Probably you have heard or met the term SEO (optimization) around you, and you probably know that it is important for a website to have it, but how does it work? Is it something you install, plug or… buy? None of these. We will dive in the topic now, without getting very technical. I will most often refer to Google as Search engine, but of course, similar stuff bellow holds for Bing, Yahoo, Yandex, etc.
And to help you with your existing website we will evaluate your SEO ‘game’. Just insert your website at the bottom of the page and we will give back to you our opinion for free and without any constraints.
What is SEO?
According to Wikipedia – Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the process of affecting the online 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. So let’s suppose you have a website, or you are about to create it yourself or to order a new website from a development studio or freelancer. We discussed what to consider on any of these choices and the prices here. So you are about to have your new website and you would definitely want for it to be Search Engine Optimized.
The SEO starts with planning of your website. You have to know what content you are about to create in this website and how to make it so that the different search engines understand what is in there and will rank you on their results pages.
It is a no secret to no one – people probably are entering in your website through Google. If you’re not having a huge and super popular website like Google or Facebook, it is very likely that people will enter your website through Google, simply because they might remember the name of your company, but not exactly what was the name of your website, was it ending with .com or .net, etc. So if they make a google search about your company – you would most certainly want for them to enter your website and not one of your competitors.
So how search engines know what to display?
The search engines run powerful algorithms to scan the whole internet. Seriously – they do it. So let’s take Google for example – it tells to its bots to scan through web pages, read their HTML code and extract relevant data. ‘Relevant’ is very important – because often there is irrelevant data on a webpage, and so the engine has to filter out what is necessary and what is not. Sometimes it might be quite easy as an article like the one you read right now is quite easy to read for the bots. But what if you sell items, and your description is short? What if you have portfolio just to present your company, for example? Are all the photos on your website relevant to your business?
So in order to help the search engines what your website is about, there are certain conventions that are supposed to be followed. So let’s take this article for example. The title of this article is also the Page title (on top of your browser), so in this way, the search engines know what this article is about. Next, the title of every paragraph is bigger and more noticeable. This is achieved by placing the titles within the following pattern: <h3>So search engines know what to display?</h3> The strange <h3> and </h3> symbols are HTML tags – they help for certain style visualization, but also to tell the search engine that this is a header of a paragraph, hence the letter “h”.
And how about the content? Well… There are some things on a web page that are not visible for the readers, but they are visible for the search engines. Some of these are the tags that we saw above, but there are also other elements. Some of them are description tags that tell the search engine shortly what this article is about.
How do search engines know that some words are related to my website?
So you now know that your webpage should have the header tags and the description, but let’s see how the search engine actually connect a searched term with you.
So besides the above-mentioned tags, there are much more that gives information to the search engine, one of them is related to the keywords. So including such tag in the HTML code of your webpage will tell the engine – on this page you can find content relevant to ‘Search Engine Optimization, Optimization of web pages’ and others. So when someone types this in Google – this page will appear in the results.
Given how many articles and courses on the internet exist about this topic – probably this page is currently somewhere way beyond the first page of the results. If this page is being pointed by different websites as a simple guide to SEO, then it would climb up the results list.
How to bring a website to the first page of results?
It might be very hard, depending on the topic that your website or business is about. If you write articles about SEO, well… Chances are that there will be a lot of competition and that the article is not very highly ranked. But if your business does balloons decoration in your city, it is probable that you will be among the first – just because there is not that much of competition.
So let us see what means the terms like Onsite and Offsite optimization. So the onsite would be well… on your website – as the things we discussed above, while the offsite is all the actions for you to consider that are outside of your website. Some of the offsite optimizations you could make is to register your website on the Google, Yahoo and Bing search consoles and to get your business verified. We will not go very deep into this as it is a good thing to know but your SEO Expert can give you more support on this and do it for you.
Apart from what your website is about and what tags you have included, there are certain things that would bring you up though. Just to mention some of them:
- Mobile responsiveness – 51 % of the web traffic is now going through mobile devices. If your website is not optimized for mobile content – you probably would not rank as high as others.
- Security – HTTPS (or TLS) connections are more secure way of communication between you and a website in comparison to HTTP. So search engines are favouring more the secure websites in respect to the non-secure. So consider this as well.
- Genuine content – the content on your webpage should be original and not just copied and pasted. Let’s say you have a website about movies. If you just copy the information from IMDB (Internet Movie DataBase) and paste it to your website, what’s in for the readers? Why should they visit your website, when they could go to the original source? Your reputation on the results page might suffer if you just copy and paste stuff from around the internet, so make sure that you create relevant and genuine content.
- Links to your website – this is probably the most important thing of the above mentioned. The reason why I intentionally did not put it on the top is that the other things you could control, you can ask someone to optimize your webpage – Apptimist Studio, for example, can do it for you, you could also improve the security of your webpage, but the organic links towards your website is something that should occur naturally around the internet. Forums should suggest you, articles should point to you for more information on certain topic and etc. While you could try to get more popular in certain areas – you are really not supposed to just spam forums and comment everywhere on the internet with your links. While it could help in the beginning it might actually damage your reputation as Google, for example, would rank you lower on the results page.
So these are some stuff to take care about, but it surely does not cover everything.
Can I do it myself?
If you are running a WordPress website on your own you could probably install few plugins like WP Meta SEO, All in One SEO Pack. You would have to go through all the settings and set everything well, so refer to their documentation.
If you are having a website developed by someone – you’d better ask what SEO has been applied and ask for support, in order to improve it. Or just refer to another studio to do the analysis for you and tell you if something is missing. You might want professional developers that have certified knowledge on the topic.
If you are about to start your new project – just ask what SEO measures are included, if you receive a surprised look on the face of your developer… I have bad news – you might consider changing it or you could refer to him someone that knows how to do the optimization.
Why choose a specialist?
Adding your headers tags is simple enough, but there are many other things to consider – from mobile responsiveness through meta tags, security and special system pages that the search engines’ bots should scan. Relying on professional help is often a better investment of your money than trying to set things yourself. Furthermore, a specialist might help you also set how the preview of your page looks like when it is being posted to Facebook, Twitter etc.
So I hope that this article helped you understand the basics of SEO and what is important for your website to get ranked higher. If you have any question, just feel free to ask a question or send a mail.