Basic Guidelines for Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Basic Guidelines for Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

In this digital age, more and more organizations and companies build and maintain their own sites for the purpose of marketing and endorsing their products or services to the public. When you type in your brand name in the search engine, results come out in hundreds of pages because several related keywords are found from different locations in the Web. If you have a newly launched Website, it will definitely NOT appear on the first page of Google as it can be drowned among other related sites and links. The ranking competition among search results tend to become more tricky these days. But still, never lose hope because the rank of your website in Google, Bing, Yahoo, and other engines can be made better by mastering the art of Search Engine Optimization or what is popularly known as SEO.

What is SEO?

SEO covers all the techniques to boost a website’s ranking authority for search engines. It is the process of developing a website to rank high in Search Engine Page Results (SERP). SEO also involves tactics for marketing by studying ranking factors and behavior of the target audience. When your Website ranks well in a search engine, you will get high quality of traffic, which will improve your presence in the online market.

Methods of Optimization

There are two methods used in optimizing a website for search engines. One is called On-page SEO and the other is Off-page SEO.

On-page SEO

The method refers to optimizing a site using text and page content. Keywords and tags that are relevant to the subject of the site are used and placed in correct locations. Proper title and sub-headings are also highly considered and this method gives great value for rich content.

On-page SEO basically includes the following strategies:

Selecting keywords

A keyword is an informative term used to indicate the content and subject of a page or Website. When a user types a question, phrase, or statement in the search bar, the engine reads the input as a set of keywords that is fed to the database query during the retrieval of results.

The selection of keywords is very crucial when it comes to SEO. It is important to plan carefully the keywords you are going to use in your site. You need to know whether people are searching for them and how strict the competition is. Go for a relevant keyword phrase that is less competitive, something that doesn’t exceed 30,000 searches because it means many sites are also using the keyword and it will be difficult for you to compete with them. Find a perfect keyword combination that is popular yet does not produce too many search results.

Choosing proper title

Specified title for a site should not exceed 65 characters as the extra will be truncated in the results. The title should also be significant to the content of the site because inconsistency may hurt its search engine advantage.

Declaring Meta tags and Meta description

Meta tags are little content descriptors that describe a page’s content. They don’t appear on the page itself, but only in the page’s code. On the other hand, a Meta description describes your page to search engines. It gives information that serves as the snippet of text shown to search engine users in response to a query, to summarize a site or page. Meta description tags should not exceed 155 characters to avoid being truncated in the results.

Using header tags for heading and sub-headings (H1, H2, H3)

Use proper header tags when writing your content. For the main heading that describes the main topic, be sure to use H1. Sub-headings are also important parts of the page’s content and search engines can distinguish them easily when they are indicated by H2, H3, and the rest of the header tags. This method also helps the reader in scanning the parts of the page.

Including ALT Tags in images used

ALT tags may look useless but do not take them for granted. They actually help a lot so that search engines can recognize the images inserted in a site. They are written text that can be read by the system. Thus, apply proper ALT tags to all the images on your page.

Proper URL Structure

The Uniform Resource Locator (URL) is a human-readable text used to communicate with servers instead of using the original IP address, which is in a numerical format. Your site’s URL is based on its file structure and the name given to each directory or file.

As a good SEO practice, make your URL simple and readable. Name your directories and files according to the content and keywords you want the search engine to recognize. Do not use underscores, spaces, or any other characters to separate words in your URL. Instead, you can use hyphens but be sure not to overuse them for they can be read as part of a spam.

Moreover, it is recommended that your URL should not exceed 2,048 characters because Internet Explorer won’t be able to load the page.

Internal Linking

Create links within your page that navigate to other pages of you site. This increases the internal link popularity that search engines like. You can also get links from websites that have similar content as yours. This make users and search engines understand easily what your page is all about.

Fresh, High Quality & Keyword-related Content

Your page must contain a vigorous amount of search engine-accessible text, which contains keywords related to the main subject. Consistency plays a big role for search engines to verify that a page has quality content. Thus, you need to fill your page with relevant and informative text.

However, always be cautious because too much redundancy of your keywords may be read as spam. Use synonyms or phrases related to your keywords so that your content may look more credible and impressive. Anticipate which related terms users may use instead of the original keywords.

Using Sitemaps

A sitemap is a document that contains the list of pages of a Website. It informs users or crawlers the relationship between pages and other content components, typically organized in hierarchical manner.

Content Management Systems like WordPress has a built-in sitemap. On the other hand, if you are developing your own page or Website, you must create your own sitemap and submit it to a search engine’s webmaster tools, such as that of Google’s. This allows your site to be recognized by search engines because it verifies the authenticity of your site, enabling the submission of pages to the engine.

Using Robots.Txt

Robots.txt is a standard that tell the web robot which areas of the Website are restricted or location that should not be scanned. Robots are commonly used by search engines to categorize web sites.

In SEO, using Robots.txt can keep the robots from crawling irrelevant content on the site, which then prioritizes the important content that is intended to be shown in search results.

Off-page SEO

Content may be of great priority when it comes to search engines but link popularity is also one of the main factors of a website’s visibility in the search results. Off-page SEO includes link building through exchange of backlinks, submission to open directories, social bookmarking, and other strategies that improve traffic, such as engaging with other users in the Web.

Off-page SEO basically includes the following strategies:

Using Social Media Platforms

Social media platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, and many more, can be used to establish identity and build brand awareness. Sign up to popular social networking sites and share links that redirect to your Website’s pages. These sites are SEO-friendly and are immediately ranked by search engines. Create your own community or product page that describes your brand and Website.

Directory Submission

An online directory is a site that offers a submission service where a Website or article is added to a categorized collection of data. It improves the site’s visibility as it specializes in linking to other Websites and organizing those links into proper categories. Submit your Website to popular directories and increase the chance to be seen by other users.

Social Bookmarking

Managing bookmarks of favorite web pages by storing and organizing the links is known as Social Bookmarking. Sign up and submit you pages to Websites that provide this kind of service. Search engines often visit these sites because they have rich and updated content. Using social bookmarking sites, such as StumbleUpon, Digg, and Delicious, may increase your Website’s traffic.

RSS Submission

Really Simple Syndication, popularly known as RSS, is a medium to easily show an updated content from a source. It is recommended that you submit a RSS feed to directories to help your Website get distributed to backlinks. It also helps a user to receive automatic updates whenever the content of your page is changed.

Link Building

Link popularity is one of the main factors that search engines measure to improve a Website’s rank in their systems. One trick for enhancing the popularity of your site is to generate relevant links from other sites that redirect to your pages. You can start by creating impressive content that can be used by other bloggers or site authors. Exchange of links can also be made between sites by including references.

Link building is an old SEO strategy but it is still effective in some ways. This is as long as you only get connected to pages that are related to the content of your Website. Today, search engines do not like bad quality links and this will affect your site’s ranking, so you must be cautious when doing this.

Done reading? This is just the tip of the iceberg! After following the basic guidelines, move onto learning other strategies to improve your Website’s rank. Best of luck.