SEO: indispensable basic knowledge [7x question & answer]
Of course, as a company you cannot do without a good website. But what if that important sales page of yours can only be found on page 10 of the search results? Unfortunately, this is still the case for many companies. Shame right? With these 7 questions and answers you can effectively get started with SEO.
By applying search engine optimization (SEO), you ensure that your website will stand out in search engines, such as Google. Read the answers to the 7 most frequently asked questions about SEO here!
1. What exactly is SEO?
Although it goes without saying for people involved in online marketing and copywriting, there are also many people who do not know what SEO is exactly. That makes sense, because if you’re not busy with it, all that jargon can be quite unclear.
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization, in USA: search engine optimization.
SEO is all about ensuring that search engines can find, read and value the website properly. SEO is not a ‘quick-fix’ method and therefore consists of various parts that you can apply:
Without text, images and videos, the search engines can’t even find your website. Good content is very important when it comes to SEO.
The ‘back end’ of your website must be technically sound, so that you can be sure that nothing stands in the way of the findability of your website. A good web designer can certainly help you with this!
Off site SEO
Think of building links that link to your website.
It is especially important to understand that search engine optimization takes time and is not done in one step. If you want to stay ahead of your competitors, it is important to stay on top of things by monitoring and measuring. Try to see SEO as a puzzle in which different puzzle pieces are important.
2. Are keywords per se important in web texts?
The most important thing is that you write for the people you want to reach, not for Google. But , Google does need words to find your website. That is why it is advisable to use keywords and search terms. By that I mean that you process the words of your customers in your web texts. In the end, it’s all about sharing relevant and valuable content so that your web pages are interesting to visitors. The right keywords and search terms help Google to ensure that your pages are found by the people you want to reach.
To discover the right keywords, start with extensive keyword research. This gives you insight into the search behavior of your ideal customers.
Tip: did you know that you can use keyword research to inspire your blogs? Once you know what your ideal customers are looking for, you can use that knowledge!
3. Should I include as many keywords as possible in my texts?
There is such a thing as ‘keyword density’. According to various formulas, a text ‘must’ contain the keyword or search term at least x number of times. Still, there’s no real evidence that any particular keyword density works to rank higher in Google. You often see that this does not necessarily make a web text or blog better, in fact, it usually results in annoying use of keywords.
Google itself says that the excessive use of keywords is against the quality rules of the search engine.
But, very honest? I prefer writing texts that touch and incite action, rather than counting how often the search term appears in the text. Do I use strategic keywords? Of course!
Tip: don’t overdo the use of keywords and search terms. Always keep checking and reading whether the text is fun and pleasant to read.
4. What is duplicate content?
Duplicate content means that there are multiple web pages that contain exactly the same text. So double content. This can be on the same website (internal) or on another website (external).
Google says that the use of ‘substantial blocks of content’ or texts that contain largely the same content are not allowed. This is therefore seen as duplicate content.
Why is this detrimental to SEO? Because Google can only ‘score’ one page in the search results. So it is not the case that you get a ‘penalty’, but it can happen that your page drops in position in the search results.
5. Are meta descriptions and meta titles important?
Yes, yes and again yes! The meta title (title tag) in particular is important, because Google picks this up. The meta description is not really related to SEO officially. It does not necessarily improve your findability. However, by filling in the meta descriptions you can ensure that you show a short and powerful summary of the relevant web page.
You can enter a meta description and title per page (and per image) using an SEO plug-in (such as Yoast or Rank Math). Google can take over what you enter and this will then be shown in the search results. You only have a limited number of characters, so make sure your call-to-action stands out !
It is important to remember that people only read ‘half’ when they look something up in the search engines. We humans like convenience.
There are therefore different search intentions
- We are looking for the answer to a question.
- We are looking for information.
- We want to achieve a targeted result. In other words: we are in the action mode.
Note: sometimes Google doesn’t take your meta descriptions literally. Google will adjust your meta description as needed to be more relevant to the query. The text that – according to Google – best matches the search query is then adopted.
This can sometimes look a little strange in the search results, because part of the sentence is cut off. Check whether you have entered the meta description and whether the description is not too long or too short. This can also affect whether or not your meta description is shown.
Tip: Are you curious whether Google shows the correct meta descriptions for your own website? Then open Google and enter the following: site: test here your website.com. You will then see all your search results at a glance!
6. How many words should I use in a web copy or blog?
If I put a dollar in a jar for all the times I’ve been asked this question, I’d have a jar full! Still, I can well imagine this question, because opinions are rather divided on this. One says: ‘the longer a text, the better ‘ , while the other opts for a short and powerful message.
You have to imagine that Google needs text to find your web text or blog. However, no official number of words per blog or web text has been determined. Be sure to use as many words as necessary to tell your story or make your point.
In my own blogs I focus on sharing valuable information. I’m not counting a certain number of words. Sometimes it happens that a blog contains ‘only’ 400 words. Then I no longer need to convey my message. Another time, a 2000-word blog easily rolls out. Focus on your story and on the subject. Provide good content and not a certain number of words.
Most people like to scroll, so I always advise you to think about what you want to share first. Then think about which topics are relevant and divide them into different text blocks, with a catchy title. Then incorporate lists, photos and images into the text. This way you ensure that a text is ‘scannable’ and easy to read. In my opinion, that is much more important than the number of words.
7. Is blogging important for SEO?
It’s no secret that as a copywriter I’m a big proponent of blogging. But, blogging is certainly important when it comes to SEO in many different ways.
Many blogs keep circulating endlessly in the search engines and continue to work for your website that way. I myself have several blogs that are always in my ‘top 10’ in Google Analytics. These blogs ensure that the number of visitors to my website continues to rise. Without my blogs I would have less traffic to my website.
In addition, you can also collaborate with other websites by writing guest blogs for each other, which include the name of your website. This way you also build the number of backlinks (links to your website). In my opinion, blogging is definitely important!
In a row
Remember that search engine optimization takes time and is not done in one step. To apply SEO properly, you have to keep ‘moving’, so that you stay ahead of your competitors.
You can do this by:
- create good content,
- add keywords/search terms,
- to have the technical side of your website in order,
- apply off-site SEO, and
- to write blogs.
Tip: the loading time of your website is certainly important when it comes to SEO. The faster your website loads, the better. Your visitor will be helped the faster.
Have you thought about search engine optimization or is it still a ‘far from your bed show’? Hopefully, the answers to these questions will get you started!