How to Optimize a Website for Search Engines

How to Optimize a Website for Search Engines

According to the United Nations, more than 3 billion people in the world have access to the internet, and the number is steadily increasing. As more people now look for products and services online, it makes sense if you create a website for your business. But if you do not follow the rules of search engine optimization, your website risks becoming one amongst the obscure ones. The following tips and techniques will help you optimize your website so that the most popular search engines, such as Google and Bing, will be able to make it visible to the right people.

Quality content is the main contributor

When you are creating content for your website, you should first aim towards pleasing your target audience instead of the search engine. Having the best search engine optimization techniques in the world will not help if your content does not keep people on the website for long. Besides, search engine algorithms are constantly being updated to help those who create engaging content for internet users, which means that the more people find it interesting, the higher it will rank on search lists. Good quality content can even lead to people sharing your webpages on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest or other social networking sites. You can submit your content to websites that aggregate interesting content such as Delicious, Reddit and Digg, which will lead to a few more readers. You may even try rewriting some of your old content with the present Search Engine Optimization (SEO) best practices.

Look for the right keywords

Keywords are what you type into the search engine to find what you are looking for. If you have created content aimed solely towards your target demographic, chances are that you would have inadvertently used some of the most appropriate keywords for your business. However, if there are already too many websites using similar keywords, your website will be harder to find. Use a keyword searching tool to look for keywords that provide a balance of high popularity and low competition. Remember that each keyword you use needs to be relevant to your content.

Build a site map for your page

Your website should not only have great content, but should also allow the user to navigate it properly. Search engines have algorithms called “spiders” that looks for important content on your page and indexes it for use, in a process called “crawling”. A site map provides enough information to your target user and the search engine spiders to understand where to find the right content. If your website is too large, you may have multiple site map pages that link to the relevant content.

Create unique and interesting titles

Once you are done building the content and structure of your page, it is time to look at the format of your content. The title tag is the most important aspect of your page, as it is the first thing that a user reads when your site is listed. A compelling title will help increase the times that a user will visit your website, and using keywords in the title will make it more visible to the search engine. Also ensure that you keep it under 69 characters as Google does not display longer titles.

Provide a meta-description

A meta-description shows a short summary of what your webpage is about, much like how the synopsis of a book works. It appears right below the title of the page on the search list and it is limited to about 160 characters. You can have a unique meta-description at every page of your website that persuades a user to explore the content. Although you may include one or two keywords in the meta-description, make sure you do not stuff it with keywords.

Include Header tags

Search engine algorithms help users find the relevant content which is popular, interesting and easy to read. Header tags help break your webpage content down into smaller parts so that users can go through the ideas with much more ease. The first header tag on the page is the most important and it should be constructed with the intention of catching your reader’s attention. You may try to use some target keywords on the headers, although this does not contribute much to the page ranking.

Tag images as well

Including images into your content helps readers visualize your ideas with more ease and helps convey much more information than you can with words. Images have file names, and instead of simply using meaningless names or numbers, use it as an opportunity to tell the search engine what the image is about. The image file name and alternate image tags become visible in place of the picture if the user has turned off images, and can be read out by special software for people with visual impairments. Use keyword rich image titles to make your page more visible on search engines.

Link out to other reputed websites

As you build content for your readers, you may have referred to other websites as sources of information. Include these links in the content of your webpage so that the search engine will know that the website belongs to a reputable brand. The quality of your links are major contributors to the page ranking, so the more reputable and trustworthy your sources of information are, the higher your page will rank on search lists. You may link out to other businesses or product suppliers who help your business grow, and give them a reason to want to link their webpages back to yours.

Make effective use of search engine tools

Search engines may have the experience of the general internet user at the highest priority, but that does not mean that they do not help you create great webpages. All the major search engines offer tools such as Bing Webmaster Tools, Yahoo Site Explorer and Google Webmaster Central that will keep you informed about how they view your webpage. The tools also show you how many inbound links were detected by them, so that you can make changes accordingly on your webpage and make it more visible for your target audience.

Stay committed

SEO practices are meant to keep your website visible to your target audience for a long time so that they will be able to purchase services and products from your business. It is not a one-time event and does not provide instant gratification, so be patient through the process. You will need to keep in touch of recent changes in search engine algorithms and repeatedly develop strategies that will continue to ensure your website’s visibility on search lists.

Search engines change algorithms regularly to encourage websites to create more engaging content that can provide a seamless experience for the user. If you are a small business which has recently begun to develop an online presence, the results of a good SEO practice may take a few months to become apparent. The important part is to stay committed to the process and to keep updated your webpage as you learn new tactics.

Search engine optimization is the process manipulating particular aspects of a website as a way to increase a sites organic position high on the list of results returned by a search engine. For example, making effective use of title tags, optimizing images or improving link structure.

References

“Steps to a Google-Friendly Site – Search Console Help.” Google, https://support.google.com/webmasters/answer/40349?hl=en.

“Do You Need an SEO? – Search Console Help.” Google, https://support.google.com/webmasters/answer/35291?hl=en.

White, Steve. “How to Use Heading Tags in Web Writing.” Article Directory, 8 Nov. 2017, www.paypervids.com/how-to-use-heading-tags-web-writing/.

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