How To Implement Good Basic SEO
Author: Kenneth ([email protected])
Published: Sunday March 7, 2021
Whether you’re launching a new blog site or managing a complex business website, your success depends on traffic – a steady stream of visitors that engage with the content you’re offering. To make that happen, search engine optimization, or SEO, is crucial for attracting readers, clients, and customers to your site.
You’ve likely heard of SEO, and if you haven’t already, you could obtain a quick Wikipedia definition of the term, but understanding that SEO is “the process of affecting the visibility of a website or a web page in a search engine’s unpaid results” doesn’t really help you answer important questions for your business and your website, such as:
- How do you, for your site or your company’s site, “optimize” for search engines?
- How do you know how much time to spend on SEO?
- How can you differentiate “good” SEO advice from “bad” or harmful SEO advice?
- What’s likely interesting to you as a business owner or employee is how you can actually leverage SEO to help drive more relevant traffic, leads, sales, and ultimately revenue and profit for your business. That’s what we’ll focus on in this guide.
Some On-Page SEO Techniques
Write quality content: First of all, you’re wasting your time worrying about any of the points below if your writing’s not up to par. Formatting matters, but so do great ideas, compelling delivery and error-free grammar and spelling.
Shorter paragraphs: Generally speaking, limit each paragraph to 3-4 sentences. You can even use one-sentence paragraphs if necessary, but use them sparingly or your post will look like a grocery list. A paragraph is a group of related sentences that support one main idea, so if you split up a paragraph, your idea can become fragmented and your point lost.
Mixed sentence lengths: Long sentences are hard to follow on a computer or mobile device, but they can work well when used sparingly — particularly when mixed with shorter sentences. Here’s a fantastic example of how sentence structures can be varied for optimum readability:
Sub-headers: Did you know that the average person spends just 37 seconds reading a piece of online content? You can boost that time significantly by including subheadings that help readers scan content and quickly get a better understanding of what the article is about. But make sure your headers are actually informative.
Bullet points: When you have a lot of data — stats, facts, ideas, examples — packed into one paragraph, it makes it easier to read when you list them with bullet points (like this one!). The general rule is if you are listing three or more items, use bullet points.
White space: Too much text can overwhelm visitors (and will likely increase your bounce rate). Prevent this by breaking up large chunks of text with relevant, supporting media, including photos, videos and graphs (in addition to bullet points and sub-headers).
Images/screenshots: Speaking of images, most articles should have several images or screenshots to illustrate the points or numbers or steps you are discussing. The more complex the idea, the more images you should include. (Image this entire blog post without any images. It would be daunting, right?)
Use Meta Descriptions, Meta Keywords and Titles: While the title tag is effectively your search listing’s headline, the meta description (another meta HTML element that can be updated in your site’s code, but isn’t seen on your actual page) is effectively your site’s additional ad copy. Google takes some liberties with what they display in search results, so your meta description may not always show, but if you have a compelling description of your page that would make folks searching likely to click, you can greatly increase traffic. (Remember: showing up in search results is just the first step! You still need to get searchers to come to your site, and then actually take the action you want.)
Some Off-Page SEO Techniques
“Off-page SEO” (also called “off-site SEO”) refers to actions taken outside of your own website to impact your rankings within search engine results pages (SERPs).
Optimizing for off-site ranking factors involves improving search engine and user perception of a site’s popularity, relevance, trustworthiness, and authority. This is accomplished by other reputable places on the Internet (pages, sites, people, etc.) linking to or promoting your website, and effectively “vouching” for the quality of your content.
Building backlinks is at the heart of off-page SEO. Search engines use backlinks as indications of the linked-to content’s quality, so a site with many high value backlinks will usually rank better than an otherwise equal site with fewer backlinks.
Links are acquired through deliberate link-building activities. This includes things like getting customers to link to your website or asking influencers to share your content.
Regardless of how links were obtained, those that offer the greatest contribution to SEO efforts are generally those that pass the most equity. There are many signals that positively contribute to the equity passed, such as:
- The linking site’s popularity
- How related the linking site’s topic is to the site being linked to
- The “freshness” of the link
- The anchor text used on the linking site
- The trustworthiness of the linking site
- The number of other links on the linking page
- Authority of the linking domain and page