Seo for Beginners
All web-designers in London need to optimize and rank their websites high on Google’s results page: This is so, since Google tops all other search engines on the internet in terms organic traffic generation: Ranking high on Google’s search engine results page (SERP) is not difficult if Google SEO is followed.
On the other hand; ranking high in SERPs is not enough; you need to optimize your London site for human consumption; so that your website gets the traffic and conversion rate it deserves when users are convinced to click-through into your website to find specific information or product.
So; what does Google recommend for starters? Google looks for a number of signals to determine the quality score of a website/web-page before showing relevant results in the SERP; and content is among the most important ranking signal it considers.
After all; you built that website to provide a given information or product to the internet users; and not Google’s search engine: It will be needless to work hard on your SEO to rank your site high; while the content it contains is irrelevant and insufficient to those who need it.
Even if such websites with irrelevant and insufficient content ranks high due to some black hat SEO techniques; or by just effecting other ranking signals; they will always have a high bounce rate which also among the ranking factors Google considers: As users find your content useless for their needs; they click-away from your site and find another website with relevant information they need.
But; how exactly to you work on your content to get the favor from Google web crawlers??
This starters guide is broken into various parts of web-seo; both on-page and off-page SEO techniques that you need to perfect during site optimization process before embarking on extensive content marketing for high conversion rate.
A) Basic Search Engine Optimization
1. Unique and Accurate Page Titles
Web crawlers start understanding the content of your web-page right from its title: Ensure that your titles are original and accurate; stressing on the main point or idea you want to put across.
On the other hand; include researched and high ranking keywords in your titles for search engine consumption; while still making your titles catchy; having it in mind that your content is for human use.
2. Use Meta Tags and Descriptions
Meta tags and descriptions will show in the search engine results page; these are the summary of your page’s content.
Your meta tags should include the main keywords you are going to exploit on the body of your web page; so that web spiders can crawl and index your page appropriately.
On the other hand; use clear and precise description to summarize your content for the humans; so that they know what to expect on your page before actually clicking through to your content.
B) Working on Site’s Structure
1. URL Structure
The url structure of your web-page should be descriptive; including the main keywords: Web crawlers should be able to understand the content of your web-page form the url of that page; so that they serve the relevant web-pages to the internet users depending on the search query they use.
On the other hand; meaning full urls have a significant impact on the conversion rate; since humans will be able read them and understand the relevancy of the content; and consequently being converted into a visitor.
If you are using a content management system (CMS) such WordPress; ensure that you edit your permalinks to read exactly what the page is talking about.
Finally; your website URL should also include the main keyword in it; so that if you are a PC retailer, your website will include a PC retailer somewhere.
2. Site Navigation
Make it easy for your website’s visitor to navigate around: Provide links to all your pages using relevant anchor tags; so that your visitors get more information concerning relevant topics you have written about on other pages.
C) Content Optimization
1. Offer Quality and Unique Content
Having it in mind that content is king; strive to offer original and quality contents that cannot be found anywhere else.
Before creating your contents and publishing them; ensure that you do sufficient keyword research using keyword tools available on the internet such as the Google Keyword Planner found in AdWords account.
While creating your content; be sure to use your researched keywords naturally throughout the page to maintain a good flow; and also to avoid spamming the search engines.
2. Use Anchor Text
Using your keywords as anchor text; provide links to the pages within your website; with relevant topics as the anchor text.
On the other hand; if necessary, you can provide links using these keywords as anchor text linking to other relevant sites; with good reputation and quality content to offer more insight to your visitors
Avoid linking to irrelevant sites with low quality content as this will hurt your web-page ranking; or even worse the whole website ranking.
3. Optimize Page Visibility Using Images
Web crawlers are in love with images; utilize images on your web-pages so that they are fully optimized for search engine consumption.
Use image description and caption text boxes to describe what your web-page content is all about; ensuring that you include all the necessary keywords you expect to rank high for.
Use quality and large images on your web-page as these are always doing better in search engine results page.
On the other hand; be sure to use your own images; or buy from sites selling images online; or otherwise find the rights to use free images from sites like Google Images offering images and photos for free use.
4. Make Use of Headings
Separating your content into different heading has a significant impact on both search engine and human optimization.
Provide headings and sub-headings with quality and relevant keywords depending on the topic of that heading or sub-heading.
If you are using plain HyperText Markup Language (HTML); utilize in your content page the H1, H2, H3 and so on; so that emphasis is made depending on the importance of the keywords on your titles and sub-titles.
D) Optimize Your Site for Web-Crawlers
1. The Robots Exclusion Protocol (Robots.txt)
Web-designers/developers use this file to direct the web-crawlers on how they should crawl and index their web-pages.
However; using robots.txt needs sufficient web-development expertise; as it can extremely harm your web-pages visibility if not used correctly.
Ensure that you locate robot.txt files in the top-level directory of your web-server for it to function as it should; otherwise, you will compromise your site’s crawling by the search engine robots.
2. Using rel=”nofollow”
Similar to Robot.txt; using rel=”nofollow” requires extra care. This nofollow attribute is used to direct web-crawlers on which links not to follow and crawl on a web-page.
Some web-designers use this attribute to discourage spamming; or if the content of the page is not for public view.
Whichever reason you use it for, ensure that you counter-check your links so that you don’t use nofollow attribute inappropriately and prevent search engine robots from crawling your important web-pages.
E) Mobile SEO
The majority of internet users today use mobile phones and other hand-held device to access information from the internet.
You need to notify Google crawlers of the mobile version of your website so that it is optimized for the users using mobile devices to search for information through the search engine.
On the other hand; ensure that you use mobile friendly images; and give clear directives on how to use the site with mobile devices.
If you are using a CMS like WordPress; ensure that your website is responsive by using WordPress themes that are mobile optimized; and can re-size to fit on small screens as well.
F) Promote and Analyze your Site
1. Content Marketing
Now that you have satisfied Google’s SEO recommendations and most probably your site is enjoying high rankings; embark on extensive content marketing to promote your website’s contents.
For you to convert more visitors into leads, so that your site’s conversion rate remains high every time; taking your site to the top in SERP is not enough; and without effective content marketing strategy; your site’s performance will be compromised.
2. Website Analysis
Analyzing your site’s performance will assist you to calculate your return on investment (ROI); whether your SEO efforts are rewarded effectively.
There are a number of website analytic tools out there; Google Analytics being one of them with a number of features to analyze your site’s performance.
On the other hand; utilize free Google Webmaster tools to get more insight about your page visits; and a number of data that will help you evaluate your ROI.
Getting your SEO right for high Google ranks is that simple: And since Google is the biggest search engine in the internet; all major search engines such as Yahoo and Bing will like your content and rank your website higher.
Quick Website Traffic Boosting Tips
Basic SEO Techniques:
A few basic SEO techniques:
- View Google's cache to see your page the way a search engine sees it. If you can't see an element of the page in the cache, the search engines can't see it either! This means that content isn't gaining you any search traffic.
- Be sure your page is reachable. Crawlers don't perform searches, they travel by links. This means your page has to be viewable by clicking on a link on another page or crawlers won't see it and it won't be searchable.
- Be sure you don't have metaframes preventing your page from being crawled. Many webmasters use metaframes to prevent rogue bots from crawling their page and don't realize that these metaframes will also prevent search bots from crawling their pages!
- Don't let your links get lost in a sea of links. Pages with hundreds or thousands of links may not get crawled thoroughly in order to prevent spam and skewed rankings.
- Use specific keywords. General keywords will have lots of competition. By using more specific keywords, a webmaster can reduce competition and increase rankings.
- Don't abuse keywords. Use your keywords in natural speech. Optimize your page for one or two specific keywords that searchers might use when looking for information available on your page. Be sure your keywords are relevant to your content.
- Don't use keywords in link anchor text pointing to other pages on your site. (This is known as commiting keyword cannibalization.)
- Be sure your keywords are plain text HTML. Add ALT text for images, transcripts for videos and audio clips, and put captions with java or flash plugins or images. Although crawlers are improving, many are unable to process anything besides plain text.
Be Aware of User Experience
Increasing the usability, accuracy, and visual design of the website will also increase your search metrics. Search engines use search metrics and backlinks to determine the popularity and user-friendliness of your page. These factors play an important role in SEO. Always seek to create content that is pleasing for your reader.
Search Engines use Engagement Metrics to determine user satisfaction. Time spent on a search result means the user found the result much more helpful than a user who immediately hits the back button to look for another search.
The Panda update allows google to use machine learning to rank websites on quality and user friendliness. In 2011, human evaluators ranked thousands of websites based on quality and then implemented machine learning that mimicked those evaluators. This update changed more than 20% of search results.
Things to consider when selecting keywords:
- The Keyword's relevance to your page. Will the people using that keyword in searches be satisfied with the content on your page?
- The Keyword's specificity. Would a narrower keyword or keyphrase attract an audience that is more interested in your content than the audience of the broader term? On the other hand, is your keyword so specific it won't be searched?
- The Competition on that keyword. Can you compete with the current top ranked websites for your keyword?
Where to Put Keywords:
- In the Title: as close to the beginning as you can put it
- At the Top of the Page
- Several times throughout the body of the page
- At least once in the ALT text
- In the URL
- In the Summary or Meta description tag
Optimizing Title Tags:
- Titles should be between 45 and 55 characters long. Titles that exceed 55 characters in length may not show properly in google searches.
- Keywords should be placed near the beginning of the title
- Consider putting your brandname at the end of the title
- Don't sacrifice readability and emotional impact for keyword optimization
Visit https://moz.com/learn/seo/title-tag to see how the title and summary of your page would show up in a google search.
- Keep them short
- Be sure your reader has an idea of what he will find on the page when reads the URL
- Use plain text links
- Use hyphens to separate words
- Use keywords
How Links to your Page Effect your SEO
- Are a wide variety of websites created by a wide variety of webmasters on a wide variety of topics linking to your site?
- Are many sites on similar topics linking to your site?
- Are the ranking sites for your keywords linking to your site?
- Are sites linking to your page using your keywords in anchor text to link to your site? (Anchor text is the blue text that shows on a webpage instead of the URL to the link)
- Are you getting links from trusted sources?
- Have you refrained from linking to spammy or poor quality websites and websites that link to your page?
- Have you been accruing new links?
- Is your page being shared on social media?
If you can answer yes to the eight questions above, links to your content are doing their job and helping increase your rankings. If you can't answer yes to each question, devise strategies to remedy your answer.
Creating good, quality content that related pages will naturally link to is one of the best ways to get links. Another great way, is through Manual Outreach. Don't under estimate the traffic that a well placed link can generate itself. Target specific websites who cater to similar audiences, preferably websites with few links, high credibility and high rankings for your keywords, and invite them to link to your page. Be sure to explain how linking to your page is a benefit for them, and not just an act of charity for you. You may also use this tool to see your competitors' backlinks. Finding sites who have linked to the top ranked sites for your keyword gives you a list of sites that whose links would be of value to you. Avoid self-created links on lower quality websites. While they may help rankings a little bit, they may also hurt your rankings. If you pursue this option, proceed with caution.
Search Engine Webmaster SEO advice
SEO advice from the major search engine webmasters includes:
- Be sure all pages can be reached by static, plain-text links. (Links of the form: <A HREF="www.mysite.com/link">, as opposed to links buried in images, java or flash.) These links are easier for crawlers to find.
- Don't "cloak" your work, or try to present different content to the search engine than you present to the user. Make sure your page is optimized to be found by a search engine when a user searches a relevant query. Don't try to cheat the crawler's and their index.
- Use accurate, descriptive, clear language with appropriate keywords in your titles, subtitles and ALT text. (ALT text is text that appears when an image cannot be displayed.) On hubpages, photo captions are ALT text and are therefore an extremely important part of search engine optimization.
- Create content filled with relevant keywords.
Check for Errors
To check for crawl errors see Google's Webmaster Tools.
More on SEO
For more on how search engines work see Part 1 of this guide.
For more on maintaining SEO rankings long term see Part 3 of this guide.
Search Engine Optimization SEO for Writers
Search engine optimization (SEO) is an ever-changing discipline, and the art and science of getting a website onto the first page of search results is something that every SEO expert wants to achieve.
Although the details of how Google and other search engines rank a website are closely guarded secrets, everyone involved in SEO agrees that backlinks are a very important factor in ranking.
Backlinks are one of the most powerful ways that search engines find out about quality content. Having good backlinks to your website will increase your rank in search results and ultimately attract more visitors.
This article explores what backlinks are and provides practical advice on how to create backlinks and increase your website's visibility. We'll explore:
- What is a backlink?
- What is it that makes backlinks important and valuable for SEO?
- Are backlinks good for human visitors too?
- What is the best way to get backlinks?
- What are some other methods that can be used to get backlinks?
- Posting links to your articles on link submissions sites
- Sharing on social networks like Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus and more
- Commenting on blogs and forum posts
- Guest blogging and posting
- Sharing your expertise
- Other areas
What is a backlink?
A backlink is simply a link to your website or other online content that comes from another website. An example of how a backlink is created would be:
- You write an article about, for example, simple website navigation and publish it on your website.
- Someone else puts together a guide to creating the perfect website and whilst researching they come across your article, read it and enjoy it and believe it would be a good resource for their readers.
- In their guide, they include a sentence like: 'If you want to find out more about simple website navigation, check out this article' <includes link to your website>.
That link, from their website to yours, is a backlink.
What is it that makes backlinks important and valuable for SEO?
Among other things, search engines use backlinks as a measure of a website's popularity and quality. Google and their competitors use the number and quality of backlinks to help them judge and rank the relevance and value of the content of a website and specific pages on that site.
More backlinks from reputable sources means that the search engines will regard your content as important and worthwhile, meaning that they are more likely to show it in their search results.
Are backlinks good for human visitors too?
Yes, backlinks are a great way for readers to find relevant, related information without having to look too far. Anything that improves a reader's experience on a website is worth considering.
When you write content, it's always a good idea to include backlinks to other content on your own site and around the web. This will enhance the information that you provide to your audience.
What is the best way to get backlinks?
The very best way to get backlinks is to write excellent content. Articles that are worthwhile to readers are more likely to be shared and referenced by them, both on social media and from other websites.
This means that great content will naturally gather backlinks over time, increasing its value in the search engine rankings. Although this is the best way to get backlinks, it isn't the easiest or the quickest and there are other methods.
What are some other methods that can be used to get backlinks?
Other methods of gaining backlinks vary in ease of use and how effective they are. You should use these methods sparingly and not become overly reliant on just one or two techniques.
Posting links to your articles on link submissions sites
Sites such as StumbleUpon, Reddit, SheToldMe, Red Gage, Delicious, BizSugar and more allow users to submit links to articles that other site users can discover.
Because anyone can post links to these services, the backlinks from them are not considered especially valuable. You should also review the terms of each of these sites to find out about their link submission guidelines.
Sharing on social networks like Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus and more
If you have a following on social media that's interested in your content, it's worth sharing your links and articles there.
If the information is relevant to your audience, they may share your posts onwards, further increasing the reach and visibility of your website.
Commenting on blogs and forum posts
If you find content related to your website on a blog or forum, and you believe that readers would be interested, you can leave a comment together with a link back to your site.
Be careful when using this technique and make sure that any links you post are relevant and valuable to other readers.
Guest blogging and posting
Although guest blogging is being devalued by Google, there can be some advantages to writing guest posts.
You should find a guest blog that covers a niche closely related to your own and write very relevant, focused posts that can include a link back to your content.
Fact about blogging
- Three quarters of us read a blog every day
- 70% of us say that blogs influence the things that we buy
- There are four times as many search pages for businesses that have a blog and a blogging strategy, as those without
Places to find guest blogging opportunities
There are many sites out there that can put good writers and reputable blog sites in contact with each other, to create a high-quality guest blogging experience, for writer, publisher and the reader of the blog; some of the most popular ones are:
- My Blog Guest
- Blogger Link Up
Guidelines for guest bloggers
- Search Google for high quality blogs (i.e. those that are well ranked, with authority and engaged readers)
- Read the guest posting and quality guidelines for the blog
- Contact the blog owner or other nominated contact
- Explain something about yourself, your skills, expertise and experience for writing content
- Suggest some topics for guest posts that they might want to see
- When writing your post, ensure that you create useful, worthwhile, valuable content that servers a purpose
- Don't stuff your content with keywords or over-optimize it; write for people, not Google
- Include a link to your author bio, Google Plus page or other website in your byline / footer
Things to avoid
If you want to avoid a Google slap for spammy posts, make sure you avoid the following:
- Getting only 'dofollow' links from the blog
- Accept money for guest posting (Google doesn't like paid sites)
- Use 'spun' guest articles
- Provide low quality content
Things to remember about guest blogging
You, the blog and the reader will get the most value out of your guest posts if:
- Your content aligns with the overall subject of the blog
- You provide high-quality, well written, unique content
- The content is of use to the readers of the blog and engages them
- The content is not spammy and doers not contain overly optimized keywords or links
Sharing your expertise
Question and answer and content sites such as Quora, WebAnswers, HubPages and more can be a good place to demonstrate your expertise and experience.
If you answer questions or write articles there, you can often link back to your own content, providing relevant backlinks.
Are there any areas or techniques that should be avoided when creating backlinks?
Google and other search engines are getting smarter about devaluing backlinks from certain areas. You should generally avoid getting backlinks by the following means:
- Article directories - These have been hit hard by Google updates and links from article directories are generally of very low value.
- Blanket posting / 'spamming' your links - Seeing lots of links to content appearing over a short period of time is a red flag to the search engines. Artificially posting and sharing your link extensively over a few days will devalue all of the links.
- Posting to irrelevant sites - You should only share links to your content where the links will be appreciated. This means only posting links into highly relevant communities, blogs, forums or other online destinations. If it's not relevant to the audience, don't post it.
You can use Google Webmaster Tools to understand who is linking to your website and content and if you find undesirable links, you can use the webmaster 'disavow' tool to get Google to ignore them.
Increasing trust in your backlinks
There is an increasing importance and authority that Google is giving to 'Trusted Sites' - These are sites that Google considers to have high-quality, relevant, easy to understand, valuable content. Points to consider include:
- Whether a website that links to you will provide additional, quality traffic to your site
- How would you feel if a person went to the site linking to you and found your business listed there?
- Is it easy to add your site? If it's too easy to add your site, the chances are that it won't help your SERPs ranking
- Does the site linking to you relate to the business you are doing? Context is very important
Naturally occurring backlinks that point to great content are the most effective way to increase your visibility in search results.
Using these techniques can increase your ranking on the search engines and ultimately get more visitors to your website.
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