Among the many ways a webmaster can get free traffic, search engine is one of the most viable sources.
If you publish content online or plan to publish, one of your major goals will be to get people to see your content without you having to pay for it, one of the ways that goal can be achieved is through proper Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
The rate of Ads is rising, this is because of the high rate of competition, everybody wants the traffic, and people who have the money are buying all the attention out there, this has also led to competitive bidding which has made Ads more expensive.
As a webmaster, if you can get all the free traffic you can, it will definitely mean a lot for you or your business.
In this post, we will learn what Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is and some best practice for Implementing it.
What is search engine optimization (SEO)
To really understand search engine optimization, you need to understand what Search Engine is.
What is a Search Engine?
A search engine is a tool online that helps people find what they are looking for. It helps people match their questions “keywords” with similar content that is published online.
As a webmaster Search engine optimization is all about making your contents and platforms suitable for search engines to find and present your content to online searchers.
Google is an example of a search engine, there are many other search engine platforms out there like Yahoo, Bing, etc. Google is also the top search engine platform online today.
A study shows that about 92% of internet users make use of Google to look for information online.
So, bear in mind that this post is focused on optimizing website or blog for Google search engine, but tips and ideas shared below can also be applied when optimising web platform for other search engines.
How search engine work
Search engines make use of Algorithms (crawlers) to collect information from web pages.
What this means is that, when you publish web content and it’s indexed; ( the process of making your content available for search engines to display it to searchers), search engine use a kind of program to crawl your content or platform. (crawling: the process of collecting information about your web content). The information they collect is what determines when and how they show your content on the search results page (SERP).
When you have properly optimized your web content for search engines, your content will become available to people when they search the web using similar keywords you optimized your content for.
So, we can say that Search engine optimization is the process of making web contents suitable for search engines.
There are two ways you can optimize your website or blog and its contents (content can include video, audio, image and post which are shared on web platforms) for search engines
Let’s examine them separately.
1. On page SEO
On-page SEO involves all the setup and measures that are done at the back-end of a website or blog to enable it to rank higher in search engines.
As a webmaster (blogger or Web content manager) On page optimization is your responsibility. You have to make sure that your content is properly set up following search engines best practices.
There are tools today that can assist anyone in implementing on page SEO, especially if your web platform is built on a content management system like WordPress. For example, WordPress has plugins like ‘All in one SEO or Yoast (my two best picks) that can make on page SEO implementation much easier for webmaster.
Tips for on page SEO implementation
To get an idea of how best to implement on-page optimization, think of your own experience with search engines.
How do you use search? When you are looking for information, how do you go about finding it on search engines? Your experience or a little remodelling of your own experience with finding information online can provide a clear idea of how to effectively optimize your website or blog to attract free traffic through search engines.
Here is a practical way an average individual go about finding information on search engines like Google:
- You open a web browser
- You lunch a search tab, maybe Google search
- You Key in some words (keyword or phrase)
- Then search, results show up
- You read the titles and descriptions (excerpt) of displayed search results and choose the one that you feel based on the title and description, that has the answer to your question.
If you examine search engine usage from your own experience, you might get the idea of how best to optimize your content for search engines.
Your own experience in using a search engine to find information online, blended with some of the tips below you can implement an effective on page SEO.
Here are some of the things you need to put into consideration when implementing On Page SEO.
Use titles that attract the attention of people
Titles are the first thing people see when the results page appears from their search. Choose titles that will capture the attention of readers.
To do this you need to know your audience persona, you need to know or define your audience, where are they, what are they searching for? and how do they search for information?
Understanding the nature of your audience will help you, among many other things, to create a title that will prompt them to click through to your website or blog when your content pop out on search results.
Using enticing descriptions (excerpts)
Descriptions are those few words you always read before clicking through, they are below the title on search results.
Description goes a long way to tell your prospective audience if your post will answer their questions, best practice is to use descriptions that highlight the issues your post or page aim to address.
Use keyword or keyphrase in your contents
A keyword is a word or short phrase, which identifies the major focus of the content. People use keywords or keyphrase to search for information in search engines.
For example, if I want to learn how to cook, you can just go to any search engine and type “how to cook.” How to cook is the keyword, what search engine will do is they go to all the list of content published online that has a keyphrase of ‘how to cook‘ they can also present keyword similar to your search like ‘cook‘, compile them and present them to you as search results. You will then read through the titles and descriptions on the results page and click on the one that you feel answers your question.
Keywords are like the major topic your content is addressing. So use keywords in your web content, it will help to identify your contents when people search with keyword or keyphrase related to the ones you used in your content or site.
Use image related to your topic on your website or blog.
Also, use a keyword in your images.
Search engines can rank your images based on the keywords you used on them and when the image is clicked on it will lead people to the main content on your platform.
Including keyword or keyphrase in Your Url and title
Most times, it might be complicated to use keyword or keyphrase in your URL and title. Nevertheless, always try to include the keywords you use in your content in the URL and title of your contents.
Write like a human
Providing content that sound like humans is also important in on page SEO.
Search engines always aim at providing users with good and well-written content, so you need to put that into consideration when producing content for search engine.
Engaging and useful content are best for search engine optimisation.
Produce quality content
Search engines like Google give great attention to quality, one of the main objectives of search engines is to show people content that will answer the question they are seeking answers to.
To optimize for search engine, make sure the content you are sharing provides the information or value your title or keywords promised.
Use headings and subheading in your writings
Headings and subheadings make your writing clear and easily understood. Some people may not have all the time to read your full content, but with heading and subheading such people can glance through your content and get important points that might be useful to them.
This is also important to search engines because it helps them to achieve their goal of providing to searchers clear and readable contents.
Index your website or blog
Indexing your web contents is like answering the question, do you want search engines to show people your web content?
It’s all about giving search engines permissions, to display your web content in search results. WordPress has a plugin for this function, you can also use tools like Google search console to index your website or blog.
Link to internal pages
Linking to your older posts can decrease bounce rate, a situation where people leave your website, or blog immediately from the first page they landed.
Increased bounce rate on a website or blog, sends a negative signal to search engines, projecting that your contents are not relevant and this can affect your ranking in search results.
By linking to other pages, web visitors can click through and spend more time on your website or blog, which on the other hand will send a signal to search engines that your platform is useful because people are spending too much time on it, this helps you to rank higher in search engines.
Link to other websites with relevant content
You don’t have to overdo this anyway, because, whenever you link to other websites, you are giving the website you linked to authority through what is called link juice.
Here’s how link juice works, search engines will say since people are linking to this other web content it means this other web platform has good contents, for that reason search engine will rank this other web platforms higher in search results, still based on their goal to provide useful content to web searchers.
It might also help you because search engines will also see your platform as a platform that direct people to useful contents online, which is important to search engines, the overall objectives of search engines is to create good web experience for web users, so if you contribute to making this overall goal possible you will always be rewarded directly or indirectly by search engines.
Optimize your site for speed
You have to make sure your site loads faster. It’s part of some of the things search engines require to give their users good web experience.
If your web platform is built with WordPress, going for a theme that is optimized for speed is important, there are also plugins that can help you optimize your WordPress site for speed.
Make sure your website is up to date
Make sure your website or blog is up to date, if you are using WordPress, make sure your WordPress platform, theme and plugins are regularly updated.
2. Off-page SEO
Off-page optimization are like external activities that are aimed at optimizing a website or blog for search engines.
Most of off page SEO is outside your platform and control, there are some activities you might not have full control over but yet they influence how search engines see and rank your content to searchers.
One of the important tactics for off page SEO is backlinks.
BACKLINKS: The results of other people linking to your content
I talked about link juice earlier, link juice happens through backlinks, when people link to your web content or platform you will gain more authority on the web.
The best way to gain backlink is by creating useful and valuable content, when you create good, insightful and useful content, other writers online will want to link to your content from their own content, that creates the link juice that can help your ranking in search engines.
You can also get link juice by Guest post, writing for other platforms. On writing for other platforms you might be allowed to link back to your own platform.
Another tips for off-page SEO, especially for a new website or blog, is to share the link of your contents with your family, friends and groups, by them visiting your website or blog your site hit will improve, which also can directly or indirectly improve your ranking because search engine consider site visit on website or blog, it sends a signal of current update, relevance and usefulness to their algorithm.
Off-page optimization is mostly determined by outside circumstances, most of the factors that control the effectiveness of Off page optimization is beyond your control, but when you implement a proper on-page optimization can help you achieve good off page optimization.
Following SEO best practice doesn’t mean you will get magical quick results, it might take some time, maybe months or years, before you will start seeing measurable results, so always fellow best practices and be patient with outcome.
I hope you learnt one or two things about SEO.
Do you have any questions? Feel free to ask in the comments section.