A Needle in the Haystack: Search Optimization for a Crowded Marketplace
by Andrew Millar
Trying to guide potential customers to your site can feel like the proverbial needle in the haystack. You know your content and message are useful but getting others to find it proves impossible. Rather than giving up on your search optimization efforts, narrow your focus and engage in these five tips for standing out in crowded search engine searches.
Make it Engaging
One of the “black hat” search engine optimization tricks that is now backfiring on sites is keyword stuffing. Search engines are cracking down on meandering, useless articles jam packed with search optimization terms. Instead, search engines are rewarding sites that create meaningful, engaging content that answers user’s questions. Focusing efforts on superior quality content is step one to search optimization because it ensures that search engines single out your site for top results.
Be Unique and Consistent
Creating a strong brand foundation is key to search optimization. Too often, businesses dilute their brand by slightly altering their name to suit availability on social media and websites. It may not seem like a disadvantage to be www.xyzbusiness.net on your website, BusinessXYZ on Facebook, and XYZCo on Twitter but customers can be easily discouraged and confused by multiple versions of the same name. Start your online presence off on the right foot by picking a consistent name for your brand and making sure that any variations redirect customers to the correct site. Scoop up XYZCo on Twitter but make sure it heads customers to XYZBusiness to standardize your brand.
Help Your Message Make a Splash
Self promotion is one of the easiest ways to boost search optimization. Each article and blog post that references your business or is posted on your business site needs to be cross posted to each social media site. Asking fans and customers to spread the message can also help increase search results. Make your posts interactive by asking fans questions at the end or encouraging discussion about products and services. While pushy promotions can be annoying and lose fans, there is a benefit to gently driving traffic to your message.
Specialize Your Keywords
Search engines are crowded with content, good and bad. If you plan on standing out with keywords like “cool hats” or “printer toner”, you’re fighting a losing battle. With over 46 million and 48 million hits respectively, no amount of keyword stuffing is going to launch a site to the top of that saturated search. Instead, businesses need to focus their efforts on promoting specialized keywords. Getting more specific with “cool retro hats for men” or “pink printer toner for hp printers” will slash the number of sites against which you’re competing to 11 million and 4 million respectively.
Look Outside Your Content
Keywords shouldn’t just be confined to your content. They need to be liberally sprinkled in the code, the page source, and in keyword tags. An article focusing on pink printer toner for HP printers should have a title that utilizes that keyword, such as “Where Can I Find Pink Printer Toner for HP Printers?”, include the keyword in multiple variations, and be posted under “www.xyzcompany.com/blog/pink-printer-toner-for-hp-printers”. Making sure that each articles specific keyword is integrated well into every step of the posting process will ensure that you achieve maximum search optimization. Can you tell what the keyword is in this blog? (Hint: check the title.)
Search optimization doesn’t have to be a needle in the haystack situation. By properly standardizing your brand, integrating specific keywords into each portion of your posts, and encouraging fan interaction, your business can climb to the top of the search engine results. Use these five tips for search optimization and launch your business to the top of the charts.