When does a business owner know when he/she has done enough keyword research? Or is keyword research never done?
Rand: Until human beings stop changing how they search, keyword research really will never be done. However, building a target list and re-visiting/expanding every three to six months depending on your industry’s pace of change and the degree to which you’re focusing on SEO is a fine way to go.
Learn more about keyword research . . .
How to Optimize Page Titles & Meta Description Tags
“A title tag is the main text that describes an online document. It is the single most important on-page SEO element (behind overall content) . . . ” – SEOmoz Title Tag
What are some best practices for writing page titles?
Rand: Excellent question! I’ve got a great article on title tag development for you.
Some title tag best practices from the article include:
- Keep title tags under 70 characters
- Put important keywords close to the front of the title tag
- Incorporate your business brand name
There seems to be a debate about the value of the description meta tag for SEO. Google might use them as snippets, but sometimes will algorithmically choose its own snippet based on the search query. How important do you think the meta description tag is in SEO?
Rand: If you have pages that are receiving heavy quantities of search traffic and frequently appear in the search results, I’d work on making the meta description as compelling, unique and useful as possible. I wouldn’t, however, generally worry about meta descriptions on every page, particularly those that don’t target specific keywords for rankings or aren’t receiving much traffic (i.e. the “long tail” of content).
Learn more about optimizing pages . . .
How to Develop Useful Content
Rand, many people have heard that “content is king” in SEO, and in Google’s SEO guide, they write “creating compelling and useful content will likely influence your website more than any other factors …” This can be difficult for some small businesses that don’t feel they have anything really useful or exciting to write about. What are some creative ways you’ve seen “boring” companies develop great content for their site?
Rand: I’ve never seen an industry, niche or subject of human curiosity (which, after all, is what searching is all about) that didn’t have an opportunity for something unique, interesting and relevant. If you’re lost on where to start, try searching for forums, Q+A sites, blogs and social media hubs in your niche. There are always hundreds of questions people ask online and hundreds of topics they discuss — those are ripe for unique, quality content development.
Aside from writing articles, what other type of content can help a small business in its SEO efforts?
Rand: I love making content about your products, your data or your industry. For example, if you operate in the world of big machinery, make a graphic showing the history of construction and what people through the ages have used as substitutes for machines of the modern day.
Create a comparison chart of types of machines and what each is capable of doing. Show an interactive world map of the world’s largest construction sites, and where demand is highest. I love the creativity that inbound marketing demands – it’s one of the most rewarding parts of an SEO’s job.
How does your keyword research play a role in your content creation?
Rand: It should dictate where you spend your time and energy – focusing on content that helps answer questions (and queries) that real users have, rather than just showing off something interesting that doesn’t receive traffic.
Learn more about developing great content . . .