Published on October 19th, 2013 | by Daniel0
All You Need To Know About SEO
In case you have a website, you will want it to rank high in the search engines. There is an art to this, also called Search Engine Optimization (SEO). SEO is not difficult. It can be hard work, depending on your approach, but it is very logical in nature. This post covers all you need to know about SEO.
While it is relaxing to work on your website without thinking about searchability and traffic, for most online marketers these are concerns which they will have to tackle eventually. If your website has good and unique content that is definitely a (big) plus, but when nobody knows about you and nobody can find you all that good work is still for nothing.
The position of a website on the main search engines for relevant keywords is based on complex algorithms that are kept secret from the public eye. Even those engineers responsible are only familiar with part of the equation. This makes that no one exactly knows what makes a website to go to the top of the search engine rankings. Furthermore, the algorithms are updated often which means that the weight of ranking factors change over time. There is a general consensus however on things that work and things that do not work or that have a harmful effect on your rankings.
As such, I will lay out the most important factors below. Here it is important to discern the difference between onsite and offsite SEO.
Onsite SEO concerns the optimization of your proper website. Besides that it makes sense that your website provides the visitors what they are looking for (and increases customer satisfaction), search engines will reward good user experience. And this factor will only grow in the foreseeable future as the ways to measure user experience are becoming more sophisticated and more detailed.
Therefore at this moment onsite SEO concerns the following:
Website content – Is your content engaging for your readers? Do new visitors stay on your website for a long time or do they leave right away? Unique, quality, relevant content will give you higher rankings in Google et al.
Interlinking – When your post and pages are linked to each other well it will ensure a natural flow through your website for your reader. Make sure your posts and pages link often to other posts and pages.
Outbound links – While you definitely should not overdo this, search engines value it if you link to other good websites. Do not fall into the logical misunderstanding that outbound links will pass link value away from your website. Search engines love to see websites that function as a hub, and that let internet information flow efficiently with good results for the visitors. So do not be a dead end.
Meta descriptions – Less important than they use to be, but it is still valuable to add a good website description which pops up in the search results. It will make more people click on the website link, thus making your website seem very relevant to the search engines.
Use of clear titles and slugs – Having clear titles and urls makes it easier to link to. Also, if you do your keyword research well, you can aim for long tail keyword traffic in an easy way.
Engaging use of media – When you use videos, good images and even audio that are relevant to your content, it will increase the time users spend on your site. It will also increase user experience.
Technical functioning – In short, the slower your website loads or the heavier your media, the more it decreases prospective user experience. Thus bad technical functioning lowers your rankings in Google, Bing et al.
Age – The older your website (i.e. domain), the more track record it has, and so, it proves it is a stable source of interaction for visitors. Search engines value this. You can buy expiring domains if you want to have this advantage from the start.
Note that there are other important factors, but in my experience the factors above are most relevant when you start out with a new website and SEO.
Offsite SEO concerns all the optimizations you do outside of your proper website. Your website is not a stand-alone entity but it interacts with people and other websites on the web. The way it does this will also determine your position in search engine results. Some of the most important aspects are:
Backlinks – The quantity and quality of the links from other websites to your website are very important factors. If good websites (i.e. website with a high search engine ranking themselves) operating in your niche link a lot to your website that tells the search engines that your website is very relevant for the niche. A note about quality though; Google and Bing view quality links as links that not everyone can get easily. Thus comment spamming with your backlink in it will carry very low value, if any. Try to get those links that seem to come from a real desire to link to your website. Again, providing good content is key in this regard.
Social audience – Another factor is the way you are holding yourself in the spheres of social media. In theory, a relevant website is talked about a lot in social media, and a lot of people will share media or links to your website. So make sure you are at least visible on the big social media websites, i.e. Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus, LinkedIn and Pinterest.
Shareability – Make your website easy to share for others. Use social media and RSS plugins if you need to.
Publicity – To have your website noticed you may need to take part in active branding and advertising campaigns. There are many ways to do this, for instance paid search engine advertising, Facebook advertising and such. You can also do press releases and create items that will be noticed by news websites. These factors will increase the amount of people that will know about your website and therefore the amount of people that will talk about it.
If you think about it logically, which websites do you think Google, Bing, Yahoo and such want to have top position in their search results? That is right, they want websites that are relevant, provide good content and that are engaging. Websites that people want to see and want to link to. If they would not reward this, and other websites with inferior quality would be at top position, users will go use other search engines. The search engines themselves will provide inferior content in that case and will be punished for that.
Therefore, if you create a web entity that is high quality you are already one step ahead. Do not focus too much on “gaming” the system. Search engines change their algorithms all the time. So if you rely on spammy tactics, today you can be top but tomorrow you can be down and then you will stay down forever. Search engines will only increase in sophistication. You can draw attention to your website, which is very good, but when you start to focus on link building only, what does that say about your website? 99% chance it is not good enough. Better focus on increasing the quality of your website and you will be top dog in the long run.