Professional communicators in charge of digital walk a fine line between optimizing their Web pages for search and inviting Google's wrath by attempting to game the system. Getting it right requires becoming well-versed in some of the more technical components of website building and staying up-to-date on algorithm changes. All of that needs to be tempered by the directive of producing quality content, not just content that will appeal to Google.
With that goal in mind, here are three quick tips for improving your ranking on Google, courtesy of Simon Heseltine, senior director of audience development at AOL and a featured speaker at PR News’ Dec. 10 Newbie Boot Camp for Digital Communicators:
Research keywords. Make sure that you’re using the right terms that people are searching for when looking for the content you’re putting out there. If you’re not using the right keywords, you’re not going to be found for them. For example, if you’re writing about green widgets and don’t use that term, then the search engines aren’t going to rank you as highly as someone who does use that term. This is especially true when you think about the entities in your content. If you’re writing about a person, make sure to use their full name. If you’re writing about something that’s location-specific, be sure to mention that location.
- Have those keywords flow into your meta tags. Your Title tag and your Meta Description tag should display in the search results when someone searches. Google may decide to show something slightly different, but if you’re using the right keywords and flowing them through these constructs, you should be good,
- Keep an eye on what the search engines are doing. Google makes over 450 changes to their algorithm every year. You won’t notice many of them, but they’re still happening as they continue to tweak the results so that they’re as relevant to users as possible. What worked yesterday may not work as well or in the same way today or tomorrow. By reading industry sites, talking to peers and networking in general, you’ll be able to keep on top of many of them, and that’ll help you jump ahead of your competition.
For more information on pitching and developing working relationships with reporters, join PR News for the Newbie Boot Camp for Digital Communicators, taking place in Washington, DC, on Dec. 10.
Follow Simon Heseltine on Twitter: @SimonHeseltine
Follow Brian Greene on Twitter: @bw_greene