I believe that search engine optimization (SEO) is a must for any website, whether it’s directly earning money or simply providing information. Why waste considerable resources in creating and maintaining a website if no one is actually going to visit it? SEO’s main purpose is to fulfil your website’s main purpose by driving traffic towards it. That’s why I’ve put together this SEO help guide!
For businesses that use websites as a means to generate income, the increase in traffic will drive up sales. For those who have websites for personal use, they get to enjoy greater authority in their circle of influence.
How Search Engines Work
SEO does this through several methods that comply with how search engines organize the millions of websites all over the Internet. Search engines want to deliver the best and most relevant content to its users. To do that, they must analyse all the websites they have indexed and rank them according to how well they can satisfy people’s needs.
The following are the factors that contribute to a website’s ranking:
- Website Code - Title tags, meta description tags, header tag, etc.
- Website Structure - Internal linking, site maps, host server, etc.
- Quality of Content - Well written, fresh, includes relevant keywords, etc.
- Quality of Links - Links from relevant websites, number of links, etc.
- Credibility - Links from websites with authority, age, etc.
- Social Shares - Number of shares, shares from authority figures, etc.
SEO has a direct influence on the first three factors, but it can also have an effect on the latter three through a sustained outreach and marketing campaign. All these combined increase the website’s ranking in search engine results. The higher the rank of the website, the higher its visibility for Internet users. More often than not, people who use search engines only click on websites that show up in the first couple of page results.
SEO Help Guide
With an understanding of how search engines rank websites, you can start applying the following killer SEO tactics to help propel your website up the search engine rankings.
1. Writing Unique Content
Publishing good quality content is one of the most important factors in determining a website’s ranking; and good content means fresh, unique information that generates interest. Of course, inserting relevant keywords in the content also matters greatly.
2. Inserting Keywords in Titles
Coming up with clever titles for articles is good, but adding keywords to them is better. Titles take precedence over content as search engines can “predict” what the article will be about just by scanning the title. Having the keywords that you are aiming for included in the title will make it easier for potential visitors to find your site.
3. Optimizing Title Tags
It is a common oversight to leave a website’s pages’ title tags as they are. As mentioned earlier, these are also read by search engines so you’d do well changing them according to each page’s proper description.
4. Optimizing Inbound Links
Inbound links are very important in increasing your website’s rankings, but they can do their job much better if their tags have been optimized to describe the actual links. Therefore, instead of just being content with a website that agrees to link to yours, make sure that the owner doesn’t just write a generic description such as “click here” for your link.
5. Optimizing Meta Description
The meta description is the blurb that shows up under your website’s link in the search engine results page. Write a concise description of the website so search engines can pick it up. Potential visitors would know exactly what it’s about and they’d be encouraged to click on the link.
6. Committing to a Publishing Schedule
Creating fresh content is one thing, creating fresh content consistently is another. It will be hard to come up with good content on a regular basis, but it is key to keeping your website’s relevancy which search engines also factor in. Work on your content creation skills, and have the discipline to stick to a schedule.
7. Making Use of Site Maps
Creating a site map to submit to search engines will guarantee that they index all of the pages making up your website. Take note that most search engines can only go three levels deep through internal links, so make sure none of your website’s pages can only be reached by clicking through more than 3 links. Such pages will not be indexed by the search engine.
8. Doing Away from Competitive Keywords
Simple and broad keywords like “business management” or ”marketing tips” are highly competitive with only the biggest, most established websites getting much use from them. Do not expect to rank high for these, especially if your website is just starting out. Use long-tail keywords instead such as “marketing tips for small tech businesses” that target a more specific audience.
9. Spelling Out Keywords
To get the most out your keywords, use the entire phrase in your content, title, profile, description, etc. If they have acronyms, use those, too. Your target audience could very well be searching using either term so capture as many potential visitors by using both iterations.
10. Keeping Up with Search Engine Updates
Search engines are constantly changing their algorithms to keep SEO techniques from being abused. What works now can stop working in the future, so the best way to ensure a consistently high ranking is to always be up to date with the changes search engines implement. Joining forums and other communities that have a line in the search engine industry will keep you informed.
With more and more people using the Internet as their main source of information and as a means to purchase products, it is now imperative to make use of SEO to have a chance at getting your website the much-needed traffic it deserves.
Thank you to my Guest Post Author: Todd Mumford
Todd is the Co-Founder and CEO of SEO Visions - a Vancouver SEO company that provides online marketing solutions and SEO consulting for different types of business.