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How SEO Is Like Real Estate

by Elsa Kapitan-White

We’ve all heard the saying about the three most important things in real estate: location, location, location. That same advice also applies to using keywords on your web pages for search engine optimization (SEO).

Google and other search engines closely guard the algorithms they use to review and rank pages. But it’s pretty easy to increase your page ranking by where you put your relevant keywords on a web page. Search engines typically assign more weight to search terms that are in properly formatted (tagged) titles, subtitles, text that is higher on the page, and text with a special treatment, such as bold. Keywords may also rank higher if they are in the metadata, and the metadata description component may be displayed as the snippet of search results by some algorithm versions.

Curb Appeal and Staging

What other advice from real estate applies to SEO? How about “curb appeal”? Your page needs to look reputable and informative. Using subheadings to describe chunks of text helps visitors quickly appraise the page contents. And your content must be written to be useful for your page visitors, not strictly for SEO, which means your page must be rich in unique content that’s of value to your visitors. Don’t practice “keyword stuffing,” which is loading the page with more keyword mentions than necessary. Search engines aren’t the only site visitors who can easily discern keyword stuffing. The forced inclusion of keywords makes the text awkward to read, creating a negative user experience that causes your visitors to quickly leave.

“Staging” is another applicable concept from real estate to web pages. Staging involves decluttering and making sure everything works correctly. All web pages should be similarly focused and operational. Using a content management system (CMS) supports design consistency, but it’s still up to you to appropriately fill in the framework. Every page must have a unique title and unique content, and you need to test for appearance and operability before publishing.

Home Sweet Homepage

SEO is transitioning from an emphasis on keywords to a holistic view of content. Optimize your pages for your visitors, and you’ll satisfy both them and the search engines.

References

Google Search Engine Optimization Starter Guide



Page last modified on Sunday, September 30, 2012 06:21:33pm EDT
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