What is Search Engine Optimization?
Basically, Search Engine Optimization or simply SEO is all about helping websites rank higher on the organic (or “natural) search results of search engines.
The higher the site ranks, the more visitors and hence the more customers you will get!
Search Engine optimization is the art of building a website in such a way so as to please both the customer and the search engine.
Why do we need Search Engine Optimization?
We live in an internet era in which consumers can tune through the surfeit of information. As matter of fact, 92% internet users use search engines on which a stunning amount of 100 Billion web searches are being carried out every month and 78 % buyers use search engines before buying their products.
Being visible on the internet will have no other effects than increasing your sales and hence your revenues.
This is what exactly Search Engine Optimization is about.
How search engines work?
Search Engines have a prime objective which is to convey the most relevant of information for a search query. The most relevant the search results are to the user, the happier will he be. The happier the user will be, higher will be the probability the user come back to the same search engine again.
In order for the search engine to deliver the right information at the right time, they need to have a proper means of gathering and prioritizing contents on a website. This process is called indexing.
Search Engines have systems called algorithm that will enable them to spit out the proper website at user’s demand. Every search engines have their own algorithms. But elementally, four factors are considered.
Search engines actually attempt to scan the entire online universe and index all the information so they can show it to you when you enter a search query.
How will Search Engines rank your website?
Search engine Optimizers will use a series of strategies. These strategies and the structure of the webpage will influence the way the site behaves in search engines.
Below we will discuss about some of these tactics.
In SEO context, keywords are particular terms/ labels or phrases that describe the content of a webpage. Keywords are of prime importance in search engine optimization since they will be describing the contents of your website.
Choosing the right keywords is of prime importance. For example, a website about parachuting should contain keywords related only to parachuting. If only a small amount of words related to parachuting is mentioned on the website, the search engine will not display the website when websites relating to parachuting is being searched for.
The most pertinent and consequently the most significant keywords on a website will be these keywords which will appear the most often across the website!
To be able to stand out against competitors offering the same service, you imperatively need to understand exactly what the users are searching for and base your keywords upon these.
2. Page Title
Statistics show that about 48% of search engine users will click on a search result based on the Page Title as seen on the Search Engine Results Page. In simple terms, the Page Title is the first thing that the user will see on the Results Page.
Based on the Page Title, the user will decide either to visit the page or not. It is highly recommended to include the brand name and specific keywords in the Page Title to make the webpage as relevant as possible.
The Page Title should be distinct for each page of your website and characteristic of that particular page.
3. Meta Descriptions
Meta Descriptions define the content of the website as it appears on the Search Engine Results Page. Meta Description includes a short description of the website. It should be rich of keywords which best suits what the website is about.
The more interesting the description, the more will the user want to click on the link to find out additional information. Meta Description has a big effect on the click rate of a website and hence must be given a serious thought.
If the Meta Description is not enough specific and is not well written, then there is a huge chance that the website is ignored!
Creating attractive and captivating content is one of the most weighing factors of a website. A website’s content should be descriptive about its activity. For example a website about football should contain content related to football and not to Cooking.
If users find useful information on a website they might share that information via social media, blogs, email or other ways, increasing the popularity of the website.
Content should be well organized, that is, avoid dumping large paragraphs people would not want to read or follow. Content should be easy to read and follow and as much as possible unique to captivate the users.
It should also contain a good keyword density. Copy-Paste content will only make your website ranking go down or even be black-listed from search Engines.
5. URL Structure
A website’s URL should be relevant and inherent. Good practice is to make sure that the URL contains keywords in them and not incomprehensible alphabets, numbers or punctuation marks. Doing so it will be easier for search engines to crawl the website leading to a better website ranking.
Remember that URLs are displayed on the Search Engines Results page and that words in the URL will bolden if it was in the user’s query.
6. Images and Alt Text
Adding Alt text to your images will enable search engines to find your website in image searches. If your image has Alt Text corresponding to the image, it may be that the user will want to visit the website. The Alt text should be as descriptive and accurate as possible.
7. Site architecture
Most websites are sectioned, they contain a home page, main and sub sections. This enables the users find their way easier. The overall layout of the website is known as the site architecture.
A good site structure will direct the user more easily to the information he is looking for.
Site architecture should be well sectioned and not contain too much sub sections. The greater the number the subsections, the least probability this content will appear on search results.
- Link Exchange
Links can be exchanged with websites relating to the same services (commonly referred as Thematic link Exchange). Exchanging links may increase a website’s popularity as it tends to show that a website is serving as a reference for a particular content.
Before doing link exchange, you should consider some of these factors:
1. Try get links from authority websites from the same niche.
2. Review the link building strategies of your competitors employ and think about how you can devise better quality strategies. Don’t build links just to build links, or just to copy somebody else.
3. Join social networks, to get your content noticed by the people most likely to share your type of content and to build your personal network.
4. Get links from relevant sites, to build good domain authority.
5. Focus on quality link building techniques and strategies to avoid future unnatural links notices in Google Webmaster Tools which will be followed by penalties.
6. Don’t spam people with mails and do not share too much of your publicity on social medias. It can become harassing.
7. If you want others to link you, you got to link others too.
8. Don’t link too much in a short time lapse.
- Link Baiting
Link baiting is placing the link of the website’s content you published on your page. If you do this for others and others do this for you, your website popularity will increase.
Also known as internal linking, it is the practice of placing links to internal pages of a website. Cross-linking is also a major factor of Google Page Rank Algorithm. One SEO good practice is lking a keyword as anchor text to the internal content of a website.
9. Site map XML
An XML sitemap will provide Search Engine crawlers a list of all the pages so as to discover new or updated content. The poor architecture of many webpage makes it difficult for crawlers to find pages. An XML sitemap is a good way for crawlers to do so.
XML Sitemaps are very essential, and according to the site’s nature, specialized sitemaps for News, Image, Video and Mobile may really improve your indexation results.
In simple terms, metadata is data about data. Some Search engines, like Google, don’t “read” your content (data). Information collected from the defined metadata fields will be used for indexing.
To increase the probabilities of your content being located in response to a search query, add appropriate metadata, such as a search engine title, description, keywords, copyright and event dates. Use tagging (interest categories) to mark items intended for dynamic display.
As a website grows in term of content, it is far too bulky and difficult to display all the results on the same page. Pagination is here to help.
Pagination is dividing all these contents into different pages so that there is a better fluidity of use for the user.
Good SEO practice demands that content is accessible with the least number of “clicks”. The fewer the number of “clicks”, the fewer the bounce rate, resulting in a higher page rank. The converse is also true.
It is a text file that webmasters create to serve as a guide for search engines robots to crawl and index website pages. For example, if there exists a duplicate of a page one version of which is used for printing and the other version for reading, it may be possible that due to that duplicate, the search engine impose a penalty upon the website.
The robots.txt file is a good practice since it will tell the search engine robot which files and folders to avoid on your website.
Google authorship is the photo and byline which appear on search results pages. The match with Google+ profiles creates verified links between content on the web and the creators of the content.
This gives Google the ability to establish quality, human-created content and distinguish it from non useful content. It results on better page ranking and less copy-paste content as authors claim their authorship.
Multiple languages of the same content or website can be used to target a broader audience and generate more visits to the site.
15.Mobile Web Development
Mobile web browsing represents a huge potential. In fact, 46.0% of internet users use their mobile phones to search the web. A large number of websites are not suited for mobile phones.
1. Anchor Text
Anchor text is the clickable text in a hyperlink (generally of different color from the text). Anchor text should be eye catching and Good SEO practice demands that the anchor text be relevant to the content it is pointing to.
2. Social Networking
Link Building is a major factor taken in consideration by Search Engines Algorithm as mentioned above. Through link building, Search Engine will recognize if other pages on the web deem your website as a reference for content and information.
Social Networking is one of the best means of link building. By creating attractive and original content, users will tend to share your content. The most your link is being shares, the most visible your link will be to search engines hence the greater the popularity.
3. Press release
One of the best ways to directly reach journalists, consumers and influencers is through press release. Many of the world’s biggest news companies have press released fed into their system.
Press release can be used to add links and hence drive traffic to a website and increase visibility in Search and social media.
4. Micro sites
A micro site is a web page or a group of web pages that is separate from a main website but in some sense is used to point to the same webpage. Microsite contents tend to be more specific from the broadness of content of the main site.
Hence Microsites help in the way that they help users reach information more quickly. They are mainly used to direct towards the main website.
5. Blogs and Forums
Many people will try troubleshooting their problems through forum discussions. This is because forums serve as a good reference for certain topics due to their specificity and the number of people interacting.
If you provide good and exact information on forums, your website could serve as a reference for certain topics hence increasing your popularity.
Writing a blog for your company is a way to publish unique content. Blog content should be unique and attractive, so that users may want to share. Blogs can also be promoted by posting or commenting in service-related blogs. By doing so, links can be share. As explained above, the more links you share, the more your visibility!
6. Article Directories
7. Photo Sharing
Publish interesting photos so people can share, comment on them. This can drive a lot of traffic towards a websites. Photo sharing websites like Flickr, Picasa, Photo Bucket, Picli, or instagram can be used.
Linked with photo sharing, video promotions, experts opinion and product reviews can be made public on sites like Youtube.
Google, the world’s most famous Search Engine provider recently announced that going HTTPS (i.e. adding a SSL 2048-bit key certificate on your site) will give it a minor ranking boost.
For now Google announced that it has less than 1% impact than all other algorithms but that they may strengthen it to encourage websites from shifting from HTTP to HTTPS. All this is in a vision to make the web safer.
Tracking Down Results
Tracking down results is of prime importance. The more traffic you drive to your website, the more is your customer potential. To do the thing well, you must have the right metrics in place, have constant monitoring, and make accurate adjustments to raise the numbers.
First of all, a baseline should be established in order to improve your SEO. You should first know where you are in order to know where you are heading to! There are many free or paid tools which will enable you to do so.
What do you need to track down?
1. Keyword Performance and Ranking
In order to know how well your website is doing for desired search terms. This will enable you to know your ranking position on the Search Engine’s Results Page.
2. Organic Search Traffic
The numbers of visitors who visit your site clicking on a link found directly on the Search Engine’s Results Page. Track down what percentage of the website traffic comes from organic search every day, week, and month.
3. Conversion Rates from Organic Search
The percentage of visitors who turned up on your site through organic search and completed a desired conversion action such as becoming a customer or signing up.
4. Unique Search Terms Driving Traffic
The entire list of search phrases that visitors type in to find your site, and how much organic traffic those terms bring. Special attention should be given to those keywords which are non-branded (i.e. those keywords which do not include company name, products or services) and which bring traffic to your website.
5. Inbound links
The number of links from other websites which redirect to your site. This may be an indicator of how popular your website is. If other websites use yours’ as a reference, your popularity will grow affecting your rank in Search Engine Result Pages (SERP).
All these information tracked down will give you an approximate idea about how well your website is running. From these, conclusive actions can be taken.
With all these information and tips given, it is time for you to do some SEO for your website.
Remember, you should always keep in mind there is no perfect SEO strategy but you should adapt your strategies according to the trends and results.