What is Search Engine Optimization?
Search Engine Optimization, short form as SEO, is about how to make it easier for search engines to crawl, index and understand a website.
In Google’s own words, “Search engine optimization is often about making small modifications to parts of your website.” All these small changes combined together will have a big impact on your website’s user experience and performance in organic search results.
SEO can help a website rank high in organic search results, but won’t have any impact over paid advertisements such as Google Adwords. Also appearing on the first page of SEPR only ensure your chance of a higher organic traffic, won’t guarantee to a best result for a website if your website’s optimization decision is purely based on search engines but not for the best interest of your website users.
This is the part 1 of an SEO guide for beginners. Register your emails with this blog to keep all updates delivered to you whenever they are available.
Now let’s break down to see what “small modifications” Google likes to see your website could make for the best search engine optimization, both for the easy crawl of Googlebot as well as for the user’s best experience.
Optimize your page title
A page title is used to precisely describe the content of a page, it should be short and informative. It is important to use title tags, also called meta title tags to tell users and search engines what a page is about.
You can use symbols, such as hyphens, commas, in you title tags. <title> My Page Title – IS about A, B and C </title> Title tags appear in the first line of your website’s Google search results.
If the words you choose for the title tags match the search query, they will be bolded in the Google listing to help users to make decision of the relevance of your webpage to their search query. Each webpage should have its own title tags, so avoid using the same title tags for many pages on the same website.
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Improving page snippets with better description meta tags
<meta name=”description” content=”Describe your webpage accurately here.”>
In addition to a descriptive page title, an accurately crafted meta description tag should be used to provide to users a clear view of what they can get from your webpage.
This part of description won’t show up in your content, but Googlebot will more than likely choose your meta description as snippets for your webpage. The snippets will show up under the title tag as part of your website listing in Google search results. Again, any words matching the search query will be bolded to help users to click-through.
Any important information about your page can be put into the description, including price, author, location, time… The goal is to give potential users much relevant information about your page that Googlebot cannot collect them all from all over the page.
Google warns not to put long strings of keywords in your meta descriptions, because this will prevent description meta tags to be displayed as snippets in the search results.
Make sure your meta description is human friendly, don’t only use keywords, or only generic descriptions such as ” This article is about…”, or simply copy and paste part of your article into the meta description. Give a unique meta description for each page. For a very big website, at least provide good meta description for home page and all popular pages.
Optimize URLs structure
Your webpage URLs will show in the search results under the title (title tag)and snippet of the page (meta description). If you URL contains the search query terms, they will be bolded in the search results to help potential users to decide how relevant your webpage is to their query. A simple and descriptive URL can help users and search engines to easily understand your webpage content.
Google suggests: A site’s URL structure should be as simple as possible. Consider organizing your content so that URLs are constructed logically and in a manner that is most intelligible to humans.
Some tips to use when optimize your URLs:
- Using hyphens (-) in URLs to separate each words.
- Don’t use URLs that repeat keywords.
- Don’t use URLs that are too long with too many parameters.
- Provide one version of URL to link to one page. If one page is accessible from different URLs, use 301 redirect to direct non-popular URLs to the dominant URL.
- Use a simple and organized directory structure to organize your web content in a way that is easier for visitors to find what they want to read. Using descriptive category names and file names to easily incorporate these names into your URLs.
Stay tuned for part 2 of an SEO guide for beginners. Register your email with this blog to get the earliest notification.
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