SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. It is a term used to define any kind of optimization efforts toward your website which result in increased visibility in search engines. Search engine optimization requires content and link building strategy, as well as the patience to monitor your progress over several months. There is a difference between White Hat SEO and Black Hat SEO techniques. White Hat SEO targets your website content towards humans first and search engines second. Black Hat SEO focuses primarily on manipulating the search engine ranks to receive an increase in traffic. There are a couple of SEO best practices you should know so you can start with a successful basic optimization.
SEO best practices
These are the basic SEO best practices you should know:
- Keyword research
- Content writing
- Images optimization
- Link building
- SEO-Friendly URLs
- Video implementation
Search for relevant keywords is researching potential keywords you want to focus on in your content. Knowing which keywords you want to rank for will give a good start in your content strategy planning and a clear direction for the future steps you need to take. The best starting point is to find 3 or 4 relevant words you can use for a keyword and to target and focus on that keyword in your content. The next step is to include keywords in an H1 tag. The good practice is to place your main keyword at the beginning of the title. It is good enough to have your keyword once within the first paragraph and once more on another. One keyword per post is more than enough to start with. Add your keyword to the meta title and to the meta description.
Make your content unique. It is a bad SEO strategy to write content for your website just for the purpose of ranking in the search engines. You will get penalized by the search engines for doing so. The first thing to do is to write a title for the article with your keyword inside. Then you can focus on the quality of your content. The better the quality of your content is, the more readers will be back for more. With the possibility of sharing it to others. Write an effective article without thinking too much about SEO. Write it as if you were speaking to another person. That way you are talking directly to readers. It is more natural. The optimal ranking length of your content should be somewhere between 1,000 – 2,000 words.
Visual aids, in general, are a good way to keep people’s attention span, and it’s the same thing with website content. It’s easier and faster for a human to process the visual representation than a plain text. When adding an image to your content, it is a good practice to change the file name before uploading it. Anything is better than generic names coming from free online sources. Adding an alternative text to your images is important for two main reasons. First, it helps visually impaired people to know what’s on a picture, and second, it helps you, allowing the search engines to read what the image is about. Another thing you don’t want to forget is to optimize the size of your images. It helps your page to load faster thus having more chance to hold on to a reader’s attention.
Link juice is an informal term used by many Search Engine Optimizers which refers to the amount of link authority a website possesses. In plain English, the more authority-websites links to your pages the greater the value of your pages are. Besides that, the good practice is to have at least one internal link to another page within your website. The anchor text, which is the text you are linking from, needs to be relevant to the page you are linking to. The goal of a link-building campaign is to make it appear as natural as possible. A link to another website, ideally a high authority site, is called external link. Have at least one in your content. Wikipedia is a good choice if you are not sure where to link to.
The most common mistakes made today is the lack of an SEO-friendly URL structure. Keep all your URLs not too long and make them easy to remember. Your URL should be understandable by both humans and search engines. Have the main keyword phrase inside it, with ideally positioned at the beginning of your URL. As your website is growing in content, a good thing to consider will be categorizing your URLs. When doing that don’t forget that search engines favor dashes over underscores. The reason for this is that underscores are considered ‘alpha characters’ and do not separate words, while dashes are separators.
Adding a video to your page will influence your rankings. Whatever you do on the internet today videos are everywhere. There are videos on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and that’s just a few well-known sites. Embedding a video relevant to your content is shown to be a good potential help by some studies.
Search engine optimization is an ever-changing playground that pushes the boundaries daily. Employees at Google, Yahoo and Bing are constantly improving their search engine results by analyzing what makes a website relevant to a particular keyword. Although search engines modify their algorithms all the time, they have not, and will not deviate from their original criteria and methodology ranking websites. Quality content and link building will always remain primary. While Search Engine Optimization can seem too complex at times, it truly is just a simple set of rules you will need to follow in order to improve your site rankings. So, start the journey by learning all SEO best practices you should know, and one day it will be a breeze to dig into more advanced SEO techniques.