Are you looking to improve your website's visibility? Or are you a beginner who wants to understand the basics of SEO? Maybe you've heard that SEO may help drive visitors to your website and gain you higher rankings, but you're not sure how it works or where to focus your efforts? Well, you’ve come to the right place. I've summarized how SEO can help your website rank higher by utilizing basic strategies.
What does SEO mean?
SEO is a buzz word and you will find tons of definitions on the internet. SEO stands for "search engine optimization". In layman's terms, it refers to the process of improving your website in order to increase its visibility when people search for products or services related to your business on Google, Bing, and other search engines. It obtains traffic from search engines through free, organic, editorial, or natural search results. Its goal is to boost your website's ranking in search engine results pages. Remember that the higher the website ranks in the search results, the more people who will see it.
How does SEO work?
Bots are used by search engines such as Google and Bing to crawl web sites, moving from site to site, collecting information about those pages, and indexing them. Following that, algorithms analyze pages in the index, taking hundreds of ranking factors or signals into account, to determine the order in which pages should appear in search results for a given query.
A good SEO strategy entails a variety of activities, including:
Identifying relevant keywords that have a high potential for search traffic
Creating high-quality, valuable content and optimising it for search engines and users
Incorporating relevant links from high-quality websites, called backlinks
Measuring the outcomes and improving on it
Now that you have basic definition of SEO in hand, I’m here to tell you there’s a checklist you can use to help shape your SEO strategy. Sound's amazing right? Let's dive in!!
1. Check if your site is indexed
As mentioned above, search engines use bots/spiders to crawl websites and move from site to site. When a crawler discovers a website, it adds it to a massive database known as an index. This is how Google and other search engines can return search results when a user types in a query. Websites are not always found automatically by search engines. If another website links to yours, a crawler can find it while crawling the original site. However, in many cases, you must submit your site to search engines. There's no point in doing all of these SEO tasks if your site isn't in any search engines. To see if your site has been indexed by Google, type "site:" followed by the address of your site. For this blog post, I'll be using my own portfolio site as an example.
If you don't see any results, it means your website isn't isn’t being crawled and indexed. Now don't worry if that happens. Jump on to the next point to know how it can be indexed.
2. Connect your website to Google.
Begin by connecting your site to Google Search Console. Simply sign up for an account if you don't already have one and follow the instructions to link your site. Search Console will notify you if (and when) Google has crawled your site, as well as any crawl errors, external links pointing to your site, and other information. You must create an XML sitemap and submit it to Google Search Console in order for Google to index the pages on your site. Allow a day or two for your already deployed site to collect and analyze data when you first connect it to the Search Console.
Google Analytics is another extremely useful tool to which you should connect. This is where you will keep track of all your SEO efforts. You can see how long people spend on your pages, which pages receive the most organic traffic, and so much more. You only need to embed the gtag.js snippet to get started. There are also a few certification based courses provided by Google themselves to get started with Google Analytics platform. Check them out here.
3. Carry out keyword research
Keywords are the foundation of any SEO content strategy. When creating content, you should keep one main keyword and a few related keywords in mind. When conducting online research, people use keywords to find solutions. So, if your content is successful in reaching the audience during their searches, you stand to get more visitors/traffic.
Assume you go to a library and tell the librarian what book (keyword) you want to read. The librarian has gone through every book in the library (index) and can tell you which one contains the information you want.
Tools that can help you plan your keyword strategy:
4. Carry out competitor keyword research
Never forget the competition's strategy. Well you can't know everything in detail, but carry out your search. Google search is very competitive. There isn't enough space for all the search results to appear on first page. Your job is only half done if you employed keyword tools to select your target term. Look at the top results when you search for your desired term. What are the top-ranking results looking for? Examine the content's format, the topics covered, and any other features employed. When you start writing, this should help you plan your strategy.
5. Make use of internal links
Internal linking is an SEO best practice that assists crawlers and users in finding pages on your website. It also helps to construct a hierarchy of content, which makes site navigation much easier. Your homepage is an excellent place to begin. If you don't have a navigation menu, you should make one. Depending on your requirements, you can include connections to other significant pages such as your blogs, a about us page, a contact page, and so on. It's a good SEO activity to link to your new content in any previous piece of content when you publish fresh content. Just bear in mind that you want to incorporate links only where they are relevant.
6. Analyze backlinks
Backlinks are the foundation of off-page SEO, just as keywords are the foundation of on-page SEO. When other authoritative websites link to yours, they transfer part of their site's worth to yours. This increases trust and credibility between you and search engines, which improves your ranking in search engine results pages. It's critical to understand where your backlinks are coming from, and there are numerous tools available to assist you. Begin with free tools such as the:
Google Search Console can also provide information about your backlink profile. One advantage of Search Console is that it allows you to examine any crawl issues on your site.
7. Mobile-Friendly Design & User-Friendly Design
Your website and your content should be easy to access and read on any device. Users will have a pleasant site experience when you execute mobile SEO since it appears fantastic on any device, regardless of screen size. Google has implemented a "mobile-first index" as more people use their phones to browse the web. This indicates that Google's crawlers will prioritize your mobile site. A non-mobile-friendly website will harm your ranking in search results, resulting in less visitors, fewer leads, and lower revenue for your company. To check whether your website is mobile friendly, you can simply use Google's Mobile Page Testing tool.
8. Use an XML sitemap
XML sitemaps assist Google in crawling and indexing your website's pages. An XML sitemap is a document that includes all of the URLs that you want to appear in search results. A sitemap tool or a plugin can help you easily create one. You should submit your sitemap to Google Search Console once you've created it. After that, allow Google to crawl your website. The Sitemaps report in Search Console can help you determine when your site was crawled and how many URLs were discovered.
9. Use robots.txt
Robots.txt is similar to an anti-sitemap. It's a file that instructs search engines what they shouldn't crawl on your site. It may seem odd to exclude specific parts of your website from search engines, but it can be really beneficial in certain cases. Maybe you have a highly targeted document on your site that you don't want search engines to find, or maybe you have a redirect page once someone clicks on a call to action. Not everything on your website should be immediately accessible to the general audience. However, take care not to prevent crawlers from accessing pages that you want to appear in search results. Read this guide on how to create a
robots.txt file properly.
10. Check your site’s speed
A slow website provides a terrible user experience, as not all pages load at the same rate. Just because your homepage loads rapidly does not imply that your blog posts, about page, and contact page do as well. You can use Google's PageSpeed Insights tool to get a score for any of your pages, as well as a plenty of useful ideas for how to improve them faster. The most straightforward answer is to compress any multimedia information on your pages, such as images or infographics. You should also avoid directly posting videos to your website. Place them on sites like Dailymotion or YouTube.
11. Secure your website
Last but not least, site security is considered for ranking purposes. Here's a high-level overview:
- Sites with URLs that begin with HTTP are not secure.
- Sites with URLs that begin with HTTPS are secure.
Emails, passwords, addresses, and other sensitive information are all protected on secure websites. This makes it more difficult for hackers to steal your personal information. You must acquire and install an SSL certificate to safeguard your website.
If you perform any of these SEO requirements for your website, you'll be well on your way. This has only scratched the surface of what SEO entails. There's a lot more to it than that. I would recommend you to read through the websites listed below and learn more about SEO details.
Top comments (3)
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