What is SEO?
Anything that attempts to improve your search engine rankings is SEO. SEO involves many aspects such as the way your content is structured, number of words present,URL for your content and how many resources link to your content etc.
The classic definition of SEO as quoted by Wikipedia is as follows
Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of affecting the visibility of a website or a web page in a web search engine’s unpaid results—often referred to as “natural”, “organic”, or “earned” results.
Why is SEO important?
Imagine this, you have just started blogging and written a gem of an article only to realize the article has got very few visitors. You feel even worse when you see an ordinary article has got thousands of visitors daily. All the difference is because of SEO.
Great content will make visitors keep coming back to your site but SEO will be the one to bring them in the first place
What are the types of SEO?
|SEO techniques that focus on a human audience, in accordance with search engine guidelines is referred to as White Hat SEO||SEO techniques that focus solely on exploiting search engine loopholes to drive traffic to site are referred to as Black Hat SEO|
|Techniques like keyword research, link building are examples of White Hat SEO||Techniques like keyword stuffing, link spamming are examples of black hat SEO|
|Takes time for the results to show up but are stable in nature||Results are quick but unpredictable and short lasting|
|No risk of being penalized by search engines||Search engines penalize sites suspected of indulging in Black Hat SEO|
How to do SEO for your Blog?
We will learn about two types of SEO techniques that you can implement for your blog.
On Page SEO
In On Page SEO we focus on getting the page easily found and understood by search engines. This involves structuring and formatting your content in a certain manner. The added advantage of On Page SEO is that it also improves the readability of your blog.
Key components of On Page SEO include
Page Speed & Presentation
Just like people don’t like cold food, slow websites are a NO NO. If your website takes long to load, be rest assured, most of your traffic will move on to another site. Ensure that your site loads in less than 2 seconds. Anything above 5 secs is not acceptable and you should work on it
You can check your page speed score at Google PageInsights.
Great content alone will not help you out. It needs to be accompanied by equally detailed presentation. Web is a visual medium, users will quickly move on if the aesthetics on your site are not appealing. While writing content for the web ensure that is pleasing to the eye and well structured.
Mobile friendliness is another criteria that has been added by Google in its search ranking algorithm. This means that you have to ensure that your site is mobile friendly and scales well across different resolution. Check the mobile friendliness of your site.
Content is king
Your article has to be relevant to the subject user is looking for. It should be able to answer all his queries to his complete satisfaction. Ensure that keywords are included in the first paragraph itself to make the topic clear.
If your content is great the odds of the visitor sharing it further greatly increase which in turn gets you more traffic.
The title tag is the single most important component of On Page SEO. Your title tag is what appears in the search results and it has to be persuasive enough for the user to click through. The title tag should contain the keywords that you are looking to target. Use adjectives or call to action in your title. Also make sure your keyword is as close as possible to the beginning of the title
Title tags are valuable real estate so use them sparingly. Google cuts off title tags over 70 characters long. Ensure your title tag has your primary keyword followed by secondary keywords.
Gone are the days when the web was text only. Now is the time to wow your users with stunning images. Studies show that users spend more time on web pages that have relevant images.
Follow these guidelines to get the most out of your images
- Keep the image size to a minimum. Plugin like WPSmush can be of great help with this.
- Specify the ALT attribute of an image. A good practice would be to have keywords in the “Alt” tag.
- Use proper and relevant names for your images and not just names like Image1.jpg.
Consider the two URL’s shown below
Which do you think will drive more traffic?
As you must have rightly guessed, the second URL is easy to comprehend for both search engines as well as humans. URL needs to be static and contain keywords.
The way to do this in WordPress is to go to Settings/Permalink Settings inside your site’s admin panel. There are a host of settings to choose from. I like to choose the one marked in the image below.
Search crawlers use heading tags inside your content to identify the important pieces. It is advisable to have targeted keywords in your headline tags. The H1 tag is generally reserved for the page title. Subsequent headings should H2, H3 and so on.
Headings are used to structure your content so that it is easy to comprehend for both humans and search engines alike.
You must sprinkle your content with keywords but don’t go overboard with it. Mentioning keywords in your content just for the sake of it is referred to as keyword stuffing and can get your site penalized.
Keywords should be woven organically into the content and if you think your keyword density is tilting towards the higher side, use synonyms. Keep your keyword density to less than 5%
Meta tags describe your page’s content to the search engines. They are not visible on the page itself however they do exist in code and are used by search crawlers to find out what the content is related to. Meta tags should be all keywords related to your content.
This is how I use the Yoast plugin to insert my meta tags.
Pointing users to your own content is often overlooked by bloggers, however it is an important part of On Page SEO. Internal linking allows users easy navigation and enables crawlers to access all pages of your site. Internal linking establishes relevance and thus improves page rank.
Some things to keep in mind while using interlinks are
- Include internal links in main content
- Paragraph links should be given more importance
- Anchor text of internal links should contain keywords
- Link to relevant pages and refrain from multiple links to the same page
Off Page SEO
This type of SEO is aimed at improving the overall domain ranking. Off page SEO is much more than links. As is popularly quoted
Google loves you only when everybody else loves you
Off page SEO is the optimization that happens away from the website. Here are a few pointers towards doing off page SEO
A number of sites linking back to your site is a measure of the sites popularity. Search engines treat this as an important factor for determining the search ranking of your website. Backlinks have to be relevant in nature. A small number of backlinks from sites in your niche are far better than several backlinks from irrelevant low quality sites.
Link spamming can penalize you, so it is best to get genuine backlinks from authoritative sites.
Social media is a powerful tool and an important factor that determines your search ranking. The more likes, shares and pins you high, the better chances of you ranking higher. In today’s world it is imperative that you use various social channels available at your disposal to promote your content.
Almost all of the social channels support rich multimedia which allows you to share rich content with your followers. Ensure that you participate in groups of all these social platforms like Facebook,Twitter, Pinterest etc. Social bookmarking sites like Quora and Reddit can also be a significant source of traffic for your site.
Another good way to get some quality back links is to guest post on authoritative sites. Guest posting is a great way to connect with like minded people and reach out to a wide audience. If your site is new then guest posting is 5 times more valuable than posting on your own site.
Guest posting on other sites as compared to having guests post on your site is a matter of personal choice. I for one prefer the former.
SEO is all about creating great content that appeals to the users and providing answers to the questions they have. It is not a one time job and you need to keep constantly working on it.
This is a follow up to Keyword Planning for SEO .If you are new to blogging read How to start a blog. It will be helpful to you if read some stuff like Can Twitter drive traffic to your blog?. Also do read 5 Mistaeks that could kill your blog.
That’s it from me folks, use the comments section below to let me know what you thought of the article and don’t forget to subscribe to the blog for more.