This blog will guide you through the basics of search engine optimization or SEO as it is shortly called and help you get the general idea as to what is this hype about and how does this actually work.
As it is said, “CONTENT IS KING” and it feels great to follow this golden rule and blindly produce and post blogs, videos, articles, and whatnot. But what we forget here is that excess is not always better. Content on a website should be relevant to the website and a customer’s i.e. be of good quality. A quality website is that with above average content which in turn helps to attract new customers and retain old ones. It should convey a business’s objective and information that is vital for a customer.
WHAT MAKES YOUR WEBSITE DIFFERENT AND BETTER THAN YOUR COMPETITOR’S? CONTENT
While developing content, much emphasis should be given to both the website’s and customer’s needs. Content marketing is a make or break game. Modern businesses now go by the saying” If your content is for everybody, it is for nobody.”
But the question that arises here is that let’s assume that you have created a website with good graphics, post daily and update it on a regular basis, but how would you know what effect it has on potential customers? What I mean here is that are you actually able to target and attract the right audience?
Here comes the role of SEO.
SEO simply refers to the online visibility of a website or a webpage in a search engine’s organic results. Organic here refers that it is free that of no extra cost and is automatically done by the search engine by driving up information from a variety of sources on the internet. SEO is not just about building search engine-friendly websites but it’s also about making your site better for people too.
What is the audience? What are people looking and searching for? What are the keywords being repeatedly being looked up on the web?
A good SEO strategy should cater to all these questions. SEO extends the reach of a website. If a customer has a good experience on your website, the more likely he is to remain as a loyal customer; same is the case with attracting visitors and turning them into potential customers. A website with good content gets an extra boost with SEO.
The most compelling feature of SEO is the access to generate free traffic. It is important since a good SEO approach can drive more traffic to your website or blog and gain more customers, make sales and fulfill your business purpose.
In non-complex terms, Search Engine Optimization is a way to improve your website so that it will appear closer to the top positions (mainly top ten or the first page) in the search results of Google, Yahoo, Bing or other search engines.
SEO has Two Stages- ON-SITE SEO & OFF-SITE SEO
This answers- What rules are to be applied or what changes can be made on a website to make it more search engine friendly.
Some of the most important elements for search engine optimization happen on your own website. Here are the bare minimum on-site optimization elements you should put on each of your website’s main pages to increase your chances to get on top of the search engine results.
In marketing, less is more while doing SEO you should remember not to overdo it.
You might be thinking that shoving a lot of keywords onto your pages, will get you more visits, but that is not the case. In fact, Google has unleashed an over-optimization penalty that targets websites that have too many keywords (currently around 5) stuffed onto one page in order to increase website visits. To get the basic idea and hands-on onsite SEO, Google ad-words can be used.
- TITLE- Title tag should tell the search engine what your website is about, example clothes, shoes or marketing. It should be 70 characters or less and should contain the brand name and keywords significant to the relevant page.
- META DESCRIPTION- Meta description gives a little bit more information about your business to the search engines. This should be written keeping in mind a customer’s perspective. It appears under the title on a Google or Yahoo search. It is a general brief about what your website has to offer and should contain keywords.
While the title tag and the Meta description are the most important SEO elements, there are certain other elements that should be incorporated into a website to further optimize the SEO process.
- Internal Linking- Linking doesn’t always necessarily mean linking to outside web pages, internal linking means linking a webpage with another webpage of the similar website i.e within your content.
- Header Tag- Using header tags helps both readers and search engines to break up your content into digestible sections. It hence becomes easier to pick up and understand.
- Image name and ALT tags- While uploading an image, consideration should be paid to thinking of a good keyword for the name given to the image. While putting the cursor on the image, a name pops up that is ALT tag and should contain a keyword so it makes it easier for the search engine to pick up.
- Bolded or Highlighted text– Occasionally bolding a letter or two in your website’s content can help catching the customer’s eyes. Highlighted texts are one of the first things that are read by a customer while surfing on a website as they are easily visible.
- URL- URLs should be simple and easy to understand. Lengthy URLs with unnecessary information should be avoided. Avoid keyword stuffing.
- 404 error page- 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. It is done to enhance user experience.
Along with the above, the time for a webpage to upload should also be quick so as to reduce the bounce rate. Crawling should also be done which refers to directing search engines to not read particular web pages that might not be essential for viewers. This means disallowing access to information of certain web pages on a website.
Off-site SEO refers to increasing the site’s reach by ways other than your own website.
This can be done by linking (link building).Off-site linking plays a critical role in Google ranking algorithm.
Linking a website with another can help know the search engines that this website is being talked about and can lead to a promotion of website in search engine results. Getting links with keyword anchor text will help you rank specifically for the keywords that are linked to.
There are lots of ways to get links like organic link building, white hat or black hat.
Organic link building is the one which you don’t have to ask for i.e they are automatic and are the best link building technique especially if it is linked to a website with higher viewer reach and popularity. White hat is good quality linking with quality graphics while black hat, on the other hand, is low quality linking like spamming; this should be avoided. It is tough to get organic links so websites can resort to the following measures to increase link building.
- Publish great content that naturally attracts links.
- Publish your content in front of bloggers who may link to your website.
- Link to other websites and reach out to webmasters informing them that you added a link to their websites.
- Try to get links from high-quality websites only and avoid buying links.
- Get links from websites related to your work and not any kind of website.
- Create social media profiles that link directly to your website.
- Reaching out to related (but not competitive) businesses to see if they will link to you.
- Submitting guest blog posts to popular blogs in your industry.
Last but not the least, control is important. You need to keep track of the SEO process so as to find out deviations or any incompetencies in the strategy developed. Tools like Google Analytics and Authority Labs are used for this purpose. Google Analytics can be used to learn more about the visitors to your website, monitor your organic search traffic sources to see what keywords people are using to find your website in search results. This will help you learn what keywords you should be targeting your SEO campaign.
If you follow these steps wisely to run your SEO campaign you will definitely reap the fruit of your hard work and make a name for your business in the market.