Search engine optimization is the science part of the art-science mix inherent in blogging for business. The technical definition of SEO is "the process of improving the volume or quality of traffic to a web site from search engines or ‘natural" search results".
Since eye-tracking studies have shown that searchers scan a page top to bottom and left to right, looking for a relevant result, getting your blog placed at or near the top on Page One of a search engine’s results page increases the number of visitors to your site.
So, in your business blog, what are the best things to do with key words and phrases to try to place high? According to blog mavens Shel Holtz and Ted Demopoulos, those key words and phrases should be the first words in your blog title and then reappear in your first lines of text. Using the example of a vegetarian dog food company’s blog, Holtz and Demopoulos advise against the title "Feed Your Dog Right" in favor of "Vegetarian Dog Food Is Good For Your Dog", or, even better, Vegetarian Dog Food and Dog Treats" (which uses two key phrases).
SelfSEO.com cautions against "stuffing keywords", suggesting that the percentage of key words in your text shouldn’t exceed 3-5% of total content. (That amounts to approximately three per page, and I’ve gone one over that in this post).
As a professional ghost blogger, I frequently need to remind my clients (and often myself) that SEO isn’t everything. Fellow blogger Tony Fannin points out that when heavily-SEO’d sites with lots of information were compared with sites with more personality and design, visitors liked the branded and designed sites more and spent more time exploring those sites.
On the other hand, as I’ve often remarked in these blog posts, SEO is important in that online searchers are scanners, not readers, and it’s vital to confirm very quickly that they’ve come to the right place for help.
The line Renee Zellweger’s said to Tom Cruise in the movie Jerry McGuire , "You had me at hello", became a favorite overnight.
When searchers arrive at your business blog, you want them to become engaged immediately. In essence, the response you want from searchers is "Your blog had me at SEO!"