Ll is for Long Tails
Long tails? In SEO? So what is a long tail keyword anyway? It’s a search query that contains three or more words, unlike the examples above. To use the same toothpaste example, a long tail keyword would be, “Brand X plain toothpaste” or “Does flavor free toothpaste work” or even “Unflavored toothpaste sale”. These types of keywords have lower search volumes, but they’re also the most commonly searched queries. People are used to typing in sentences and rarely will abbreviate something into two words or less to find it. Most sites will gain the majority of their traffic by using long tail keywords, so it’s important to research what they are, so you can incorporate them.
Mm is for Meta Tags
A meta tag is something that can appear on SERPs (search engine results pages) but they’re not able to be seen on the webpage itself. These would be things like title tags or meta descriptions. Consider when you use YouTube to upload a video. There is a section there during the upload which allows you to type in the description of the video, but also a place for tags so you can help people find your video based on what they’re looking for; whatever the category. People will see your video description but not your tags, those tags will simply aid them by pointing them in the right direction for all videos with that same tag in the same category. You can also think of it as those bits of information that you see when you find something on Google, just under the clickable link. If you haven’t provided it with a meta or title tag, then it will grab the first sentence or two and will cut it off at the character limit. Using these will help you be found faster, and rank better. Be sure to put your keywords in there!
Nn is for Nofollow
Nofollow is a command that tells a search engine not to follow any links on the page or to not follow a link in particular. The link would be unable then, to pass along authority to the page to help with rankings. If you have individual nofollows in links, it won’t help with your rankings, but if you have quite a few of them it helps your link profile look like it happened naturally and that will help your ranking.
This may sound bizarre and backwards, because no follow means not to follow, but in SEO it’s different. Say for instance, a place like BuzzFeed decides to share something you posted. You’ll get a nofollow contextual link which can pretty much guarantee you’ll get a huge amount of traffic and social shares just from that one link. Nofollows are a more indirect way of helping in rankings, but are just as powerful as direct shares.
Oo is for Over Optimizing
Yes there is such a thing as too much, and if you’ve been in the industry long you’ll know exactly what I mean by this. Have you come across a site with a wall of text, with little punctuation, and slammed full of nothing but keywords strung together? That is just one example, and the most extreme of them. Basically, over-optimization is when a webpage overindulges in keyword planting in their content, descriptions, tags etc. It can be done with backlinks also, which is an unnatural number of links which have optimized keywords in anchor text.
This is just as bad as copying content from someone else, and search engines hate it. They’ll penalize you or even ban you from appearing in future search results period. This means building an entirely new site, and perhaps even gaining a new name. Don’t get yourself blacklisted when creating your keywords in your content. Know when you’ve achieved the point of having just enough, but not too much. It should read through naturally, and not be obvious.
Pp is for Penalties
We’ve talked about a few of these already. Google will penalize people for over-optimizing, or for copying someone else’s content, or any other of their guidelines they find to be in violation. If you’re not sure what those are, you’d better find out fast before you publish your intended content. Sites which get penalized lose their ranking, and it can happen either automatically from the algorithm, or it is done manually by a Google Employee doing quality checks. Sometimes these penalties are passed down when Google updates their algorithm, other times Google may have found your site or been tipped off to your site by someone else, and they’ll issue manual penalties if they believe people are deliberately trying to manipulate search results to their benefit.
Qq is for Queries
A query is the search term, word, or phrase a person uses when trying to find something using a search engine. Keyword research will tell you many of the combinations of words or terms you can use to capture the people using those in their queries. You can do this all by using Google’s Analytics tools to find out which terms are being used when they found you.
Rr is for Rich Snippets
This one is less heard of but is decently powerful. A “rich snippet” is a way to enhance search results by using microdata to your site. Microdata is a formatting type which allows you to summarize your site or information; your content, which can then be helpful to search engines. Since few sites actually do this, it’s a good way to stand out from the rest and can easily increase the number of click-throughs you get.
Ss is for Social Media
Social media shares don’t have the same gravity they once did with search engines, but they do still provide some benefit. Having social shares is a big sign of an active and popular site, but you want to get there naturally, because you’re posting daily and you’re posting high quality information. Don’t buy your social shares or likes on social media when creating your page, you’ll get slammed for it not only by the social media site, but also by the search engines.
Tt is for Trust
Uu is for Umbrella Terms
Umbrella terms are broad and cover many things, instead of being narrow and focused. If you use too broad of terms or language, it can be harder to get ranked. It’s a fine balance between being too specific and being too general, vague or non-specific. For instance, using the toothpaste example as before, you would want to use terms for your product like toothpaste, or tooth care, you could even use something like “dental hygiene” but you would stay away from such broad terms like “health” or even “clean”. You can use those words, but try not to use them as your main topic, and get downright specific about what you’re talking about. By narrowing down your overall topic choice, you make it easier for people looking for your particular toothpaste to find you.
Vv is for Video
Video has grown into an absolute SEO monster and it’s singly the greatest way to help yourself gain rankings. It is 50 times easier to reach page 1 on Google by using a video than simply having a webpage. The same rules apply however to video that apply to content. Ensure that videos are optimized but not overly so with keywords, and use things like meta tags, descriptions and other tools to help rank the videos. You also want to make your videos closer to the 10 minute marker and no longer, or shoot for super short as with Vines. Both perform well in different markets, like Vines for Snapchat or Facebook, and longer tutorial style videos for your website or LinkedIn articles.
Ww is for Webmaster Tools
Google has Webmaster Tools that they allow you to use to manage your own SEO metrics. The tool is invaluable because it helps you to see your site the way Google does, and can show you how many of your pages are indexed, what links show the way to your site, and also your hottest keywords. It can tell you about all your crawling errors, duplicate content issues and any penalties your site has received. Staying on top of this allows you to make changes, correct errors or missteps, and give you real-time data you can use on the move.
Xx is for XML
XML sitemaps are used to help search engine crawlwers to navigate your site. It’s not that simple though, they don’t just help it to navigate, but it helps it to navigate by using a route that you have chosen. It can also give information on when a page is updated as well as its importance. Keep XML sitemaps updated to ensure you’re part of SEO best practices. If you’re still uncertain how to use it, try xmlfiles.
Yy is for Yoast
Yep, Yoast, not Toast. This might be one of the absolute, all-time, best and most popular of all the WordPress plugins. It allows you to set up page title and meta description templates for content, to verify your Google and Bing Webmaster Tools accounts, to create XML sitemaps, and more. WordPress offers tons of SEO plugins people can choose from which well help manage content optimization, it’s just a matter of picking the one most appropriate. In cases like Yoast, it would be hard to go wrong – if in doubt, choose ones which have the highest popularity rankings, that is a good sign that the developers keep up with it, and that it is quality.
Zz is for Zeitgeist
Google’s Zeitgeist translated directly is: the general intellectual, moral, and cultural climate of an era. Google’s use of the word is no different. They use it for an annual review that shows how the world has been using the search function for the past year. How does this relate to you? Well, it helps to know how other people are searching so you can cater to those changing needs. Google uses it, so should you! They learn from those results and to a smaller degree, you can as well.
If you stay on top of new trends, you’ll never risk falling behind!