What is SEO and what does it mean?
If you are an owner of a website, you probably at least once “googled” how to improve your website’s status, traffic, rank etc. and every time you read articles about it the answer is the same, Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization and it is the vital part of any website’s prosperity and success. In short, it is the process of implementing proper optimization techniques to a website in order to make it more appealing to the search engines, therefore, improving its standing with those engines which results in the higher ranking of that website in Google, Bing, Yahoo etc.
In today’s world of technology, whenever we need to find something on the internet, we tend to use Google and other search engines to find the information that we need more easily and most often we find that information on the first page displayed in front of us. The reason why the website containing that information is on the first page is because of the well-implemented Search Engine Optimization Techniques.
How Do Search Engines Work?
Whenever you type a word or a sentence in a search engine (e.g. Google), the engine’s algorithm starts searching the internet for a website that will best provide you with the information that you need. Once they find a suiting website they start “crawling” through its pages, reading the text on the website and its HTML code to determine whether that particular website might provide you with the information that you need. The website’s content quality will determine the future SERP (Search Engine Result Page) position of that website (i.e. whether it will appear on the first page in the future or not).
Essential SEO Techniques for Successful Optimization
Choosing Proper Keywords
The first step to every successful optimization is choosing the right keywords that you want your website to be found for and the key to choosing the best keywords for your optimization process is to always go for words that best describe your website’s content. Never limit yourself to choosing only one word as your keyword since that is most often a waste of character limit. Instead, go for long-tailed (3-4 word) keywords that are something which users are most likely to type into the search box.
Once you have chosen the keywords that you’d like to be found for, It is time to implement them in the website’s text (body) and its HTML code. This includes: page title, page URL, headings, page text, image ALT tags etc.
Once we are done with the keyword research process we can move on to implementing proper Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Techniques. These techniques can be divided into two categories, On-Page SEO & Off-Page SEO.
On-Page SEO pertains to optimization within the website. In other words, it means implementing certain optimization techniques in the website’s text and HTML in order to make it more appealing to the search engine algorithm.
Here are some of the basic steps for a successful on-page optimization:
- Create unique and original content with a proper keyword density
- Create meta tags and good meta description
- Create alt tags for images since Google can only read text and not visuals
- Make sure your first paragraph contains chosen keywords
- Include chosen keywords in the website’s URL
- Build a strong internal link structure
- Avoid duplicating your content
- Make sure to have proper HTML and code
- Optimize images and videos on the website
- Pay attention to the website’s loading times and HTML page size
- Optimize 404 pages
- Implement Google Analytics
- Include privacy policies, disclosures and disclaimer pages
- Add social media sharing buttons
- Create a proper sitemap
Some of the advanced on-page optimization techniques would be:
- Implementing a canonical tag
- Implementing robot.txt
- Proper usage of “no follow” attribute for affiliate links
- Checking HTML code errors with W3C Markup Validation
Off-Page SEO is the process of optimization which takes place outside of website’s URL. It is an efficient way to build backlinks to your website and improve its standing with search engines. Some of the most common and simple ways to build backlinks include:
- Social media visibility
- Link exchange
- Forum and blog posting
- Search engine submission
- Guest posting
- RSS feed
- Directory submission
These lists include only some of the techniques that professional SEO companies use in order to make a website well-ranked. Doing a Search Engine Optimization on your own can take a lot of time and resources for both learning and implementation. Hiring an SEO professional to do it for your can save you both time and money as well as ensure better chances of your website appearing on that first page of Google.