Imagine for a moment that you’re a librarian. But, you’re not a normal one – you are the librarian for every book in the world. People depend on you to look for the exact book they need. How will you do it? You need to have a proper system to manage the information. You need to know what’s inside each book and how they all relate to one and other. Your system needs to take in a lot of information and then give out the best results. I wouldn’t go and call it an easy job!
Search engines like Google are the librarians of the internet and their systems search through all the information present on the World Wide Web, so they can help you find exactly what you’re looking for. And every search engine out there has a secret – called Search Engine Optimization, or SEO.
If your content is properly optimized for search engines, you will automatically get a better rank in searches. Not only will this increase your traffic, but get your more money and hits as well. However, many people – even professionals, forget about simple SEO strategies at times.
Here, dear reader (I was asked to be very polite!), are the basic SEO techniques you should never forget (and definitely implement if you’re a newbie).
Proper Backlinks will drive you to the front
Essentially, there are two things that you’re meant to take care off once you start with SEO for your content. You need to have:
- Key-Words that you want to rank for in your content
- Other high-quality sites linking to your content (backlinks)
Now, putting in keywords is pretty easy. Don’t believe me? I’ve already dropped the term ‘SEO’ 5 times in 300 words and you didn’t even notice until now! The tricky part is adding high-quality back links to your content.
As in real life, search engines love websites and content that is referred to (or linked, you could say) by a lot of websites. Naturally, this led to a lot of marketers and content creates to have bogus, fake links to their content in hopes of a better SEO ranking. However, search engines are pretty smart and it’s all about quality over quantity.
For example, if you have an established, regularly visited website such as CNN to link to your content, it’ll have a much better rank than a blog that has links to from many sites not really heard of. High-quality backlinks are very important for SEO and you will want to have as many of them as you can get.
But, you may be thinking, “How can I get a reputed website to get me a backlink? I can’t just drop them a mail saying ‘Hey, please link to my content, can I?’” Truth is, there are tonnes of websites out there that have established themselves and actually let you sign up for free and create a link yourself! Just hit up Facebook or Twitter for starters. 🙂
You could even look for forums that are related to your niche and begin posting there. Elementary, my dear Watson!
If you have better backlinks than your competitors, your content will get more traffic which will lead to more sales or reads, whatever you’re looking for.
Page Speeds matter a lot to search engines; optimize your images!
On an average, it takes 19 seconds for a website to load completely over a 3G network. 19 whole seconds! From personal experience (that is backed by this report), people tend to abandon a website that takes more than 3 seconds to load.
Not only a faster page loading speed get you a better search engine optimization, it will also increase the experience of the users that visit and view whatever content you’re hosting. Even Google announced that it gives out bonus ranking points to websites that load faster.
For example, an e-commerce website that loads faster than its competitors will get a slightly better search rank. This though, is done after taking into considerations a lot of factors, such as country and network.
Overall, a few things can make your content not optimized and they could be:
- Your host
A cheaper host can increase your loading times. It’s usually a good idea to have the right host (that fits your business size, of-course)
- Externally embedded media
A lot of us has embedded media in our content. While this has a high value, it may tax your loading speeds. A simple solution for this is to host media on your own server.
- Un-optimized browsers
I hope this went without saying, but you have to test your website on many browsers. Or at least all the popular ones (I don’t use edge, but my grandparents still do!)
- Too many ads!
No one loves ads, but they pay the bills. However, too much of anything is bad. Having advertisements is not bad, but too many of them is over-kill and will result in your page being a ‘non-SEO-entity’.
You can test the speed of your website using the Google Page-Speed Insights.
Optimize and resize your Images
Now, there is one more culprit in slower page speeds. This person (or software, whatever!) is very important to us all and makes our content look better. However, it uses a lot of resources. Pictures.
There are a lot of ways to make content easier to read on the Internet – lots of paragraph breaks, proper use of headings and sub-headings, using snappy and free flowing text or even putting in a few GIFs of Kanye West’s mood swings. However, pictures are the single most best way to make content more attractive.
Images can bring in organic traffic using search engines. But, they must be properly optimized to make this happen. Choosing the correct photos is very important and you can read more about this here.
Once you’re done with that, you must ensure that your images are of the proper size. If they’re huge, you have to resize the images to make for better search engine optimization. There are a lot of ways to edit photos and resize them. If you know how to, just start photoshop. If not, you can check out picresize or the good old’ MS Paint.
Search-friendly domain names and URLs
As I said earlier, Search Engines go through everything on your website. They analyse a huge amount of information and it is very important to make it easier for it. Cut the robots some slack!
Your content pages should clearly define what they are all about. For example, if you have a page that sells antiques, it should say something like ‘Buy Antiques’ instead of going all old-Shakespeare-English on it!
That being said, your URLs should be very easy to understand to.
It would be much easier for the search engine to understand what www.we-sell-unicorn-hair.com/unicorn/premium would be instead of www.we-sell-unicoorn-hair.com/1234/zyx.htm.
No, that is not an actual website – just an example.
Similarly, using dynamic URLs, even if they contain easily recognizable words would not make your website optimized.
One easy way to get more friendly domains is to create a sitemap. A separate page that links and list all the available content on your website would make the job a lot easier for search engines and is a useful SEO practice.
To sum up this sub-topic, use consistent domain names. Be old-School about it and try and use less sub-domains. You’d be better off using sub-directory root domains. In addition, if you have keywords in your URL, you get bonus SEO points!
Google Maps listing, Local searches and reviews
Studies show that people trust online reviews as if they were a personal recommendation. 84% of them, in fact. How to get good reviews? Serve your customers better and stick to your niche.
7 out of every 10 people will leave a review if you ask for it. Locally, you can claim a business as yours on Google. All you need to do is go to https://www.google.com/business/ and follow the instructions over there. You will need to get verification done and once all set, you’re good to go.
If your content is optimized enough, you will make it to Google’s local three-pack, which is a superb goal!
You need to optimize your GMB page and add specific descriptions and categories and business details. You can read more about this topic here.
Many search engines want you to add a proper structured schema to your website. This makes it easier for spiders to go through all the data on your site and is a good SEO tool. Google offers a tool to do this as well.
Make your media more social!
Facebook and Twitter aren’t just great for browsing through endless memes, follow people and chat. Social media sites are amazing for SEO. This kind of goes back to the first sub-heading, backlinks.
If people sharing and interacting with your content over social media sites, search engines will recognize it and give you a higher rank. You could even use Google+ and get a better rank for your content. To do this though, you need to enable Google Authorship on each of your posts.
You should be present on all relevant social media and you can even use it as a customer-service place! Happy customers is a happy you.
With all the focus on ‘new’ SEO techniques, it’s fairly easy to forget the basics. Go through the above carefully and stick to them for a better experience during your time on the internet!
And if you ever need help, we’re always here at your service!