WHAT IS SEO FOR A WEBSITE IN SEARCH ENGINES?
BASIC TIPS ABOUT SEO FOR SMALLER BUSINESSES & WEBSITE SETUP
S.E.O. - Search Engine Optimization for a Website?
We know, even the name can sound intimidating. It's three letters, like the FBI, a fancy job title, or some unknown disease. And for many of us, just the mention of an acronym makes our palms start to sweat. But take a deep breath! We're here to walk you through SEO, and we've got your back the whole way.
So What is WEBSITE SEO?
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. Put simply, it’s the set of actions you can take to help your website rank higher in searches on Google and other search engines. These actions include using relevant keywords in your website’s text, giving your web pages a title and description, and much more. Why does this matter? Because showing up higher in search engine results means more people will find your website, learn about your business, buy your products, or use your services.
With more than 1 billion websites online today, the competition on Google and other search engines can be tough. If you want people to find your website, investing some time on your website's SEO is a must.
Proper On-Page optimization entails tweaking many components of your site. In the rest of this article, we will explain the how and the why of the different actions required to optimize your site. Try to do them all, or just do what you can. Every bit of optimization work can help your site rank higher!
Most of the work involves incorporating your target keywords into your content and various behind-the-scenes elements of your site.
What is the main topic of each page of your site? Which keywords are relevant for each topic? How do you want visitors to get from your Homepage to other pages on your site?
In what order do you want people to read your pages?
These are all important questions to consider when creating your site structure in order to minimize the clicks that take visitors from their entry point to wherever they want to go.
When planning your site structure, you also might want to target different segments of your market on different pages on your site. This is particularly important for e-commerce websites where different customers will be interested in different products. Consider all the information you want to include on the inner pages of your site and which potential customers will find this information valuable. Then, create a site map that allows you to target different niches and sometimes different keyword groups (or, keyword families) on each internal page of your website.
Your Homepage should always focus on attracting your core target market the “bread and butter” of your business. Therefore, use your primary keywords as much as possible on your Homepage, in the headlines, content and image alt text. (Just make sure your writing always sounds natural.)
An organized site structure helps search engines make sense of your site. Note, however, that search engines don’t always crawl a new website right away. To make sure they visit your site immediately, you can submit your sitemap directly to Google and Bing. Submitting your site map invites search engines to scan your website and also provides them with an outline of the structure of your website. Sure, chances are that Google’s smart robots will find you eventually, but why not get a head start? Especially since it only takes about five minutes!
Choosing an SEO-Friendly Domain
Aside from being an address that’s easy for your audience to remember, your URL, or domain name, is part of your branding and overall aesthetic. Moreover, it’s crucial to your SEO. Your URL is one of the first things that search engines look at to understand what your site is about.
Most businesses use their business name in their URL. This is a smart practice since it reinforces your brand for both customers and search engines. Plus, many customers will type the name of your business into Google if they are looking for you online. Having a URL that matches your brand name will help them find your website right away.
Optimizing Your Website Content
As many SEO specialists will tell you, “Content is King.” One of the most effective ways to improve your ranking in search results is to regularly add high-quality content on your website that incorporates your keywords. If possible, try to use a main keyword in the first two sentences on each page of your site.
Always write for humans, not for Google. Keep your content easy to understand and written in a human voice.
Writing for humans means not using robotic language, awkward phrasing or repetitive key phrases. That said, some of your keywords may seem hard to use especially if they are long tail keywords that combine your service and location, for example.
Have faith in Google! Search engines recognize keywords, even if the word order is mixed up. When you use your keywords, they do not always need to be an exact match for someone’s query. If the phrasing is similar, Google can still understand that your website is a relevant result.
As Google’s algorithms have developed over time, they've become more skilled at scanning the content on websites and using it to determine what a website is about and when to display it in SERPs. When scanning websites, Google’s bots are designed to mimic human readers as closely as possible. They read pages much like we do, starting with the headlines or titles in large or bold text and working their way down a Homepage. Then, they click on links to scan different pages within each website.
Include Your Contact Info
If you run a local business, use your business name, address and location-based words throughout your website. This content will help search engines know to display your site to potential clients in your geographical area. Even if your business isn't location-specific, it’s important to clearly display your name and contact information on every page of your site. It helps build your credibility for Google and makes it easier for your customers to reach you!
Sounds simple, right? But we've all come across websites with spelling errors, grammar mishaps and content that isn't professional. For many reasons, badly written content can turn off your customers, but it’s also poor practice for search engines. Reputable websites won’t want to link to websites with sub par content, making it harder for them to rank well and build up a reputation as a valuable site.
Search engines have worked hard to create bots that know how to evaluate the quality of the content they scan. They can detect spelling and grammatical errors as well as the reading level of the text. They also look out for duplicate content text that is identical to content found on other pages across the web. If you use a quote from another website, be sure to give them credit by placing a link to the source.
Blogging: Your Fresh Content Source
Writing a regular blog on your website is one of the single best ways to use your keywords and ensure that you regularly updating your site with fresh, high quality and relevant content. Set an achievable goal and aim to publish a new blog each week or each month. While a blog may not directly boost your rankings, it is a great source for unique content that can’t be found anywhere else, filled with your keywords.
Plus, it’s natural to use your keywords more frequently when you write longer posts without having to worry about keyword stuffing. Finally, long posts tend to demonstrate a certain level of expertise on a subject matter and thus indicate that your website is a reliable source. After all, writing 500-1000 words about a topic you know nothing about is no easy feat!
Setting Your Meta Tags and Alt Text
Write Keyword Rich Titles and Descriptions
Every page on your website should have a unique title and description, known as your meta tags. Meta tags are the short snippets of text you see when you do a Google search and may just be the first thing people (and search engines) read about you online. That means they are pretty crucial for bringing in traffic! While these elements aren't necessarily visible from a first glance on your website, they are very important to optimizing your website and are considered part of On-Page SEO.
Google gives you a limited amount of space to display your title and description. We recommend keeping your meta title between 50-60 characters, including spaces. Your description should be under 160 characters.
Meta Tags: Your SEO Secret Weapon
When words within a user’s query match keywords in your meta title, there’s a good chance that Google will place your website higher up in the search results. They will also bold the matching words within your title and description on the SERP.
Use keywords in your meta tags. If you have chosen to focus on a different keyword family on each page of your site, use words from the relevant family when writing the meta tags for each page of your site.
As with any content you write, make sure your descriptions are clear and well-written! When one of your potential customers is searching on Google, they will use your title and description to decide whether or not they think your website offers what they are looking for. Convince them in these few words and you’ll earn yourself a click!
Tips for Writing Effective Meta Tags
If you run a local business, the best practice for writing titles is to use the following format: Keyword | Location | Brand Name
If you’re not a local business, use the following format: Keyword | Brand Name
Your meta title is also visible on browser tabs and social media posts, so make sure it is clear and accurately reflects the content on the page.
Keep your title short, quick and eye catching. Include your business name and a target keyword for that page of your site.
If you run a local business, add your location to your page title. This will help Google know to display your website to searchers in your area.
Image Alt Text and SEO
Your images also play a fundamental role when it comes optimizing your website for search engines. Alt text is a brief written description that you can add to any image on your site. Since search engines can’t see visuals like photos, videos or graphics the way humans can, they rely on alt text to understand what’s depicted in these elements on your site. Writing good alt text is about turning your images into words that search engines can understand and use to help them index your site.
Your alt text should always accurately describe the corresponding image while integrating keywords or your business name whenever possible.
Alt Text and Online Stores
Alt text is particularly important for e-commerce websites which typically have a large number of images in their product galleries. If you have an online store, think of each of your images and their alt text as an opportunity to describe your products and present them to new potential clients.
Not every image on your website needs image alt text. There is no need to write alt text for a background or design-related photo that has nothing to do with your business.
If you have accounts on social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and others, you should include links to these profiles on your website, ideally in the header or footer of every page on your site. This will help you get more followers and likes! You may also want to include share buttons so that your visitors can share your images, content or blog posts with their own network of followers on social media.
While it’s not clear exactly how much Google looks at social media activity to determine the ranking of a website, social channels are powerful tools for attracting new visitors and exposing your business to more people. And over time, more traffic can only help your site grow.
Creating a Mobile-Optimized Site
What does your telephone have to do with SEO? Turns out, a lot! Since search engines give a lot of value to great user experience when determining search results, sites that are optimized for mobile devices rank better.
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