than one website that I couldn’t read or that contained partial or potentially inaccurate information. The human readability part of the algorithm is supposed to cut down on those types of useless results and frustrating user experiences. It’s supposed to weed out content that is keyword stuffed. It is also becoming more important than using the absolute perfect keyword. For this website, I rely more on human readability and high-quality content than I do on SEO, but I also incorporate some SEO, especially in meta descriptions and keyword boxes.

Another thing that human readability takes care of is grammatically incorrect keywords. You’ll notice these when you read an article, blog post or webpage and you come across something like: dentist Jacksonville FL or Contractor HVAC Houston. This is someone who researched keywords and copy and pasted them into a keyword box in their article request form. As a freelancer, I’m going to do everything I can not to use those keywords like that. It looks awful. It makes visitors pause, and it lowers the human readability score. However, I do have clients that demand those terms so into the content exactly as they are specified. Grammatically incorrect and improperly punctuated. Needless to say, your human readability score will take a hit.

High-Quality Articles Will Keyword Themselves

Another thing to keep in mind is that well-written, high-quality articles will keyword themselves. If you’re talking about the Best Romance Books on the Market Today, a well-researched and well-throughout article or blog post on this topic will keyword itself. For an article like this, you’d expect to see best-selling romance author’s names. You’d expect to see at least one subheading with something like: Today’s Bestselling Romance Authors, and if your freelance writer really does a good job, it’s going to include those book titles and links to where they can be purchased.

Understanding Keyword Stuffing

Keyword stuffing is the practice of putting unrelated keywords into an article or using a related search engine term and putting it in the article too many times. The former is like I mentioned above, where the article is about Westerns, and the keyword is an author that doesn’t write westerns. 

The latter involves asking for a keyword to encompass more than 1 percent of the article’s total words. In other words, for every 100 words of content, a keyword can appear once. There’s some leeway to that metric. For example, if you have a 500-word article and you mention romance authors six times, you’re okay. If it’s in there 10 times, you may want to pick some alternative ways of saying romance author, if for no other reason than it’s going to start looking repetitive. The worst I’ve ever seen this was an article on remodeling where they wanted the term ‘hom remodeling’ listed 25 times. That’s right, home was misspelled. By the way, the days of incorporating misspelled keywords are also over.

Don’t Forget Other Ways of Spreading the Word About Your Website, Service or Product

Many website designers and business owners spend a ridiculous amount of time caught up with finding the perfect keyword that will skyrocket their pages to the top of the search engine results. No matter how many SEO experts tell you they can get you to rank #1 in all the search engines, don’t believe them. This is the same tactic that diet pill website use. Take our pill, you’ll lose 20 pounds in the first week! If it sounds too good to be true….

SEO is only the beginning. You also need high-quality content. You need to frequently update your website. This means that every website needs a blog. Basic webpages are fairly static. Once they’re up and there’s content on them, unless the services or product change, there’s no reason to update them. Blogs can change. There’s always a blog article to write on any given topic in any given industry. Not to mention, new blog posts and existing blog posts can be shared via social media, which is a fantastic way to get more eyes on your website. About 90 percent of my traffic comes from social media. The other 10 percent comes from search engines and people who have bookmarked the site. Additionally, you can take out ads on various search engines. That’ll get you to number one in the search results. It also gives you the opportunity to be featured on websites that host those particular types of ads via the affiliate program, and don’t forget that you can boost your posts on social media in order to reach a wider audience.