Whenever you are building a website or writing content, you should always think about the human being who will use that site before you think of the search engine bots that will index it. In 2017 keywords and keyword density will still be the way that Google and other search engines interpret what your website is about, but the information that your site contains and how that information is presented will become even more important.
Some SEO experts in Penticton talk as though Google is the enemy, but it is not. All Google wants to do is present the best and the most informative websites that are most likely to answer the question that someone has asked, which means that it will favour websites with good, well written content that people will be able to understand and enjoy reading.
What Is SEO Consulting?
First, let me say that Search Engine Optimization is a broad topic. There is no way I can effectively cover all aspects of the subject in this small article. However, I am hoping to speak to those who have NO idea of what it is or why it matters. Maybe they will be encouraged to at least take the first steps to having a successful website.
Internet marketing is rough. You are up against millions of other internet businesses. It is a constant education and re-education to keep up with the Joneses all over the world. They are all doing everything they can to make their site better than yours, and only the best will wind up at the top of the heap.
You see the letters SEO around a lot these days and also SEM. SEM simply means "Search Engine Marketing", and SEO means "Search Engine Optimization". You do SEO to your site so you can do SEM more effectively. Search engine optimization is what the words imply when applied to your web site. They are the things that can be done to make search engines aware of your website and give it as high a ranking as possible.
WHY IS SEO IMPORTANT?
Well, we can probably agree without even knowing why that it may be in the best interests of an internet business to approach a search engine with the most effectively designed and organized website. While it is somewhat self evident that a well designed and effective website may be a good sales tool when dealing with humans, it might not be so evident why you have to be so concerned when dealing with a search engine.
Let's start with the fact that while we are trying to display our internet business to human eyes, it is the spiders of the search engines which must first be appeased. After all, according to whose figures you believe, up to 85% of all websites visited are found through search engines and directories. When you consider all the people looking around the internet for all kinds of "stuff" you can begin to grasp the power search engines have in the online marketplace.
Add into the mix the fact that for any given search term, there are thousands, millions, or even billions of possible sites that may meet the query terms provided by the human searcher and you begin to grasp the vast competition going on at any given time for any given subject.
Out of those potentially billions of pages which may be presented to the searcher by the search engine, only about ten or so will fit on a page. Therefore, if you are not on the first page, it's almost as if you are not there at all. I don't need to explain this to you if you have ever used a search engine, How many times have YOU bothered going on to page two, and especially page three?
Another aspect of searcher versus search engine is something that anyone who has been on the internet for a week has discovered. You have to be especially specific when doing searches or you could wind up with some really worthless results.
As you can see, it becomes imperative that your page get listed in the first ten results returned by the search engine.
HOW DOES A SEARCH ENGINE DECIDE WHICH PAGES COME FIRST?
Actually, each search engine has its own method of assigning value to each website it visits and chooses to include in its listings. These determining factors are included in the instructions given the spiders which visit the sites and the software controlling the listings on the search engine site. There are often humans as well who can override the decisions of the software judges. This is what can make SEO a little difficult. What is top priority for one search engine may not figure in as strongly for another. Of course, everyone is trying to figure out how to second guess Google, but don't forget, there are other search engines also providing traffic to a great many sites as well.
If you have figured out by now that I have danced around the question, you are right. You see, not much is actually known about the exact science by which search engines, particularly Google, select and rank the pages they show in response to a searcher's query. However, a lot can be deduced by looking at some of the sites that DO make it to the top of the list.
HERE'S THE BASICS OF SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION (SEO)
1. Choose the niche target of your website. Don't just put up a site for travel. Make it a site for travel to Ireland. Better yet, make it a site for discounted travel to Ireland. Even better, make it for discounted family travel packages to Ireland. Each narrowing of the target reduces the competition.
2. Choose a domain name that relates to your target words. In the example above, I might want traveltoireland.com. Unfortunately, someone beat us to that site, so now we have to play with some ideas. Maybe we can still get traveltoireland.net. Unfortunately, someone beat us to that one too. Don't give up hope. There are traveltoireland.biz, traveltoireland.us, and traveltoireland.ws to look at. In fact, I just took a look and all three of those are available. If they weren't, maybe we could have used irelandtravel.com or familytraveltoireland.com although that is getting a bit long...particularly if we want to put it on a business card or on a magnetic sign on our car.
3. Pick a title for your website that includes the basic idea and the words, keywords, that you hope people will search on. Don't just stick up the words, however. Make it a headline. It will be the first thing the search engine and the human learn about your site. Make it a headline that will catch both their eyes...er...sensory apparatus. "Travel to Ireland on a dollar a day!"
4. Create a description that includes and expands the information and keywords stated in the title. Some search engines will display the first few words on a site, but some will display the description Meta tag. "Travel to Ireland does not have to be expensive. Learn how you can visit the Emerald Isle for as little as a dollar a day."
5. List five to ten keywords related to your subject. Make these words that will appear logically in the content of the site. "travel, Ireland, travel to Ireland"
6. Provide logical, relevant, valuable content throughout the site. Make sure your keywords appear at intervals, but do not overuse them. Also make sure they appear in the first few lines of your site. "Welcome to our site where you will learn how to travel to Ireland without breaking the bank."
These are just the first steps towards search engine optimization. There is more to learn, such as putting a statement with your keywords in headline form near the top of the page. You can find other high-ranking sites with content relative to yours who might be able to provide a link to your site, but don't hope for it at first. They usually want to link to sites as powerful as they are.
The major key to search engine optimization still seems to be quality content provided in a consistent, rational package. Even some fairly simple sites rank well because they can provide the goods. However, a ton of broken links and a lot of coding errors coupled with horrible site navigation can make it difficult for the search engine to find its way around, much less recommend the site to its users.
Above all, do not stop with this small article. There are many sites offering information and even courses on search engine optimization. There are companies that specialize in search engine optimization for a fee. To get started, read some of the articles posted at sites such as EzineArticles.com on the subject. I just checked, and they have over 8,000 articles which mention the subject. Of course, some of those might not have anything to do with search engine optimization, but we knew that. That's just the way search engines are!
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When I started doing SEO years ago it required very little effort to have a web site ranked in first place on the search listings. All you needed to do was to be sure to included your key phrase in the right on-page tags on the web page. All these on-page elements are still mandatory and pertinent, which is the reason on-page Search Engine Optimization has changed hardly at all; you will still have to tell the major search engines just what your page is focused on.
However it's the off-page SEO (backlinks pointing to your website or blog) that explain to the search engines not what your website is relating to (on-page optimisation will accomplish this) but just how central your site is in terms of what it is all about, plus how it's more valuable than the rest of the contending websites.
Thus here are the things you need to get winning on-page Search Engine Optimization.
- You should have plenty of good, related content, a minimum of 700 words every single web page.
- Use your key phrase and also variants of it once or twice on the page content.
- Include the key phrase in the <title> tag as well as in the meta keywords location and in the description location of the header of the web page. (But don't forget the description is commonly used by The search engines in the results listings, so make it appealing so that the user chooses to check out your website in the results listings and have a look at your page rather than another site).
- Also put the key phrase inside the <H1>, <H2> and <H3> headings tags.
- If you have got pictures on the page, or a movie, put your key phrase or variants of this, inside the <Alt> meta tags belonging to the images.
- Make sure that any words or phrases inside the key words meta area are also found in the observable written content of the webpage.
- Raise stay time and minimize bounce rate: keep your visitors on your web site as long as possible by involving people by using helpful content - a movie clip or a questionnaire, for example. At the same time integrate indented listings: Google loves bulletpoint lists. If visitors click away after just a couple of seconds search engines like Google will be aware of that and determine that the site isn't what users wish to see, and your search rankings in the SERPS will fall as a direct consequence. You can see your bounce level via your Google Analytics data (you do make use of Google Analytics, don't you?).
- Keep your site load time short. The most effective strategy to prevent lengthy loading time is to decrease the size of (meaning size in Kb and not in pixels). Free tools are available for accomplishing this, such as http://www.reduceimages.com/ and http://www.imageoptimizer.net/Pages/Home.aspx. This is also referred to as file compression.
- Include a robots.txt file and upload that to your server.
- Include an XML sitemap file and upload that to your server.
- Include a.htaccess file with code on it for dealing with canonical URLs.
Comply with all of these basic rules and you will be set for Search Engine Optimisation best practice in 2017.