If you’re into creating websites or interested in having one, you surely must have come across the term SEO (search engine optimization). By definition SEO is optimizing your website content so that it achieves better search results in various search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo. I’m going to share with you some basic seo tips you can start using today to improve the search ranking of your website.
Once you understand how a search result is displayed by a search engine and what are the potential factors involved, it gets relatively simple to build a website that serves both human users and search engines.
Understanding how the search engine works
Before I get into explaining how SEO works, it’s important for you to understand how the results in a search engine are displayed.
When someone searches a particular word in Google, the search engine is required to search this word across the World Wide Web through different websites all over the world.
This is called a keyword.
The most relevant websites would be displayed on the first page of Google. Now, the ranking of the websites is based on sophisticated algorithms run by “spiders” that crawl the web to index new webpages that are being published all the time. There are also “bots” that scan and read a webpage’s content (all the text, images, videos, links etc.) that determine the order in which webpages and websites are ranked.
Apparently, Google has over 200 ranking factors and they don’t release what they are specifically so no one can artificially manipulate the search engine to get their website to outrank everyone else. That would be unfair.
However, below are the most common parameters a search engine would use to gauge the relevance of a keyword to a website.
- The highest number of clicks: High numbers of clicks means that number of users have visited the page. The search engine would feel that this website would be most relevant to the keyword used by the user.
- Keyword Relevance: If the bots scan and find the keyword used many times in your post they would communicate to the search engine that the site will be related to the search criteria and would display the website on the first page.
- Time spent on the website: Google will determine the time users spend on the website. More time spent on the website means that users are reading the content on the page. This makes the search engine decide that the website is more relevant and thus the website will have a higher ranking in the search result.
- On-Page: On page SEO deals with the changes made on the website and in the contents itself. For instance, changing or adding a keyword to the title of the post to attract more traffic on your page. Some of the changes one can make within a short amount time which will help yield great results are the following:
- Web page content: It is crucial that the website has relevant and high-quality content. Users should have a good experience once they visit your website. Especially while navigating through the different web pages.
- Design: Keep your design minimalistic and one without a heavy amount of code. Ensure that your website is mobile friendly.
- Upload time: Make sure your website loads within 1-2 seconds. On an average, a user will wait 5 seconds for a website to load. If the site is buggy or the web host has connectivity issues you would surely lose potential traffic. Google factors the loading time of a website while displaying the search results. Hence you should ensure that your website is quick to load.
- Plugins: Plugins are a great way to optimize your website. Use a cache plugin to clear any unwanted cache. SEO plugin is a great way to edit your Meta title and Meta description and having the keyword used. Note that Meta title is a title that appears on the search result for a user after they search for the keyword. While Meta description helps to give a brief overview to the user what the website is about.
- Optimize posts: Websites which have posts with around 800-1200 words tend to do better. However, not all topics and post can be that long. The minimum word count for a post is about 300 words. A good practise is to write 2-3 long posts and then have links to related posts with few words. Essentially, you’re making the long post the “parent” and the shorter posts that link to it the “child”. This will not only help you rank better on the topics related to the long posts but on other topics as well.
- Bullet Points: Keep your content concise and develop a habit of making bullet points. This will help your post grab the attention of the scrollers who do not read the entire posts.
- Use images and videos: For a post of 1200 words, at least use 4-5 images. They help in getting the attention of users. Post a video at the beginning of the post. If a viewer watches a 10mins video on your web page, this will help your search ranking drastically.
The above-mentioned basic seo tips do not directly affect your SEO ranking on Google. However will help you get more users and more traffic to your website, which plays an important role in optimizing your website to rank higher.
Here’s a short video that helps explain how search engines’ page rank algorithms work.
Basic SEO tips and keyword optimization every website owner needs to know about
Here are a few ways you can include the keyword in various different aspects of your website. These are the basic seo tips I share with my clients. It’s also what I focus on in my work to make the biggest impact on my clients’ websites.
- Meta title:As mentioned already, using an SEO plugin to edit your web page title which displays in the search results.
- URL extensions: Google has a way to identify which web page is regarding what topic through the permalink in the website URL. Edit the URL and include the keyword.
- Hyperlinks: Use links within your website to navigate through different posts. In this way, you link the keyword to another related post.
- Image alternative text or “alt text”: Image text helps Google identifying what the image is about. Rename the embedded image to a related keyword.
Off page SEO: This basically deals with back links which are nothing more than links which are directing users back to your website. The common strategies to obtain good back links are as follows.
- Social Media: Use all platforms of social media to promote your website. Create a page on Facebook or group on Google+ linking back to your web page. This method helps especially if you have a new website and social media is a great way to divert traffic initially.
- Q & A Forums: Browse through Q & A forums like Quora related to your topic and try answering some of the questions there. Ensure you link your website to the answers. The clicks you get through this method are not significant, but by constantly giving quality answers would help build a reputation in the community.
- Comment on popular blogs: Comment on at least two popular blogs who have more influence related to your topic and link back to related blog posts or pages on your own site.
Keyword research and content strategies
Understanding how search engines work and how to rank for them is only just the beginning. The next step after these basic seo tips would be figuring out what content you’d need to create for your website. In order to come up with your own content strategy for your website you’ll need to do some keyword research. There are plenty of online tools available for keyword research. Some are free, like Google Keyword Planner, and some cost money.
In a future blog post I’ll write a guide for how I conduct keyword research for my clients and how I implement these basic SEO tips in order to get results for my clients and make money as a digital marketing consultant.
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