How to apply SEO to your site
What is SEO?
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. It means to optimize your website in terms of content and design to improve search engine ranking and increase your organic traffic.
Although there are some actions which will improve your ranking if executed correctly, there is no guaranteed magic way to get on the top of the search results.
SEO over the years
In the early days it was easy to get good ranking with some easy steps. For example search engines ranked the sites by the keyword density, which means if somebody included the desired keyword in every sentence, it meant already a very high place within the search results.
And then came Google. We all know that the guys at Google are probably quite smart and realized soon (like other search engine companies as well) that relying purely on keyword density is probably not a good idea.
This was when search engine ranking algorithms began to improve. A lot of other ranking factors were included like inbound links, site structure and link quality.
Today SEO is an extremely difficult business. Not only uses Google a many ranking factors in their algorithm, they also constantly change it. Although some ranking factors still remained important, you will not be able to rely only on those and will have to adapt constantly.
SEO friendly design
To achieve decent ranking, you will have to design your website so that search engines “like” it. For example if you have a website which is primarily focused on images, you will have to add some text, because although Google is smart, it still can`t think and will not understand what your images are about.
Instead of outsmarting Google (which seems to be impossible) you should rather focus on making your site valuable for your visitors.
What information would be useful for you if you were looking for your targeted keyword?
With this approach you can never be wrong even in the future, because the purpose of the search engine algorithms is also to rank those results on the top which are relevant for the user.
Keyword research is essential when it comes to SEO. It means to find the right keywords which will direct visitors to your site.
You should not try to target very generic keywords like “insurance”, because there is extreme competition for these. Rather try to target something particular for your site with a more specific keyword like “car insurance in Houston”.
Another suggested approach is to let your site running for some time and use Google Search Console for analysis.
You can identify the keywords which drove the most traffic to your site and try to target those. This might require some complete re-planning of your strategy, but it is still the easier way to go, than to compete for your initially planned keywords.
Main ranking factors and how to improve them
Content is extremely important – this is what you will read everywhere, but is the ultimate truth. It is what you need to focus on the most.
Keep always in mind that quality goes over quantity. Your content should be original – never duplicate content from other sites – and relevant to the targeted keyword.
It has also been proven by several SEO experts, that you should put emphasis on the length of your posts. Everything under 300 words seems to be regarded as “thin content” by search engines and is ranked below sites with more text.
The same goes for inbound links as of the content: quality over quantity. There are several sites which offer you backlinks for some money; always stay away from these! Not only will these not improve your ranking, Google will even penalize you for bad quality backlinks.
This seems to be an item where you don`t have that much influence on (not like your content), but there are still some good techniques which can help you acquire some good quality backlinks.
You will receive traffic from every type of device like desktops, mobile and tablets and each with a different resolution. It is important to make sure that your content is displayed correctly at every resolution, or else you might ruin user experience.
Also Google measures if your website is mobile friendly and will put a huge penalty if it recognizes that it is not displaying correctly at a handheld device.
Luckily most website builders (and WordPress themes) automatically create your content responsive.
User experience can be ruined by long loading times as well. Also Google measures the speed of your website, so you need to make sure that it is loaded quickly. You can test how Google sees the performance of your site here.
In case you see that your site is slow, try identify what causes the sluggish performance by analyzing the result of the speed test. You might try to reduce the number of plugins you use or utilize caching.
Easy SEO tips
Add text to image Alt attributes
You can add a description of the image to the alternative text of it. This will help search engines to identify what the image is about.
Link back to your own posts, but only if it makes sense. Do not do it purely for the sake of having internal links.
Create links to external websites which are relevant to your topic. This helps search engines to better understand the topic of your post.
Use keywords in your URLs
Look at the URL of this post in your browser. It contains the post title itself, which improves the ranking for the specific keyword.
Submit a sitemap
Submit a sitemap to the major search engines. This will inform them about your new posts and will ping them whenever a post is updated.