SEO (Search Engine Optimization), sometimes shortened to just search optimization, is a critical part of modern online marketing. Search engines routinely update their algorithms in an endeavor to produce better results. This forces businesses to create content and design sites that are both engaging to visitors and targeted for search engine algorithms. This process can seem to be extremely difficult. But, these 5 simple steps to an effective SEO strategy will put you on the right track.

1: Conduct Keyword Research

Search results are meant to create a list of sites specific to what the visitor is looking for. For example, results would be different for “apple” versus “apple farmer”. This does create one problem; not all people will enter terms the same way. One person might type “apple farmer” while another types “farm apples”.

Keyword research starts with a general term and produces a list of related terms. It takes into account different ways of wording the search. It also includes statistics such as how many times a search term is used historically and how much competition there is for that term. This research is critical to SEO or search optimization because it provides a list of keywords that are targeted for your potential customers.

2: Build High Quality Backlinks

Backlinks are one of the catch 22s in search optimization. Search engines use the number of backlinks your site receives and the quality of the sites they come from to help determine your rankings. However, a new site won’t have built any yet. You can remedy this by identifying authority sites in your niche, notifying them of your new content, and asking them to link to it. This takes some time but pays off in higher search rankings.

3: Check Your Site’s Loading Times

Load times are an important factor in SEO or search optimization. Modern internet surfers want more than text. They expect to see images, videos, and presentations. But, they won’t wait long for these items to load. You should include many different content types but make sure that they are compressed to limit load times. You can check your webpage load speed here.

4: Focus Pages on Keywords

You don’t want to load pages with too many keywords. Search engines simply see this as keyword stuffing. They will rank these pages lower. Your content should focus on no more than 2 keywords per web page or blog post. Once you create the content, you need to check your keyword density. This is the percentage of total words that your keyword takes up. You want to keep it under 3%. Once your keywords are identified you want to align them with the title tags, header tags, and meta tags.  Focusing your content also makes it more appealing to visitors.

5: Create a Blog

You main pages will tell visitors about your product or service. This is important but it poses two issues for SEO or search optimization.  First it isn’t seen as fresh content. Secondly, it targets a limited set of keywords. Creating a blog is a great way to remedy these problems. Blogs allow you to create a large number of posts that focus on different keywords and are published regularly.

No one knows exactly all the factors used in ranking web content. Search engine companies keep the complete list a closely guarded secret. That doesn’t mean that you cannot get ranked on the first page. If you conduct keyword research, build backlinks from authority sites, reduce load times, focus each page on a couple keywords, and regularly publish to a blog then you will create an effective SEO or search optimization strategy.