What is SEO?
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. It is a set of strategies or techniques used to optimize a website so that it ranks higher in search engine results pages (SERPs).
Why is it Important?
It is crucial for several reasons:
It helps your site rank higher in search results which leads to more visibility or exposure to potential visitors.
You can attract organic traffic from search engines which is often more valuable.
It conveys more credibility and trustworthiness to users.
Types of SEO
There are three main types of SEO. Each type plays a significant role in attracting more organic traffic.
How to Set Up a Website for Successful SEO
It involves several important steps you need to follow.
Get a Good Domain
Choose a domain name that is short, memorable or 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 CMS
Hosted platforms provide ready-made designs and handle hosting for you while self-hosted platforms like WordPress offer more customization options.
WordPress is a recommended CMS for its flexible usage or 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.
Google Analytics provides valuable information about visitors, traffic sources, popular pages, user engagement, etc.
It is crucial to have analytics set up to monitor user behaviour on the site.
To install GA, you need to sign up (if you don't have one already) by visiting the GA website.
Follow the instructions to create a new property.
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, GA will start collecting data about visitors or their behaviour.
Register with Search Engines
This step allows you to access valuable data.
Two essential tools for this are Google Search Console and Bing Webmaster Tools.
To register your domain with GSC - sign in with your Google account.
Click on the "Add Property" button & enter your site's URL.
You will be asked to verify ownership. Follow the verification instructions.
Once it is verified, you will have access to valuable data or tools.
To register with Bing Webmaster Tools - sign in with your Microsoft account & add your 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 problems which helps you understand various aspects from Google's point of view.
Check How It is Indexed
Ensure that your site's pages are properly indexed. This step is crucial for appearing in search results.
A simple way to check indexing status is using an advanced search operator like a site: - For example, "site:yourwebsite.com" will show how many pages are indexed for your site.
If 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? - Google values original and useful content.
Is the site crawlable & indexable? - Ensure that there are no technical issues preventing indexing and check GSC 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 SERPs.
Check Mobile Compatibility
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
This is how to do it:
Use HTTPS with SSL/TLS encryption to protect users' personal data.
Choose an appealing design to reflect your brand.
Ensure your website is mobile-friendly since more searches are done on mobile devices now.
Use a readable font size for compatibility on various devices.
Avoid intrusive pop-ups and ads that may negatively impact user experience or rankings.
Optimize page loading speed, especially for pages with the slowest experience.
Create a Logical Structure
Organize your content in a logical hierarchy to help visitors and Google find content easily.
Use a Proper URL Structure
Choose a clear, 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 a Plugin
If you are using WordPress - consider installing an SEO plugin like Yoast or Rank Math. These plugins help implement best practices and provide valuable optimization suggestions.
Remember that SEO is an ongoing process where continuous monitoring or improvement is essential to improve your site's performance.
Selecting a good domain name, a suitable platform with a reliable web host.
Tools like Google Analytics are crucial to analyze user behaviour.
Performing a crawl can help identify SEO issues.
Prioritizing mobile-friendly design and positive user experience can significantly improve your site's SEO.