This is a collaborative post by Karen Ngai.
You have the perfect name for your blog or business and have registered a domain for it.
Your website gains visits by actively promoting your website on social media.
You seek links to your website through online and offline channels to attract site visitors.
However, while this is all crucial to increasing traffic to your website, you need a quick SEO guide to help maximise your website’s performance.
Quick SEO guide to attracting site visitors
You need to attract potential visitors to your website by improving how you appear on search engine result pages (SERPs).
These visitors are mostly likely to be using Google, as it’s the biggest search engine. When they enter a specific search term that is relevant to your business and blog, your website will show up as one of their search results.
If you want your website clicked on rather than its search competitors, it needs to rank highly within Google’s organic search results. The higher you are ranked, the more likely your website will be selected.
Ranking higher on SERPs
These organic search results are determined by Google’s algorithm. Its purpose is to sift through millions of websites to find those that are most relevant to the search term and contains the highest quality content.
However, Google’s algorithm can only ‘read’ a website if it’s written so its crawlers can understand it. The process of adapting a website to enable Google’s algorithm to recognise and rank it is known as SEO (Search Engine Optimisation), which this quick SEO guide is all about
To start with this beginners guide to SEO, it’s not a question of ticking off certain SEO techniques each time. It’s an ongoing process that improves and maintains your website status within the search results. Here are some tips to begin your website’s first SEO journey:
1. XML Sitemap
The crawlers (or spiders) main focus is to read your website to index it, so the easier this is for them to understand your website’s structure, the better.
You will need an XML sitemap to help the crawlers to understand your site. It works like a table of contents. It reveals the hierarchy of your webpages and provides the spiders direct access to essential information on your website. This enables them to index your site accordingly.
You can easily obtain a XML sitemap from the SEO Yoast plugin. Then you submit it to Google via the Google Search Console and your website will immediately start seeing improvements in its ranking.
2. User experience (HTML Sitemap)
Google’s algorithm is also capable of analysing how your users interact with your website to determine whether it’s ‘user friendly’. You need to create an HTML sitemap for this.
An HTML map lists all the relevant pages in an easily readable format, purely to satisfy your users’ needs on your website. This acts as a guide to clarify your website’s navigation. Another helpful element would be to use ‘breadcrumbs’.
Customising the <Title> and <Description> tags on your webpages helps the spiders to identify its keywords. And the more relevant these keywords are to your users’ search term, the higher the page will rank.
3. Mobile Readability
As more people continue to use mobile devices, they will prefer to browse on their phones rather than on a computer.
As you might already be aware, these two interfaces vary from each other. This means using a ‘responsive’ theme which adapts how your website looks on different sized screens.
As well as making it easier to read content, it’s also worth improving loading times. If your website doesn’t accommodate mobile readers, you could be inadvertently turning away potential visitors.
Standing out from the crowd
Increasing your website’s readability for both algorithms and readers is crucial to improving your rank on SERPs.
If you want to rank even better, you need to apply SEO techniques to your contents as well. The following tips allows the Google algorithm to identify your site as a resourceful website:
Google completes several checks to qualify a page as high quality content. Each quick SEO guide knows you need to make sure your posts are error free, with accurate grammar and spelling. How you write should be legible and easy to read.
The length of your post is also a factor. Google’s algorithm previously favoured longer posts, because these contained plenty of content to index. However, its most recent update prefers content packed with valuable information, regardless of how long it is.
2. Heading tags
While the site’s structure is important, the page structure is also significant to help Google grasp the main topics within a post.
Headings use specific tags to define hierarchy. The H1 tag is the most important, and should be reserved purely for the main title. H2 descending to H6 are for the subheadings, with H2 having a higher status than H3 downwards.
Google’s algorithm cannot read images; they are only programmed to read words. So each image needs to have words placed behind it to explain what the image is so it can be recognised.
Each image needs its alt tags edited to include its description. Adding the relevant keywords within the alt text allows Google to recognise the coherence of your text and images.
Benefit from a quick SEO guide here
How you apply SEO to your website will determine how successful it will become. There are many resources for a quick SEO guide, such as this eBook, which will help you to improve your website’s ranking.
Want to step up a notch and would like to explore SEO in more detail? Search marketing agencies such as Click Consult have experts that can provide a professional outlook on which areas you should be targeting.
About the author
Karen Ngai, campaigns and social executive from Click Consult, which is a multi-award-winning search marketing agency, based in Ellesmere Port, UK. Whether you’re a brand or an SME, feel free to approach us for bespoke search marketing solutions for measurable results for your website.
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