What Is SEO?
SEO stands for “search engine optimization.” It is the process of getting traffic from the “free,” “organic,” “editorial” or “natural” search results on search engines.
All major search engines such as Google, Bing and Yahoo have primary search results, where web pages and other content such as videos or local listings are shown and ranked based on what the search engine considers most relevant to user.
No need to be an SEO expert!
Deciding to hire an SEO is a big decision that can potentially improve your site and save time, but you can also risk damage to your site and reputation. Make sure to research the potential advantages as well as the damage that an irresponsible SEO can do to your site. Many SEOs and other agencies and consultants provide useful services for website owners, including:
- Review of your site content or structure
- Content development
- Management of online business development campaigns
- Keyword research
- Expertise in specific markets and geographies.
Here are 15 essential SEO tips for better ranking:
1. Good content.
Be sure to have good, well-written, and unique content that will focus on your primary keyword or keyword phrase.Keywords are the terms that people will search for to get to your website. The most general rule is to include them a few times throughout the post. Just be careful not to dilute your content–the website has to make sense. Don’t spam your readers with keywords
2. Link to internal pages on your site.
A lot of content management systems automatically do this, but if yours doesn’t, you’ll want to be intentional about linking to your most important pages directly from your homepage and cross-linking them with each other.
3. Friendly URL Structure Should Be Short, Descriptive, And Help To Categorize Your Website.
A URL is one of the first things a search engine uses to determine page rank, which is why it is really important to make your URLs easy to crawl. You can do this by keeping URLs short (this is also beneficial for UX), aligning to the page’s topic and keyword, and ensuring that URLs help you to categorize your site pages. Also put hyphens in between words and use lowercase letters. Include a keyword in the permalink so that the topic of the page/article is clear (usually in CMS title is converted to be a permalink)
4. Create a great keyword phrase in title, description, or meta tags.
The first thing you should do when working on search engine optimization is to find a great keyword phrase for that page. You shouldn’t try to optimize your entire site to one keyword phrase – instead focus on writing pages for specific keywords and phrases.
5. Create an XML sitemap or Google sitemap.
Search engines love sitemaps – not necessarily for ranking, but for finding links on your site. It’s not critical that you create an XML sitemap or Google sitemap, plain HTML sitemaps work just as well.
6. Optimize title and Image Alt Text.
While you should not hide your heading tag in an image or title, you should still give search engines more opportunities to link to your website by adding keywords in the image alt text and file name.
7. Set-up and use Google Analytics.
To find out, among other things, how many visitors your site gets, the keywords they use to find it, and what pages they visit.
8. Set-up a Social media accounts and pages.
Doing so builds trust with Google and improves rankings for localized keywords.
9. Remove duplicate content.
You can be penalized for having the same, or very similar, content on multiple pages of your site. Your content will be ignored, which will affect your website ranking.
And when having duplicate content;
1. Search engines don’t know which version(s) to include/exclude from their indices
3. Search engines don’t know which version(s) to rank for query results
10. Use Google’s Keyword Tool.
It provides a good list of words and phrases related to the keyword ideas that you enter into it. Keyword is like a workshop for building new Search Network campaigns or expanding existing ones. You can search for keyword and add group ideas, see how a list of keywords might perform, and even create a new keyword list by multiplying several lists of keywords together.
Make sure that you have a breadcrumb in all your internal pages. A breadcrumb is a set of links at the top of the page that aid navigation. If you are using WordPress there are many free plugins to create a breadcrumb.
12. The 404 Page
SEO is about improving the user experience and a proper 404 page contributes to that goal. The 404 page is the page shown when a user is looking for a page on your site that doesn’t exist or mistypes a URL or follows a broken link.
13. Mobile friendly web sites
A significant number of searches performed each day are through mobile devices. Many studies over the last 6 months identified that the number of searches using smartphones is steadily increasing especially when it comes to making online purchases.
I am sure that if you have a look at your analytics data you will see a good percentage of your daily visits coming from mobile.
- First thing to do is understand the difference between a mobile friendly web site and a native Android, iPhone or Windows Mobile app. After talking with a number of webmasters I realized that many people fail with their mobile strategy because they do not understand this difference and because they have not yet realized the enormous potential of mobile markets.
- A mobile friendly web site is optimized for viewing on the mobile browser (i.e. Chrome on android or Safari on iPhone). A native android (iPhone or Windows Mobile app) is an application that can be downloaded from the mobile markets (Google Play or Apple Store). I will cover this with more details in another post but for SEO purposes you must provide a mobile friendly version for your users coming through mobile browsers.
- The easiest way to create a mobile friendly web site is to use a plugin (if you are using WordPress) or a service (there are free and paid) which will optimize your web site for mobiles.
15. Webmaster tools and Analytics
Google and Bing have what is called webmaster tools. This is the place to register and submit your web site to their index. After submission you can visit the webmaster central and get valuable information about your web site.
Although this is not directly related to SEO when you submit your web site to Google webmaster tools and Bing webmaster tools you gain a number of advantages:
- It’s a way to tell search engines about your web site (by submitting your sitemap)
- It’s a way to get feedback on the number of pages indexed
- It’s a way to get notified about potential problems i.e. access issues that restrict web sites from crawling your content
- You can see the number of incoming and internal links.
Also, it is very important to use Google Analytics (or any other traffic analysis tool) to:
- Find out how visitors find your web site (direct visits, search, referral, etc.)
- How much time they spend on your pages (and on which pages)
- What keywords they used
- How many pages they view per visit