The best way to understand SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) is to get to grips with how search engines operate. Search engines do two main things:
First, they crawl and index everything on the World Wide Web (a large network of information) this includes links.
Then, they answer user queries which means they are essentially ‘answer machines’. They provide the user with the most important or relevant results at the top of all the web pages, documents, or images and sometimes other files they have crawled and indexed.
Popularity is also vital for the answer which the search engine provides, so the results provided to the user are based on relevance and popularity which algorithms determine. So, I bet you’re wondering how do you harness the power of search engines to your benefit and get ranked at the top? Well, there are a few things to consider which we delve into below.
Write for humans, not machines
This is very important. At the end of the day, the user is the one who is going to be experiencing the page and using it so always keep the user in mind. What are they searching for? How easy is the information to read? Is it clear and simple to see what’s going on in the page?
Web users read differently, they scan. So be sure to include lots of white space and clear links and headings to break the information up.
Make your page information-rich but also easy to navigate. Confusing web users with strange site structures and too much information will lose your users and affect the popularity of your site. Keep the user experience of the site in mind always.
Don’t forget title elements and ALT attributes
What does this mean? Well, it’s quite simple: ALT stands for alternative. So, ALT attributes are there as an alternative to images. They provide this alternative information to the search engines as the search engines cannot see images.
Title elements guide the user. By hovering over a link the title tag will become visible as a tooltip, an excellent way to guide the user to the next step along their user journey.
Get your content shared and talked about
According to Moz.com, one link building strategy is to “create content that inspires viral sharing and natural linking”. This is an important aspect of SEO. Not only do you need to create engaging content but you need to market your content. Get it out there!
Share it on social media and you’ll soon find out what pages or blog posts are popular. You can then start writing more content like that and start to gear your website towards your users’ needs.
Familiarise yourself with good link building practices
There are a few simple link building techniques that you can implement which will help your website rank better.
- Ask for backlinks from anyone you know in your industry that can link back to your website. In-content links are better than those in the sidebar or footer.
- Start a blog. Only do this if you can keep it updated regularly though! And make sure your content is useful to your audience and structured well.
- Use trustworthy directories. List your website in directories that are well known and of relevance to your industry. Not all directories are useful to users so Google may not consider them, but niche directories can be very helpful to your SEO.
Google likes great content
Original content is very important. Google penalizes websites with duplicate content and rewards websites with high-quality content.
Also be careful to avoid what is known as keyword stuffing in your content – it is another no no for the search engine and when reading, makes content sound unnatural to the users.
Always keep this in mind when writing for the web. At the end of the day you are writing for web users looking for very specific information, so don’t pad or add fluff!
Talk to the experts
SEO is a complex matter. It involves elements of the website, on page as well as off page signals. Consult a company that does custom web development to help you improve the website elements, and a content strategist to help you address other areas of on and off page signals that we mentioned. Where an e-commerce business or physical busines SEO can really help get your business recognised.