What comes into our mind first if we think about the term ‘SEO’?
Where do we tend to concentrate more when we want to improve the ranking of our website?
Most people tend to think of SEO as ‘keywords’ and nothing else.
Neil Patel, co-founder of Neil Patel Digital says, “SEO is the process of optimizing your online content in such a way that any search engine provides the content as the top result, whenever a certain set of keywords are searched”.
Many businesses are intent on developing the rankings of their website. So, they hire SEO experts to elevate their google rankings.
People who are just initiating their business often find SEO too tricky to handle and leave it altogether.
There is a lot to know and understand about SEO – far more than that is going to be explained in this post.
So, in this article, we provide you the basic aspects that will aid you to make some changes to your website and elevate your google rankings.
Okay then, what exactly is SEO and why do I need to know it?
What does SEO mean in Blogging?
Let us play along for a moment. Imagine that you are planning a vacation to Bali. You want to know what the best things are to do in Bali, the best hotels for staying in Bali, the best masseurs, etc.
Now, what would you do? You will make a simple Google search for your needs.
What happens then?
You are met with umpteen results that satisfy your search results.
Here is the next catch. Will you skim through all the results in some 4 – 5 pages of relevant displayed results and select the appropriate ones or will you click on the first few results that are displayed?
Toggl.com says that only 4.8% of the total Internet users move to the second page of Google’s search results.
That is why SEO is more important to know and even more important to understand.
Today, lots and lots of people search for things. Right from celebrity news to writing papers and buying houses, people use search engines like Google, Yahoo, Bing! etc.
This traffic can be extremely powerful for a business not only because there is a huge volume of traffic, but, there is site-specific and query-intent traffic.
People can search for any manner of things that are related to your business. These persons are interested in visiting your website and searching for their needs.
Apart from these main customers, there is a second category called the ‘to-be customers’ or prospects. These people search for results that are loosely related to your business.
These people are valid resources since they possess the potential to become the main customers.
Hence, your site content should be designed in such a way that it lures both the main and potential customers.
So, SEO optimization is extremely important to improve site traffic and to lift your business. But, what exactly are the steps do I need to take, to improve my site traffic?
SEO Basics for Beginners:
- Understand and figure out what your target and potential customers are searching for
As said, many people try to regard SEO as inserting keywords and nothing else.
However, the reality is SEO is an inherent technical discipline – a technique that needs us to understand who our customers are and what they really want.
So, first, start talking to your clients and understand their needs. If you are going to start a new business, then decide who your target customers are and what can you offer to satiate their needs.
Suppose, if you are going to start a new boutique in Mumbai, then you must make sure your website props up whenever search terms like ‘best boutique in Mumbai’, ‘boutique in Mumbai’, ‘affordable boutiques in Mumbai’, etc. But this is just a generic list.
Free tools like Google Trends will help you to understand how people perceive a search result.
You can also use the search suggestions on Google. That is, hit a query in the search box but don’t press enter.
You can see the suggestions provided by Google for your query. For instance, for the query ‘best boutique in Mumbai’, see the suggestions offered by Google.
You can repeat the same by typing each alphabet. That is when I type ‘best boutiques in M..’ and leave it without completion, look at the results Google gives
Can you notice the difference between both the lists of suggestions?
So, proper indexing of keywords at the right places that tend to satisfy the needs of the customers is considered as the first step to begin in driving traffic to your website.
1. Start getting hints from related searches:
After typing your query and hitting enter, just scroll down to the related searches section (you can find it in the bottom of the ‘search results’ page)
For instance, let us consider the same query ‘best boutiques in Mumbai’ and look at the related searches.
This area can offer you an insight into what your customers focus while providing you keywords that you need to target.
For instance, when we type best boutiques in Mumbai, we are met with searches like affordable boutiques in Mumbai, clothing stores in Mumbai, etc. These words weren’t present in our original keyword formation.
Hence, based upon the customer group we are targeting, including some of these terms can be a great way of gaining audiences.
2. Understand how your customers are speaking about your topic:
Though Google results can provide you a basic area to get started with SEO, it is no way enough.
To be successful with SEO optimization, you need to understand how customers tend to perceive your product, the difficulties they face while using your targeted product and most importantly, the language the customers feel most comfortable with while discussing your product.
Seize every opportunity and develop a good rapport with both your target and potential customers.
Notice the language they are using while explaining. Visit popular social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram.
Develop conversations in WhatsApp. Forums like Quora, Reddit will also help you to get an idea of what customers think.
Also, any social network like Blogs and any website with user-generated content can help you to gain some targeted keywords.
Tools like Google Keyword Planner will serve as a viable tool for developing keywords and predicting traffic. Though it is not an entirely dependable dataset, it will help you to identify a strong set of keywords that you can insert to gain more traffic.
It will also help you to identify the extent of competition that exists for a paid position of any given keyword.
3. Perform a basic on-page optimization:
On-page optimization is the next step in your basic SEO planning.
Even if you have the most profitable keywords and concise content, your effort may not be rewarded if you do not optimize your search engines. Your URL is your visiting card.
Make sure that your URLs are simple, easy to understand and include the main keyword that the client is wishing for.
For instance, let us once again consider the example of searching for the best boutiques in Mumbai.
A catchy URL for this can be written as domain.com/best-boutique.
Always try to remember that Google recommends keeping URLs simple and lucid.
The next step is to write concise meta-content.
A quick tip here is to keep the titles interesting, conversational and catchy. These titles should serve as the foreword for your content.
Include a meta-title tag. This tag will not appear anywhere in your website, but, will optimize your title and ensure that your webpage gets featured in the search results.
Therefore, writing the meta-title tag is a compelling opportunity for you wherein
- You can showcase your talent to craft site-specific keywords and increase your rankings
- Make sure that every customer has a look at your web search results and can click to see more of your website
So, your meta-title tags are one of your trump cards to set the balls rolling. Clicking more of your results will obviously increase your site traffic.
4. Include snippets of your website content in display results:
Many times, Google will not show your page description in its search results. But, it does quite often.
Hence, you should never forget to include the keywords you need to improve your ranking in the description section.
Google always tend to highlight these keywords in its search results.
For instance, let us once again consider the example of searching for the best boutiques in Mumbai. See how Google highlights the description tags.
Google’s description works more like Twitter. You should always make sure that your descriptions are never more than 320 characters long. It means you must be both precise and to the point.
5. Include Headers and Sub-headers:
One of our main jobs in optimization is to tone the content so that even a layman can understand it.
Use simple English to describe your terms. Be alluring always. Apart from these, do not forget to include both headers and sub-headers in your webpages.
Use the Standard HTML format to create catchy and relevant headers and sub-headers. One main header along with 3 – 4 sub-headers depending on the depth of your content will always serve your needs.
Also, do not forget to position your keywords within these headers. Always follow a clear but exhaustive structure to format your website content.
In this way, you can ensure that your content never becomes irrelevant and will also aid you to cover everything you wanted to convey to the client.
6. A hyperlink is important!!
The next step is to perform internal linking or hyperlinking. Provide proper internal links in all your contents.
For instance, let us once again consider the example of opening a boutique in Mumbai.
If you are going to describe the varieties of dresses and other accessories that you are going to sell in your boutique, then check whether if you had already written about any varieties of sarees, kurtas or special salwar kameez that you currently are selling in your boutique.
If so, provide proper hyperlinks to these already existing articles, so that the client can click those links too and read in detail about the type of dresses that you sell.
This will help you to increase site traffic and will garner you more visitors.
7. Provide alluring images:
Do you know anyone who does not like an alluring presentation?
Do you have creative ideas to design your website?
Do you have beautiful images that can adorn your webpages?
Yes, placing images in the right place is as important as placing the right keywords.
Though search engines are not well-equipped to decipher these images and interpret the results, it is not wrong if you can create some beautiful, visually pleasing images and fill your webpages.
Remember, your images are not fillers. They should never substitute your webpage content.
They are more like brownie points. They can only increase the aesthetic sense of your website and nothing more.
8. Ensure that your website can be accessed by Google and other search engines:
Oh yes, this is one of the most important aspects of optimizing your webpage.
SEO is essentially working for two sets of customers. The humans or the visitors along with the bots which usually index the websites.
While many of the search engines are well-equipped in understanding the comments of the visitors, many times we would have also noticed the display of random results.
Hence, while optimizing your webpage, you need to understand that your website is accessed by both bots and humans.
So, these aspects pretty much cover the basics of SEO. Now, you would have obtained a basic idea of how SEO optimization works.
Optimizing webpages effectively is one of the sustained methods to drive content specific traffic to a website.
The efforts that are put in for increasing website traffic will always help us to get desired results if we have optimized perfectly.