A Beginner’s Guide to SEO
If you are an owner of a thriving business or have a successful website, yet are unable to drive traffic making it difficult to reach your goals? SEO is the answer to all your questions
Well, you have landed on the right page. You are one step closer to achieving the results that you had always expected.
SEO is the perfect solution to all your website needs. Now you must be wondering what is SEO and how is that going to help me generate traffic and achieve my goals
For starters, SEO means Search Engine Optimization, which is often about making modifications to your website and content so that it can stand out on SERPS (Search Engine Results Page) and improve the performance of your website.
These modifications, although may seem small but are highly effective and impactful in creating user experience and may also increase the chances to be visible by Crawlers (Google’s Bots). I will talk more about crawlers later in this blog
SEO helps drive organic traffic (non paid results). Some of the advantages of Organic traffic are
- They are free of cost
- Helps build user trust (As per zerolimitweb, around first five organic results led to 67.60% of the total clicks)
- Helps understand the user intent
Below are the General Guidelines recommended by Google, in order to get more Organic traffic to your website
Let’s walkthrough each of them one by one
1. Secure the site with https :
HTTPS (Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure) is an internet communication protocol that protects confidentiality of the data between user’s computer and website. It is used to create a private online browsing experience for the user. One key point to note here is that user’s tend to click on a secure server page more often then the one with not secure warning. you can check the warning on the address bar on the Google Search Engine.
It is also important to verify that the HTTPS pages can be crawled and indexed by keeping in mind following pointers
- Don’t block your pages by robot.txt files
- Don’t include meta no.index in your web pages
- Use the URL inspection tool to test weather the Bots can access your webpages
2. Keep a simple URL Structure:
URL (Uniform Resource Locator) , also know as web address specifies location of a webpage. It plays an important role in SEO as the URL sets a path to reach a webpage
The keywords you use in the Url should be relatively close to your title of the page
A URL consists of a protocol, domain name, and path (which includes the specific subfolder structure where a page is located) and has the following basic format:
Advantages of structured URL for SEO
- Improved User Experience: A well defined URL can be easy to read and understand. A human readable URL gives an indication of where the page is located (Path)
- Rankings: URL are minor factors which are considered by Google while the site is being indexed. The keywords used in the URL can be noticed by the crawlers and have an impact on page’s ability to rank. The Keyword used in the URL should be relevant to the content on the page.
3. Qualify your outbound links to Google:
Before I talk about this in detail, let us understand a few terms in advance
- Nofollow – Nofollowed links are hyperlinks with a rel=“nofollow” tag. These links do not influence the search engine rankings of the destination URL because Google does not transfer PageRank or anchor text across them. In fact, Google doesn’t even crawl nofollowed links
- UGC (User Generated Content): Hootsuit defines User-generated content (UGC) as any content—text, videos, images, reviews, etc.—created by people, rather than brands. And brands will often share UGC on their own social media accounts, website, and other marketing channels.
If you want to learn more about nofollow, Googles guidelines are very clear. You can refer them down below:
One point to note here is that any of these attributes can be used in a combination as well. You do not have to use them individually
Note: Links marked with rel tribute will not be followed. Although they can be found through various different ways such as links or sitemaps
4. Browser Compatibility:
Every user visited your website using different browsers. The codes may slightly vary depending in the browser. The best practise is to not rely on the browser to identify content-type or encoding.
You can follow these steps to make sure your website is compatible:
- Test your website in all the browsers: I know this sounds absurd but tell you what, it is one of the simplest and safest methods to avoid the risk of compatibility. In the initial phase of designing your website it is recommended to test it on different browsers or different versions of the same browser, as it can change the way your website will look. You want a similar kind of user experience on all the browsers.
- Write a neat html code: It is important to have a valid html code as it may seem to be working properly in some browsers, there is no guarantee that it will be displayed properly in other browsers. Therefore it is recommended to to write a code using valid HTML and CSS, and test them in different browsers. A clean HTML and CSS will help render and load faster. You can also take help of various validation tools available online.
- Specify your character encoding:To help browsers render the text on your page, you should always specify an encoding for your document. This encoding should appear at the top of the document (or frame) as some browsers won’t recognise charset declarations that appear deep in the document. In addition, you should make sure that your web server is not sending conflicting HTTP headers. A header such as content–type: text/html; charset=ISO-8859-1 will override any charset declarations in your page
5. Avoid Creating Duplicate Content:
Duplicate content means, the content appearing on more than one place on the internet. This creates a problem while indexing the content
- The engines don’t know which versions to include or exclude
- Creates issues while while ranking for results
The content should be unique and handwritten. It will earn you more brownie points. The content should also be updated in order to show up on SERP’s. Old and outdated content is not indexed and hence will not show up on results page
The site owners can face ranking as well as traffic loss and two versions of the same content will never get displayed
Link equity can cause another problem as other sites have to choose between duplicates as well.
6. Make your links crawable:
Google can follow links only if they are an <a> tag with an href attribute. Google’s crawlers will not follow the content with any other format.
According to support.Google.com, the following formats can/can’t follow:
- <a href=”https://example.com”>
- <a href=”/relative/path/file”>
- <a routerLink=”some/path”>
- <span href=”https://example.com”>
- <a onclick=”goto(‘https://example.com’)”>
Also make sure that the <a> tag is an actual web address that can be tracked by the Google’s bot.
7. Website Testing with Google Search:
Website testing means testing various versions of the website and collect data about how users react to each version. There are two methods:
A/B Testing: This is used when you create multiple versions of a page with different URL’s and redirect users to different versions of the page to measure their behaviour on each version of the same page.
Multivariate testing: Is when you use software to change multiple parts of your website like header, CTA(Call to action button), photo etc. The software then shows different combination of these variations to to analyse which one works better or is more effective.
So to conclude SEO is an important factor and cannot be ignored. It is important to make your website compatible in order to improve page range as well as increase the chances to appear on SERP’s
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