SEO BASICS: 22 ESSENTIALS YOU NEED FOR OPTIMIZING YOUR SITE

     

Here we’ll take a look at the basic things you need to know in regards lớn search engine optimisation, a discipline that everyone in your organisation should at least be aware of, if not have sầu a decent technical understanding.


Here we’ll take a look at the basic things you need lớn know in regards to search engine optimisation, a discipline that everyone in your organisation should at least be aware of, if not have a decent technical understanding.

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One of our most popular articles of all time is a post entitled SEO Basics: 8 Essentials When Optimizing Your Site. It still does the business for us in terms of traffic, however it was first published in April 2013, so you can treat this as its long overdue and expanded update.

What is SEO?

Quite simply, SEO is the umbrella term for all the methods you can use lớn ensure the visibility of your trang web & its content on tìm kiếm engine results pages (SERPs).


The methods vary from technical practices you can achieve sầu behind the scenes on your trang web (we tover to lớn refer khổng lồ this as ‘on-page SEO’) to lớn all the promotional ’off-page’ approaches you can use khổng lồ raise your site’s visibility (link-building, social truyền thông marketing).

For the purpose of this article, when we talk about visibility, we mean how high up the SERP your website appears for certain tìm kiếm terms in the ‘organic’ results. Organic results refer to those that appear naturally on the page, rather than in the paid-for sections…

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Paid tìm kiếm is also a large part of search engine marketing. You can read more about this in our recent beginner’s guide to paid search và PPC.

Why vày you need SEO?

Building a strong site architecture and providing clear navigation will help tìm kiếm engines index your site quickly and easily. This will also, more importantly, provide visitors with a good experience of using your site và encourage repeat visits. It’s worth considering that Google is increasingly paying attention to lớn user experience.

When it comes lớn how much traffic is driven by tìm kiếm engines lớn your trang web, the percentage is substantial, và perhaps the clearest indicator of the importance of SEO.

In 2014, Conductor suggested 64% of all website traffic comes from organic tìm kiếm, compared to lớn 2% from social, 6% from paid tìm kiếm, 12% direct & 15% from other referral sources.

This tallies with our own data, with approximately 70-75% of SEW traffic coming from organic.


Resources


Analytics Searchmetrics Chip Core Web Vitals Study

Of all organic traffic, in 2015 it was found that Google accounts for more than 90% of global organic tìm kiếm traffic. So obviously you need a svào presence on Google SERPs, but how strong?

Well, according lớn this study from Advanced Web Ranking (which I’ve trotted out before when discussing how to lớn dominate Google) shows that on the first SERPhường, the top five results trương mục for 67.60% of all clicks & the results from six to lớn 10 tài khoản for only 3.73%.

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It’s therefore vital that your site appears in the top five sầu results.

How are you going to achieve this? With the following tips, which I’ve sầu split into two categories: what search engines are looking for and… drum roll… what they’re not looking for.

What are search engines looking for?

1) Relevancy

Search engines try khổng lồ provide the most relevant results lớn a searcher’s query, whether it’s a simple answer lớn the question “how old is Ryan Gosling?” (the answer of which Google will likely provide without you having to lớn leave the SERP) lớn more complicated queries such as “what is the best steak restaurant nearest khổng lồ me?”

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How search engines provide these results is down lớn their own internal algorithms, which we’ll probably never truly determine, but there are factors that you can be certain will influence these results and they’re all based around relevancy… For instance: a searcher’s location, their search history, time of day/year, etc.

2) The quality of your content

Do you regularly publish helpful, useful articles, videos or other types of truyền thông that are popular và well produced? Do you write for actual human beings rather than the tìm kiếm engine itself? Well, you should. Lademo research from Searchmetrics on ranking factors indicates that Google is moving further towards longer-size content that understands a visitor’s intention as a whole, instead of using keyword based on popular search queries lớn create nội dung.

Basically, stop worrying about từ khóa và focus on the user experience.

3) User experience

There are many SEO benefits for providing the best possible user experience. You need an easily navigable, clearly searchable site with relevant internal linking & related content. All the stuff that keeps visitors on your webpage and hungry khổng lồ explore further.

4) Site speed

How quickly your webpages load is increasingly becoming a differentiator for tìm kiếm engines. Google may soon start labelling results that are hosted on Accelerated điện thoại Page (AMP) so this may possibly be the ‘mobilegeddon’ of năm 2016. Speaking of which…

5) Cross-device compatibility

Is your trang web và its content equally optimised for any given screen form size or device? Bear in mind that Google has stated that responsive sầu design is its preferred method of sản phẩm điện thoại optimisation.

6) Internal linking

We’ve talked about the benefits of ensuring your site has clear and easy-to-use navigation, but there’s also a practice that editors và writers can carry out when publishing articles lớn help push traffic around the site và that may lead khổng lồ higher trust signals for Google: internal linking. (See what we did there.)

Internal linking has many advantages:

7) Authority

An authority trang web is a site that is trusted by its users, the industry it operates in, other websites and tìm kiếm engines. Traditionally a links from an authority trang web is very valuable, as it’s seen as a vote of confidence. The more of these you have sầu, & the higher unique nội dung you produce, the more likely your own site will become an authority too.

However as the aforementioned Searchmetrics research suggests, year-on-year correlations between backlinks and rankings are decreasing, so perhaps over time ‘links’ may not be as important lớn SEO as we once thought.

There’s a good argument raging in the comments to this recent piece on liên kết as a sale KPI, which offers some diverse views on the subject.

8) Meta descriptions & title tags

Having a meta description won’t necessarily improve sầu your ranking on the SERP.., but it is something you should definitely use before publishing an article as it can help increase your chances of a searcher clicking on your result.

The meta mô tả tìm kiếm is the short paragraph of text that appears under your page’s URL in the search results, it’s also something you should have complete control of in your CMS.

Here it is in WordPress:

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Write succinctly (under 156 characters is good), clearly and make sure it’s relevant khổng lồ your headline và the nội dung of the article itself.

There is more guidance found here: how to write meta descriptions for SEO.

Title tags are used to tell search engines & visitors what your site is about in the most concise and accurate way possible. The keyword in your title tag show up highlighted in search engine results (if the query uses those keywords), as well as in your browser tab and when sharing your site externally.

You can write your own title tag inside the area of your site’s HTML:

Example Title

You should use a few accurate từ khóa describing the page as well as your own brvà name. Only use relevant keyword though, & the most important thing to lớn consider is that although you are formatting for search engines, you should write for humans.

There is a lot more practical guidance khổng lồ be found in our complete guide to title tags.

9) Schema markup

You can make your tìm kiếm results appear more attractive sầu by adding Schema markup khổng lồ the HTML of your pages. This can help turn your tìm kiếm results inkhổng lồ a rich truyền thông playground, adding star-ratings, customer ratings, images, và various other bits of helpful info…

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Schema is also the preferred method of markup by most search engines including Google, & it’s fairly straightforward lớn use. For more information, check out our handy guide to Schema.

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10) Properly tagged images

Many people forget khổng lồ include the alternative text attribute when they upload images khổng lồ their content, but this is definitely something you shouldn’t overlook because Google cannot ‘see’ your images, but can ‘read’ the alt text.

By describing your image in the alternative text text as accurately as possible it will increase the chances of your images appearing in Google Image search.

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It will also improve the accessibility of your site for people using ‘screen reader’ software.

11) Evergreen content

Instead of peppering the mạng internet with a rash of ‘quiông chồng win’ news stories with little insight, why not publish more evergreen content.

More thoughtful, helpful và practical-advice based articles can lead to lớn huge long-term wins in terms of driving traffic và occupying highly visible positions in the SERPs.

Here’s a guide khổng lồ planning và creating evergreen content.

12) Domain names

You should use sub-directory root domains (zerovn.net/category/seo) instead of sub-domains (zerovn.net.category.seo.com) as this is better for your overall site architecture.

You should also stay away from hyphens (search-engine-watch.com) và alternative Top-level domain names (.biz .name .info) as these are considered spammy.

Having a ‘từ khóa rich’ tên miền name may lead to lớn closer scrutiny from Google. According to lớn Moz, Google has “de-prioritized sites with keyword-rich domains that aren’t otherwise high-quality. Having a keyword in your tên miền can still be beneficial, but it can also lead khổng lồ closer scrutiny and a possible negative sầu ranking effect from tìm kiếm engines—so tread carefully.”

Also you should make sure that if you operate a site without the www. prefix, someone who types in www.example.com will still be redirected khổng lồ your site. If this isn’t happening, Google may assume these are two different sites and your visibility could be compromised.

13) Headlines và permalinks

The headlines for your articles should be under 55 characters to lớn ensure their complete visibility in SERPs. Make sure they’re snappy, attractive sầu và as descriptive as possible (this is often an impossible balance). Just stay away from clickbait headlines, vì not promise something that the nội dung doesn’t deliver.

The permaliên kết (or URL), which you can normally alter in your CMS even after it’s been phối automatically, doesn’t necessarily have lớn match the headline exactly. Google has stated that you can use three lớn four key words that you should put the most important từ khóa first.

14) Comments

Do not turn off your comments system. Having a thriving community of regular commenters engaging in dialogue under your posts shows that visitors care enough about your content to lớn either make their own relevant points or khổng lồ praise it or lớn ruthlessly eviscerate it. Either way, at least people are reading it.

Just be super-mindful about filtering out spam comments, or immediately removing any that slip through. It’s also worth adding the nofollow value to lớn your comments section so Google ignores any erroneous link that may appear.

15) Local SEO

Increasingly Google is serving results lớn users based on their location. This is particularly important to lớn businesses out there in the real world who ned to lớn catch a searcher’s attention just at the right moment, i.e. while walking down the street, on their Smartphone và looking for somewhere to eat.

You should register with Google My Business & ensure that all of your information is accurate and up-to-date, such as opening times, contact information, customer đánh giá & that your categorised correctly.

16) Social

The most obvious way that you can raise your site’s visibility through non-technical SEO means is of course through social truyền thông marketing.

You need to make sure you’re present on all relevant social channels (wherever your audience may be), and not just broadcasting your nội dung in a faceless manner, but by using it as a customer service channel và genuinely interacting with people in a friendly, helpful and entertaining manner.

The actual correlation between social signals và tìm kiếm rankings is a much argued over subject, but here’s a good overview of the subject.

What are tìm kiếm engines NOT looking for?

There are many ‘blachồng hat’ practices that can bring the full weight of a Google penalty down on your site, so it’s best to avoid doing the following, even if it looks lượt thích a brilliant easy win at the time.

17) Keyword stuffing

Overusing keyword on your pages, especially when they obviously affect the readability of your site. It’s debatable whether Google even still uses từ khoá as a ranking factor anymore.

18) Link buying or excessive sầu liên kết exchanging

Thinking of approaching a link farm? Just don’t do it. It’s not even worth it. The most valuable link lớn your site are the ones that come from authority sites within your own nibịt.

19) Annoying ads

Anything overly intrusive sầu that destroys the pleasure of reading your nội dung & slows down your site tốc độ.

20) sản phẩm điện thoại app interstitials

If you present điện thoại visitors with a full-screen advert khổng lồ download your ứng dụng, Google will consider you no longer thiết bị di động friendly.

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21) Duplicated content

If Google finds two identical pieces of content, whether on your own site, or on another you’re not even aware of, it will only index one of those pages. You should be aware of scraper sites, stealing your content automatically & republishing as your own. Here’s Građắm đuối Charlton’s thorough investigation on what to lớn if your content ends up working better for somebody toàn thân else.

22) Hidden text and links

There are a ways khổng lồ manipulate rankings that a user may not ever see, but Google will probably find và punish you for.

Stay away from using White text on a white background, positioning text off-screen, setting fonts size khổng lồ zero or hiding a liên kết in a single character lượt thích a comma or a full-stop.

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The temptation to put a link in that last full stop was incredibly high.

Right, on that note, I’ll finish up. Clearly this isn’t everything that you can vì chưng khổng lồ help your initial SEO efforts, but it’s a good grounding at least

Please let me know if I’ve missed anything vital or just got something plain wrong…