SEO (search engine optimization) is the art and science of making websites appear higher on the Search Results Results Page (SERP) on Google, Bing and other search engines when users search for particular terms on Google. It’s one of the most effective ways to get traffic and build brand awareness online. However, SEO is a complex field that requires both technical know-how and creativity to succeed. This article will give you a high-level overview of what SEO is, and provide some quick tips and techniques to help you improve your SEO performance.
On Page vs Off Page SEO
Search engine optimization, also known as SEO, involves on-page or on-site work to optimize the content and structure of the website to improve the ranking of those pages in the search results of a search engine, whilst also creating high-quality off-page or off-site website links from external websites back into your website to prove it’s authority and authenticity.
Both of the above areas involve the use of keyword analysis, aligned with techniques such as writing good quality content, using adequate and appropriate keywords in the copy and creating links to other relevant web pages.
Below is a rundown of the key steps to good website SEO.
It’s all about the keywords for SEO
The most important aspect of SEO is the use of high-quality, relevant keywords and phrases in the content of your website. The more keyword-rich your content, the higher your chances of appearing on the first page of Google when someone performs a search. The better your content is for a certain keyword, the higher your ranking on that page will be. This is why keyword research is so important in the world of SEO.
There are many tools and techniques for finding the correct keywords for your business that are actually being searched for by potential customers, but one of the most effective ones with accurate data, as well as offering keyword suggestions is the Google Keyword Planner, which is part of the Google Ads suite.
On-Page Search Engine Optimisation
Website Domain URL for SEO
The URL (Uniform Resource Locator) of your website is the human-readable address of your website.
When creating a new website, or a new page on an existing website, it’s a great starting point to create a website URL that contains the keyword or keywords you want to target.
The web address you choose for your site can be selected depending on the business you are trying to promote or the product you are trying to sell. For example, if you are selling products related to tyre bays in garages and you sell direct to the public, a great URL for your website may be something like tyrebaydirect.com to ensure you rank highly when people search for tyre bay products.
Also visually it’s easy for potential customers to see what your website is about before they even navigate to your website.
Website page URL for SEO
Further to this, it’s also a good idea to include your primary keyword phrase in your web address for maximum SEO value. As per the above example, many garages sell tyre presume monitoring systems, known as TPMS to customers having new tyres fitted, and TPMS is a highly searched term by garages, hence the URL to advertise these products would be very effective as tyrebaydirect.com/tpms
Website Speed and Mobile Friendly for SEO
Websites are expected to be fast, any more than a couple of seconds loading and your customer may have got bored and click away to your competitor’s site, for this reason alone your website needs to be fast. However Google, Bing and the other search engines also downrank websites that are slow, so the speed is very much required for both the user experience and your website’s SERP rankings.
Another factor to be aware of is that in a world of smart mobile phone users. the majority of visitors to your website are almost certainly mobile users, so you need to ensure that your website design is built with a mobile-first design in mind. Of course, the site should still work equally well on desktop PCs with screens of various sizes, and indeed for tablets, even though the tablet users are fewer than both mobile phone and desktop users, but a site that does not scale well or work well on a mobile phone will rank worse than an equivalent site that does.
Website Title Tags and Descriptions for SEO
The title and description of your website are also essential places to include your primary keyword or keyword phrase. The title is the name of your website, or the main heading of your website, which appears in the SERP when someone performs a search. The description is the additional text that describes the content of your website, which appears next to the title when someone performs a search. The title and description of your website are also good places to include your primary keyword or keyword phrase.
These elements are codes within the website HTML, and not visible to the user when they visit the page, but they are read by Google, Bing and other search engines, and form a key part in helping them to understand what your website or website pages are about, and hence the search engine will use this information to determine which pages to present to customers searching for the related search terms.
Website Headings for SEO
The heading tags in your website HTML format the appearance of headings or subheadings within your content. The heading tags are, h1, h2, h3… and h6. These tags are often used to format the primary heading of a section of content, such as an introduction, or a subheading within a section of content. They can also be used to format the subheading of the primary heading of a section of content, such as a subheading within an introduction, or a subheading within a section of content.
The headings are another essential feature for your website SEO. The headings should also include your primary keyword or keyword phrase.
Generally, the larger the heading, the more important it is in SEO terms, so on most websites H1 is more important than H2 etc. However search engines have changed recently to give more importance to the physical size of the heading, rather than the H1, H2, etc tags themselves, so this comes to depend somewhat on your website design, theme and CSS setup.
Website content for SEO
The content of your website is also an important part of SEO. The content on your site should be relevant to your target audience and should be well-written, grammatically correct and informative. The content on your site should be unique to your website and should be relevant to your keyword focus. The content on your site should be well structured, with logical headings, subheadings and paragraphs.
As well as including your primary keyword or keyword phrase in the headings, the body of your website content is also an important place to include your primary keyword or keyword phrase. The content of your website is the text, images, videos, products and other elements that make up your website. This includes the content of the blog posts, the product descriptions, the blog comments and the forum posts.
Image Metadata for SEO
The images on your website are also an important part of SEO. The image metadata, also known as ALT and Title tags, are the codes that appear within the image file when it is displayed on your website.
The Title tag may often appear as a popup piece of text when you hover your mouse over an image on your website.
ALT tags are encoded within the HTML against an image, and although are not presented to the user, they are used by screen readers for partially sighted users, and more significantly for SEO, they are also read by the search engines.
Hence keywords and phrases that are relevant to the image can be very useful snippets of data that can help your website or page rank for the keyword or phrase.
Structured Data and Rich Snippets for SEO
Structured data is structured information that provides relevant and specific details about your business and your products and is useful for search engines. It helps your website rank better with the search engines and improves your page visibility.
Structured data is a way to add additional context—like the name of the product, a description of its benefits, or a brand logo—to rich snippets displayed in search results.
The structured data markup is slightly different from the traditional markup. Instead of heading tags and paragraph tags, you use a series of predefined HTML elements called structured data elements. The structured data elements describe a piece of structured data and can be used to add more semantic meaning to the data.
Rich snippets are a special type of structured data that allows users to find specific information in a website’s content much more easily. They are structured in a way that makes it easy for users to find the information they want, and when they click on the structured snippet it takes them to the section of content where that information is located. This makes it much easier for users to find the information they are looking for and improves the ranking of the website in search results. The structured snippets that are displayed in the search results are mostly based on the content of the articles, but sometimes they are based on the content of other sections of the website such as the blog, or the product description.
Internal Links for SEO
Internal links are hyperlinks that allow users to jump from one page to another within the same website, wiki, or blog.
The use of internal links helps users stay on the site longer, and improves their experience because users can get to the relevant information faster. Internal links also help search engines better understand the relationship between two different pages, so they can provide better search results to users.
An essential part of SEO, internal links can also be a powerful way to increase your search rankings if they’re used strategically. Use them to link to other key pages on your site from related pages and relevant terms on your site or to related pages on other authoritative sites relating to the subject matter of your site or page,
Internal links should always be used to point to other related content on your website. For example, linking from a blog post to a related product or service that you can provide is a great way to encourage people reading about the subject both to see you as an authority on the subject and also to likely have an interest in the product or service that you supply.
Quality or Quantity of website pages for SEO
SEO may not be the primary focus of your website, but it is a critical content marketing strategy that is often overlooked.
So which is better, more content, or better quality content?
Building quality content on your website to provide a better user experience for your website visitors is essential otherwise your visitors or customers are unlikely to stick around on your site long. Great quality content can really help improve your page’s ranking in the SERPs also, as the Search Engines want to present their visitors with websites that have great, relevant content.
However, the quantity of pages on your site is also a ranking factor for search engines. Having a large number of pages enables more relevant content for every product, service and ultimately every keyword or phrase that you wish your website to rank for. Hence, in general, more pages are better for SEO.
Having a large number of pages, all of which have high-quality content with a unique voice will not only help your website to rank better in the SERP, but also give you the ability to capture the reader’s attention with the content you are posting, and thus keeping them on your website longer, and coming back more often, both of which are also ranking factors, and therefore you have a better chance of ranking higher for the search terms you are targeting.
Blog for SEO
Writing a blog on your website can be a great way to keep the content fresh on the site, since product and service information may stay fairly static, but the search engines like to see regular activity to know that a website hasn’t been put out to pasture.
A blog post not only allows you to provide high-quality content on the subject but also to publish it in a place which could potentially rank higher in the SERPs
Building a blog has many benefits, for example:
- it allows you to publish fresh content regularly
- giving users a reason to come back regularly and stay on your site longer
- creates new places in your site to link from external sources (backlinks) such as social media
- the ability to provide more content on a given subject, or product you wish to promote
- gives you the ability to have more internal links between the blog posts and relevant other content, pages or products on your website
When writing a blog for SEO, it is imperative to make the information easy to understand. In a nutshell, high-quality content means that your blog is written in a way that is both easy to understand and helpful to the reader. A well-written blog is like a magazine for your website; it should be full of information, but also have an element of style and flair that keeps the reader interested.
Off-Page Search Engine Optimisation
Backlinks for SEO
Backlinks are simply links from external websites to your website.
These backlinks are a very strong factor for SEO to increase the site’s rankings.
However, as with all SEO, creating backlinks has to be done in a targeted way, otherwise, you may be creating toxic backlinks that can also cause problems, which could affect how Google, Bing etc rank your website.
If you create high-quality backlinks, ideally from authoritative related websites, within highly relevant content back to your website then they can provide an easy way for search engines to discover your site and help to boost your rankings – they can help improve your ability to make your website more powerful for a given keyword or subject and therefore rank higher in the SERP
Social Media for SEO
Social media has proven to be a powerful marketing tool and has essentially revolutionized how people connect, share, and relate to one another, and it has become a really useful tool for the SEO industry also.
Social Media is a great way to generate exposure for your brand, and it can be a game-changer for your business if strategically used.
The main goal of social media marketing for SEO is to increase the number of backlinks to your website.
Including relevant content and crucially a link back to relevant content on your website, can be one of the best ways to increase backlinks into your website, and done regularly can really help boost your SEO presence online.
Depending on your website content, some social media may work better than others for you in terms of engagement and SEO. Some social media platforms are better suited to image and video content, and also to specific age groups, whilst others are more business-to-business related, others appeal more to end-users, but sometimes you just don’t know which will work better for your business, so it’s best to do some customer research or try them all and see what works best for your business. There is a wealth of data and analytics behind each of the social media platforms available, so be sure to use this to refine your social media strategy and make sure you’re getting the best engagement for your time spent on each social media channel.
Video Content for SEO
Video content has become an increasingly important aspect of website SEO in recent years. Video content can help improve your website’s search engine ranking by providing valuable, engaging content that keeps users on your site longer and increases their engagement.
When creating video content, it’s important to optimize it for SEO by including relevant keywords in the title, description, channels and tags. Additionally, providing transcripts and closed captions can help improve accessibility and increase the likelihood that your video will appear in search results.
It’s also important to ensure that your video is properly embedded on your website and optimized for mobile devices, as mobile users account for a significant portion of video consumption.
You should also consider the video platform on which your video is hosted, as some may naturally perform better than others, some can be used across platforms for things like remarketing campaigns, and for example, YouTube is owned by Google, which probably suggests you would want your videos to be on there too, even if it’s not your preferred video platform.
By incorporating video content into your SEO strategy, you can enhance your online presence and attract more traffic to your site.
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