Basics of SEO and Finding the Best Keywords

SEO is something that most business owners think they understand but probably don’t really have a firm grasp on it. It is definitely an area of online marketing that is foundational. The of this article is to instill a working understanding of SEO while concentrating specifically on how to use the correct keywords that will guide web visitors to your content who are likely to convert to your customers.

SEO is Key to Building Your Blog

A rough definition of SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is the set of Internet search protocol that you can exploit to make your online (blog) content more visible to web searchers. This is the primary machine that drives people to your blog content, in turn bringing more people to your business’ website.

You can go back to the following additional post to learn more about how this relates to your business blog:

So, to build your base of subscribers and draw targeted traffic to your site, it is absolutely essential to understand how SEO works, and to learn it well. Over time (and it does take time), you can build up your domain authority (DA) to give your blog articles a better chance of hitting a page #1 ranking in Google search.

This post explains why your DA rating is so important:

Your DA rating is honestly one of the metrics that you should pay attention the most, to see real success with your business blog because it measures the power of your website (domain) to rank highly in Google search.

This mainly applies to competing with other sites for a given keyword. If multiple domains are competing for the same keyword, the domain that has the higher DA rating will be more likely to rank for that keyword.

How to Get Started with SEO

The first element to focus on is putting a good amount of energy and time into your articles’ headlines. In case you missed it, we just published a post on this very thing last week, which you can find linked at the end of this article.

When you get the blog going for your site, don’t forget to take time to get the right keyword(s) in the title (discussed in the next section) and make it as attention-grabbing and clickable as possible.

The headline should never be a quick afterthought when you finish the article. Subheadings will also come into play with SEO. Google puts a lot of emphasis on headlines and subheadings in content pieces, which means that the searchable keywords which you’re targeting should appear both in the headline and the subheadings of the piece.

The next thing that is extremely useful when you’re getting started is to get Google’s current SEO guide. They don’t update these guides very frequently, so just get the latest one available. Get the current guide here:

Additionally, you should take advantage of all the resources we’ve made available in this blog on the Talkroute website, with all kinds of instructional articles on building your blog, starting and growing your business, and a ton more content that is invaluable to achieving greater success with your business.

When going beyond what we’re suggesting here and seek out independent sources to learn about SEO and related topics, as you undoubtedly will, be sure that the information you’re looking at is from reputable sites because there is a staggering amount of information online, not all of which is accurate or current.

Keep yourself as up-to-date as possible on Google’s SEO guidelines because they do change frequently and become more complex all the time as the algorithms and other factors do change.

Avoid Practices that Cause Google Penalties

Believe it or not, Google does penalize your site for certain practices concerning online content. It’s not like getting a traffic ticket or anything, but when Google penalizes your site, it essentially means that they will rank your content lower in search, and in some cases, delete certain content pieces altogether.

Here are just a few things that will incur penalties (there are a lot of them):

  • Keyword Stuffing
  • Google knows when you’re just cramming a bunch of keywords into your headlines in an attempt to rank for a bunch of different things at once, and they will penalize you for it. Make sure that you don’t use too many keywords, and that the headline is actually applicable to the article.

  • Slow Loading Speeds
  • You of course want to always make sure your website has no loading delays of more than about 2-3 seconds, but Google will specifically penalize your content’s ranking if, when a user clicks on it from the search page, it takes forever to load your article.

  • Duplicate Content
  • This is a common tactic that marketers use which rarely works. Never try to boost your ranking potential by posting duplicates of articles. They catch that one pretty quickly.

  • Excessive Outbound Links
  • Placing outbound links in your content pieces is normally a great practice to encourage backlink relationships with other sites, while providing additional, helpful resources for your readers; however, you should be careful to only link to them in a way that naturally supplements the subject matter. Too many outbound links in a single article will raise a red flag with Google.

    What Keywords Should You Target, and What Does that Mean?


    In the simplest explanation, using or “targeting” certain keywords or phrases means to write-in words or phrases into your articles, especially in the headlines, that people are most likely to search for in Google. There are a lot of factors that you will consider when choosing the keywords that will perform the best to promote your content and draw people to your site.

    Firstly, whatever terms you target should be related to your business in some way. If someone searches for a subject or item that brings them to your site, but that thing has nothing to do whatsoever with what you sell, then it was probably pointless because they didn’t even want your product in the first place.

    It’s never a bad thing to increase your CTR (click-through rate), no matter who’s clicking, but the people you’re shooting for are those who are likely to convert to a customer once they reach your site. It’s also important to choose your target keywords conservatively at first. That is, it’s better to go for keywords that a ton of other sites are not also trying to rank for.

    If you have a fairly new blog and a very low DA, and you target a high-profile keyword like, “the best location for a small business”, then there’s not much chance that you will rank very well for that in Google because a lot more established sites are going to also be competing for that keyword.

    When it comes to online marketing, there isn’t anything more foundational than SEO. You won’t get very far in any reasonable amount of time with knowing how to navigate all of Google’s search rules and algorithms, which they are updating all the time.

    These few basic concepts, however, are basically elemental and unchanging, as the underlying principles of improving your own SEO. Stay tuned as we explore many more useful topics in this series, for growing your blog to its full potential.

    Check out all of the articles in the series, Building Your Business Blog 201:

  • The Secret to Writing Great Blog Headlines
  • Basics of SEO and Finding the Best Keywords
  • Actionable Content: Why It’s the Key to Your Blog’s Success
  • Why You Need to Know What Your Domain Authority Is
  • Creating Responsible Content: Why Should You Care?
  • Should Blog Writing Be Different From Other Forms of Writing?
  • Stephanie

    Stephanie is the Marketing Director at Talkroute and has been featured in Forbes, Inc, and Entrepreneur as a leading authority on business and telecommunications.

    Stephanie is also the chief editor and contributing author for the Talkroute blog helping more than 100k entrepreneurs to start, run, and grow their businesses.

    StephanieBasics of SEO and Finding the Best Keywords