What Is SEO?
SEO or Search Engine Optimization is the practice of increasing the quality and quantity of traffic to your website with the help of organic and natural search results. In this article we give you 10 tips to make sure Google doesn’t hate your website!
How Does SEO work?
SEO is an effective tool to increase the quality and quantity traffic of a website. Here’s what quality and quantity really mean:
- The Quality of traffic means the right audience finding the right results. For example, if you run a clothing store website and if Google redirects people looking for smartphones to your website, that traffic isn’t worth much. You can receive all the traffic in the world, but it isn’t worth anything if you aren’t getting traffic from people genuinely interested in your product.
- The quantity of traffic is the accurate target demographic clicking through the search engine results pages.
- Organic results are preferred. Organic results are results on search engine result pages that aren’t paid for. On the image below you see a clear difference between organic results (green arrows) and paid results or adverts (red arrows).
Search engines like Google have a complex task. They want to give the user the best possible experience when someone searches for a specific search term.
The user must find exactly what he or she is looking for and not something that looks like it. They do this by showing websites which are relevant and important to the keyword. How their search engine does this exactly is a very complicated and technical story. But in short, it involves a so-called crawler with a very high amount of artificial intelligence, that ‘searches’ the net, gather information and brings it back to the engine. There it will be indexed and run through an algorithm.
From the many billions of web pages, a search engine must give the best possible answer to the search intent. If people are satisfied with a search engine’s answers to their search intentions, they will continue to use this search engine.
10 Effective Tips for SEO
There are very effective techniques that go into implementing SEO. SEO techniques change very rapidly and some techniques that might have been relevant a year ago might not work this year. This is why it’s important to keep up with changing trends and which is why we’ve compiled a list of the top 10 SEO techniques:
1. Improve Engagement
The measure of time someone spends on your page reflects the engagement of your webpage. It is the ability of your page to hold attention.
Google hasn’t officially declared that it favors pages with better engagement but it makes sense that it does support sites with stronger engagement with higher page ranking and engagement. The lower a page is ranked in the search results page, the higher bounce rate has.
Google reasons that if a user spends more time on a page, they probably did so because they found the page useful. And since Google wants to present only the best results, it pushes pages with stronger engagement.
Here are a few tips to increase engagement:
- Shorter Paragraphs: Use shorter paragraphs, a few lines per paragraph. This is because people scan a page instead of reading. Having shorter content pieces, that contain useful information is a good method to increase engagement.
- Sub-Headers: Again, people scan a page instead of reading it. Having bold headings that stand out from the other content will help users find the information they’re looking for.
- Bucket Brigades: Use a phrase or sentence that captures the interest of a reader such “The secret to good SEO is:”.
2. Focus on Topics instead of Keywords
Google’s search results are based on its algorithm’s understanding of a user’s intention. What a user is looking for, what they want out of the information they find and how it can itself show results that would help them the most.
Google has a ‘rich results’ method to show the answer to your query at the top of its results.
Using keywords and keyword focused content isn’t going to cut it anymore. Using keywords was a method to ‘trick’ or use Google’s search engines to your advantage by highlighting specific words. You must now consider what a user is looking for and use your content in a meaningful way.
If you run a website about computer programming, different audiences from all will be coming to your page. Sorting content in categories will help you divide the content for each target audience. Instead of using standalone keywords such as “learn java”, instead try to convert topics, such as:
- How To Get Started with Java Programming (For beginners)
- How to Sort Java Classes (For intermediates)
- How To work with Java in Devices (For Experts)
Just organizing your content based on demographic and content can help boost your page’s ranking.
3. Next level SEO – LSI terms
The “latent semantic indexing” is a great piece of technology where Google is getting better at recognizing the semantics between words. So you can write about SEO, but more visitors, more traffic, higher positions in Google, ranking factors are all related.
LSI goes further than just using synonyms. And if you write a valuable piece of content you almost always take LSI with you. Smart locations to add this is for example in your content itself, headings, images and in the meta description.
In short, LSI can be included in the same way if you have all your important search terms from your search term analysis.
From this, you can also conclude that Google is getting better at understanding your content what it really is about. It is no longer just about search terms, it goes much further than that!
Mix enough synonyms and LSI terms in your content strategy, because Google loves diversity.
Trustrank is a link analysis technique described in the paper Combating Web Spam with TrustRank by researchers Zoltan Gyongyi and Hector Garcia-Molina of Stanford University and Jan Pedersen of Yahoo!. The technique is used for semi-automatic separation of useful webpages from spam.
Many web spam pages are created only with the intention of misleading search engines. These pages, chiefly created for commercial reasons, use various techniques to achieve higher-than-deserved rankings on the search engines’ result pages. While human experts can easily identify spam, a manual review of the Internet is impractical. (source: wikipedia)
So basically this means you need to built trust with google and other search engines. How can this be achieved?
- Mobile optimized – very simple, your website should look good on mobile devices.
- The speed of your website – long loading times are punished by Google, provide a fast site and also add AMP pages.
- Google Analytics + Search Console – there’s no harm in adding the Analytics code and Webmaster Tools (search console) to your site.
- Breadcrumb navigation – breadcrumb trail again for easy navigation for both the search engine and the visitor. It gives a structure to your website and a certain hierarchy.
- Ideal user experience – is it easy to navigate your website? Can you always return to the ‘home’? In other words, can the user get to where they want to go with a few clicks as possible? Keep it simple and do not add unnecessary elements to your website!
- Little to no duplicate content – it must have added value if you have a lot of duplication on your website that has little value.
- Few 404 errors – you do not want to bother the visitor with many 404 errors, you can easily fix them with a redirect tool.
- SSL certificate (https) – via Cloudflare you can get it for free, otherwise, it costs 80 euros a year, definitely worth it because it is an official ranking factor.
- Contact page – regardless of general data, it is also useful to include Google Maps and the correct schedule in your contact page. Also, make sure your domain matches your domain information. A nice addition is to include your social media channels, it is again a quality and trust booster.
- Terms and conditions – it is smart to have this because it is also necessary if you want to advertise, this gives a positive ranking signal.
- Chamber of Commerce number, telephone number, and address – a spammer or low-quality site do not want to report an address or other data, make sure you do this!
- Amount of pages – thin articles and few articles do not really give a clear signal that it is about quality!
- Internal links – you want to build a good spider web structure and you do that by using internal links. If you use an automatic tool, make sure you fill it out correctly and do not show an overkill of internal links.
- External links – especially linking to high-quality sites/sources is a good strategy to inspire trust at Google because low-quality sites do not do this or in the wrong way.
- Meta descriptions + titles – fill them in carefully and make sure they are not duplicate! It amazes me how many sites that are not in order by not applying technical SEO! Especially when a designer builds the website, things go completely wrong.
- New fresh content – regularly placing new valuable content is a super effective SEO strategy and will do wonders for your rankings. That is why Google is also crazy about a blog, regular blogging is really a super effective strategy to score better in Google
5. Build Back-Links
Google state that links in a webpage is the number 1 factor in determining a page’s rank. Ranking a page without links is a difficult task for Google.
Analytics show that 99.2% of the top 50 results on Google had at least one external link pointing to the website. 77.8% of all results had at least one external link.
6. Formatting is Key
A page’s readability is an important factor to better page ranking. A well-formatted page increases the engagement of the user and helps them find useful information.
Images: We mentioned a few formatting techniques to increase engagement before. Shorter paragraphs, shorter lines, sub-headers etc.
Take the formatting technique we mentioned and add images. Pictures, that are profession and contextual will help your content’s meaningfulness because it shows what you mean. An abstract description can give you an idea, but a picture solidifies an idea. It illustrates content. Plain and simple.
Pictures divide content into different topics and are serve to our ‘scanning, not reading’ idea. People will definitely stop scrolling to look at a picture.
Reverse Pyramid Writing: Reverse Pyramid Writing is a method that gives the reader the most valuable information at the top of the article, and it eventually goes onto less important information. If we take our scanning example again, they won’t have to skim through an article much when the most useful information is at the top.
7. Decrease Your Bounce Rate
Writing meaningful content, presenting in a formatted pretty way might not work out. Even after all that work, you’ll still be sitting there scratching your head trying to figure out what went wrong.
Well, it might be because your bounce rate is high. A bounce rate is the percentage of visitors who land on your page and leave without interacting any further.
Poor bounce rates can be fixed by correct implementation and well-designed landing pages. Poor bounce rates come from a poor user experience and information not being able to be found.
Concentrate on informative, solid content that stays on top of changing SEO trends and engages viewers while making the effort to implement on these techniques. It’s a huge, almost overwhelming task that will take a huge investment of time but knows that all your effort is worth it and show results.
8. Stay informed on SEO trends
Google and other search engines are constantly changing their algorithms (around 500-600 times a year!), so make sure you keep up to date with the latest trends on this!
9. DYOR or Do your Own Research
What is it that your website visitors are looking for? Research your self what their problems and/ or questions are. Google Trends is a good tool to help you research this!
10. Stay fresh, unique and more importantly valuable!
Meaning: keep posting, do not copy others and give valuable info to your visitors!
By now you will understand the importance of SEO, but it might still be a bit too complicated or time-consuming for you to do it your self. Indalowebdesign.com offers the solution: we do your search engine optimization for you!
If you have any questions regarding this topic, contact me anytime with your questions!
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