CHAPTER 9 : Search Engine Optimization
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the process of improving the ranking or visibility of a website on organic ("natural" or un-paid) search engine result pages (SERPs), by incorporating search engine optimization techniques while building a website. This is a very important process in your effort of making money online.
How Search Engines Rank A Page
Search engines are constantly improving their algorithm in providing the best and most relevant search results to what the user is looking for. So how is relevancy determined?
- Content: Is determined by the content or text on the page, the titles and descriptions that are given.
- Performance: How fast is your site and does it work properly?
- Authority: How many links are pointing searchers towards your site. This is a sign that others trust your content and are willing to direct their users to your site for more information.
- User Experience: How does the site look? Is it easy to navigate around? Does it look safe? Does it have a high bounce rate?
Tip : Use PageSpeed Insights by Google Developer to analyze your site and get important information on what should be fixed.
Links Pointing to Your Website
One of the factors that contribute to a web page being considered "important" is the number of quality links pointing to that page. For example, if your page has 100 quality links leading to it, it will be ranked higher (in Google's estimation) than one that only has 20.
But what are "quality" links"? These are links from other popular pages, that is, pages that have, themselves, many (quality) links pointing to them. Anyway, in general, since Google ranks your pages according to the number of quality links pointing at your page, your site will do better if it has more links pointing to it.
Your Title Tag
Try to use your keyword as your title tag if possible, Google seems to give weight to the title of your page. By title, I mean the text that is sandwiched between the HTML <TITLE> tags in the <HEAD> section of your web page. If you use a Web editor that automatically inserts a title like "New Document", remember to change it to some meaningful text with your keywords inside to reap the benefit of this feature.
Use keyword and multiple versions of your keyword
You need to put the exact keyword in your content, and preferably in the first paragraph. Think of other versions of your keyword, for instance your title and keyword is 'how to look sexy', other versions of it can be : 'looking sexy', 'look and feel sexy', 'best ways to look sexy', etc. Spread out the other versions of your keyword through out your content.
Submit Search Engine Site Map
A sitemap is an XML file that contains all the URLs or webpages' address inside your website. This file helps crawlers to find all of the URLs of your website. There are many aspects of your site that a crawler will follow, such as the size of your sitemap and the number of URLs in your sitemap. In short, a sitemap is a complete index of your website that you want search engine bots to see.
WordPress sitemaps can be easily generated using popular SEO plugin call 'All In One SEO Pack'. To install this plugin, click on "Plugins" in main dashboard, and then "Add New". Type 'All In One SEO Pack' and hit 'Enter'. Choose 'All In One SEO Pack' in the search result, install and activate the plugin.
To submit yor sitemap to Google, go to 'Google Webmaster Tool' (or it is called 'Google Search Console' now), in the main dashboard, click on "Crawl", and then " Sitemaps". You will see a tab names "Add/Test Sitemap" on the upper right. Click on it and type "sitemap.xml".
ALT text on Images
"ALT text" (or alternate text) is a way of putting a brief description (using words) of your picture. They are actually needed by the software used by the blind so that they know what's in the picture. Although "ALT text" is not a huge factor in SEO, putting in relevant description about the pictures you used can help in your ranking. It is a good exercise that you put in the description for every picture you used.
Meta descriptions provide concise explanations or summaries of the contents of web pages. Meta descriptions are commonly used on search engine result pages (SERPs) to display preview snippets for a given page. Keep your META descriptions between 140 to 160 chracters.
Meta keywords are pretty much ignored by search engines nowadays, but if you still use them, make sure it talks specifically to that page and that it is also formatted correctly. Your meta description should be unique and also speak to that specific page. Duplicate meta descriptions from page to page will not get you anywhere.
Although META tag is ignored by search engines, I still suggest that you write an interesting META description because this is what search engine users see or read before they decide which page to go to.
Optimizing for Different Types of Results
In addition to optimizing for the desktop experience, make sure to focus on mobile and tablet optimization as well as other media.
- Create rich media content like video, as it’s easier to get a video to rank on the first page than it is to get a plain text page to rank.
- Optimize your non-text content so search engines can see it. If your site uses Flash or PDFs, make sure you read up on the latest best practices so search engines can crawl that content and give your site credit for it.
You should always keep SEO in the forefront of your mind, and always follow best practices. Skipping the basics of SEO will only leave your site’s foundation a mess and prevent you from making money online.