“Search engine optimization” is the abbreviation for “search engine optimization.” In simple terms, it refers to the process of upgrading your website in order to boost its exposure when consumers use Google, Bing, and other search engines to look for products or services linked to your business.
The higher your pages’ exposure in search results, the more likely you are to attract attention and attract new and existing clients to your company.
How does SEO work?
Bots are used by search engines like Google and Bing to crawl the web, moving from site to site, collecting information about those sites, and indexing them.
Consider the index to be a big library where a librarian can pull up a book (or a web page) to assist you in finding exactly what you’re looking for.
Then, using hundreds of ranking criteria or signals, algorithms examine sites in the index to decide the order in which they should show in search results for a given query.
The librarian, in our library analogy, has read every single book in the library and can tell you which one will provide the answers to your queries.
Our SEO success factors can be viewed as proxies for user experience aspects. It’s how search bots determine how well a website or web page can provide the searcher with the information they’re looking for.
You can’t buy search engines to gain higher organic search ranks, unlike paid search ads, therefore SEO experts must put in the effort. This is where we can help.
Our Periodic Table of SEO Factors divides the variables into six categories and weights them according to their overall value to SEO. Content quality and keyword research, for example, are critical aspects of content optimization, while crawlability and speed are critical aspects of the site layout.
A list of Toxins that detract from SEO has been added to the newly revised SEO Periodic Table.
These are shortcuts or tactics that may have been sufficient to assure a high position back when search engines’ algorithms were less sophisticated. And, for the time being, they might even work – at least until you’re caught.
In addition, we’ve added a new Niches section that delves into the SEO success criteria for three main niches: local SEO, news/publishing, and eCommerce SEO.
While our overall SEO Periodic Table can aid you with recommended practices, understanding the subtleties of SEO for each of these Niches will help your small business, recipe blog, and/or online store succeed in search results.
The search algorithms are intended to bring up relevant, authoritative pages and provide a quick search experience for users.
Optimizing your site and content with these factors in mind can help your pages rank higher in the search results.
Why is SEO important for marketing?
Because individuals make trillions of searches every year, often with commercial intent to find information about products and services, SEO is a critical component of digital marketing.
Brands’ major source of internet traffic is frequently searched, which is supplemented by other marketing channels. Higher placement in search results than your competitors can have a significant influence on your bottom line.
However, during the last few years, search results have evolved to provide visitors with more direct answers and information, which are more likely to retain consumers on the results page rather than redirecting them to other websites.
Also, keep in mind that search results features like rich results and Knowledge Panels can enhance visibility and provide users with extra information about your organization right in the results.
To summarise, SEO is the cornerstone of a well-rounded marketing strategy. When you know what your website visitors desire, you can use that knowledge for your paid and organic efforts, your website, and your social media assets, among other things.
How to Optimize your Content
It seems like SEO is an elusive, ever-changing mystery, which is partly true since the algorithms that search engines use are constantly changing. But the basic rules of search engine optimization remain the same, and we’re going to use them to go through each step of creating and optimizing content for your site.
- Quality content
- Relevant keywords
- Quality links
- Mobile responsiveness
Write authentic content
There’s a reason this is at the top of the list. Google’s artificial intelligence algorithms like valuable, natural material produced for the user, so write real, unique, information-rich articles and posts. Why? Because it is what your audience will respond to, and search engines want to promote it.
A lot of the content on the Internet these days is essentially a rehash of previously published material, which isn’t really useful. Simply be/write who you are.
Create clear page, post, and article titles/headlines
The most important thing with these is to tell people what they’re about to read (enticing them to read more is a bonus). Think about keywords, but only as they sound natural and help describe your content.
Let’s pretend you have a dog-related website (dog training, adoption, diet, etc.). You’re writing an essay about how to train a dog to drop anything it’s holding in its mouth.
While a title like “OMG drop that deer leg right now!” builds a joyful connection with your audience, “Train your dog to drop it” is more effective since it incorporates terms and phrases that your audience is likely to search for. (Anyone looking for “what to do if my dog won’t drop a deer leg” has the best of luck.) In the body of your piece, place the interesting, relatable information, and start with a simple, searchable header.
Use headings that tell the story
Headings are section headlines, like the bolded ones throughout this article. They help your audience skim longer articles and help search engines detect major themes on your website.
After you write an article, go back and just read the headline and headings. Do they help drive and highlight the story?
For example, within the “drop it” dog-training article, your headings could follow the main training steps (give them a toy/wait/treat when they drop it, etc.), and the content under each heading could explain that action in depth. That way, your readers can follow the article easily the first time and quickly review the main points when they refer to it during training.
Get specific with image titles, captions, and alt text
The main purpose of these is to help your visitors understand what the image is if it doesn’t load or if they use a site reader. Search engines will also use alt text to understand what the image is (so they can display them in image search results). Use keywords only if they really help explain, and keep descriptions short, natural, and accurate.
Example: Use “A dog sits, waiting for a training treat” to describe an image instead of just using keywords “dog training.”
Organize content with clear categories and tags
In WordPress, both tags and categories are used to sort content for your audience. Both of these help your readers easily browse through the topics they are interested in. Categories create broad groupings of your posts, while tags describe specific details within those posts.
Example: For your dog website, categories might be “training, food, exercise,” while tags within training might be “sit, come, stay.” Since search engines reward valuable, easy-to-navigate content, if you organize your categories and tags to help readers find information easily, they will automatically be optimized for SEO.
Use the words people are using to talk about your topic—the ones that sound right for your business, your audience, and your writing style. If you aren’t sure what words people are using, look on forums or use online tools to find and compare trending words (Google Trends, Rank Tracker, Google Keyword Planner, WKFinder, and Free Keyword Tool).
Warning: avoid the temptation to keyword stuff. If your words sound unnatural, they will turn off your readers. Search engines won’t love it either.
For your dog’s website, you want to use the term “dog training” because it sounds natural, but would “dog obedience” be better for search? A quick look at Google Trends shows that “dog training” is more popular:
Be descriptive with website names and taglines.
Everything, down to your website name and tagline, is searchable. Adding keywords here can help, especially if your domain name doesn’t include any keywords.
Use customized permalinks
When it comes to generating permalinks, WordPress gives you a few possibilities. Set how you want URLs to include details like your article name under Settings > Permalinks. Making your URLs more searchable by customizing them in this way (using your article name) is a good idea.
You also have the option of entirely customizing them. Warning: if you have current pages with traffic, altering the URLs now may have an impact on your SEO ranking.
Create strategic internal linking
Internal links lead visitors from one page of your website to the next (think of it as a secret corridor from the lounge to the conservatory). Internal links can be added within a post or article, as well as at the bottom or side.
Internal links are prevalent in articles, but because they interrupt your reading, only use them when they are intentional and relevant. Check to see if links are in anchor text (visible, clickable text, usually in blue).
Example: You’re writing an article about teaching a dog to roll over. The first step you write is “Ask your dog to lie down,” and, in case people haven’t taught their dog to do that, you could link straight from those words to an article on your website that you wrote about teaching a dog to lie down. Then, at the bottom of your “lie down” article, you could encourage people to try teaching their dog to roll over next.
Start building credible external linking.
External links can be inbound (links from other websites to your site) or outbound (links from your site to other websites). And it’s good to have both as long as you are linking to and being linked from good, relevant websites.
- Inbound links: These are really good to have, as long as the websites that are linking to you have good quality content. If you want to grow your inbound links, think about where your content would be a valuable asset and reach out to those specific websites, bloggers, and brands. Reach out with a personal, well-thought-out message, not a form letter.
- Outbound links: Use these to provide your readers with more information and references about your content. Avoid undisclosed paid ad links or any link that doesn’t help your readers.
Use a responsive theme.
A responsive theme reorganizes your website for different screen sizes, ensuring that visitors viewing your website on a phone or tablet see all of your material in an easily readable way.
It also means that your visitors, whether they’re on a laptop or a phone, will recognize your content and know where to locate items.
Visitors that find it difficult to access your website on mobile phones will rapidly abandon it and return to their search results. And, because search engines want to promote useful websites, if visitors rapidly leave your website and return to their search, the search engine will notice this, potentially harming your website’s position.
Under Settings > Reading, there is a line that says “Search Engine Visibility.” Make sure that box is not checked. We know the wording around this is confusing, but checking that box actually checks “Discourage search engines from indexing this site” and stops search engines from indexing your site.
Use SEO plugins
SEO plugins make it simple to optimize your website’s content. There are numerous WordPress SEO plugins available. Yoast SEO and All in One SEO Pack are the two most popular. (Yes, you must choose just one–do not use numerous SEO plugins at once.)
Both of these plugins will take care of your optimization needs. One distinction is that Yoast SEO analyses your content and makes recommendations on how to enhance your SEO within a post. Another distinction is that the Yoast SEO license is less expensive if you only need it for one website, whereas an All in One SEO license can be used on many websites.