Why and How to Optimize Your Website for SEO?
Simply put, SEO is needed because there are thousands of websites that are trying to compete with your business. You know you’re unique, we know you’re unique, but search engines will not know about your singularity until you comply with their process to inform them how you differentiate yourself from your competitors.
Beyond just human users, you website will be read by bots and crawlers that help search engines to assess your website’s credibility, functionality, and usefulness. These bots and crawlers are programs designed by search engines to know your website. Time and time again, your website will be indexed. If you are following good practices and recommendations, it will ensure that you get higher ranking in search engines, and consequently more visitors.
What does it all mean?
It’s highly probable that you never thought of preparing or optimizing your site for “robots.” You were probably thinking of making a professional, online face for your business—but you were not prepared to build your website for bots and crawlers, SEO strategies, etc. It’s like meeting a prospect in an arranged marriage concept—apart from the groom or bride, you didn’t take as much time to consider that you would also have to prepare for the family, relatives, and sometimes neighbors too.
Ironically, the same is true when building your online presence. To let new users find your website, and also to stay ahead in tough competition, you need to follow the dynamics of search engine optimization. Fortunately, it’s not very difficult. With little tweaks, and sticking to some guidelines, you can make your website SEO-ready.
Most recent update first:
One major relief that website owners got from the recent update to the SEO algorithm is that the user-experience and the bot-experience is intermixed and almost similar. You don’t have to worry about them separately. If you create a good user-experience it is most likely that search engine bots will also like your website.
Classifying the SEO activities
To better understand the ‘know-how’ of SEO, let’s classify some of the basic activities, and also get to know them in detail:
1. Every page is a unique identity
A lot of small business owners are concerned about their home page only. They feel that the front page is the only face they need to show to their prospective clients. However, every page on your website is a potential doorway to leads and sales. So, consider every page as a unique identity. Provide separate title and description tags for each page. Make them stand out on their own. This will help distinguish them from each other.
2. Don’t test your visitors’ navigation skills
You have to care for your users and visitors. This calls for making your URL structure and navigation between pages better and easier. You can’t have a complex navigation system and then complain about higher bounce rate and less pageviews/visit.
3. Content was and is the king
Content, whether textual or image-based, remains the king when it comes to winning the search engine battle. Moreover, if you have useful and informational content, you enhance the chances of being liked by your users, and being shared on social media. So, create unique and meaningful content on every page. Never copy from other websites. Use heading tags to give a better formatting to your content. If you have connected pages, choose a better anchor text, which gives clear indication to the user.
Furthermore, for images, use the ‘alt’ tag. This tag describes the nature of the pictures and helps the bots to know the context of the image. Search engine don’t read images like they read text, but if you provide the ‘alt’ tag, you are letting them know what the image is about.
4. Let them crawl in a meaningful way
Your site may have various sections, which you don’t want to show in the search results. This is where a robot.txt file in your root directory would come handy. You can define which sections of your website should not be crawled.
If you are linking to some references and other important sources from within your website, don’t forget to put the ‘nofollow’ link. This helps the bots to know that you are not referring those links on a paid model, and have only a credible reason to do so.
5. Mobile version of your website
Mobile is the future behavior of users. Whether you like it or not, majority of users will access your website through mobile phones and tablets. It is very important to prepare your website for that.
As a further push, Google has started giving higher ranking to websites which are mobile responsive. In mobile search results, such sites will be given priority. You don’t have to make a separate website, but optimize the same for responsiveness.
How to Optimize Your Website for SEO: Wrapping Up
Google, being the major player in search engine market, drives what becomes a policy and a preference. In the last 5 years, they’ve released a lot of regulations to make the search results better. Basically, they’ve moved towards better user experience. The best thing to do about SEO is to optimize your site for humans. Make it relevant, contextual, informational, easier, simpler, and as useful as it could be. Abstain from promoting it through unethical ways (black hat SEO), and let your users talk about you—the mantra lies in giving your best and receiving the best!