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The 4 Most Important Aspects of Search Engine Optimization

Search engine optimization, or SEO, is a complex and ongoing process. It’s absolutely essential to any website, however, since search engines still direct around 90-95% of all internet traffic today. There’s a lot of conflicting information available on the web, but here’s a guide to the four most important aspects of good search engine optimization.

1. Quality content
Content is your website’s cash cow. It’s what will bring people to it, so you need to have the most relevant and well-written content you can get your hands on. If you hire a writer, make sure he/she is knowledgeable about writing for the web and understands how to avoid overusing keywords. Check your articles and blogs for duplicate content elsewhere on the web by using a service such as Copyscape. In addition, make sure your content gets regular updates and provides readers with genuinely useful information.

2. Keyword density
When you have good content that’s updated on a regular basis, it needs to have the right keyword density. Choose one or two keywords/phrases and make sure each relevant piece has a density of about 3-5%. For example, a 500 word article about French restaurants in Chicago should contain that full phrase at least once and the keywords “French restaurant(s)” and “Chicago” about fifteen times combined for 3% density. This is where a dedicated, experienced SEO writer comes in handy, since there’s a fine line between keyword stuffing and low density. Low density will result in lower page ranking on the search engines, while keyword stuffing may actually get your site marked as spam and then penalized.

3. Back links
Back links are another part of SEO that many webmasters don’t fully understand and utilize in all the wrong ways. Back links serve a two-fold purpose; first, they give people and search engine crawlers more chances to find your pages, and second, search engines look at them sort of like votes to verify a site’s credibility. As with keywords, however, back links can be overdone. The key is to let them accumulate over time naturally, and to have them placed in high-quality areas. Look at blogs, forums, and related websites as places to put back links. For example, the French restaurant in Chicago can get good back links by soliciting hospitality websites, local bloggers, travel forums, etc. Just remember the cardinal rule of the internet, however: Don’t Leave Spam! Websites that drop their links everywhere without genuinely participating in the community do themselves more harm than good.

4. Social media presence

Social media networks are not a direct aspect of SEO like content, keywords, and back links, but they are very important for building a sustainable website. First, when websites have a social media presence, they can connect quicker and easier to their users and discover what’s important to them, what’s popular, and so on. Second, using social media sharing buttons on your content allows viewers to more easily share it with others, which means more chances to get discovered and the potential for more back links. Just make sure you are genuinely and actively engaged on whatever networks you choose to utilize, otherwise you’re just another spammer.

There are a lot more aspects to SEO and each of the ones mentioned here could easily be the subject of multiple articles in and of themselves. However, these are the basics of what you need to know. Content, keywords, back links, and social networks are all essential to search engine optimization and every webmaster should be dedicated to improving them on his/her website.