Search Engine Optimization – the two key stages
Search Engine Optimization is neither a one-off nor a static process. Rather, it’s a continuous process where you keep working within a framework that includes specific rules and methods. To make things simpler, you can consider SEO to be made of two key stages namely
- On-page SEO
- Off-page SEO
The former refers to rules applicable to your website’s on-page factors that would help you to make your site search engine friendly. The latter refers to optimizing your website’s online and offline presence to give both the users and search engine bots an optimal experience.
Tips for on-site SEO
Your website’s content and structure are two main elements that affect search engine rankings. So, you should focus on both. Since quality content drives traffic to your site, your web pages should be about specific topics – be it a product, service, or anything else in particular and be extremely relevant to what users are usually searching for in that specific niche. When you consider the structure of a web page that conforms to SEO best practices, the following should be given importance:
- Keyword Research: Keyword research is a process of finding relevant search terms related to your services or products. You can find the keyword using tools such as SEMrush, Google Keyword Planner, SpyFu, Keyword Spy, LongTailPro, KWfinder, WordTracker etc.Example:
- Title tag: Your page’s title tag is the most important factor when it comes to on-page ranking since it sends a strong relevancy signal to search engines. So, you should ensure the title tag features your main keyword (preferably at the start or as close as possible to the start) as that would help search engines understand your page topic and evaluate how relevant it is to a specific search phrase. Since the title tag also features on your listing’s title that search engines display, it pays to optimize it with relevant keywords at the start.
- URL: Try to use the relevant keyword(s) in your page URL but avoid keyword stuffing. Make sure your URLs are short and easy to understand. Don’t try to fit in unnecessary information and thus make your URL lengthy. Your page URL should reflect your website’s category hierarchy and also support smart internal linking.
- Meta description: Though not as important as the title tag, it still counts by sending yet another relevancy signal to search engines. So, you should use your main keyword (and a few others, if possible) to ensure this ranking factor works in your favour.
- Web page content: Ensure you have quality, relevant content that meets the demand of searchers and is linkable. If it isn’t, people won’t visit it and even the search engines won’t consider it worthy of high ranking. Don’t forget to use internal linking as well to connect relevant pages and direct traffic to meet your business goals (which could be anything from getting leads or sign-ups to encouraging sales). If you are not good at writing content. You can hire professional content writers for lower prices.
- Image ALT tag: Ensure your image ALT tag has the keyword as it tells the users about the image in addition to sending a relevancy signal to search engines.
Using H1 headline for wrapping your page title, linking to and referencing authoritative resources, and improving the loading time of your web page are some other steps that help in on-site SEO.
Tips for off-site SEO
Link Building: Incoming links from trusted and reputed sites can boost your search engine ranking greatly as they are taken by search engines to be a vote of dependability and trust. You can get quality backlinks using reciprocal linking or guest blogging.
Since customers are the lifeblood of your business, focusing on great customer service and asking them to rate and review you on third-party sites or on your social media pages is another great way to let people know about your offerings and attract more traffic.
Having a strong, responsive presence on social media is another important step to focus upon. Spend time to know your target clientele and build a rapport by sharing resources, tips, useful information, videos, infographics, podcasts etc that help build credibility and trust.
Participating in online discussion boards and forums, as well as comment blogging, are useful ways to get noted by your prospective customers as well as the influencer they follow.
Social Signals: Put a human face on your business and be proactive. Networking online with influencer (on social media and other platforms) and building connections with them over time can help you to attract some from their huge base of fans and followers your way (by asking the influencer to review your offerings favourably on their own sites/blogs/social media accounts).
Meeting your potential customers personally at events or workshops too can help you to expand the reach of your business. You should also try to participate in trade shows, conferences and other business events to network with your peers and even meet some influencer personally.
Though many webmasters ignore off-site SEO, thinking it to be irrelevant when compared to on-site SEO, you need a balanced approach with a mix of both on-site and off-site SEO to make your website’s presence felt and help give wings to your business. So, get started with SEO for your website if you aren’t already doing it. And in case you have already been using SEO techniques, make use of the above tips to get better results from your search engine optimization efforts.
To read the first part, click here.