Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Best Practices


Search Engine Marketing (SEM)

Search engine marketing improves webpage SERP placement through Internet marketing. Strategies for SEM include keyword targeting, on-page optimization, and ad campaigns

Keywords
Keywords are fundamental to the search process—they are the building blocks of search. In fact, the entire science of web- based information retrieval is based on keywords.The best practice is to use your keywords naturally and strategically.

What are keywords?
Keywords are the words people type into search engines to find the content, websites, and other information they want and need. Keywords are often not word-for-word titles; rather they are associated words or phrases that describe what the searcher is looking for. For example, someone searching for pictures of a bichon frisé may search for “fluffy dog pictures” instead.

Why are they important?
Keywords are central to SEO. Search engines categorize pages based on their keywords, and bring the pages up in SERPs based on keywords that match queries. Keywords communicate to both readers and search engines what a website is about so that engines can index effectively and readers can make informed decisions about what sites to visit. The better a site is optimized for keywords, the more likely it is to rise in SERPs and be found by searchers.

How to choose keywords
First, consider what your page’s primary goal is. Then decide what keywords searchers are likely to use when they search for the information that your page provides. Test your keywords by searching for them in a major search engine. Is the content that appears similar to your content? If not, is it because you are providing something new, or because the keywords are irrelevant to your page? Google’s keyword tool is helpful when identifying keywords and keyword phrases for your page.

The ideal keyword is one that has high search volume and low competition for SERP placement. However, just because a keyword doesn’t have a high search volume doesn’t make it irrelevant or a poor choice. Choose keywords that accurately encapsulate the message of your page, and optimize your page for those keywords (in a reader-friendly way). The results will follow.

Using keywords properly
Though keywords have always been important in SEO, regulations surrounding keywords are getting stricter as time goes by. In the beginning, some sites focused on ranking for certain keywords instead of producing good content. Search engines are smarter now. This practice, called keyword loading, is no longer endorsed or effective. In this age of SEO, creating useful, user- friendly content is the top priority. Keywords should be included when they make the most sense. The keyword or key phrase of a page should be included somewhere near the top of the page, possibly in the header, but it’s only necessary to include the keyword or phrase two or three times in the content as needed. Keywords are still important for SEO, but as they relate to helping searchers find relevant content, rather than as a rank in themselves.

Do Not:

ISU Best Practice

SEM Ad Campaigns
Ad campaigns are promotional activities that use keyword research and paid search engine placement to increase traffic on a webpage. Google Adwords is one of the most popular search engine marketing tools.

If you would like to begin an ad campaign, please contact web@indstate.edu for more information.