If you’re a blogger you’ve no doubt heard the term “Search Engine Optimization“. I could be wrong, but I would suggest most savvy hipsters that landed on my website have heard the term “how to search engine optimize a website” once or twice. In this post I’m going to show you how to search engine optimize a website.
It’s not rocket science and once you’ve had a bit of a primer of what it is you’ll see just why it’s so important. Essentially, we’ll be working on adding search engine friendly code to your website so you have better organic search engine rankings.
If you build it right, they will come. Give your audience and or potential audience what they want and they will beat a path to your website. Give the search bots what they want and you’ll get better listings and more clicks. Statistically, most people click on the 1st 5 search results after paid ads in a search engine query. It’s in your best interest to be as close to the top as you can. Better SERP rankings means better website traffic.
What are Organic Search Engine Rankings?
But Nate, what are organic search engine rankings? I’m glad you asked.
Organic search engine rankings are results that get crawled and listed without any additional PPC programs or any outside help such as, landing pages, email campaigns, social media marketing, etc, etc.
Organic search results are generated from your on page content. Bots crawl your site and return results to search engine results pages when a person queries a search engine. That being said, if you do your research ahead of time you’ll be able to cash in on key phrases that help better describe your post and in turn cast a wider net at your audience.
What to Know Before you Search Engine Optimize a Website
SEO is something that can be tweaked or worked over before or after your post has gone live. You can always go back and cater a post to a key phrase if it has more traction in one way over another. What I would like to focus on here is optimizing your page before it hits the Internet.
Before you even start writing you’re going to want to perform some due diligence and determine the keyword or keyword set you want to write about. One way of doing this is by looking at your direct competition to determine what they are ranking for. Create a short list of keywords you want to include in your post.
Use tools like the Google Keyword Suggestion Tool or SpyFu to determine the search density of key phrases. If you’re writing an article about your favorite soda you probably don’t want to target Coke as one of your keywords. For one it’s a brand and the search volume for this key phrase would be dwarfed by hundreds if not thousands of results that will show up well before yours.
Choose your keywords wisely. They can be your best friend or irrelevant when it comes to visibility online.
What are Search Engines Looking For?
I’m going to go over the broad strokes here as to what the search engine bots are looking for. For a more in depth tutorial including code examples read my tutorial What the Search Engines Are Looking For here.
What are Search Engines Looking for Ranked by Number
There are certain things the bots are looking for on your page. Each aspect of your code has a hierarchy of importance that I will assign a numeric value for here.
- Your Actual URL: The first thing a bot sees is your URL. This should be as descriptive as possible and include your target keyword. If a bot had no more information about your website other than the page it wound up on what would be more relevant? See the example below.
- Heading Tags: These are H1-H6. This is the second thing the bots will notice. Use your keyword or phrase in these tags. It will also help your readers to skim your content and decide if they want to read on.
- Strongs & Italics: One of the things bots see is formatting. Italicized or bold content stands out to not only viewers but to bots. When they see singled out keywords like this they pay attention to them. Use these tags sparingly, but wisely. I generally try to use each on my key phrase once or twice in a post. Don’t go nuts.
- Keyword Density: Keyword density refers to the number of times your keyword and variations of it appear on your page. Be sure not to confuse this with keyword stuffing. Keyword stuffing has the negative built into the word. Basically, stuffing words where they are not so relevant in order to get your keyword mentioned more times. This can get you penalized. Try variations on your keywords.
Title 1: really-cool-seo
Title 2: tips-better-organic-search-rankings
If your keyword is “cheap cars” try some variations such as; affordable vehicles, low cost autos, cars for less.
How to Search Engine Optimize a Website with Content
Lastly, but certainly not leastly write original content often. 2 important things the bots are looking for are original content and frequent content. If you steal content from another site you can be thwarted by services like Copyscape.
Copyscape is a website that crawls the Internet looking for duplicate content. If you’re stealing content and they find out you can get your website blacklisted. Once that happens getting back into Google‘s good graces is not so easy so don’t do it.
Writing regular content gives the bots a reason to come back and index not only your new content, but your site searching for new links and or info. It’s in your best interest to keep the bots interested in you so your site is crawled often.
For a more in-depth tutorial about optimizing your on-page code check out my post What the Search Engines Are Looking For.