When I started my writing career, I didn’t know anything about blogging or SEO in general. But I quickly found out, that to be a good writer and to add value to your work, learning the basics of SEO is one step you just can’t skip. In this post, I will talk about the Basics of SEO and how you can use it for best results. But before that, let check out what exactly SEO is.
Basics of SEO For Best Results
What is SEO?
SEO or Search Engine Optimization is a process of optimizing your web pages or blog posts for better search results in search engines like Google, Bing, Yahoo etc. When you optimizing your sites and posts, you enhance the possibility of them being easily visible in people’s search results. With a good search rank, it becomes easier for you to draw more visitors in terms of organic (non-paid) traffic and eventually increase your sales and grow your business.
There are two types of SEO.
- On Page SEO
- Off Page SEO
Both on-page and off-page SEO are vital to your blogging success. However, both these techniques are like two different sides of a coin. On-page SEO tells how good your content is. Off-page SEO, on the other hand, talks about the overall quality of your site. Let us check both these techniques in depth, for a better understanding.
Sometimes it can be intimidating to think that your website would not rank well if you don’t know the basics of SEO. But if you develop the basic understanding of both on-page and off-page SEO, your blogging journey gets way better than what you can imagine. So let’s try to understand these two concepts in detail.
On Page SEO
The on-page SEO is the technique in which you focus on the content of your posts to make it rank higher in search engines. In simpler words, with this technique, you focus on every part of your website by working on every single post that you publish. With the on-page SEO process, you can actually have full control over everything you do on your site.
There are various guidelines that you are supposed to follow to ensure that your on-page SEO works out. A lot of people especially the ones whose sites are powered by CMS like WordPress, try using different plugins for the purpose. I used to do it too in the early years of my writing practice. I will have to admit here that plugins make it a lot easier to check if the post is optimized well for spiders to crawl upon. Yoast is one such plugin that can help you work on your on-page SEO with ease.
But it is always a safe option to learn how to do it, even without the help of plugins. It is easy, and you can quickly pick it up like I did. You just need to remember the following steps:
1. Post Title
Your post title is the one thing looking at which a person will decide whether or not the post is to be read. So always make sure you use your creativity when you are naming your post.
But first, try doing a keyword search for your post. Just as the name itself suggests, a ‘keyword’ is the key phrase or word that you will be using on your post, to land on someone’s search results. It is also sometimes called the search queries. Once you know your keyword, try adding it to your title post. This can later help your post achieve a higher rank in search results.
Another factor to keep in mind while creating your post title is its length. Your title should neither be too long nor be too short. The ideal length of a good title is considered to be 65-70 characters.
The third factor to observe while naming your post is whether it arouses curiosity amongst your readers. Try bringing an element of peculiarity in your title. There may be thousands of posts talking about the same thing. Hence your title should be such that people are tempted to read your post and ignore the rest.
You can even try using title generators like FatJoe to generate unique titles.
2. Page Content
The first thing that you need to take care of is the content that you will be publishing on your site. Bad content can be a major turn off for any reader. So be sure you publish quality posts only.
So what is the definition of quality content? Well, there are a number of things that you need to check before you know that your content can be a good read for others.
Some of the major things that you need to avoid in your content are grammatical errors, wrong sentence construction, complex phrases and unnecessarily complicated words etc. Check out my blog post on The secrets of being a good writer to know what else you need to check upon.
You may also want to learn How to write error-free content for your readers.
3. URL Structure
Placing your keywords in your Url is a good idea if you want to see your post in the top search results of your followers. This will help search engines to identify your post quicker.
When you are drafting a post, make sure you do not go on and on in big paragraphs without bothering about the spacing of your content. It is always recommended that you have clearly defined space between your paragraphs.
You can also try separating your paragraphs with subheadings. These subheadings should definitely contain your keywords if you want a good search result for your post.
5. Check Your Keyword Density
The density of your keyword has a lot to do with your on-page SEO. The ideal density for a good on-page SEO is considered to be 1% of the total number of words that the post contains.
However, you should observe that you do not force your keyword to fit into a sentence. Your keywords should naturally be used in the post in such a way that it is repeated enough number of times to cover that 1% that you need.
6. Length Of Your Post
Search engines like Google love long posts. This does not mean that you have to unnecessarily stretch on a topic to make your post become long. The best way to ensure your post is long enough is to write in-depth posts.
Try making your post at least a 1000 words long so that you are on the safer side of the bridge.
7. Images and Alt Tags
No one wants to read boring posts. Try making your post lively and captivating by adding relevant images to them. Add proper alternative tags, so that your images appear in search results.
Search engines are not humans. They cannot figure out the difference between a tree and a house unless you tell them which one is a tree and which is the house. Alt tags are the words that describe your images to the search engines so that it can classify your images and add it to the relevant category.
When a person looks up for images with the alt tags that you put on your images, the search engine will automatically display your image amongst the other listed images with the same name.
Interlinking is one thing that I learned as part of the basics of SEO and I realized how helpful it can be. Basically, you just link your post to another post that you want people to read. By doing that you direct some of your traffic to the post that you have linked with.
These post can be from your own website or from a different website depending on what you want people to read.
9. Meta Description
Meta Description is the summary of your post that tells the search engine about your post. A lot of times search engines like Google, Bing etc use this snippet to direct people to your post if it meets the requirements of your reader’s search. It is a great idea to include your keyword in the meta description of your post.
10. Loading Speed
Another major turn off for any readers can be a slow loading speed. Check out the loading speed of your site. Tools like Pingdom can help you find out your loading speed. There can be several reasons for this.
Uploading heavy images on your site, bad server configuration, more use of CSS and JS file, excessive use of social media files, too many themes and plugins etc can be one of them. So try figuring out the cause and fix it immediately.
Unlike on-page SEO, off-page SEO is the technique of improving the quality of the overall site. Basically, your off-page SEO tells search engines what people think about your website. So if you have got a number of links that direct readers to your website, the search engines tend to assume that your site is a powerhouse of great quality content.
When I was first introduced to the basics of SEO, I thought that off-page SEO is all about link building. But the reality is slightly different. Off-page SEO is a lot more than just that. Let’s check out the basic steps of off-page SEO that will help you grow your business.
One of the most important steps of off-page SEO is how you brand your product or service and what people think about your brand. In the 21st century, you can be ahead of others only if you can think out of the box.
There will be hundreds of others doing the same thing, that you must have just started doing (unless you do something very unique like Mark Zuckerberg). The key to your success will, therefore, depend on how different your concept is, in the same thing that you are doing.
You have to give your clients a reason to come to you. If you can accomplish that, then half your work is almost done. Now you have to figure out how to do that. Maybe you can work on your product quality or customer services or anything that will quickly catch people’s notice. Although the trick might take time, the following steps will work to make this easier and quicker.
People would not know about your business unless you tell them about it. Social Media platforms are a great source to advertise your business and reach out to thousands of people in less time. Make sure you make a very generous use of these sites to get all the attention.
Your posts may not get noticed at once. So make sure you keep posting and tweeting and pinning it again and again unless you create the buzz.
Be part of social communities with the same niche as yours. And post your content there to attract people. Another brilliant way to get noticed is by using hashtags when you post your content.
Having a responsive social media presence can help you drive more traffic.
2. Link Building
Anyone who has been associated with blogging will know, how important link building is to get a higher rank in search results. According to Neil Patel “it’s almost impossible for Google to determine the value of any web page if there are no links pointing to it — no matter how useful, fresh, or in-depth the page content might be.”
So how can you do it? People resort to various methods for link building. Guest blogging is one of them. You can try creating relevant and high-quality posts and submit them on blogs with a higher ranking. But make sure that your post has rich and valuable content. You can then interlink your post to one of the posts on your blog to get some traffic. If people like your writing, then they will surely come back and refer your posts to others.
Another way to get backlinks is by committing to frequent commenting on others blog posts and participating in discussions and forums with a link to a relevant post on your site.
3. Social Bookmarking
Social Bookmarking is yet another brilliant way to attract more traffic to your website. Platforms like Tumbler, Stumbleupon, Reddit etc are places where people look for various content. You can start by adding a social marking panel on your website and share your content regularly.
4. Business Listing
Business Listing is an old yet useful way of letting people know about the existence of your business both locally and globally. These platforms can help you grow your business by attracting the focus on to you.
5. Video Sharing and Promotion
There are people who may sometimes not want to read your content simply because of the lack of time. The only way to let those people stay is by creating some great video. You can add a short video in which you sum up the content of the post. SO now they can just play the video and listen to what you want to say.
Over To You
These are some of the basics of SEO that I have learned till now. To be truthful, I have not tried out the business listing and video sharing as of now. But I really want to see if these two are as effective as the others. If you know of any other step do let me know through your comments below. I would love to try it out.