Why is search engine optimization (SEO) so important?
When you design your site and write your content with search engines in mind, you’re telling them exactly what your content is about. Instead of sending you random traffic, they get your content in front of the people who are looking for exactly what you have to offer.
Done correctly, SEO can be crazy rewarding. Simply put, the higher you rank for a specific keyword or phrase, the more free, relevant traffic you get.
Over 50% of all organic search traffic goes to the top 3 listings in search engine results.
The further down in search result you appear, the less traffic you will receive.
Getting a lot of traffic to your content shouldn’t be your goal. You should focus on attracting relevant, targeted traffic.
If you receive 100,000 visitors to your website every month, it may look on the surface like a good thing. BUT… if those visitors are searching for content irrelevant to your website, they leave quickly. Hello high bounce rate!
NOTE: If you don’t know how to find some of the important elements for SEO and you have a WordPress site, you can easily edit them using plugins, such as Yoast SEO. The Yoast plugin will provide you with a place to insert your keyword, edit your title and description, and will tell you where you need to adjust your post for better SEO.
Make your URL + Titles SEO friendly
Search engines use your URL to find out what your site is about. Remove dates, categories, and any other unnecessary information or symbols from your URL. Add relevant keywords and keep it as short as possible.
Example: Instead of http://summermaeconsulting.com/2016/11/21/seo, try something like http://summermaeconsulting.com/seo-tips-for-beginners
Your title tag should begin with the keyword that your web page is focusing on. If you are trying to rank for the keyword phrase “blood type diet”, your title tag should be “Blood Type Diet Recipes” as opposed to “Delicious Recipes for the Blood Type Diet”.
Strategically place your keywords
Bonus points if you can use them in the first sentence
If you are writing about “how to train a parakeet”, it wouldn’t make sense for that phrase to first appear in the last paragraph of your blog post. The things you begin talking about early on in your content give search engines a quick idea about what your content is covering.
Don’t forget related keywords and phrases
LSI (latent semantic indexing) is a fancy way of saying search engines like to see words and phrases related to your target keyword. If you are targeting “paleo diet recipes”, you should include phrases like “weight loss recipes,” “low-carb diets,” and other related phrases.
Go long with your content
Across all niches, as an average, when your content is at least 1,800 words or more, you have a better chance of being ranked in the top 10 for particular keywords and phrases.
Use your keyword in headings and sub-headings
H1, H2, and H3 , baby!
Your H1, H2, and H3 tags (header tags) function as your page’s sub-headlines. Make sure your header tags include the keyword you are trying to rank for.
These tags are also the ‘styles’ in a WordPress post, so use them for headings and sub-headings when you format a post or page.
Add multimedia like screen shots, images, and videos
This does not directly affect your page ranking according to most search engine algorithms. However, multimedia does keep people on your page longer, and also drives user interaction, two important search engine ranking factors.
Don’t forget to include Alt tags when you use images in your online content. Every image you post to your site includes “alt tag” coding. That alt tag is an attribute of your image coding that gives a text alternative, explaining what the image is about. In case an image cannot be displayed for whatever reason, the alt tag description is shown instead.
This used to be an important part of the Google ranking algorithm, but is not as significant anymore. Even so, you should include a description in your image alt tag to let search engines know exactly what that image is all about.
Outbound and Internal links
Search engines, especially Google, like to see you participating on the web. This means when you link from your site to popular authority sites relative to your niche, your ranking improves.
Link from your content to other content on the same site. Internal links are just as important as external links in the ranking process. Plus, they keep readers on your site longer… bonus!
Add social sharing buttons before and after your blog posts and articles. This makes it easier for people to share your content, which builds backlinks, drives traffic, and gets you noticed by the search engines.
Page loading speed
Google very rarely confirms any aspect of their search engine algorithm. They have continually and repeatedly pointed out that the faster your page loads, the better as far as your search engine rankings concerned. If you have a slow site, consider hiring a developer to figure out how to speed it up for you.
Quality Incoming Backlinks
This is a crucial piece of any search engine ranking algorithm. When you have a lot of quality inbound links pointing to your site, and they come from related pieces of content, you will rank higher for specific keywords and phrases. Not all links are created equal though. Search engines give more leverage to links from sites which are popular and credible, and from sites which are relevant to your website topic.