What is SEO?

SEO stands for search engine optimization. SEO is simply the process of creating and formatting a piece of web-based content so that it ranks high in search engines like Google, Yahoo, or Bing.

Why Does SEO Matter?

When you do a Google search you probably click on the results at the top of the list. So does everyone else. This is why SEO matters. Websites that rank high in the search engines have a greater chance of being visited. This means more customers, readers, or visitors to your website or blog.

Content is Key

One of the first steps in SEO is to make sure you have high-quality content. Make sure your text is well written and original. Search engines want to show high-quality results to their users, so make your site contains high-quality content.

Keyword Selection

Selecting the right keywords is vital. When it comes to selecting keywords you want to think like a user. Think about the person you want to visit your website. What are they going to type into a search engine? Consider your website’s products or services. Head on over to your favorite search engine and search for those products or services. What exact words did you type in? Those are your keywords.

Now, think about how others may type those keywords into search engines. What different variations would they use? Now you can use this information to create a list of keywords. Make sure they are worded the same way that people would actually type them while looking for your products or services.

Don’t rush through this step. Building the right keyword list is vital. You will use this list of keywords in different ways and in different locations throughout your blog or website.

Page Title

One of the first places you want to use your keywords is in the “page title” of your website. The page title is not written in text on your page. You will see the page title in the title bar or tab at the top of your browser. How you change your page title will depend on how your site was built.

One good rule of thumb is to focus each page on a small set of keywords. Start by using those keywords in the page title. One note about your page title: Do not just repeat your keywords. Make sure your page title makes sense. Often, the search engine will display your page title in their search results.

Headings and Formatting Text

On your page, you want to use your keywords in different ways. Of course, you want to use them in normal text, but that’s only the beginning.

It is very important to use your keywords in headings. Make sure to use your most important keywords in heading tags like H1, H2, or H3.

You also want to use your keywords in text that is bold or in italics. Using your keywords in links also helps optimize your page.

Meta Description

You want to write a description for each page and enter it into the meta description for that page. This has become less important over the years, but it still helps. Make sure your meta description is well written and contains several of your most important keywords. Often, search engines will list this description in their search results. Where to change this description will vary depending on how you created your website or blog.

Alt Tags

An alt tag is a piece of metadata you attach to an image. When you use an image on your website, be sure to enter an alt tag. Make sure your alt tag describes the image but also contains a keyword. Be careful with this. Don’t try to stuff too many keywords in an alt tag. Keep it classy. Remember that people with visual impairment use the alt tag to understand the content of an image.

Page Loading Time

Search engines want their users to have a good experience. Therefore, search engines want to show their users websites that load quickly. If your website is slow to load it will definitely hurt your search engine rankings. To help your page load quickly, don’t use too many large images or videos.

Use SSL

SSL stands for secure socket layer. This is how data that transfers between your website and its users is encrypted. This is not an automatic process. You will need to set up an SSL certificate on your website or have it done for you. In the past this did not affect SEO, but now it does. Be sure to use an SSL certificate on your blog or website.

Inbound and Outbound Links

Other websites linking to yours will give your site credibility in the eyes of the search engines. For this reason, you want to try to get other sites to link to yours. Find sites in your same industry and email them asking for a link. If you know people who have websites, ask them to link to your site. It takes time but link building is well worth the effort.

Outbound links also help validate your site to some degree. When you are building your web pages be sure to link to some well-established sites. Rather than linking to your competitors consider linking to sites like Wikipedia or other informational sources.

It Takes Time

When it comes to search engine optimization there is no magic formula. It takes time, hard work, and a little luck. Follow the steps laid out in the article and be patient. Good things come to those who wait.