If you have a website or want to develop a website, sooner or later, search engine optimization will come up. Search engine optimization, better known as SEO is a way to improve your presence on the web. SEO is basically a process of optimizing your website to make the content more easily discoverable when someone is searching for the terms that are relevant to your website.
Search engine indexing software is more commonly known as “crawlers,” will find, scan, and index your site. With the correct SEO in place, you can drive more traffic and leads to your website and business. This makes it a very valuable tool, possibly the most important one. Do your due diligence to decrease the bad or even harmful advice that you will find or be given.
So, who or what is “crawling” your website, and what does it mean? You can also read How Google crawls, indexes, and serves the web to get more familiar with how search engines work.
Google and other search engines discover new or updated URLs (Uniform Resource Locator) by reading sitemaps links along with other ways and then placing them into an index. Google will store all of the web pages that are found in its index. It also uses what they call a “Googlebot,” and it crawls the internet constantly.
Google is responsible for the majority of search engine traffic but do not ignore the other search engines. There are other search engines such as Yahoo, Bing, Ask, and AOL that you can also rank your content in different search engines if done correctly. Make sure that Google can find your website by using a sitemap. The sitemap will tell search engines about any new or changed pages or posts on your website. If you are using WordPress or plan to do so, “site map” is now built-in. Or you can use a plugin called XML Sitemap & Google News that will make you a site map. When the plugin is activated, it will become available at www.yourblog.url/sitemap-news.xml automatically.
Google is geared towards optimization to understand the content of your website and give the user a better experience. Some of Google’s “basic principles” are to not deceive your users, not try to trick your search engine ranking, and to make your website unique, valuable, engaging, and stand out to users.
Google recommends avoiding irrelevant keywords, using affiliate programs that do not add any sufficient value to your website, scraped content, doorway pages, sneaky redirects, and hidden text or links to name a few.
Another consideration is that you will need proper security in place to prevent your website from being hacked. You will need a monitoring plan in place to detect any hacking and remove the hacked content as soon as possible. SPAM, also known to as junk email, is also an unavoidable part of a website. You will need a prevention plan in place to remove any user-generated SPAM on your site that comes in via email or comments on your posts.
Google’s algorithm is highly complex and includes finding pages that contain high-quality and relevant content to the web searcher search query. This algorithm will determine if the content of your website is relevant to what the searcher is looking for by keywords and other factors, also known as ranking signals. The ranking signals include how long they stay on your website, bounce back quickly to the search page or skip over your site altogether. Your website loading speed and mobile version are also part of the complex algorithm.
You will need to determine what you are optimizing your website for and identify the search terms that people are searching for, known as “keywords”, that are relevant to your website. Using image alt attributes (HTML element that allows you to provide alternative information about an image) is a good practice. Your images could get deleted or not load properly and they still allow search engines to understand the image using the alt attribute.
Accurately describe your content on the page or post by choosing a title that effectively communicates the topic of the content. You do not want to choose a title that has no relation to the content. Make all of the titles unique but descriptive and as brief as possible.
Try to keep your URL structure short and descriptive. Shorter URLs are easier to copy and paste and tend not to get mistakenly cut off as frequently as longer ones.
Unfortunately, you can work on your website and SEO, but Google’s algorithm is largely based on links to your website from high-quality links and without those, your website will not show up in the top search results or maybe not at all.
Promoting your website and new content will lead to faster discovery of your website. Social media, newsletters, PR, along with your RSS feed, will help others discover your content. Other webmasters may enjoy your content and backlink to your website, and in the process, you are growing your link algorithm.
Backlinks are also known as “inbound links” or “incoming links” and are links from one website page or post to a page or post on another website. Backlinks are basically “votes” from other websites and will tell the search engines that “This content is valuable, credible, and useful,” and the more “votes”, the higher your website will rank in search engines, including Google.
Quality backlinks will matter much more than the number of backlinks that you have. So, choose wisely in which websites you link to. It could end up hurting your website.