It’s now 2018, and SEO has never been more important. Despite acknowledging the fact that SEO is crucial to one’s online existence, people are still making some basic mistakes. Here are some facts about SEO that can help you understand what it is and how you can improve your online presence.
What Is SEO?
Simply put, SEO includes all the methods and techniques that you adopt in order to increase the visibility of your website and its content on search engine result pages (also known as SERPs). There are usually two main methods to optimize your website – on-page and off-page SEO.
On-page SEO is all about technical practices that go behind the scenes like the URL of the page, using appropriate tags, headings, subheadings, the use of keywords, multimedia and more. Off-page SEO techniques are more promotional in nature which you can use to increase the site’s visibility. Examples include social media marketing, link building, etc. By visibility, we mean how high or low your website appears in SERPs for particular sets of keywords.
Note: For this post, we are mainly concerned with the organic search results and not the paid ones. However, paid search is also an important part of SEO. Take a look at the screenshot below, we have highlighted the organic and paid searches for you.
The main purpose of any website is to attract as many visitors as possible.
Now, when it comes to traffic driven by the search engines, the figures are simply overwhelming – and probably the clearest indicator of how important SEO is and why we need it?
According to research, almost 64% of the traffic on a website is driven by search engines. If you were thinking social, know that only 2% comes from social media outlets and 6% from paid searches.
There are many search engines and some of you might be wondering, which one to target first? Based on research, it should be Google. In 2015, a study proved that Google search accounts for 90% of all the global organic search traffic. That’s a big number and clearly an indicator of where we should focus our attention.
What Are Search Engines Looking For?
Search engines are smart and they try to provide the most updated, relevant information to their users. Whether it’s a simple question or a more complex query, search engines will always filter the best, most relevant information out there. How search engines look for information based on a unique algorithm. Having said that, being relevant to your target audience can really go a long way in terms of attracting organic traffic.
2. Quality of Content
If the content is king, quality is the army. A king with a weak army is vulnerable while a strong army strengthens the king reign. Plus, Google and other search engines have developed a new found love for the quality of the content. One way of creating quality content is to write for your audience and not for the search engines.
3. User Experience
User experience, in short, is how a visitor actually feels when he or she in on your website. The overall site design, color combination, navigation, and content contribute to the user experience.
This wasn’t so important a few years back but with the mobile penetration, how fast your website loads can be a deciding factor in terms of SEO. Google has recently started penalizing web pages that load slow.
There are 2,000 million people in the world browsing the Internet from their mobile phones. Keeping that in mind, websites today should be responsive and optimized for different screen sizes. Also, Google is keeping an eye on that!
6. Internal Linking
It is one of the most useful SEO techniques out there and probably the most overlooked as well. Here is what it can do for your website:
- Reduce bounce rates.
- Help readers find more relevant content.
- Help with the index.
- And more…
Authority website is a trusted name on the market. It has already been recognized as a leader in the niche. If you can obtain a link from such sites, it will be taken by the search engines as a vote of confidence, which will eventually make your website’s ranking better.
8. Meta Descriptions
Meta description may not help a great deal with SEO, however, it makes your content more identifiable and searchable. In case you are wondering what meta descriptions are, it’s a small paragraph that appears under the page URL. Users often read this paragraph before opening the link. There is a 156 characters limit set for this description.
9. Schema Markup
It makes your appearance more attractive on the search results with the help of rich media, five-star ratings, customer ratings and more.
10. Image Tagging
In case you didn’t already know – Google can only read the information you provide about your images. The “alt text” is what we are talking about. It is a short summary of the picture which helps search engines identify it. You can also use your main keywords in alt text but don’t overdo this. Image tagging also helps when making your visual content more identifiable in a Google image search.
11. Evergreen Content
Evergreen content is usually not time-barred. It will be useful no matter when it is read. Yes, it is something hard to create as it takes time. However, the long-term benefits of such content are amazing and Google loves it too.
Check out this detailed post on how you can create more evergreen content.
12. Learn From AllTop
AllTop is a modern directory, which lists the top blogs and bloggers in your niche. All you have to do is search for your keyword and the directory will list all the top content for you. These are the exact people you want to link to and build a strong relationship with.
13. Linking Out to Quality Content
Are we forgetting about Google HillTop? In case we are, it’s an algorithm update from 2003 which still plays an important role in SEO. It actually helps Google decide whether or not a particular page is a “hub” for information.
14. A Magical Email Tweak
This one is more about the outreach. According to research, the word “because” can increase your chances of getting a positive response by 45%. This result can be put to use in our emails.
Readers usually want the answer to “who is this person?” And “what does he want?” The earliest you can give that, the more chances of success you have.
15. YouTube Descriptions
YouTube videos often make their way to the first page of Google. They have big potential – so, if you don’t already have a channel, make one, and start creating videos right way.
One way to do that is to make a small blog post with a description of your videos. Ideally, it must be around 200+ words.
16. Long-tail Keywords in Title Tags
Using only one (single) keyword in the title is okay. However, you will be missing out on a lot of traffic. Use at least one, or ideally two long tail keywords, in your article to give your ranking a boost.
17. Wikipedia for More Unique Ideas
Wikipedia is an excellent source for keywords and topic ideas. Use Google Keyword Planner in collaboration with Wikipedia and see the magic happen.
Search for a term on Wiki and pay close attention to the “Contents” box, sidebars, internal links, and the “See Also” section for out of the box, unique ideas.
The list of above techniques is not exhaustive but it’s something that has worked for us. If you don’t have the time, you can hire an SEO specialist who can do all the deep digging and hard work for you.