How To Roll The Perfect SEO Burrito

How To Roll The Perfect SEO Burrito

Written By Darren Seys - August 11, 2014

Last week, I visited the topics of basic content strategy and blogging. If blogging is your tortilla, then content is the filling – nobody wants to read a blog (or eat a burrito) without some tasty content. As I previously touched on, blogging and content creation are much easier when you set a content schedule. When you plan ahead, you ensure not only that you stay on track, but also that you are never without ideas for content. The next step is creating the content that ranks highly with search engines, and that’s where I’m picking up this week. Thanks to our friends over at CopyBlogger, I bring you your fresh weekly burrito: content creation with a side of salsa and sass.

An Overview of Your SEO Burrito
You know the age-old saying, “If a tree falls in the forest and no one’s there to hear it, does it make a sound?” Similarly in blogging and content creation, if you blog and no one read your content, are you relevant? The answer is no, in case you were wondering. That’s part of the magic of Google and Search Engine Optimization (SEO): connecting billions of people to billions of sources of information by only typing in a few words into a search bar. SEO is a website’s content’s relevance on search engine results. What determines content’s relevance? The number of users finding the content “organically” or without a website using paid keyword search to appear at the top. “Organic” or “natural” search results typically represent a website that offers both meaningful and useful content for the majority of users searching keywords that website mirrors.

SEO doesn’t stop there: it is not limited to being found organically on Google, but also reflects social sharing, such as linking in blogs, tweeting, posting to Google+, sending to friends through Facebook chat, and the like. Because we are all emotional beings, we are compelled to share things that hit a chord, be it funny, sad, disturbing, or inspiring. The purpose of SEO is to help people find answers to the questions they type into search engines: the focus is on the value that certain websites or pages bring to consumers. While consumers must follow the yellow brick road of keywords to find their answers, there are many misconceptions about SEO, content creation, and keywords.

Content: The Protein
Compelling content is the meat (or beans if you’re vegetarian) of your burrito. You want your content to be useful for thousands of readers, not just you, and you want your readers to share your content with thousands of other readers. Though normally I don’t like to share my food, a great SEO burrito is something I would want to share with the world. Furthermore, when curating your content, it is important to remember one thing: you are writing for people, not for search engines. A common misconception is that truly great SEO content is ugly and littered with keywords and other unreadable mumbo-jumbo to trick search engines into ranking them higher. The truth of the matter is the best content is content that people can benefit from and easily read. Remember: search engines are not the ones sharing your content; people are. Search engines only help lead people to your content. Though there are many technical aspects to blogging and content creation, emotion should never be forgotten.

Keywords: The Salsa
As previously stated in last week’s blog, finding a niche for your content and blog is one of your first steps. Additionally, you must use the correct keywords and keyword phrases for your audience. Keywords are the salsas in your burrito, and you need to find the right spiciness that best suits your taste. You don’t want salsa that is too bland or too spicy for your tastes because then you can’t enjoy the burrito to its fullest extent. Similarly with keywords, if readers can’t find you using their search terms, then you won’t be relevant. Ideally, you want to be as specific as possible in your use of keyword phrases – if you’re too general or vague, you’ll be outranked by a high-traffic competitor. In other words, do your keyword research. It is smart to include variations of keyword phrases in the event a higher-traffic site on a particular phrase outranks you.

A common misconception about SEO is utilizing “keyword stuffing,” or using a certain keyword as many times as humanly possible to have your page rank highly on search engines. We can relate this to saturating a burrito with salsa: when your burrito has too much of a good thing, it falls apart. Google has algorithms that sniff out people who overuse keywords on their websites, and punishes them by essentially removing their ranking. Why? Because mindlessly using a keyword is not going to help the consumer find their answer: think of it as search engine spam.

Titles and Headlines: The Cilantro Rice
Headlines are your one shot to communicate to the consumer that you have all the answers to their question they just searched. They are the cilantro rice in your burrito, and influence the initial bite into a burrito. Some people don’t like cilantro (what freaks) and may decide they don’t want to eat the burrito. Similarly, a person may not be grabbed by your headline and surpass your article. However, you don’t want to overload your burrito with too much rice, just as you don’t want a super long and heavy title for your content. Furthermore, it is ideal to work your keyword phrase into it while remaining compelling and while also promising to answer their question. If you write a great attention-grabbing headline peppered with relevant keywords or keyword phrases, people could link back to you using just your headline, also called “anchor text.”

Link Building and Linking Out: The Guacamole
Link Building
When you’re the new kid on the block, you need clout, and as a new website or blog, you can get that clout by having older, popular blogs and websites link anchor to your website. How do the cool kids notice you, you ask? You write better than them, you make them look twice at your blog and go, “WOW! That person can write well! I want to link them to my blog!” This strategy is “link building,” and is obviously used to increase inbound traffic on the site or blog. Link building is the guacamole in your burrito, because who even wants a burrito without guacamole? It’s essential and boosts the burrito’s overall taste. Similarly, when you develop your clout as a smaller, newer blog with the help from older, more popular blogs, your search engine results improve, and you’re on your way to a higher ranking (or better tasting burrito). You can also link build by guest blogging on a more popular blog. By choosing to contribute to an already established blog, you can attract attention to your writing and in turn, your blog.

Linking Out
Similar to link building, “linking out” is defined as engaging readers and bloggers on other websites with your content or other relevant content. There are multiple ways to link out, including through your blog posts and on social media. However, the key is how you share it. As previously touched upon in last week’s blog, you want to engage social media influencers to read and share your content to build clout. Get the influencer’s attention and share your work, but don’t go about it in a spamming or obnoxious way, as you may get the wrong kind of attention.

Social Interaction: The Jalapeno Peppers
Search engines like to provide users with the newest, most-updated links as these are seen to be the most relevant. Search engines also like to know that you interact with other websites and social platforms (clearly this whole thing is a popularity contest). When you update your blog or website frequently, you are opening the social forum to anyone who stumbles upon your content. Staying active and encouraging social interaction is equivalent to the jalapeno peppers in your burrito – they give the taste a little kick and oomph. By encouraging participation, you develop your general website’s authority and open the floor for discussion. Free discussion also allows for opportunities for you to plug your related content, also known as older, previously written blog posts. Getting readers to stay on your website through related content is better for your page, allowing you to lower the bounce rate and keep around potential customers longer. Furthermore, never assume your readers know what you’re talking about, because if they’re just joining in for the first time, chances are they don’t. Linking to previous posts in blogs can convert your new readers to repeat readers.

Conversions: The Grande Finale
While seeing spikes in traffic can be a great indicator that you’ve created successful content (or a delicious SEO burrito), it should not be viewed alone as a measure of success. Chances are, you’re trying to sell something, which is why you created your content in the first place. Furthermore, a consumer likely landed on your page because they are looking to purchase what you are selling. Therefore, unless you see an increase in your sales conversions, then you cannot truly say your content is successful based on page views alone. Before you can even begin with your content campaign, it is crucial to know your base point in order to measure your successes.

How do you know when you’ve made a truly delicious SEO burrito? When you’ve combined the protein (compelling content), salsas (relative keywords and keyword phrases), cilantro rice (attention-grabbing headlines and titles), guacamole (link building and linking out), and peppers (social interaction). If you are selling more SEO burritos than you were a month ago thanks to some savvy new burrito content you’ve created, then you indeed are successful. Keeping these things in mind, do you think you’re ready to create your own SEO burrito? Or do you want to make a quick trip to Chipotle first? I’m kind of hungry!

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