SEO basics: A guide to success in search rankings.December 13, 2019
If you conduct a search on Google for a keyword and look at the top results, you will find things that are consistent with all of the websites that’s listed in the top 10 results.
- They have good onsite SEO
- They have good content.
- They have credibility with the search engines.
To win the SEO game, your website needs to demonstrate these three factors. Anybody can start a website and enter the competition. But only 10 will make it onto the first page of the search engines and only 1 can claim the top SEO result.
The top SEO results get the lion’s share of the search engine web traffic. Not only will you get an abundance of engaged traffic to your website, this web traffic is free! This can save your business thousands of dollars in pay per click fees that you would spend using search advertising or display to get that same web traffic to your website.
To win the top spots in SEO, you need to play by the right rules of the SEO game. Implement the right SEO strategy, and your site is likely to win the SEO game. The thing is, there are core SEO foundations that your website needs to implement if you want to have a chance at ranking well on search engines that will drive web traffic to your site and business.
In this post, we will show you which SEO foundations you should concentrate on so that your site will have a better chance of ranking for keywords that will drive web traffic to your website.
Commit to an SEO-friendly website design.
This is the first step that you must get right in order to have any chance of SEO success. An SEO-friendly website is one where a search engine crawler can easily discover, access, and analyze the content that is on your website.
Use the following suggestions to make sure that your website is SEO-friendly.
Make sure your website uses SEO-friendly HTML.
Search engines read web pages in HTML and then they decide how they would like to rank the web page in the organic search engine results. If search engines cannot read the HTML well, they won’t be able to understand what your site’s content is about and as a result, your site won’t get a good listing on search engines.
What can you do to make your SEO better?
Make sure your website renders in as much simple HTML as possible.
You want the aesthetic look of your site to be as appealing and engaging as possible for the people visiting your website. However, the way HTML code that is used needs to be easy for search engine web crawlers to find, crawl, understand, and index your site’s web content.
Some things to keep in mind include:
- Publishing the website in the latest HTML version (Currently HTML5)
- Ensure the web page renders in HTML
- Avoid using code that can disrupt search engine crawlers (Inline CSS, Scripts)
Make sure it is easy to create links to other web pages and content on the website.
You want both users and search engines to find and access the content that is on your website. This means that users should be able to find the content within 2-3 clicks from any given page on the website.
Additionally, you want links to the web pages to be descriptive and categorized in a way so that it is easy for people to find the web content that they are looking for.
Make sure the web content can load quickly.
An easy way to get an edge on the competition in your market is to have your website’s content load quicker than theirs. You will need to ensure that your website’s design, theme, and media files are tested for loading speed. You ideally want the web page to load in less than 2 seconds. However, if you want to get into the top percentile of sites with exceptional page loading speed, you will need to get your web page to load in less than 1 second.
Follow a content marketing strategy when building your site’s content.
Content is the most important factor for the engagement that will occur on your website. Search engines and web users are searching for answers to their search queries. Your site needs to have the content published and categorized in a way so that people searching for the web content will be able to find it.
Google’s mission is to “Organize information on the web”. If your website publishes information that is organized, Google will consider sharing your content in its search engine results.
Some things that you will need to consider include:
- Creating and publishing content that search engines will be able to understand.
- Structuring the content in HTML so that it is easier for search engines to understand and display. This includes headings, lists, tables, image captions, and links.
- Organize the content into relevant content categories on your website.
- Ensure that the content that you create engages the visitor to your site’s content.
What things should you consider when publishing SEO-friendly content?
State what the web content is about in the web page’s title tag.
The first thing search engines will look at is the title of the web page to understand what the content within the web page is about. The content within the body tags must relate to what is in the title tags. So if you were to publish a sales page about a ‘dog food bowl’, search engines will look for keyword patterns related to dog food bowls within the web page content.
You can see examples in the screenshot below.
Use headings to sequentially describe the content that is published on the web page.
This helps to break the content into sub-sections. This makes the content easier to digest and improves the search relevancy for the content within the web page.
For commercial web pages, publish comprehensive content that will engage the web visitor.
The aim of commercial web pages is to persuade and sell products or services in exchange for income. Sales copy for those web pages needs to be crafted in a way where it will also help search engines understand and rank the content.
For informative web pages, publish content that will engage, inform, and compel the web visitor to take action.
Informative web pages are great for web visitors and for search engines. For people visiting the content, it will compel them to take action in the form of conversions or sharing, which will create links to the content and help it to rank well on search engines.
The content needs to be valuable to the visitor. Signals for this include the amount of time people spend engaging with the content. Or if people are sharing the content on the web.
An easy way to demonstrate value in this type of content is to share the answers to the questions or queries that people are searching for.
Build your site with the best user experience in mind.
You want the web visitor to have a positive experience when engaging with your website. Therefore, you must develop the site in a way that minimizes distractions or that will compel the user to navigate away from the website.
Search engines will also use their web crawler to assess the user experience so they can better serve web content to the end user.
What things should you consider to improve the user experience?
Minimize the risk of visitors bouncing from your website.
Web visitors can bounce from your site for a number of reasons. They could access a broken link. The design of the web page might be difficult to read or navigate. There may be pop-ups that irritate them. Whatever the reason is, you want to minimize any factors that might cause the web visitor to bounce from your web page.
Optimize your web content for different web devices.
People are consuming web content on several different devices. From desktops to laptops, mobile and tablets. Google has mobile-first indexing, which is a separate database to load web results for mobile devices.
Websites have to be mobile responsive and optimized for mobile web results so they can get the complete SEO exposure.
Make sure your web content loads quickly.
The quicker people can receive your site’s content, the quicker they will be able to engage with your website’s content. If your site’s content loads too slowly, you may find that visitors may bounce from your site without ever seeing the content.
We’ve provided suggestions on how to improve your website’s page loading speed.
Get credibility by getting links to your website’s content.
Google’s algorithm uses links as a factor for ranking websites. If content on the web is popular, a link to the content will be shared in other web content. However, in order for other site’s to link to your site, there must be content that incentivizes them to share a link on their site with their audience.
What can you do to create an opportunity to get links to your site’s web content?
Publish content that people will want to share or link to.
Find out what content people are linking to in your industry and replicate the content (or make it better) so that the same people who shared the original will be incentivized to link to your site’s content.
Reach out sites that would be interested in sharing your website’s content.
Find those sites that actively share content related to what your site publishes. And simply share the content with them to see if they will link to your site. As you find more opportunities, continue to repeat the process.
What can you expect from this?
The website should perform competitively if these basic SEO principles are applied. Over time, there should be an increase in the organic search rankings, visibility, and web traffic.