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Search Engine Optimization for Dumb and Dumber

         Search Engine Optimization is like the super sour balls my kids (yes, they weren’t goats, they just acted that way) would try to trick me into eating just to watch my lips pucker up. But the funny thing was, after I sucked on that tart candy for a while, it got sweeter and sweeter and by the time it was gone, I was glad they had tricked me into it. It’s the same for Search Engine Optimization. The first step for me was to find out exactly what the word “optimize” meant–enhance, improve, augment, heighten, elevate, raise, boost; all words I understand. So knowing what a search engine is I’m guessing that Search Engine Optimization simply means to boost engine searches. Simple. But just how is it done?
         According to the article on http://smallbusiness.foxbusiness.com “SEO-101 Search Engine Optimization” at Search engine optimization is all about doing a series of things that will result in your website being found in the first pages of a Google search. Finding your site in this manner is known as organic search results. The best part about this technique is it is free. Use your search phrases in headlines and your H1, H2 and H3 tags. Another great way is to partner with other sites whose content you admire or agree with, something like I scratch your back, you scratch mine; I’ll link to your site and you link to mine.
         Another important way of SEO (that’s what you say to make it sound like you really understand what you’re doing) is to use “Long Tail Keywords.” That means if you are selling gold and black Mizzou Kumihimo beaded bracelets, you would not want your tag to simply be “bracelets” or even “Kumihimo bracelets”; you want the tag to be “gold and black Mizzou Kumiho beaded bracelet”—the long tail. You want that long tail of words to make your site stand out. You can read more about this at http://moz.com/beginners-guide-to-seo. Moz also says that the more precise a person’s search is, the more likely they are going to be a buying customer, not a window shopper.
         Write your blog post or articles with content that will rank high on Google, the most powerful search engine in existence. http://www.entrepreneur.com’s “10 Ways to Write content That Ranks High on Google” gives a number of good suggestions. Write a longer blog, 2000 words or more, but forget “keyword density”. Using the same keywords over and over won’t help your search optimization and probably will bore your reader. But don’t forget the Thesaurus. Just like finding words or optimize, find synonyms for your keywords –google uses Latent Semantic Indexing (yes, that is another phrase I had to “google”) to match search results to the intentions of the person performing the search.
         If you think about the fact that most people who use a google search are looking for answers to a questions like “how do you make tomato salsa” or “how to use photoshop to paint a picture” you shouuld write content to answer these questions and use these phrases as your keywords. Your site just might be the one hit on when the search is made. And of course, don’t be shy, post your content on your social media sites, your Facebook, your Twitter, your Instagram and encourage your friends to share your posts.
         Another suggestion is to set up your Google+ profile “add your authorship markup, claim ownership of your content, build author Rank and play an active role on G+.” Nothing helps the Google search more than your title tag. The combination of your title tag and your meta description “is what your prospects are going to see in SERPS. So include keywords, but make your titles and snippets sound natural and focus on motivating prospects to click.”
         By using the tilde “~” in front of the search term will show you similar search terms at the bottom of the page. I took advantage of this when googling “SERP”. Not only did I find out this meant Search Engine Response Page, I also learned some related searches to SERPS were “serps checker, seo serps, serps tool, google serps, serps pension and serps press.”
         http://www.thesearchagents.com/2013/09/three-great-seo-strategies-from-distilleds-searchlove/ “Consolidating Business Citations Leads to Local Search Gains”
Gives another good suggestion by using NAPs—(no, not the kind you like to take in the afternoon and what you hated as a child). NAPS are names, addresses and phone numbers. Darren Shaw provides some great tools and resources; the first step is to discover which NAPS are associated with you in the SERPS. Okay, what?
http://www.thesearchagents.com/2013/09/three-great-seo-strategies-from-distilleds-searchlove/. According to Moz, “Unfortunately, there’s no equivalent to a 301 redirect for bad NAPs, but Darren Shaw provided some great tools and resources. The first step is to discover which NAPs are associated with you in the SERPs. Then, correct any inconsistencies, either yourself or by reaching out to the webmasters. Finally, monitor your SERPs results and ensure your citations are updated and haven’t reverted back to the incorrect versions.”
         More good advice from http://webtegrity.com/our-blog/social-media-marketing/organic-seo-tips/ includes some great tips including having a strong URL. “You can do this by making sure that your page URL is one of your key terms mentioned on that page. In WordPress we call these Permalinks.”
Another great tip is to include your Facebook feed , your Instagram photos or your YouTube videos on your website. This is a free resource to reach out to the public. Make sure all your images contain a title and alt tags. Search engines can’t read photographs, but they can read your titles and tags.

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