Search engine optimization deals with the methods and techniques used by webmasters and internet marketers to boost the visibility of their website and its content in organic search engine results. In other words, SEO is focused on maximizing a site’s Google rankings. Here are the most important elements that you must take care of to optimize your blog or website for better SEO.
1. Relevant Content
Search engines like Bing and Google are in the business of sending their users to the most relevant sites based on user search queries. Therefore, you must publish content on your blog or website that’s relevant to what your target audience is searching for online. That means you need to know your audience, as well as the intent of their search queries.
2. Quality Content
In addition to relevancy, your content must be high-quality as well. That means you should write for your target audience – not for search engines. Furthermore, you should include useful images and videos too. Avoid overusing keywords in your content, because Google can penalize your site for keyword stuffing. Instead, use relevant keywords naturally throughout your text.
3. Good User Experience
Providing your visitors with a good user experience offers many SEO benefits. For example, by offering your visitors with a clear, easy way to navigate your site, they will likely stay on it longer, as well as being able to locate all the relevant content that they are interested in reading. Google measures the average time users spend on a website when determining the site’s organic search rankings.
4. Good Site Speed
Search engines are putting greater emphasis on how quickly (or slowly) web pages load when determining search rankings. Websites that take longer to download won’t rank as high. One reason is because most users will leave a site that takes longer than five seconds to load. Many won’t even wait that long! Therefore, if you want to improve your SEO, you need to ensure that all your web pages load quickly. Google offers a free speed test that will measure your site’s speed, as well as offer recommendations on how to improve it.
When a website has high authority, it means that users trust the site and consider it a credible source of information on a given topic. One way to gain website authority is to publish lots of relevant, high-quality content that your audience finds valuable and interesting to read. Sound familiar? Furthermore, when other webmasters find your content valuable, they will link to it from their respective sites – which will boost your site’s authority in the eyes of Google. Building website authority takes time, so it’s more of a long-term SEO investment.
6. Title Tags
Title tags are an important SEO element that tells visitors and search engines what the content on your web pages is about. By using relevant keywords in your title tags, you can drive targeted traffic to your site when users conduct search queries using those keywords. However, you should try to only use a few relevant keywords for each title tag so you don’t dilute their SEO value. You should aim to make your title tags around 60 characters in length. If you make them too long, the end will get cut off in Google search results.
7. Select a Good Domain Name
Are domain names important to SEO? Yes! However, not necessarily in the way that you think they are. For example, using a keyword-rich domain name might actually hurt your search rankings. That’s because Google now puts greater scrutiny on the quality of content for sites that use lots of keywords in their domain name. In years past, webmasters would try to trick Google by using domain names that consisted of their main target keywords. Google didn’t like that bloggers and website owners were trying to manipulate their search algorithm. Therefore, you should pick a domain that includes your brand’s name – something unique that your visitors will associate with your business.
8. Allow Comments
Most bloggers hate having to police comments – especially from rude and hateful users. However, allowing user comments on your posts can improve your site’s SEO, but you still need to take some steps to filter out spam comments so they don’t hurt the value of your brand and site. You can also add the ‘nofollow’ value to your comments section – which tells search engines to ignore any links posted by users.
9. Local SEO
Google is increasingly putting more emphasis on providing their users with local search results based on their searches. Therefore, if your business has a brick-and-mortar location, you should optimize your site for local search results. For instance, you should register your site with Google My Business and Bing Places for Businesses to boost your rankings in local search results. You can find other local business directories online to add your site to as well. It might also be a good idea to join your local chamber of commerce and get listed in their online business directory.
10. Get Social
Lastly, a non-technical SEO element that can increase your site’s visibility is to use social media marketing. You need to find and join all relevant social media platforms that your audience uses. However, you shouldn’t just use social media as a way to “blast” more content at your audience. Instead, you should use it as a way to ‘get social’ and genuinely engage them. For example, you could offer customer service assistance and helpful hints about your products or services. Done right, social media marketing can be an effective way to drive targeted traffic to your site.
In short, good SEO isn’t just about pleasing Google. More importantly, it’s about pleasing your audience by creating relevant, quality content that they find valuable. Furthermore, you should provide them with a good user experience. Your audience should also view you as a trusted source for information related to your niche. Make sure you take advantage of every opportunity to interact with them online – like allowing them to post comments on your post, as well as reaching out to you on social media.