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October 2, 2008

SEO Intervention; Stop Driving Yourself Crazy and Start Getting Results!

Do you drive yourself crazy trying to keep up with the latest SEO trends? If so, Stop! Please. You have enough to worry about already. Quit running yourself ragged or spending a fortune trying to keep up with the latest and greatest SEO tricks and tips. The truth is search engine optimization has not changed nearly as much as experts (trying to sell you something) might want you to think.

To be perfectly honest getting to the top of Google, Yahoo, MSN or any other search engine is largely dependent on the quality of your Web pages. There’s no magic formula you must follow to the letter but there are a number of simple things you can better understand and do to help get you to the top of ANY search engine. It’s a lot easier than most people think.

First and most importantly, remember that search engines only care about your Web pages, NOT the whole site. If you end up with enough high ranking PAGES from a single site on Google, you can become a what it considers to be an “authority site” which can automatically double your top ten rankings. Here’s what I mean…

If you do a search on and search for “SEO partner” (without the quotes) you will see that number one looks like a normal return while number two is indented. You have just witnessed an authority site’s usurping of an extra top spot. There is a good chance that the indented one was actually number six or even fifteen. But since it is from an authority site it got to cut the line and push everybody else’s listings down one.

Secondly, the biggest and most important search engines use something called a natural text algorithm. This means they can tell when you are writing text that is intended more for search engine spiders than for actual people, and they will ding you for it. So to keep quality high, simply write your page text as if you were describing your goods or services to a good friend. Let the words flow and don’t get hung up on things like keyword density and ideal placement. We’ve got a great technique for that coming up next.

Keyword density is an outdated concept for the most part. As long as you don’t spam the text by having your keyword blatantly repeated or inserted in areas that don’t make sense, you will be OK. If having a guideline helps, plan to use each keyword about five or six times on each page and no more than twice in a single paragraph.

Keyword proximity is another concept that is a bit outdated but still somewhat valid. What that means is you should be aware of where your keywords go but you do not need to follow a strict formula of placing them in exact locations. Just be strategic. Put them where they make the most sense in context. Don’t force them to fit in one location just because it is the first sentence of the third paragraph or whatever. It helps the reader and the search engine if you can mention your main keyword toward the beginning of the page text and toward the end, but this is not a hard and fast rule. It’s just a suggestion.

As for the number of keywords you optimize a single page for, do what makes sense for the page length. If the page is really long and you have room for several keywords to be featured with good natural ext, go for it. As a rule of thumb I try to limit each page to about three keywords but that’s just because it helps me stay better organized and does not confuse the readers by splitting their focus too much. The other reason is because I really want it featured prominently in the page title.

Speaking of the title, this is one of the few META tags we care about and it’s a pretty big deal. Use the title as your chance to show off your keywords. After all, this is what your visitors searched for. Don’t feel that a page title needs to be clever and captivating like a book title. In fact this is probably the easiest part. Just take your keywords, in order of importance, and separate them with a comma or pipe (the vertical key over the enter key.) That’s it! Just remember most search engine will only count the first 64 letters.

So if you did a page on search engine optimization tips with the following keywords: “SEO, Search Engine Optimization, SEO Tips” your title could be just that. Or you can use my favorite and it would look like this “SEO | Search Engine Optimization | SEO Tips.”

And by the way, when Google sees “SEO Tips” it is counting the word SEO and Tips as individual words so the title text “SEO, SEO Tips” has the word SEO repeated. Just two instances of one keyword so close is not really SPAM but it’s good to be aware of.

I mentioned that the Title tag is one of the few META tags we care about. Another is the Description tag. No magic here. Just be sure to write it naturally and include a couple of your keywords if they fit in well. And you can make this as long as you like but most search engines don’t use more than the first 250 characters. Most importantly, think of the Description as your big chance to get people interested enough to visit your page. This is sales copy first.

Once someone lands on your page they will be looking for a little guidance. Give it to them with Headings (H1, H2, etc.) Think of a heading as an on page title use a similar keyword strategy, just not as cut and dry. Here it is a good idea to have not only your keyword but also some descriptive supporting text. Something like “SEO Tips That Really Work” is a good example. We have our SEO Tips keyword and reinforce it with a statement that the information they are about to read actually works. Too simple? Yes. It really is.

While headings are your first visual cue to the reader, links are the ones that really draw them in. Make sure your on page links stand out and contain relevant anchor text (clickable keywords.)

If you really want to get the most out of your online real estate consider dedicating one page to each major keyword and linking to it from the anchor text on another page. For example, the words SEO Tips would be great anchor text to a page titled “SEO Tips | Search Engine Optimization Strategies.”

The final piece of this SEO puzzle is linking. Quality inbound links will account for most of your success on Goggle and several other top search engines. You need to get the highest quality links possible and build optimal reciprocal linking partnerships. This is HUGE!

The final piece of this SEO puzzle is linking. Quality inbound links will account for most of your success on Google and several other top search engines. You need to get the highest quality links possible and build optimal reciprocal linking partnerships. This is HUGE!

You can do it all manually or use an inexpensive SEO software tool like the one found at I’ve done it both ways and find that good software saves me about 10 to 15 hours each week, per site. But either way, manually or with a tool, focus your efforts on linking as much as possible. While onsite optimization is a one time (or at least limited) thing, linking should be part of your weekly routine.

Good luck!

With 10 years experience under his SEO belt, Scott Jason started in 2006. Since then he has helped dozens of client as an SEO copywriter and specialist with hundreds of top rankings to his credit on Google, MSN and Yahoo.