SEO (Search engine optimization) is the term that is typically used when referring to the ranking of a website in the search engines. SEO has to do with everything in regards to your webpage’s visibility in Google, Bing, Yahoo! etc.
SEO will always be one of the most important aspects of your online business, but believe me, it is not as hard to figure out as it may sound. In this page I will briefly go over some of the basics of SEO.
No one really knows exactly how Google or anyone else ranks their sites, but there are a few things that we have figured out. We know that nowadays, the search engine focuses a lot more on content than they ever have. That means that things like buying back links and social media “likes” no longer work as well as they used to. In fact, it mostly hurts more than it does help.
At the end of the day, the key to getting ranked on the search engines is good, high quality, and engaging content.
The title tag is the title of your page or post. For wordpress it is simply on the top of the page. If you are writing in HTML, than it the title should be placed within the <head> tag. Obviously, you want to make sure your title as accurately as possible describes the content of the page. Make sure that it is not to long, and that it targets a keyword.
Meta Tag Descriptions
There are a few ways to access the meta tag description. In a wordpress document that has the all-in-one SEO plugin, it as at the bottom of of the page as shown in the screenshot below.
If you are just writing your website in HTML code, than you can just add the tag to the head part of the document. The best thing to do is to have a unique meta description for each page on your website.
The description will come out in the search results right below the title, so make sure it is not to long and that it accurately describes the content of the page. It should be a sentence of two, and you can use a keyword if you want, just make sure that you don’t overdue it.
Make sure that your site is easy to navigate
The easy in which your site can be navigated is important for two reasons. (1) It makes it easier for search engine crawlers to navigate your site, and (2) it makes it easier for any potential visitors to navigate your website.
WordPress does most of this for you, which makes it pretty easy for us. If you are not using wordpress…well I am not sure what you are supposed to do.
Use of ALT tags on images is very useful for having better communication with the search engines. They give more information about the image, which makes it more likely that it will be indexed in the image search results of Google. Image results can bring traffic to!
It will also make it easier on users who may not be able to view images because of some technical issue or because their browsers do not support images. They should still be able to see the text in the alt tag.
Make sure your alt tag provides an accurate description of your image, but do not make a whole bunch of your images with the same alt tag. The search engines may see this as spam.
Use Webmaster Tools and Google Analytics
Google webmaster tools and bing webmaster tools makes dealing with the search engines a lot easier. They make it so you can;
- Submit a sitemap
- identify problems with your title and meta tag discriptions
- View keywords that are used to find your site
and many other things!
Google analytics is also good for tracking visitor’s that come to your site. It allows you to track the demographics of your visitors as well as their locations and how they behave when they are on your site.
The best ways to make sure your site ranks well in the search engines
1. Targeting keywords. The best practice in targeting keywords has been to use it on the title of a page or a post, and than once again within the first 200 characters or so in your page/post. After that, you just write naturally around the keyword.
It also helps to have the keyword in an ALT tag in an image or two. Your keyword rankings could make or break your traffic. Make sure you don’t make common mistakes like overusing a keyword because this can hurt you in the rankings.
2. Use images to break up content. This is not hugely important for SEO, but it does make it easier for your user’s to interact with your site. Just make sure that you use ALT tags appropriately.
3. Write good, quality content. As I said before, the quality of content is definitely the most important part of SEO. These days, content is king. The search engines want to give their user’s the content that they are looking for, so this is likely something that is not going to go away.
If you write good content, than search engine rankings will eventually come. The amount of time it takes will depend on what your keywords are and what market you are in.
And of course, good content on your site will also make your visitors do what you want them to do. Whether that is making a purchase or signing up for something or just to inform them of something, quality content is the key.
As I said, SEO is really not that hard to figure out. If you are using WordPress, than it is especially easy. If you are writing good, quality content, than you are ahead of the game; and as I said your website will get ranked eventually.
If you have any questions or comments, please leave them below!