How You Can Use SEO to Improve Your Website’s Search Rankings
SEO is an acronym for Search Engine Optimisation which is admittedly quite a mouthful. To put it simply, SEO is a process that is used to improve websites’ rankings on search engines that are primarily responsible for driving most of their web traffic. This in turn produces a greater number of visitors which is useful for increasing sales or generating ad revenue.
Contrary to popular belief, SEO is not a one-time process. It requires constant maintenance to keep your website relevant. Before proceeding any further, it is important to note that it is practically impossible to lay down all the tips and tricks for improving your website’s ranking but that being said, following are four basic steps you can take to up your website’s ranking -
“Keywords” is the cornerstone of SEO. Though search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo constantly update their search algorithms to produce relevant results, they can only do so much. Using relevant keywords in your website’s URL and its content will make a very visible difference. Be as specific as possible. For instance, using generic keywords like “cake” will not help your website’s rankings noticeably. On the other hand, long-tail key-phrases like “order dark chocolate cake online” will definitely improve your visibility.
In addition to the primary keywords, make sure to use other related keywords or phrases which in this case would include words like “bakery” and “free delivery”. Similarly, local businesses and companies would also benefit a great deal by including their location/address as part of the main or related keywords.
Identifying keywords is only the first step. This brings us to keyword placement which is arguably just as important. If nothing else, include your primary keyword/key-phrase in the title and meta description of your website. Most people consider visiting a website based on its title and the meta which makes these two particularly important. In this context, it is worth mentioning that using a short keyword rich slug (the end part of the URL which comes after .com) will also help raise your page ranking or at the very least, make it more readable. This is probably one of the easiest ways to optimize your website’s on-page content to make it search engine friendly.
Incorporating your keywords into the main heading of your webpage as indicated by the H1 tag could also potentially boost your rankings although there is still no consensus on how much weight search engines place on headings. However, always keep in mind that most search engines will penalize you if you overstuff your page with keywords. In short, use relevant keywords as and when required.
Getting high quality back links is a bit tougher than clever keyword placement. First of all, start by sharing your page on social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter. Aside from the free publicity, this will help gradually improve your site’s ranking. Apart from social media platforms, blogs are very useful for backlinks. Write guest-posts on popular blogs with back-links to your own page. Alternatively, you can even request blog contributors and authors to include a link to your website in their articles. If the quality of content is good enough, they might just agree. Reaching out to niche forums and online communities is also a great idea for getting backlinks. However, spamming such forums with promotional posts could just as easily turn their members against you. Google places immense weight on back-links which is why it is so valuable for SEO. According to its algorithm, a site with high quality backlinks is more trustworthy, reliable and credible.
Mistakes to Avoid
Speaking of indexing, poor internal linking is another common problem plaguing several websites. In fact, internal linking is just as important as external in-bound links. Make sure to create an easy to use sitemap on the homepage that allows users to effortlessly navigate the pages of your website.
Another frequently reported problem is poor optimization for mobile devices. With the growing popularity of tablets and smartphones, you could be losing out on a number of visitors simply by having a poor designed website for mobile devices. Search engines will penalize you for this.
In conclusion, SEO is not an overnight process. As mentioned previously, it is an on-going process involving the simultaneous creation of new content and optimization of older content. The above mentioned steps are only the bare basics to help get you started. To know more, you could visit the SEO sub-reddit at r/SEO (with over 30,000 readers) or the Moz website which serves an online community of over a million digital marketers.
At the end of the day, SEO is not the one and only Holy Grail of online marketing. It is useful for increasing your website’s ranking but it cannot work in isolation. In addition to SEO, you should also focus on producing high quality content and delivering a seamless user experience on your webpage.