Improve search results with 8 simple steps: On-page SEO Basics
Most people that are alive today have heard the term SEO. Although this term covers a large range of aspects, most people know that it has something to do with getting your website optimized to improve search results with search engines. In the not so distant past, creating an effective SEO strategy for your website was simple. You chose a few select keywords, then stuffed your page or article with these keywords. Search engines would match them to someone’s search query (literally word for word), and BAM! You had a visitor. However, search engines are getting smarter, and as a result it is important to create a smarter SEO strategy as well. Below I have outlined 8 effective ways to improve search results for your website. If you are interested in more advanced ways to implement SEO, I suggest that after you’ve read this article you head over and read – Beyond SEO Basics: The Benefits of Semantic Search.
For beginners, improve search results with WordPress
If you are a complete beginner to websites and SEO, I suggest using the WordPress platform. It is an easy to use and user-friendly platform that lets you set up a website in minutes, requires little experience, allows you to set up plugins and themes for easy customization, and has powerful tools for search engines. And the best thing about the platform is… It’s Free! Once you’ve set up your account, you may want to improve search results by following the 8 simple steps in the infographic below.
Improve search results for your website
If you are not necessarily a beginner, or you already have a website, then you will want to follow these 8 steps below.
1. Research keywords
The most important part of SEO is to use keywords on your page or article that convey the intent of your content. The best way to do this is to think of 3 or 4 words that summarize your content. For example if you are writing about a style of blouse or shirt you like, you may want to use a keyword phrase such as, 5 best blouses for summer. You will want to research this keyword phrase and see if anyone is actually using these terms to search, and the competition for these search terms. You may need to modify this term to find the perfect combination of high searchability with low competition. To find out great tools and best practices, there is a very detailed article that explains keyword research strategy on searchengineland.com.
2. Create quality content
The content of a page is what makes it worthy of a search result position. It is what the user came to see and is thus extremely important to the search engines. As such, it is important to create good content. So what is good content? From an SEO perspective, all good content has two attributes. Good content must supply a demand and must be linkable. For more detailed information on writing great content, please read the article: 5 steps for creating dynamic content.
3. SEO friendly domain & URL’s
For your domain name, you should avoid getting a domain name that is long and unforgettable, such as www.annoyingdomainthisis.com. The best practice is to find a domain name that has your keyword in it, like www.keyword.com, or www.keyword-phrase.com. You want your page’s URL to be short and keyword rich. Avoid ugly URLs, like www.keyword.com/p=123. You will want to use a structure for your URL that matches your page title, like www.keyword.com/on-page-seo-is-the-best. Head over to the Moz blog for more detailed information about domain SEO best practices.
4. Start page title with keywords
Your title tag is the most important on-page SEO factor. You also want to pay attention to where you place your keywords in your title. In general, the closer the keyword is to the beginning of the title tag, the more weight it has with search engines.
It is vital that you use an H1 tag for the title of your page, and place it before your content.
5. Use Image ALT text
Images are another important aspect of SEO. You are going to want to optimize each image around a keyword. The reason to optimize your images for SEO is that it gives search engines yet another clue of what your page is about and helps it rank in organic search.
Make sure the file name includes your target keyword like, on_page_SEO.jpg and that you include your target keyword as part of your image Alt Text.
6. Use social sharing
While social shares may or may not affect a webpage’s position in search listings, your social profiles definitely influence the content of your search results. In fact, social media profiles are often among the top results in search listings for brand names. Many marketers believe that links to your website via social media accounts have a major impact on your rankings. Nowadays, people don’t just go to Google and Bing to look stuff up; they also use social media channels to find what they’re looking for. If you are using a platform like WordPress, adding social sharing buttons to your site is a breeze using a third party plugin.
7. Create inbound and outbound links
Creating links on your site is an easy SEO strategy to get more traffic. Outbound links to related pages is a relevancy signal that helps Google figure out your page’s topic and shows Google that your page is a hub of quality info. Although it seems like sending people away from your website would be bad, you can keep people on your site by making sure that you open all links to external websites in a new window.
Inbound links are another easy SEO strategy. This simply means that you link to other relevant articles or pages on your site. This can help readers by getting additional information from a previous blog post or article, without having to repeat all the information again.
8. Watch your loading speed
Google has stated on the record that page loading speed is an important SEO ranking signal. If your website does not load quickly, it will actually hurt your SEO rankings. You can boost your site speed by linking to hosted videos (ie. youtube), compressing images, caching your webpages, and switching to faster hosting. Make sure it doesn’t take more than 4 seconds for your page to load. MunchWeb found that 75% of users wouldn’t re-visit a site that took longer than 4 seconds to load. You can easily check your site’s loading speed using Google’s Page Speed Insights tool.
Your feedback is appreciated
Optimizing your site for SEO can be challenging, but very rewarding when you see your website search rank improve on Google or Bing. Feel free to tell us what you think about this article in the comments below, and please share with others.