Basics: Introduction to SEO

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  • Basics: Introduction to SEO
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Overview

Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of affecting the visibility of a website or a web page in a search engine's "natural" or "organic" search results. In general, the earlier and more frequently a site appears in the search results list, the more visitors it will receive from the search engine's users. SEO may target different kinds of searches, including image search, local search, video search, academic search, news search and industry-specific vertical search engines.

SEO Basics

Create unique, accurate page titles

A title tag tells both users and search engines what the topic of a particular page is. Ideally, you should create a unique title for each page on your site. Choose a title that effectively communicates the topic of the page's content. Each of your pages should ideally have a unique title tag, which helps Google know how the page is distinct from the others on your site. Titles can be both short and informative. If the title is too long, Google will show only a portion of it in the search result.

Make use of the "description" meta tag

A page's description meta tag gives Google and other search engines a summary of what the page is about. Whereas a page's title may be a few words or a phrase, a page's description meta tag might be a sentence or two or a short paragraph. Write a description that would both inform and interest users if they saw your description meta tag as a snippet in a search result. Having a different description meta tag for each page helps both users and search engines, especially in searches where users may bring up multiple pages on your domain (e.g. searches using the site: operator).

Improving Site Structure

Use words in the URL.

Simple to understand URLs will convey content information easily. URLs with words that are relevant to your site's content and structure are friendlier for visitors navigating your site. Visitors remember them better and might be more willing to link to them.

Create a simple directory structure

Use a directory structure that organizes your content well and makes it easy for visitors to know where they're at on your site. Try using your directory structure to indicate the type of content found at that URL.

Provide one version of a URL to reach a document.

To prevent users from linking to one version of a URL and others linking to a different version (this could split the reputation of that content between the URLs), focus on using and referring to one URL in the structure and internal linking of your pages

Optimizing Content

Offer quality content and services

Write easy-to-read text. Users enjoy content that is well written and easy to follow.

Stay organized around the topic. It's always beneficial to organize your content so that visitors have a good sense of where one content topic begins and another ends. Breaking your content up into logical chunks or divisions helps users find the content they want faster.Create fresh, unique content. New content will not only keep your existing visitor base coming back, but also bring in new visitors. Create content primarily for your users, not search engines. Designing your site around your visitors' needs while making sure your site is easily accessible to search engines usually produces positive results.

Write better anchor text

Choose descriptive text. The anchor text you use for a link should provide at least a basic idea of what the page linked to is about. Aim for short but descriptive text-usually a few words or a short phrase. Format links so they're easy to spot. Making it easy for users to distinguish between regular text and the anchor text of your links. Your content becomes less useful if users miss the links or accidentally click them. Think about anchor text for internal links too. You may usually think about linking in terms of pointing to outside websites, but paying more attention to the anchor text used for internal links can help users and Google navigate your site better.

Optimize your use of images

Use brief, but descriptive filenames and alt text. Like many of the other parts of the page targeted for optimization, file names and alt text (for ASCII languages) are best when they're short, but descriptive.

Supply alt text when using images as links. If you do decide to use an image as a link, filling out its alt text helps Google understand more about the page you're linking to. Imagine that you're writing anchor text for a text link.

Use heading tags appropriately

Use heading tags where it makes sense. Too many heading tags on a page can make it hard for users to scan the content and determine where one topic ends and another begins.

Promotions and Analysis

Promote your website in the right ways

Sites built around user interaction and sharing have made it easier to match interested groups of people up with relevant content. Reach out to those in your site's related community. Chances are, there are a number of sites that cover topic areas similar to yours. Opening up communication with these sites is usually beneficial. Hot topics in your niche or community could spark additional ideas for content or building a good community resource.

Make use of free webmaster tools

Using Webmaster Tools won't help your site get preferential treatment; however, it can help you identify issues that, if addressed, can help your site perform better in search results

Analytics

Analytics are a valuable source of insight for this. You can use these to: get insight into how users reach and behave on your site; discover the most popular content on your site; measure the impact of optimizations you make to your site.

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