What Is SEO?
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. It is a set of strategies and techniques used to optimize a website or online content so that it ranks higher in search engine results pages (SERPs).
The primary goal of SEO is to increase the visibility and organic (non-paid) traffic to a website, making it easier for users to find relevant information and for search engines to understand the content.
Why Is SEO Important?
SEO is crucial for several reasons:
Proper SEO helps your website rank higher in search results, leading to more visibility and exposure to potential visitors or customers.
By optimizing your site, you attract organic traffic from search engines, which is often more valuable as it consists of users actively searching for relevant content or products.
Higher rankings in search engines often convey credibility and trustworthiness to users, making them more likely to click on your website.
Types Of SEO
There are three main types of SEO:
It involves optimizing the technical aspects of your website to improve its search engine visibility. This includes site speed, mobile-friendliness, site architecture, and proper indexing by search engines.
Each type of SEO plays a significant role in helping your website perform well in search engine results and attracting more organic traffic.
Setting Up A Website For Successful SEO
Setting up a website for successful SEO involves several important steps and considerations.
Get A Good Domain
Choose a domain name that is short, memorable, and relevant to your business. Avoid using hyphens or special characters.
While the top-level domain (TLD) choice doesn't directly impact SEO, using popular ones like .com or .org is generally recommended.
However, if you have specific regional targeting, using a country code top-level domain (ccTLD) may be suitable.
Use A Website Platform
Select a website platform that suits your needs.
Hosted platforms provide ready-made designs and handle hosting for you, while self-hosted platforms like WordPress offer more customization options.
WordPress is commonly recommended for its flexibility, extensive developer community, and SEO plugin availability.
Use A Good Web Host
If you choose a self-hosted platform, select a reliable web host. Consider factors like security (SSL/TLS certificate), server location for optimal data transfer speed, and 24/7 support.
Web analytics, such as Google Analytics, provide valuable information about website visitors, traffic sources, popular pages, user engagement, and more.
It is crucial to have analytics set up to monitor and analyze user behaviour on the site.
To install Google Analytics, you need to sign up for a Google Analytics account (if you don't have one already) by visiting the Google Analytics website.
Follow the instructions provided by Google to create a new property for your website.
Google will provide you with a tracking code snippet. You need to add this code to every page of your website, preferably in the header section.
Once the tracking code is installed, Google Analytics will start collecting data about your website visitors and their behaviour.
Register With Search Engines
Registering your website with search engines like Google and Bing allows you to access valuable data specific to your site's performance in search results.
Two essential tools for this are Google Search Console and Bing Webmaster Tools.
To register your website with Google Search Console, go to the Google Search Console website and sign in with your Google account.
Click on the "Add Property" button and enter your website's URL.
You will be asked to verify ownership of the website. Follow the verification instructions provided by Google.
Once your website is verified, you will have access to valuable data and tools to monitor its performance in Google search results.
To register with Bing Webmaster Tools, visit the Bing Webmaster Tools website, sign in with your Microsoft account, and add your website's URL following the provided instructions.
Run A Crawl
While not mandatory, performing a website crawl using tools like Screaming Frog, or Netpeak Spider helps identify SEO issues that may not be immediately obvious.
These crawlers can find broken links, duplicate content, and other technical SEO problems, helping you understand your site from a search engine's perspective.
Check How Your Site Is Indexed
Ensuring that your site's pages are indexed by search engines is crucial for appearing in search results.
A simple way to check indexing status is by using an advanced search operator like a site: search on Google or Bing. For example, "site:yourwebsite.com" will show how many pages are indexed for your site.
If you find that your site or specific pages aren't indexed, several factors could be responsible. You should consider the following:
Is the site brand new? - Indexing might take time for new sites or pages.
Does the site offer unique, valuable content? - Search engines value original and useful content.
Is the site crawlable and indexable? - Ensure that there are no technical issues preventing indexing, and check Google Search Console for potential problems.
Some technical issues that can impact indexing include:
Non-crawlable pages or pages returning non-200 status codes.
Duplicate content issues that can affect visibility in search results.
See How Your Website Looks On Mobile
Google's Mobile-Friendly Test can be used to get a quick overview of how search engines view the mobile version of your site.
Create A Positive User Experience
Google values websites that offer a positive experience to visitors. Prioritize the following:
Use HTTPS with SSL/TLS encryption to protect users' personal data.
Choose an appealing design that reflects your brand and looks modern.
Ensure your website is mobile-friendly since more searches are done on mobile devices now.
Use a readable font size that works well on various devices.
Avoid intrusive pop-ups and ads that may negatively impact user experience and search engine rankings.
Optimize page loading speed, especially for pages with the slowest experience.
Create A Logical Site Structure
Organize your website content in a logical hierarchy to help visitors and search engines find content easily.
Use A Logical URL Structure
Choose a clear and descriptive URL structure. If using WordPress, select the "post name" option for new sites. If you have an existing site, avoid changing the URL structure to prevent potential issues.
Install An SEO Plugin
If you are using WordPress, consider installing an SEO plugin like Yoast or Rank Math. These plugins help implement basic SEO best practices and provide valuable optimization suggestions.
By following these steps and considering the provided tips, your website will be better prepared for successful SEO.
Remember that SEO is an ongoing process, and continuous monitoring and improvement are essential to maintain and improve your website's performance in search engine rankings.
Selecting a good domain name, a suitable website platform and a reliable web host.
Tools like Google Analytics are crucial to monitor and analyze user behaviour on the website.
Registering your website with search engines like Google and Bing provides valuable insights into your site's performance.
Performing a website crawl can help identify SEO issues.
Prioritizing mobile-friendly design and positive user experience can significantly improve your site's SEO.
Organizing your website content logically and using clear and descriptive URLs aids search engines and users.
Installing an SEO plugin on platforms like WordPress can assist with implementing SEO best practices.