Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a term which is very familiar to lots of people but difficult to understand. As a beginner you can feel like lost ship in ocean of internet and god of internet (Google, Yahoo, Bing) is not satisfied with you and cursed you for life. But it is not like that SEO is quite easy if you understand strategy behind it and how search algorithm gives priority to one link over others.
Search engines use a method of listing called indexing to add various website links from the web. And search engine programs, also known as spiders or bots went through a process called indexing to list every links from the internet to their huge database.
So it is not like that search engines are not giving you the attention, actually they are giving the same attention to you as they are giving to others. But it is you who is responsible to not getting visits frequently by the bots and not ranking well.
Here are few SEO tips and guides to help you achieve or at least reach you close to achieve what you desired and deserved.
1. Page Title & Description
Page titles are very important part of SEO. A page title gives the user a clear perspective what the page is about, so search engines or google gives priorities to this. If your title contains the keyword you want to be ranked on then it is most likely the best approach. Also you need to keep in mind that the title matches with the content of the page, which I will discuss later in this post.
Home page title for a website should be the brand name or website name with some keywords related to products and services provided by the site owner. Also you can list your business physical location there in your home page title.
Description: The description meta tag is to give users a short description of what the page is about or offering and google gives more priority to this in their listing. So it is more likely that in their search result pages (SERPs) google make web page titles as headings and descriptions as the content. Google shows up to 156 characters to their result pages.
2. Permalink Structure
The permalink is the URL of the site or a page of the site. This permalink structure is also as important as title & description in regards to search engine priority. Google shows the link of the page below the title in their results. There are some guidelines you should follow to structure the permalink which is also considered as user friendly URL.
- Make the URL human readable as much as you can. If it is easy to read and understand for humans, then it is most likely easy to fetch easily for search engines also.
- Use words that can describe the page content in a few words.
- Separate those words by “-“.
- Don’t make it too lengthy.
3. Text Formatting and Links
How you format the texts of the content of the page that is also plays a major role in SEO. There are few guidelines to format your texts to make it more appealing for SEO. Before you publish a page or post these you need to remember these guidelines.
- Use H1 header tags for title or main heading of the page/post.
- H2 tags will be for sub headings.
- Make few words of your texts Bold and Italic to draw users’ attention to something that is more important than others.
- Always write small paragraph with easy and basic words.
- Use proper font size and color to make it easy and comfortable to read.
Links within the content of the page can be categorized as internal links and external links. Internal links are those anchor tags which points to another page of your website, whereas external links are the links which points to the pages of other websites. Use this links to the words which can be discussed elaborately and destination links actually does that.
4. Image Optimization
Visual elements like images, plays a major role to overall user experience and these images need to optimize properly to search engines to crawl it properly. There are also few rules to optimize images for a website.
- Image file name should be descriptive and understandable. For example, use file name like cute-cats-and-dogs.jpg instead of image1.jpg
- Use keywords in alt and title tags of the image.
- Optimize image sizes to load the page quick and fast. Suppose you have an image gallery or a smaller version of an image is showing on the page, then it is good to use a small size or resolution thumbnail image for the image instead of full size image.
5. Custom 404 page
A 404 page is the page which is shown when a user look for a page that no longer exists or mistyped the URL of the page. Google gives importance to user experience and it is good to provide a custom designed 404 page, which resembles the look and feel of your site. By this way the user feel much more comfortable and also if you provide few links on this page to get to the main area of your web site then it would be considered as a design that provide better user experience.
6. Mobile-friendly Design
In last few years smartphones has taken a major place as a best medium to consume content online. So it is very important to make your website mobile-friendly to attract more visitors to the site and actually Google gives priority to mobile-friendly sites in their search results. It also shows if the site is mobile-friendly or not if you search it though mobile.
Almost every website which has google analytics installed on their website can see most of the visitors coming from a mobile device. This mobile version of the site should be similar to the desktop version. This way users wouldn’t get confused if they switch between mobile to desktop.
7. Page Speed
Page loading speed is another parameter to measure user experience for a website. It is considered that if a website loads its pages less than 4 seconds then it is providing good user experience. Google gives advantages to the sites with lesser loading time than the sites which take much more time to load.
Content is still considered as the king of all in SEO. If the content is not good enough to provide value to the readers, then it will not fall behind in result pages. Content should be fresh and unique to score more in SEO.
Also length of the content is also a thing to keep in mind, less than 300 words content is not good for ranking. If you can write approximately 1000 words for a post then it can rank well in SERPs. But keep in mind that don’t compromise with the quality of the content to make it lengthier.
9. Sitemap and robots.txt
Sitemap is the list of links of the pages and posts of a website. Sitemaps can be categorized as xml sitemap and html sitemap. HTML sitemaps are for the users and can be placed in the footer section of the website to give one page navigation for whole website. But XML sitemaps are for the use of search engines and it should be structured properly. You can use xml sitemap generators to generate it automatically or by some plugins it can be generated and updated automatically when new page or post published.
Robots.txt is a simple text document file which search engine crawls before any link/page of the website. This file can tell search engine bots what to index ad what is not to index by the search engines.
10. Webmaster Tools & Analytics
Webmaster tools or now known as Google search console is a tool where you can register your site and submit sitemap to index. This tool gives you tips to improve your search presence and current ranking reports.
Analytics is another tool that gives you report about the user interaction on your site like how much time they are spending on your pages and how many visitors comes to your site in a day, week or month.
By analyzing these reports provided by this tools you can monitor the performance & improve your SEO daily basis. If you follow these tips listed above then it will give you boost for your website ranking.