Search Engine Optimization popularly referred to as SEO, is simply doing the needful to improve your site rank in search engine results. It involves
- Creating and sharing useful contents on your website, landing page, blog or e-commerce websites
- Using relevant search keywords and key phrases in your contents
- Linking to high quality websites and getting other high quality websites to link back to your website
- Using light and mobile responsive designs
- Ensuring that the website is hosted on a premium – fast, secure, and reliable hosting server.
In simple English, it is proper SEO that will help to increase your chances of showing up on Google page #1 when people use Google to perform their search.
On Page SEO and Off Page SEO
Optimizing your website for higher ranking and visibility in the search engines involves two phases of work. The first phase is done right on the website pages itself and so the name on-page optimization. The second phase involves every other off page activity directed towards getting other websites to link back to your website and that is why it is called off-page optimization or link building or backlinks building.
We will look at the details of these two, in a moment.
Keywords or key phrases are those search terms people type into Google and other search engines when they are searching for information and solutions online. Successful SEO heavily rely finding and using (in your website and online content) the appropriate keywords and key-phrases which users are punching to Google when making their search for products and services like yours.
There are two types of keywords:
- Short tail keywords. They are usually between one and three words long, e.g. digital marketing training.
- Long tail keywords. These usually narrow down to particular locations, experiences, products… for example, digital marketing training in Ibadan.
Many people who search with long tail keywords most likely are ready to buy immediately or sooner while many people who use the short tail keywords are merely researching without intent to pay or buy immediately. So businesses that are focused on growing sales will do better focusing on long tail keywords in their SEO effort. Moreover, the long tail keywords more often than not already contain the short tail keywords.
During your keywords research, you will know you have found the right keywords to use when they bring up your local competition in the search engine result pages.
- Use the different variations of your keywords everywhere in your website – domain name and web page urls, site tags, Meta description, image description and alt tags, categories and tags, and the entire site copy.
Why is SEO Important to your business?
Let me ask you, why did you decide to have a website in the first place?
Did you say for more people will discover your business online?
If yes, then SEO is key to achieving that.
SEO is important because without it you cannot attain page #1 in Google. And that means that your target audience will not find your business or brand.
Furthermore, SEO activities help you to
- Increase your clickthrough rate. The more people click on your content when Google brings it up, the more it wants to show it to more people.
- Lower your bounce rate. When people stay longer on your website after they click through, that makes Google perceive your website as relevant and it helps to raise your site ranking.
- Increase your conversion rate. Higher conversion rate shows that your website is relevant to the needs of the users; and therefore the search engines continue to show it to people using relevant keywords.
You can measure your (1), (2), & (3) above from your Google Analytic Dashboard.
On page optimization involves tactically using the relevant short and long tail keywords you found in your
- Domain name and entire URL structure
- Title tags
- Meta description (up to 320 character)
- Image description and alt tags
- H-tags (h1, h2,… h6) title
- Links title
- Images title
- Entire site copy
In addition it involves
- Paying serious attention to your website architecture. Users should find whatever they need in 3 chicks or less.
- Having a Site Map (xml) to help the search engine understand the content of your website
Use a plug-in: Google (xml) sitemaps generator (check for your sitemap in Google
- Having Robot.txt in your website root folder
Use Google robot.txt tester to check your files for error.
Images & SEO
- Your images should be light. Fast – loading images help your website to load faster, and page load speed counts a lot for SEO.
- Proper keyword description for all your images will boost your SEO ranking.
- Use specific keywords for the alternate text too.
Page Speed & SEO
- The time your site takes to load after your search engine ranking especially for mobile users. It is best your website loads fully in one to three seconds; otherwise, people may bounce off out of impatience.
- Slow loading sites increases your bounce rate and higher bounce rate pushes your website down in the SERPs.
Ways to Increase your Page Speed:
- Use a good web hosting company. Some servers are slow already, so hosting on them makes your site slow.
- Use well-built theme (template). Properly built designs load fast. A website design (or theme) that is not properly designed will load very slowly and give a bad user experience.
- Use fewer Plugins on your website so that less codes have to run before your website render in the browser.
You can know your website load speed through Google Page-Speed Test.
Mobile Responsiveness & SEO
- Google prioritize mobile friendly site in search result. If your website is not mobile friendly, it cannot rank well in the search engines and definitely cannot make it to page #1
There are two tools you can use to check for mobile responsiveness:
- Smartphone Google Bot
- Google Mobile – Friendly Test Page
On Page Search Engine Optimization (SEO) in WordPress
- Check that the search engine visibility is intact. To do this, go to your Dashboard >>> Settings >>> Reading >>> Search Engine Visibility
- Use SEO friendly URL structure. You can fix this from the Dashboard >>> Settings >>> Permalink
- Use SEO Plugins. Install Yoast Plugins and follow the prompts
- Add site maps (to be automatically generated by the Yoast Plugins you have installed)
- Add your site to Google Search Console.
The Google Search Console tells you
- How your content is seen by the search engines
- The keywords (term) people are using to bring up your site in the search engines
- How your website appear in search engines results
- Your website clickthrough rate
- When there is something wrong with your site that you should fix
- Optimize your blog posts and pages for SEO using the Yoast Plugins you installed earlier on.
- Use Categories and Tags properly on your website.
- Categories are like chapter of your book. They are sections of your website
- Tags are specific keywords that describe specific posts and pages of your website.
- Properly using categories and tags make it easy for individuals and search engines to browse your website
- Make internal linking a habit on your website. It will increase your page view, time spent on your website and ultimately your SEO score.
- Optimize your WordPress comment
- Use Akismet
- If the comments get to much, paginate them so that it doesn’t slow down your website.
- Show “summary” and “excerpts” everywhere else and the full post in only one place
- Speed and Security For WP SEO
- Use a good hosting company. If possible, let your WordPress website be hosted on a WordPress hosting plan.
- Optimize your images. Make them light with relevant keywords in the description and alt tags.
- If you must have a gallery, use the Envira Plugins for your gallery.
Link Building & SEO
- Your site’s reputation matter to your audience and search engines.
- Search engine crawlers & algorithm give more weight to sites that seem credible and authoritative. And they do this by checking your site’s backlinks to see who trust your content.
Backlinks or Inbound Links:
These are links on other websites that point to your own website. Getting inbound links from trusted editorial like news sites and popular blogs should be your long term goals in off page SEO.
NOTE: spamming links can harm your site’s reputation. So you should totally avoid those adverts that sell thousands of links for $10. It will hurt your site reputation in the long term.
Strategies to Generate Backlinks
- Create useful, reliable and relevant information that others will love to refers to and link to, in their editorials.
- Guest blogging. Posting on other people’s blog gets your business to the wider audience. Posting quality content that your audience and industry peers will use and share will help your link building campaign.
- Judiciously use directory submissions, local listings, Google my business, communities and forums online.
- Press release when you launch a new product or add a new location.
- Use social media judiciously.
- Create very quality Infographics and offer others to use it freely for a link back to your site.
- Review other people products, profile and company on your website. They will send you backlinks by using “As Featured In”.
- Give out awards (as ego baits) on your website / blog.
- Company/ product/ service awards
- Individuals award
- Location specific awards
The recipients of these awards will want to brag about it and generously send their audience back to your website to confirm it. This is a very great source of quality backlinks to your website / blog.
- Submit our own websites for other to review
- Create and promote lead magnets
- Publish original research work – Long guides, Short guides and Tools that are useful to others online.
- Create videos for YouTube.