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How to Improve Your SEO Ranking

SEO - KeywordsPeople use search engines for answers to questions: How to clean a laminate floor?  They use search engines for directions: Where is Disney World?   They go to search in emergencies: How to stop bleeding?    If somebody has a question or a need, chances are the answer is somewhere on the Internet.  I bet you have searched for a few things yourself.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is simply the process of positioning your answer on the first page of a search engine.  People will see it and click to your website to find what they need.

No other practice I can think of provides us such direct insight into what people want and are searching for.

Keyword Identification

Keyword identification and placement is the foundation of SEO.  You must be very clear on the keywords you want to use.

When thinking about keywords, consider the following three factors:

1. Search Volume

How many people searched for a specific keyword?  Volume represents the amount of individual queries that the keyword, or group of keywords bring in every month. This is often the first big hurdle that a small business with little to no SEO experience will need to tackle.

Search volume represents how your customers actually talk, the questions they ask, not what you think they ask.

Conforming your language to match search volume language is a core discipline of good SEO. Allowing this data to drive your content will help your SEO to take off.

You are looking for keywords that bring in significant traffic every month.

Don’t invest time and money in an SEO strategy that is doomed from the start because there is no search volume. Let keyword data guide and shape the language you use on
your website.

2. Competition

The second thing to consider is how difficult it is going to be to rank on the first page. Moz.com provides a keyword difficulty tool to use for research.
The competition for a particular keyword depends on a number of different factors.

*Is the keyword monetizable? The more money involved, the more competition.
*How much volume does the keyword bring in?
*Do large brands that dominate page 1 and 2 of the search results for the search term?

You can rank for any keyword, your success depends on how much time and resources you are willing to invest. If slots 1 – 10 on the first page of the search results are all large companies that you know, then you can safely assume that it is a very competitive keyword and it will take significant investment to rank for that word.

3. Intent

Intent is simply the safe assumptions that you can make about the person who is searching the term. This is where you need to put on your psychoanalyst hat.

Here is an example:

What is the reason for searching business?   Who might be searching that term?  It’s impossible to know. There are countless reasons and types of people who might be searching the term “business.”

What about for the keyword: “best accounting software for small business”? What might you surmise about the searcher for this term? It’s rather simple. This searcher is most likely a small business owner or manager looking for accounting software that is served up online and geared for small businesses.

End Result:

So when you are starting to think about SEO, you need to consider all three: the keywords, the competition, and the intent of the person searching.   SEO doesn’t improve instantly, so be patient and continue to put these items into you SEO decision making and before long you will find yourself ranking higher.