What is SEO and why is it so important
SEO is the short form of search engine optimization. It is the process by which a site gets appeared in the search engine results. Preferably a site owners want to get appeared in the first page of search engines so that a site gets more visitors. It is also referred as “Organic search” as it is unpaid and it totally depends on the keyword and different other factors of the site such as content, domain authority, links from the popular sites etc.
In a case study it was found that a sample of over 8 million clicks shows that over 90% of users clicked on a first page result and less than 6% actually clicking to the second page and less than 5% for the third page.
Two practices of SEO
- White hat SEO- Considers human factors while writing and follows search engine policies to be found on the top result.
- Black hat SEO – It focuses on the illegal practices as opposed to search engine guide lines. Considers only for the search engine not for humans. E.g. Keyword stuffing, buying links, exchanging links.
Webmasters in the early 1990’s started optimizing their site for SEO. They realized the importance of SEO. Previously what they had to do was to submit the URL of their site to search engine. Then within a few days the spiders from the search engines used to craw and index the webpage and your site would appear in the search engines within few days.
Also another method which Webmaster followed is today what we call is “Keyword stuffing“. Webmasters used to include keywords multiple times in the post. The search engine used to determine the blog post on the basis of number of times the keyword occurred in the blog post. But that was not the basis on which the webpage had to be ranked. Even content which didn’t have that much of value ranked because of keyword stuffing.
THE BIRTH OF GOOGLE
Page and brain founded Google in 1998 which used mathematical algorithm to calculate the quality of search result. It looked for on page seo such as keyword frequency, site structure, quality of the content and off page seo such as page rank, link buildings. With the advancement of Google it developed algorithms which penalized sites using illegal methods to building links such as purchasing, swapping. Focused more on quality content for the user etc. It has more than 200 ranking signals.
February 2011:- Google rolled out panda update after which sites with duplicate content or copied content from other sources were penalized. Before a site used to rank if they copied the same content which had already ranked before.
April 2012: Google penguin update which penalized site which tried to use sites trying to gain ranking against Google policies such as link exchange, buying etc.
September 2013: Google Hummingbird update, an algorithm change designed to improve Google’s understand of language and processing of language on a semantic level. They could understand “How to be on the first page of Google” or “How to rank better in Google” is basically the same thing which a user intends to know about
1. Not having a Good content
Content is the king. You must have heard this time and again. It is right in this modern world of search engine. Perhaps you may use to rank in the first page of search engine more than ten years ago by stuffing keyword in your main page or using keyword in the Meta tag and over optimizing your title, content etc. But now search engines looks for the overall aspect of the content. How is it useful to the reader?
How to create a Good content
- Focus on user experience.
- Cover all aspects of the topic. E.g. If you are writing about seo then write what is seo, history of seo, different types of seo, advantages, how to apply seo
- Have content more than 1000 at least so that it can be useful and rank in the Google.
According to survey conducted by SerpIQ.com in 2012 the blog post containing more than 2400 words ranked first in the Google search result.
And according to Buzzsumo, analyzing of 100 million articles showed that those articles which had more than 3000 got the most shares
This shows that you should aim for at least 2000 words. This helps you go in depth about the article. This will make your article valuable for others to read and share.
2. Make your site crawl-able
Don’t forget to make your site crawl-able and searchable by search engine. You need to create a sitemap for your website and submit it to the search engine. Sitemap contains the structure of your site. Whenever you create a new page then sitemap makes it easier for search engines to crawl through those page and index it.
3. Include general keywords or phrases which people look for
Include keyword people are searching in the internet. Don’t include technical words. e.g. the scientific name of malaria is Plasmodium falciparum. So if you are going to write an article about how to treat malaria, then you will include the word Malaria not Plasmodium falciparum because general public will know the general term malaria not the scientific name. So, you need to be wise in selecting keywords. Aim for the most general people. If you see the picture for above the first query in exact search match has no search result where as the second query has 170 search result.
4. Make compelling content instead of link building
Of course links from the popular sites are considered one of the ranking factors for search engine. It increases the Page rank of your site and makes your site trustworthy and popular and thus pushes it at the top of search engine result. But it comes down to one thing. Good content. Nobody will link to a site which has crappy content. If you make a detail researched content about a topic which has never been written or which is not up to the mark then you get links naturally. Your content will help lots of people outside. So, others will be happy to share link and recommend your article.
5. Make your title and description SEO friendly
If you are writing an article about pizza then of course you need to mention the word pizza in the title of the page. When the search engines scans your page it looks for the title and if there is a word pizza in the title then it will know okay, this article is related to pizza. Of, course it depends upon what content you have written about pizza based on which your site will be ranked in the search engine. But the main theme is mention the keyword in the title.
Also make your headline strong and enticing enough to make readers click. e.g. If you are going to write an article about making a pizza then write something interesting title e.g. How a beginner can make a pizza quickly and easily with less ingredients. This entices them to click and write the article.
Also you want the Meta description to be really good and interesting. When your site is shown in the search engine then you can see a small description below the URL of the website which is the Meta description of the page. So, you need to make sure that the Meta description is also interesting. Although Google doesn’t include Meta description in the ranking factor but if you write a good Meta description then it may entice readers to click on the link. Now, you need to keep your Meta description between 150 -160 characters. More than that search engines automatically shows the first 150 – 160 characters and leaves the rest in the Meta description.
If you have a family restaurant in the town then you can write a very compelling Meta description for your restaurant site such as “The cheapest family restaurant with free car parking and free home delivery within 30 minutes”.
5. Optimizing images for site speed
Speed is considered a ranking factor by Google search engine.
According to Akami:
- 47% of consumers expect a site to load in about 2 seconds. More than that it will turn consumers away.
- 40% of shoppers will wait no more than three seconds before abandoning a retail or travel site.
- 79 percent of online shoppers who experience an unsatisfying visit are less likely to buy from the same site again while 27 percent are less likely to buy from the same site’s physical store, suggesting that the impact of a bad online experience will reach beyond the web and can result in lost store sales.
How to increase your site speed
- Optimize image for search engine.
- Use a good hosting service.
- Go for at least Virtual Private hosting plan.
- Use a good site structure.
- While using WordPress use Premium theme
6. Not having a mobile design for your website.
Smart phones and tablets have taken a huge percentage of market today. Google analytics shows that more and more people have started to read emails, surf internet using the smart devices So, it is inevitable that your site should have a mobile design. If your site is not designed for mobile devices then the whole site won’t be seen in the mobile devices. This decreases the bounce rate for your site.
Braines & Ernst is the leading provider of debt solution in UK. When adapting Responsive web design in the second half of 202 It showed that On mobile devices, pages per visit have since increased 11%, average visit duration has risen 30% and bounce rate has registered an 8% decrease, while mobile conversions have grown an impressive 51%.
7. Link building using black hat strategy
Google still values backlinks from reputable sites. It shows the authority and popularity of your site. Previously you could get link from any site and your site could get ranked in the search engine. But with the development of search engine now the quality of backlink will be valued more than the quantity. Still people use methods to build link which is against search engines. They buy backlinks, exchange links which is against search engine policies. You need to acquire naturally. May be your site could rank in search engine for a few days or weeks, but once search engine knows it then your site will lose your rank and may be penalized. So, never ever use shortcut to get backlinks.
8. Using SEO gimmick product
You will see lots of SEO products on the internet which promises you to get high Page rank backlinks. They promise your site to be shown on the first page of search engine and drive a huge amount of traffic. Never ever follow any product with your eyes closed. We have already mentioned about black hat seo. So, there are high chances that your site will be under Google black list. Sure there are companies which provides SEO services which may help you to improve ranking for your site. But you should check their review on the internet if available before spending money.
9. Not updating your content
Google loves sites which updates content on their site on regular basis. It doesn’t have to be every day. But you should update it often. Everything is based on user experience. People who have subscribed to your site comes to your site to find something new. If they don’t find something new for an extended period of time then they lose interest in your site. So, your ranking may be lost.
According to Neil Patel, founder of quicksrpout.com, when he started to post twice on his blog then his traffic increased up to 29%.
10. Not using Google webmaster tools
Google webmaster tools help you to understand lot about your site details. You can find out which queries brings most visitors to our site. If you have any issue with your site then you will be notified. You can also check how many sites are linking to your site and which are they. How many of your pages are indexed. Basically there are a lot of things you can check with Google webmaster tools. Also you can visit their blog from which you can learn a lot of things related to your site whether it may be related to any update, performance issues etc.
11. Not having a good web hosting:
You also need to have good web hosting service. Don’t look for free hosting services. If you are going to host a site for other people to browse then you need to make sure that your site is hosted by reputed hosting service. It all boils down to user experience. Good hosting service offers strong foundation for your site. Also try to make sure that you choose such a package with which you have good loading speed for your site. You can check out the reviews about Web hosting providers on the internet and select the best for you. You can also check what hosting services are used by popular sites using whois.com
12.Not using Google analytics:
Like Google webmaster, it is also very important that you use Analytics to look about your site details. You can find the number of visitors for your site in a day or in a month. You can see the traffic sources, how much of the traffic is organic, direct, referral, etc. You can find the queries which is bringing traffic to your site. You can also check about your site speed any many more. For detail you can visit the tutorial for analytics in YouTube. Launched in 2005 acquiring Urchin.
13. Have a good structure for your site
Blog should be clear and readable. If you make your site decorative, fancy with too much of images and flash files but don’t have the gist then it is of no use. Flash files and animations will be of distraction unless your site is related to graphic designing and animation. Also sites with heavy flash files takes long time to load. So, have good structure for your site, minimum animation files.
14. Too much of keyword stuffing
Before when the search engines were just developing a site used to get rank on the basis of keywords. You put keywords in the content 15 – 20 times and your site used to be found by the search engine. But that was not the good point on the basis of which the site had to be ranked. Basically a site with shallow content could rank on the basis of keywords. But with the advancement of search engine, it could find out the differences between the Good content and the content with just too much of keyword stuffing. Nowadays keyword stuffing causes a site to be penalized.
15. Duplicate content
The other mistake made by SEO is having a duplicate content. Having a same content more than one time will be considered as a duplicate content. Also, if you copy someone’s content exactly then Google will know it now or later on about it and your site will be penalized. So, you may take ideas but you explain it in a better way or illustrate it elaborately. If you have original content then it is better. Original content if useful is shared and liked by people.
In order to remove issues with duplicate content you can visit a post about duplicate content by moz.com
16. Linking from spammy site or non-credible sites
Now you may be trying to get links from another site by leaving a comment on the site or by guest posting. But make sure that the site which you want to get a link from should be credible and should have a high page rank.
17. Not optimizing for local search
If you have a company’s site then you better optimize your site for local search. Include keywords which are popular in your area. It may be anything related to your product or place. You can input keywords people use for greetings or the keyword used by local common people.
18. Use proper anchor text instead of general text
Anchor text are used for hyperlink. Generally we used to use “Click here” as anchor text for hyperlink which according to SEO considers as a bad practice. Instead of using the general text use the descriptive related to the hyperlink. e.g. If you want to link a page about creating a good content then you can use descriptive text such as Learn more about Creating a good content.
19. Not thinking seo from the beginning
This is one of the mistake which a beginners make such as me. Whenever we start a blog then we are excited to create posts and just publish it. We won’t know much about SEO unless we have someone to guide. But this is actually not a good practice. If a house has a good foundation then it will be a strong house. But if you don’t then it will take you an extra work to improve the SEO of your website.
20. Not linking internally
Another mistake which we make is not linking your site pages internally. If you link the related pages internally then it creates interest for your readers. It engages them and decreases the bounce rate of your site.
21. Keep audience in mind
Whenever you are creating a site than at first you need to visualize your audience in your mind. Which category of people you want to target, which age group you are targeting for. If you are targeting small children then you need to use simple language, if you are targeting for tech savvy people then you can use technical terms. The best tip however is to use simple language, images for better understanding. If you are creating a step by step tutorial then include every step. What we think is not necessary because it is self-explanatory to guess may be a big thing for starter.
22. User Experience
Never forget about user experience when creating a site. You should make sure that whatever you do makes it easier for a visitor to navigate through your site.
A case study done by Qubit for Topshop showed simply adding a navigation pointer for user to find out menus, that showed for 5 seconds, resulted in a 4% increase in basket adds, and a 1.2% increase in visitors viewing a product page
What can you do to increase better user experience for your site? May be you can create a Feedback page for the customer if you have an e-commerce site. You should have about us and contact page so that customer can know about your site and reach to you. Respond to comments whether positive or negative to improve your site. Have a site in English and as well as in local language if you are targeting to a particular country.
23. Building links only on the home page.
Now most of us consider homepage as the face of our website. We try to receive links from other sites to our home page only. What we actually need to do is to build links to overall site to each and every page if possible. That builds up the authority of our site in totality. Whenever you want to comment on someone’s blog post then you can include your own page which has the same topic and you think add some more insights about the topic.
24. Look trends for keyword
If you are going to write about a topic then it is better to look for the keyword trends. Are the search volume going up, going down or there is not enough search. All your hard work will be of no use if no one’s look for the topic. Below is the search trend for whatsapp. It was founded in 2009 and since then the search trend is increasing.
Also, you can also compare the search trends between two terms.
Anybody can make one of the above SEO mistakes. So, try to educate more about the Search engine optimization and improve your site rankings. Consider user experience as the main thing and create a detail article which covers overall aspect of the keyword. Focus on the quality not the quantity.