5 ways to boost your SEO—and still evade the wrath of Google

Write for the search engine robots. Don’t keyword-stuff. And get rid of those ads. Take it from Tribune Co.’s SEO expert.

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Remember that hilarious article, “20 Weird Things You Can’t Believe Happened”?

The story (or ones like it, anyway) went nuts on Facebook, says Carolyn Shelby, director of search engine optimization at Tribune Co. But now when you search for it on Google, it seems to have vanished.

Well, no wonder. That headline tells you nothing. Twenty what things? Happened how?

Are your headlines and descriptions like that? In a Ragan Training video, “SEO: A communications pro’s guide to crafting rankable content,” Shelby offers tips for avoiding search-engine clunkers and writing in way search bots can find.

All right, class: Raise your hands if you don’t know what SEO is. OK, to recap: SEO is a way of packaging content so that Google, Bing, and other search engines understand what you’re looking for.

You may think those evil bots are all against you. They’re not. Search engines want to refer users to content and websites that are the most relevant to the user query, Shelby says.

So learn the factors that determine relevancy. Do other people link to or talk about the site? Are the sites that link to it authoritative? Google factors in these matters.

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