In Part 9 of this 12 part series of How To Start A Internet Business At Home, I want to tackle what I believe to be the most important aspect of a successful Internet business, and that is the How To of Search Engine Optimization.
What Is The Purpose Of Search Engine Optimization
Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, is structuring your website in such a way that it is appealing to both user and search engines.
Although techniques can differ from website to website, depending on your niche, following the basic rules on every page/post will enhance the prospect of reaching page 1 within the SERP’s.
The purpose to all this? For Your Website To Be Found.
So let’s get your website found in SERP’s.
Search engines and Google, in particular, have set out certain criteria that they use to rank a website, commonly known as Algorithms.
Google states that there are over 200 parts to their ranking system.
Nobody apart from the big G knows every single one but there are commonly known facts that should be adhered to that will certainly get your site noticed.
What Search Engines Look For In A Website
The important thing here is to make sure that the search engines can crawl and index your site with ease.
Having a well-structured site will achieve that goal.
Making the task of crawling your website as easy as possible adds juice to your chances of Google ranking you higher.
Making it easier for Users to navigate your site, puts a smile on Google’s face and lets them know you have the user in mind when building your website.
A top algorithm in Google’s armory is User Experience, and the better your site is set up for your reader the better your chances of success.
Your top navigational menu should be clear and concise.
Try not to have more than 5 headings and keep them as short as possible so that the menu bar covers just one line.
If the title of the post that you are placing as a menu header is longer than you like, this can be shortened in the navigational label with the menu edit screen.
Avoid having Affiliate linked adverts above the fold(The first part of your post/page that shows up when surfers click on your site).
Search engines are in the business of giving their customers the most up to date and relevant information they can on any search term.
So again this comes down to the content that you produce.
If your content is basic without explanation and rambles on about stuff that is not relevant to the topic you are writing about, then there’s a good chance you will struggle to get on the top 10 pages of the SERP’s.Keep within the boundaries of the subject and give as much relevant information as possible so that the reader is left in no doubt about the outcome of the question.
Search engines will also consider other relevancies when showing a surfer search results.
The surfer’s search history and even their location.
So showing a result for a restaurant in Ontario whilst the surfer lives in Quebec wouldn’t be relevant.
By making your post specific in location to your chosen audience gives the search engines relevance to the queries surfers ask for that particular location.
Relevance is “Whatever is Important to the matter at hand”
I really can’t stress enough how important this part of your SEO is.
Search engines are now looking for more in-depth useful articles that are going to give their customers a complete understanding of the query.
Quality content isn’t just about writing a page of words.
if you can SHOW the reader how it is done, instead of TELLING, by introducing a video or maybe an infographic, it will give so much more value to your post.
Images can also be used to break up the monotony of a page of text.
Using white space to make it easier on the eyes for your reader.
All of this comes down to User Experience. Making your post fit for human consumption rather than for search engine bots.
Everything that I have covered above is pointed to just one thing, User Experience.
By creating a website that is going to keep your reader engaged, though easy navigation, relevant quality content, giving them options to visit another post relevant to the article they are reading via internal linking, all makes for good User Experience.
You are looking to give them an experience to keep them on your webpage and even go searching for more of your work.
Here we have another User Experience algorithm that search engines place quite high on their list.
Mobile search queries have now become more popular than desktop searches, and mobile users are used to having their search queries pop up at the drop of a hat.
The speed your website loads on any device is now so important if you want to grab hold of visitors and keep them on your site.
With each page/post you publish should be checked for load time.
There are plenty of websites that are available to you for this main purpose, although using Googles own speed checker is advisable.
Page Speed Insights from Google will determine the load time for both desktop and mobile, and then give you options to get your speed up to spec by letting you know what areas need attention.
Google has also introduced a project known as Accelerated Mobile Page or AMP for short.
This is designed to give the user a lightning fast user experience by stripping out unnecessary date leaving a more readability page.
Yes talking about Mobile devices again. Search engines really are putting a lot of emphasis on giving the mobile user the best user experience.
Making sure your website is mobile friendly is going to increase your chances of good ranking points.
A mobile-friendly site is a version of your full site that reduces in size to fit perfectly on any mobile device, Smart-phone, I-pad, Tablet etc.
Google lets you know if your site is not mobile friendly. Type into the search bar, site: your domain name, and you will get a display of all the posts/pages that are indexed with them.
As you scroll down, any entries that are not mobile friendly will be indicated by “Your post/page is not mobile friendly”.
The use of internal linking has many benefits.
Search engines need to see that your site is of importance, and the best way to establish this is to show Google that visitors want to stay on your site because they are finding the information that they need.
By instructing your visitors to navigate around your site keeps them active and keeps your bounce rate at the lowest possible level. (Bounce rate is an indication to Google how long visitors stay on your site).
Adding internal links pointing to other pages/posts within your website, not only gives your reader options to retrieve more information on their query but also tells Google that you have the reader in mind by offering them that extra source.
An internal link should lead from your “Anchor Text” (the word or words that are an indication of more information, normally highlighted in blue) to a Relevant page or post which gives the reader more specific information.
If you intend linking to the same page/post from one article, vary the anchor text by using different wording,
Every page/post should have at least one internal link to another page/post. More is beneficial.
The reason Title Tags are important is that these are your first impression to make with the surfer.
For SEO purposes they must be totally relevant to the content of your page/post.
Bear in mind that you only have maximum 64 characters to play with, so placing a keyword at the beginning is beneficial, but also try to add an enticing hook as well.
Each page/post will have a unique content, therefore, they should have a unique title.
Don’t forget this is free advertising you are getting from Google so make it concise and enticing for the surfer.
A great Title tag can lead to a better click-through rate, which could lead to better conversions.
The Meta description does virtually the same job as the Title tag but you have the advantage of using more characters to get your message across.
Meta descriptions are the pieces of information that appear under the Title tag in the SERP’s.
Google recently increased the number of characters that can be used and shown in the SERP’s to a generous 320, which should give you enough room to really impress on the surfer why they should click on your article.
Always include your page/posts keyword here, and Google will highlight it in the listing.
Take Extra Care With Images
Images can be a forgotten entity when it comes to SEO.
There’s more to just finding a relevant image from your favorite image provider, downloading it to your media file and then uploading it to your webpage.
It may look really pleasing to the eye and captures the whole ambiance of your article, but it can also be having an adverse effect on your SEO in terms of page load time.
Most images have quite a large file size and need to be optimized before you use them on your site.
Always put any image you use through an image optimizer and compressor before you submit them to the search engines.
Search engines can only see the text when they crawl any webpage, so it is vitally important that each and every image has a distinct description attached so that the search bots know exactly what it is all about.
This is also important for user experience for visually impaired. and those who use a screen reader.
The “Alt text” is the section that should be filled in and again using a keyword if possible, helps and would increase your ranking prospects in Google image search.
What are search engines NOT looking for?
There are a few tactics that Google frown upon and most likely penalize your site for.
The overuse of Keywords, when they are irrelevant to the post in hand is a no-no.
“Keyword stuffing” is filling the page with keywords or even lists of, let’s say countries, that have no relevance to the post.
Or even repeating the same keyword numerous times in an effort to rank for that keyword.
In Googles eyes, this is seen as a negative user experience and it will have a detrimental effect on your rankings.
Keyword stuffing was a great ranking factor in years gone by, but not anymore
In Google eyes, Link Buying is cheating and if you get caught cheating you could lose everything that you have worked for.
It may be that you have a thought that just buying a very small amount of links to give your site a boost, will go unnoticed.
Not true, Googles bots are cleverer than you, believe me, and if and when they catch you, you will suffer the consequences.
Mobile Intrusive Interstitials
A Mobile Intrusive Interstitial is an advert or popup that covers the screen immediately the user hits the mobile search result.
Even if the advert or popup manifests after a couple of seconds, this is noted as intrusive.
This is Google’s explanation of which types of interstitials are going to be problematic, including:
showing a popup that covers the main content, either immediately after the user navigates to a page from the search results or while they are looking through the page.
displaying a standalone interstitial that the user has to dismiss before accessing the main content.
using a layout where the above-the-fold portion of the page appears similar to a standalone interstitial, but the original content has been inlined underneath the fold. Information supplied by Search Engine Land
If you value your mobile-friendly status, you would be well advised to stay well clear of this practice.
Low-Quality Thin Content
I’ve said it before but it’s always worth repeating, search engines are in the business of giving their customers the best possible information they can.
Creating an article that is no more than 200 words, all bunched up so that it is hard to read, with no images and very little engaging information, is only going to result in your post going in the SERP’s trash bin.
By that, I mean that yes the post will get indexed as everything that is published over the Internet does, but you will have to search through to the last page of results to find it.
You should be aiming for minimum 1000 words, laid out for easy reading with images to break up the text and valuable quality information.
that way you have every chance of appearing on page 1 of the Search Engine Results Pages.
This video will explain the basics needed for Search Engine Optimization.
I hope this Part 9 Search Engine Optimisation has given you an insight of how SEO works and why it is so important to your future success.
If you have any comments about this or any other part of this series please leave them in the box below.
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