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Search Engine Optimization

What is Search Engine Optimization - SEO?

Google uses over 200 ranking factors in their algorithm to decide who deserves to be on the first page. The process of optimizing your website to address these demands set forth by search engine is known as Search Engine Optimization (SEO).

Search engine algorithm is a complex set of mathematical formulas that determines the ranking of the websites. It rewards websites that are relevant to the search query, hold highest authority and are valuable to their users.

To determine the rank and value of the website, the search engine uses a set of program called the crawler to analyze and inspect your site. Google uses its Googlebot to crawl the websites. A general SEO strategy is to fulfill all the demands and rules set by the crawlers.

Keywords phrases and key search words most relevant to your business are the decisive ranking factors. These are the words and phrases that your customers might enter in the google search field to find your products. Creating a compelling content based on these researched keywords and phrases boosts your ranking and visibility.

SEO is fundamentally divided into 2 categories

On Page SEO

These include internal factors such as:

Content

Informative, original and quality content requires research and knowledge. Their is always demand for a good content. Good content are usually a rich source of information and knowledge. It provides in-depth help and expert solutions to the problems. Writing content for a website should focus on the target market and provide valuable information to the audience.

Create a content that is more than just a promotional literature. Create content that provides real value to your audience.

The content should include target keywords and atleast 800 words per page. The optimum use of keywords is between 5-10 times per page. Include keywords in the title, heading, anchors, sub-headline, image captions & URLs. Make it easy for your audience to share and promote your content.

Title Tags

Title tag summarizes the content using few keywords and phrases. Construct a title that defines the content and the intention behind the script. The titles are displayed on the search engine result page and help users to identify the relevant information. Google displays 55 characters of the title in the result page.

search engine result page

Titles are written within the head tags inside title tags. The most widely used format is

Keywords | Company Name | Location or Date

for example: SEO | CustomizePress | Vancouver

If you are a local business, it is recommended to use yourlocation at the end of the title tags. Do not overstuff your title tags with keywords.

Note: If you are a local business, use location at the footer in addition to the title tag.

URL Structure

The address bar of your browser displays the human readable link known as Uniform Resource Locator or URL. Just like human being, search engine also prefers a properly formatted url structure that is easy to read and remember. Ignore long and ugly URL that contains numbers,capital letters and signs. Include main keywords and phrases on your URL.

Example of a seo friendly URL: www.customizepress.ca/seo

Example of badly structured URL: www.customizepress.ca/9095655r=seo&n=502394&p=CUSTOMIZE0DER&n=33016655&s

Navigation

A good navigation enhances site structure and helps crawlers to access and index the page. Crawler should reach all your major pages through the header navigation tab. There are many examples that navigation strictly built on JavaScript and Ajax restricts the crawlers accessibility. Use only html and css codes to create a navigation.

Heading and subheading tags

Heading tags help search engine to anticipate the content of the page. It assists crawler to identify and index the content and are as important as the title tags. It is denoted by h1, h2, h3, h4, h5 & h6 with h1 being the most important heading and h6 the least important heading. It is recommended to use only one h1 tag on the page. For section headlines within the page use h2 tags.

As both title and heading sums up the content, the most common mistake is repeating title as a heading. Avoid the repetition and use different phrases for each tags.

Image Alt Tags

Research shows that visitors are more engaged, if the page contains images, illustrations and infographics. Facebook users are 5 times more likely to share your images than a simple text. An ideal web page is a collection of text, images, videos and links.

Google recommends the use of alt tags while embedding the images. Image alt tag is like a caption that decipher image to the search engine. Use target keywords in the image alt tag but avoid over stuffing it with keywords. Write the tags as you are explaining your image to a visually impaired person.

Example of image alt tag: <img alt=“seo process” src=“image-source”>

Internal Linking

It is a process of connecting one page of the website to another page of the same website. In doing so you create page authority, set page hierarchy and allow crawler to access and index internal pages.

For example you have a page called Website. Each time you write a new blog and link the words and phrases from your blog to the Website page, you are internally linking your web pages. This sends a strong signal that Website is an important page since so many of your blogs are pointing towards that page.

Anchor text are used to connect these pages. In the above example the clickable words and phrases from your blogs are the anchor texts that connects your blogs to the Website page. Use variation of these words and phrases to avoid penalty for over-optimization.

Canonical Tags

Duplicate content inside the website creates confusion to the crawlers. This problem arises when search engine can access the same content through multiple URLs. Also there are instances when you have several variation of the same content. The search engine faces dilemma in deciding which version to include and rank for the search query. The search engine is programmed to choose the one it deems original. This dilutes the page popularity and results into lower ranking and lower traffic.

You can ask search engine to favor one version over another through canonical tags.

For example if you add the following code within the head tag of the page, it commands search engine to redirect all the page popularity, authority and metrics of that page to https://www.customizepress.ca/seo page.

For Example:

<head><link rel="canonical" href=“http://customizepress.ca/search-engine-optimization/></head>

Off Page SEO

These include external factors such as:

Link Building

When links from various websites are pointing to a content, search engine considers it as popular and important. Each link acts as a vote and search engine uses this criteria as a ranking factor. Quality of inbound link plays a decisive role. Link from one high authority website counts more than links from several spammy sites.

You can build link through advertising, content, writing articles, blogs, press release, relationships, directories, RSS, Social Media and much more…

Link building is not an easy process as sharing a link on Facebook and Twitter. Not everybody will find a time to embed your link into their website. The best way is to find the bloggers and websites who are already doing it. Your best bet is to find the people who are actively writing blogs, and are active in social media. Create a custom message to contact them and avoid looking like another spammer in their inbox.

Blogs

Blog adds new content to your website. Regularly updating blogs shows that you are actively involved in your business. Using social media to share blogs also helps to promote your site. Therefore writing a good blog is an essential and vital part of a SEO strategy.

Just like news and advertisements, headline is important in grabbing viewers attention. There is a lot of research done in this subject (how to create an effective headline) with LIST being a most popular one, such as

  • 5 myths about [your product]
  • 7 important features of [your product]
  • 4 top reasons why you should have [your product]

Use target keywords and phrases to compose your blog. Use main keywords as well as long tail keywords to rank well on the search engine. Introduce keywords early into your blog and repeat them throughout your post. Do not over use keywords to avoid penalty for over optimization.

Write a blog that is easy to understand and free of spelling and grammatical errors. Your blog’s reading level should be grade level 5, i.e for elementary schooler. Use Flesch-Kincaid index to determine the reading level of your blog. Use images, infographics and illustrations to explain your content. Embed social media button ( Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest) for others to easily share and promote your content.

Find problem areas in your niche and write blogs to solve those problems. People use search engines to find a solution to their problem. Offer them in-depth and realistic solutions free of promotional scripts.

Reviews

Reviews, testimonials and success stories provide competitive advantage for your company. Reviews are the means of comparing products and services on the web. Good marketing that leads to bad reviews fails to convert prospects into paying customers. Reviews are essential to boost your sales and great tools to gain a market dominance.

Do not simply wait to get reviews for your outstanding services and products. No one has initiative and time to promote your business. Ask your customers to write reviews and leave feedback, just like you ask them to like your Facebook page.

Open free Google My Business account to get visible on Search, Map & Google+ and get reviews from your customers. Yelp is another popular site to review services and products.

Respond to all the reviews and maintain active presence on those sites. Do not hesitate to reply to bad reviews. Instead listen to their problems and offer them the solutions. This indicates that you really care about your customers and are willing to improve. Make sure that you always have a last response on those bad reviews.

Social Bookmarking

The process of bookmarking pages on the social bookmarking site rather than in your computer browser is known as social bookmarking. In this process the bookmarked pages are exposed and shared within the like-minded community. Search engine consider the bookmarked pages as being valuable and treat those links as a quality backlinks.

The social bookmarking process is fairy simple and easy. Click here to find a list of social bookmarking sites, fill up the form and submit your link. The most popular social bookmarking sites are StumbleUpon, Delicious, Bloke, DZone.

Social Media

It is important to understand how search engine and social media are connected and how this correlation impacts your SEO. You might think if 50 people share your blog on Facebook, you will receive favourable treatment from Google. This is a wrong conception and Google will not favour your blog on the search engine result page. There is no direct connection between search engine and social media activity and this is still a highly controversial topic.

However the end result of social media activities are directly linked to the ranking factors of the search engine. Consider out of those 50 shares if few viewers find your blog really valuable, they will link back to it from their website. This will increase your backlinks and assist with your link building strategy.

Another correlation between search engine and social media is Brand Awareness. Social media campaigns promote your brand and reach out to a wider audience. If more people are searching for your brand, Google considers your brand as popular and ranks it higher. Learn more about marketing on social media platforms to increase your brand awareness.