There are so many reasons why you may want to create your own website. Maybe you have an excellent product which you wish to sell online. Maybe you’ve written a book, that you would like to push to as many people as possible. Maybe you’d just like to express yourself, share ideas and hobbies to a large audience. The unfortunate reality is that, whatever you wish to do on your site, matters not, if there isn’t anyone to view it.
If you would like visitors to your website, then you must know and understand search engine optimization (SEO). SEO is a general term that is used to describe the various methods webmasters use to improve their rankings in the major search engines, such as Bing and Google. Whether your website is hosted on a VPS, dedicated or shared server, it is imperative that you use SEO to get the most out of it. This way, you can ensure your website will appear as high up in the results page when someone attempts to search for a term that you’ve written about on your site.
The various tips outlined below, will not guarantee that you get the best possible placement in Google, for example, but they will ensure that your site is visible on it, as these tips are essential to helping the search engines find and properly rank your site.
1. Mobile Optimization
A website with good user experience is a site that visitors are able to navigate through, with very little difficulty. It’s very important that webmasters know just how important it is that their sites be mobile-friendly. Making your site mobile-friendly will undoubtedly boost its rankings in search engines.
Studies have projected that by 2025, close to 75% of all internet users will surf the internet through their mobile phones.
Google, some time ago made their search engine Mobile First, which led to some significant changes for both the search engine and the sites that rank within it.
Google has its own free Mobile-Friendly test, which you can use to find out how making your site mobile ready can help it. You may also want to look at the mobile usability report, contained within the Google Search Console.
2. Never Use Flash
There are still a fair number of small businesses that like to run sites on Flash, this is because it’s relatively easy to build. However, when it comes to rankings in the major search engines, Flash sites always do poorly. This is mainly because it’s impossible to link to individual pages within such a site. Making that transition from a Flash based site to your standard WordPress site, will go a long way in boosting its visibility and rankings within the search engines.
3. Image Optimization
Recent reports have projected that image optimization will have a significant role in search, in the not so distant future. This means if you haven’t taken the time to optimize the images on your site, maybe it’s time you did so.
It’s important that you always use the best quality images, images that are relevant, and that you label them appropriately.
You also want those images to be included in your site map, this is because it’ll make it easier for the search engines to find them. Alt tags also help when it comes to search engine crawling.
Note: An image alt-text is used, when the server is unable to load it. So be sure to make yours meaningful.
Google likes alt-text, as it uses them to determine what an image is about.
When the images on your site are optimized, it helps it rank higher and also improves site user engagement. You also want to optimize your images so that they show up in image search, which is another avenue for luring visitors to your site.
One of the most important aspects of SEO is keywords and their placements within your articles. It’s important that you have some understanding of how people search for the various products and services that you are offering. You want to have a list of keywords that such people commonly use.
These keywords should then be used throughout your articles, but you never want to overdo it. Make sure whatever keywords you settle on, are actually relevant to the content you intent to put them on. Keyword stuffing is something you most certainly want to avoid, so make sure everything is done within moderation.
5. Utilize Internal Linking
Your site increases its authority in the eyes of the search engines, every time another website links to it. This is especially the case when high-quality websites link to you. The commonly accepted term is backlinks, and the reality is that you can’t really control where and how they come. So you want to ensure you’re making your website as attractive as possible.
On the flip side, you have internal linking, which is most certainly something you can control. You want to ensure all your related pages are linking to one another, as this will drive more visitors to those pages. You want to put the links in words, called anchor text, as this will not only increase the chances of people clicking on them but also help with rankings in the search engine.
For example, if you’ve written an article about biking riding, and you have another article about purchasing a bike, you’d want to link from the first articles to the other, using a term like “help buying a bike” or something similar.
When creating internal links, they must be natural and used very sparingly. A sentence or paragraph that is just one big link, is not readable and ultimately will be ignored by the search engines. You also want to ensure none of your links are broken. That they link to valid pages. There are plugins that you can use to check all your links. It’s important that you do this, to show that your site is being properly maintained. This is something the major search engines love to see. Which will help propel it in the search engines.
If you don’t know what a sitemap is, it’s basically a page that lists and links to all your sites pages. This makes it easier for the search engine spiders to crawl all the pages on your site. Sitemaps can also be used by visitors, but in most cases, they are created solely for search engines. Depending on your preference, you could go with a more generic design or something more user-friendly.
Uchenna Ani-Okoye is a former IT Manager who now runs his own computer support website https://www.compuchenna.co.uk.