Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a hot topic these days and the competition to rank higher on the SERP (Search Engine Results Page) is more intense than ever before. From small-time content creators to web agency owners, everyone wishes to learn SEO and master it. SEO strategies are formulated with an understanding of the algorithm used by search engines like Google. But SEO is a dynamic field. As the algorithms are updated and technology advances, SEO entails more than just the use of keywords and backlinks. So let’s dive into the basics of SEO and see how you can apply it to drive traffic to your site.
What is SEO?
Simply put, SEO increases the visibility and rank higher of your page to drive organic traffic to it. As visibility increases your page would be more likely to be ranked higher in the search results.
So how does that happen? First, let’s take a look at the basics of how search works. Search engines like Google or Bing use bots to crawl the internet to discover new sites. Think of the crawling bots as curators who discover and then analyze your content. When a user googles something, the results that are displayed would be placed in a particular order. What does the order depend on? The order depends on how useful the content would be for the user. SEO aims to optimize your content so that it ranks higher in search results.
You might have seen paid ads at the top of search results. This is another way to appear in the search results, but such strategies cost money whereas SEO is free. SEO practices can thus drive organic traffic to your site.
How can you apply it to your site?
There are some basic SEO practices that you must follow to improve your site’s ranking. Let’s take a look at them.
Title Tags & Meta Descriptions
The title to your page plays an important role in driving traffic to it. A good title can prompt the customer to choose a particular site from the displayed search results. Use of keywords and keeping the title within the 60-character limit can be great strategies. The meta description likewise gives the customers a glimpse into the content that lies beyond the clickable title. Most customers skim-read the meta description to decide which result would provide them with the information they need.
This one is obvious. Quality content trumps all. While most other tricks and strategies that you apply may give you short-term results, quality content makes sure that these results are long-lasting. What was trending yesterday would no longer be trending today, so keep up with the concerns and interests of your target audience and create content that would be relevant to them. Make sure your content is unique and use keywords.
Google considers backlinks into consideration when assessing a website. A site that has a high number of backlinks is seen as having gained the approval of other sites. Each time a site provides a link to another site, the latter’s worth is being acknowledged. To this day, backlinks remain a major factor in search engine ranking. If your site gets backlinks from an accomplished site, it would greatly boost your brand. However, backlinks are hard to acquire. If you are just starting, consider guest posting to get some backlinks. Aside from that, keep creating quality content to receive a backlink.
Structure your site to increase its visibility. Google’s site crawlers move from one site to another, following links. If your site is disorganized, the site crawlers would not be guided properly. The hierarchical arrangement of your content would help the crawlers discover and index all your content. Even in individual articles be sure to follow structuring by using keywords in heading and subheadings so that the crawlers can easily analyze the content.
According to a study by SEMrush, long-form content (7000+ words) drives almost 4 times more traffic than articles of average length (900-1200 words). Create long-form contents that are well-researched and provide links to other authoritative sources. These articles would also have a greater chance of getting backlinks from other sites. Make sure to keep your articles interesting so that the viewer does not get bored halfway through them. Structure these articles with clear subheadings and include lists wherever necessary. Breaking up of content will ensure that there is white space that helps a viewer easily scan the contents of your article. You can also add images or illustrations to break up the monotony of the text.
Optimize the Speed of your Page
Most websites make use of SEO to drive organic traffic to their website. The competition for the top spots in the SERP is fierce. SEO is no longer about keyword stuffing, it has become an art and science all rolled into one. If you are starting on your SEO journey start by creating quality content and structuring your website. Pay attention to your title tags and meta descriptions and make sure to optimize your page speed. Most SEO specialists state that it is important to keep learning in this field. You may be a certified SEO specialist, but that doesn’t mean you have acquired all the knowledge you need. Always be in the know. Keep up with the latest SEO techniques and trends and keep learning and improving with the years.