Search Engine Optimization or SEO – such big word that would really intimidate you, especially if it’s the first time you’ve heard of it.
It may big, complicated, or technical, but you may find it somehow easy if you cover the basics.
The thing is, SEO is needed by any business or anyone who’s decided to enter the cyber-world that is known as the Internet. What SEO does is that it makes your website’s presence in the Internet known.
Being online is not enough. There are millions of websites that offer the same product, service, and information as yours.
What you need is to draw in more people to your site. In a more technical sense, SEO creates more traffic to your site.
It makes your site the authority resource.
SEO is not that complicated to understand. To understand it, you must refrain from the too technical descriptions or tutorials. It would be better if you arm yourself with the basics first. Here are the basic SEO rules you need to know:
You already know what keywords are. You probably just don’t know that you’re using them quite often. Whenever searching for something using any browser like Google, you type in some words in the search bar. These are called “keywords”.
Google gives you your search results that have the keywords that you’re looking for. The more relevant the search results are to the keywords, the better.
Now in a business perspective, you have to know what keywords people use when searching for something. And your goal is to make your business turn up on the search results once those keywords are used. Therefore, keywords must be well-researched and strategically placed in a webpage. You can read this article to determine what people search for.
2. Keyword density
In SEO, there’s this term called “keyword stuffing”. It’s when a webpage like an article or blog has overused a certain keyword, meaning it has been repeated several times more than what’s acceptable.
Google hates this and would often brand such pages as less credible. If Google brands your page as such, then your website’s not going to get any rank and consequently, traffic. If you have 100 words on a page, do not repeat the keyword more than 5 times. Less than 5% keyword density is always safe.
3. Know where to place the keyword
It should be present in the page URL, meta title, headers, meta description, and the starting sentence of your paragraph content. You might be thinking, “Place the keywords where? What?” You would better understand this if you dissect what a typical webpage is:
A typical webpage consists of:
- URL (Uniform Resource Locator) is the web address, the one you see on the address bar whenever you arrive at a webpage. When using keywords for your page, make sure they’re on the URL. For example, if your website is about gift baskets, then make sure that the keyword “gift baskets” is on the URL. Limit the number of words in your URL so that Google would put more emphasis on each and every word. If your business is about gifts and the keyword is gift baskets, a good URL could be http://giftsrus.com/gift-baskets.
- Meta Title is the part that appears on the top-most bar of your web browser. When search engines recognizes the keyword on your webpage’s meta title, it would put your website in the search results list whenever there is a request for that keyword.
- Headers (H1, H2, H3) are the titles on your webpage. Most search engines sifts through the header tags and recognizes them as the page’s topic. This means that you have to add your keyword in the headers as well. Just take a look at this article's title for an example.
- Meta Description is the summary given at the results page. It gives you a preview of what that page contains. If you like what you see on the meta description, then you’re more likely to click on that search result link and go directly to the website. This description needs to have your chosen keyword. If you notice, the keyword you typed in is highlighted in bold in the meta description.
- Content / Body / Paragraph needs to have your keyword there as well. This is to tell Google and the visitors that that keyword is an important topic in your webpage. Again, limit the amount of keywords to below 5%.
- Instead of repeating your best keyword, use synonyms and back up phrases instead. You can veer away from keyword stuffing by designing your page around your best keyword. That way, Google will know that your site is legit and credible.
4. Use alt tag for your images
Google doesn’t understand images and file types. Just because your image moves and looks great on the homepage, Google doesn’t understand it. It doesn’t know GIF images and just disregards them.
So if you must use an image, make sure that its file name contains the keyword and relates to the keyword. Also, describe the image in the alt tag. Use the keyword in there as well.
Here's how you do it:
<img src="YOUR_IMAGE_URL_HERE" alt="REPLACE_TITLE_OF_THE_IMAGE_HERE"/>
Just replace REPLACE_TITLE_OF_THE_IMAGE_HERE with your own.
If you're using Wordpress as your content management system, all you have to do is add a caption and description when you upload images.
5. Use anchor text
Anchor text is the label, clickable text placed in hyperlink. Google uses links like this to know where to place your site in the search results.
For example, instead of using this label: "click here", use "learn Wordpress" instead. Try to make your anchor text short but descriptive.
However, when using anchor texts, make sure that the content of the page is related to the anchor text. Also make sure that you’ve given a good explanation on why you’ve created that link and pointing the readers to another page. If the anchor text seems out of place, then Google will just scrap your page.
Here's how you do it:
Replace REPLACE_ANCHOR_TEXT with your own!
6. Create original content
Do not copy other people's content. Most search engines especially Google hates "duplicate content" and it could hurt your website ranking - so I highly recommend you to post original content. Consider reading my other post: How to create original content.
These are just some of the basic rules in SEO. You can still research for some more to broaden up your knowledge about it and set your website to page 1 of the search results.