Making the most of your website SEO efforts requires you to know how search engines work and how to use the knowledge to bring organic traffic to your website.
Without proper SEO, your website will fail to reach its potential because you will be missing traffic that could have become your customers.
Therefore, you need to understand SEO, and the types of SEO and be up to date with SEO updates and news.
Keep reading the post to find out understanding of SEO can generate constant website traffic.
What is SEO?
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization.
It literally means optimising for search engines.
Optimising means making something better. Therefore, we can say SEO means making your website better for search engines.
SEO is everything you do to make your website or blog gain traffic (people) organically (without paying search engines).
Even though it is called “search engine optimisation,” it’s important to emphasize that SEO is more about people than search engines.
SEO is more about creating a balance between creating content for people and search engines.
In a nutshell, if you can do your SEO effectively, your blog posts will rank (appear on search engine result pages (SERPs)) whenever someone searches for content you have on your blog.
PS – The SEO world is ever-changing, so you will need to keep to date with the latest information in the field so your blog maintains its effectiveness.
Understanding how SEO works
There are three stages Google uses to bring up search results for everyday users ( people like you and me searching for information through Google ).
Google will first crawl your website, index it and finally, rank it in search result pages when it perceives your post(s) relevant to the search requests.
What is Crawling?
Crawling is the word for the process Google uses to search for content on the world wide web or internet.
Google sends robots to search the web for content through links from big websites and site maps.
After it finds your blog contents it will index it. That takes us to the next stage.
What is Indexing?
After finding content on websites it will it to a place ( like a store ) called caffeine so that it can easily retrieve it when someone needs that information. This process is called indexing.
Note that content is not limited to writing alone, video, images, Audio, PDF, word documents, maps etc are all content.
Google doesn’t search the whole web to get results for users, it will just go the caffeine to analyse the contents there and then display the ones it perceives to be the best for its users.
Can you know if your blog content has been indexed?
Yes, you can know if Google has indexed your website.
Type site: your website domain.
In essence, for your website to appear when people search for it, it has to be first indexed by Google.
What is ranking?
When Google robots crawl the web, and index it, the next step is to display the right information to people whenever they request it.
Ranking occurs when indexed contents are displayed on result pages for users.
The process in which Google displays answers to you whenever you search for answers is called Ranking.
So you see that you need to first make your post crawlable, then relevant enough for it to be displayed on SERPs.
Can you know if your post has been ranked?
Yes, it’s possible to know if your post is ranked for a particular keyword.
Search for the content you have written about on Google using the keywords you targeted while writing the blog post.
Another way to check if your content is ranking is by using the Google search console.
This understanding you have will help you monitor your content to see its performance on search engines.
Types of SEO
SEO is broadly divided into three
- On page SEO
- Off-page SEO
- Technical SEO
On-page SEO is all the SEO practices done while creating content to make the page appeal to people and search engines.
Off-page “SEO” is SEO practices done outside of a website. Examples are link building, Social media marketing etc.
Finally, technical SEO is SEO practices that are a bit techy, like understanding CSS, HTML, and Java and using them to improve a website’s performance.
PS – Please bear in mind that there are plugins to help you with most of the technical SEO, you just need to know the right ones to use.
How to make the most of your website SEO efforts
1. Title tag
The title tag is the main heading of your post. The one that appears on Google when your post appears.
It’s imperative to write your title well because research has shown that the way a title is written affects CTR.
If your title cannot attract people, then you will lose lots of traffic even if you have created great content.
The result for Truehost Nigeria on Google SERP is seen in the image above with the title tag Truehost Nigeria.
2. Meta description
A meta description is a description directly under a title tag. See it in the image below.
The meta description is supposed to summarise your post in at most 160 words. If it’s more than that, the remaining will not appear.
There is no assurance that Google will display what you write in your meta description, but most of the time they do.
Google can just locate the part of your post that it perceives to be the best for the meta description.
The meta description on your blog post ought to contain your target keywords, and it is also an opportunity for you to assure your potential readers that when they read the blog post they will get what they are looking for.
In the image above, Truehost Nigeria sold itself in the meta description within 160 words.
URL ( Uniform resource locators ) simply means the address of your website on the internet.
That’s the name used to identify your website.
You must maintain your URL’s clarity and simplicity. Allow your blog’s URL link to, if at all possible, describe its purpose. Keep it simple.
Examples of URL links are
Using www.Idontcarenow123.com doesn’t make much sense. From your URL, anyone should be able to understand something about your blog.
Your domain extensions ( .com, .ng, .com.ng, .net etc ) should not just be selected randomly. If you want to enjoy more traffic from Nigeria, then the dotng extension is good enough for you.
But if you want your blog to rank internationally, then you need to use.com,.net, etc. extensions.
A country-specific extension like dotng will boost your traffic locally but may limit your traffic internationally.
Therefore the purpose of your blog should determine your domain name and extension.
There’s a type of URL called permalinks. They are URL links to specific pages or posts in your blog.
Examples of permalinks are
By merely seeing the above permalinks, you will know what the posts are all about.
Permalinks appear in different ways. You need to change them from your WordPress dashboard.
Setting the Permalinks as the Post Name makes it easier for people and even Google to understand what your post is all about.
4. Alt tags or text
alt tags are alternative names or descriptions given to multi-media content like images, videos etc.
If it happens that the image in your post doesn’t appear, it will be replaced with the description in the alt tag.
Alt text also makes Google understand the purpose of your image and will make it appear as part of the image in the SERPs.
If the purpose of the image on your blog is just for beautification, there’s no need to put the alt tag.
5. Anchor text
An anchor text is a clickable link on a web page or post to another web post. They are normally differentiated with colours or sometimes underlined.
They are links to reference sources of information or for more information on a specific topic.
It’s not good to write an anchor text without specifying the subject of the anchor text.
Using “click here” as anchor text is not advisable, because search engines may not easily know the purpose of the content you are linking to.
So, do well to rightly describe the anchor texts on your blog.
Keywords are words in a topic that define what the content is all about.
If I want to write about how to make a woman love you without opening your mouth. There are particular words in this topic that specify what the content is all about. Let’s dissect them together below.
How to make a woman love you is what I want to rank for. Without opening your mouth is what I want to use to attract my target audience.
I will creatively make the words “woman” and “love” appear in most of my H2 and H3.
But be careful not to make your post unnatural in an attempt to please search engines.
You may end up hurting your ranking, Why? That’s because you may rank on Google but when people don’t engage well with your content, Google will notice it and reward your competitors that have written for people and bring down your content.
Remember Google is all about giving people the best experience whenever they seek answers.
Trying to deceive Google by using so many keywords in your post is called “keyword stuffing.” It’s part of the don’ts of Google and bing webmaster guidelines listed in one of our previous lectures.
7. Head tags
Head tags are used to determine the hierarchy ( the level ) of the heading in a post.
Headings are the topics under the title of a post. There are six headings.
When I started blogging, I was wondering how to best use these head tags in my headings.
I searched on Google but didn’t get what I was looking for – I think I was not asking the question the right way.
I hope you are aware that searching on Google is a skill. Have you ever tried searching for something on Google but didn’t get what you were looking for and another person searches the same Google and gets the answer you were looking for?
H1 should be used only once in a post or page. It should be used for the title only.
H2 should be used for major keywords you want to rank for on Google.
H3 is mostly used as a subheading under H2.
H4 – H6 don’t have much SEO impact, but they will help your readers have a good experience on your blog.
Try to focus on putting keywords you want to rank for in your H2 and H3 tags. While you use the other headings to break down your lessons for your readers to enjoy reading your posts.
8. High-quality content
Content is not limited to writing alone, video, audio, maps, pdfs, images, etc. are all content.
You cannot maintain traffic to your blog without dishing out valuable content.
Having a content strategy and a style of presenting your content will make it unique and distinct from your competitors.
Even if everything changes in the SEO world, one thing that I know will never change is “quality content”.
Can you envision a time when people will say “I don’t want good content, when I search for how to prepare for an interview, deceive me with sweet words that are not helpful”.
Will that day ever come? I don’t think so. You see why dishing about valuable content is non-negotiable.
In this age of technological advancements where everything is happening fast, fast food, fast money, fast life, fast everything, having a slow blog will be an eyesore.
Your hosting has a big role in determining the speed of your website, and then some plugins improve the speed of websites.
Therefore, buying hosting from the right hosting service providers and using the right plugins to improve the speed of your blog are two ways to have a fast website.
You can buy hosting from Truehost Nigeria to create your fast website.
10. Internal and external links
While writing content on your blog, it’s important that you try to link your posts to other relevant websites and also to posts you have written about within your website.
Links are generally differentiated with different colours from the remaining content.
Links are described with anchor texts.
There are two types of links; internal and external.
Internal links are the links to other posts or pages within a website.
External links are links leading to another website from another website. They are divided into two categories, namely; inbound and outbound links.
Inbound links are links from an external website coming to a website.
Outbound links are links from a website going to another website.
Having external links in your posts shows that you have done your research and are giving quality content to your audience.
Internal links show that you have helpful, quality content on your website.
Having inbound links is one sure fast way to make your website rank at the top of Google.
Inbound links are like a vote of confidence from other websites to show that you have content worth linking to.
And the links should come from a website that has good links too ( high domain authority ).
A sitemap is the map of a website. It is an overview of the contents of a website.
Sitemap helps to guide search engines on how to index content, it shows them important content on a website.
SEO plugins like Yoast and all-in-one SEO create sitemaps for websites. Even without having backlinks, Google can rank your content if you provide it with a sitemap to follow.
Ideally, you submit your website to Google through the Google Search console. After submitting it you will be able to submit your blog sitemap to Google.
These are the factors you need to consider while trying to build your blog.
12. Use LSI keywords
LSI keywords are words that relate to your target keyword. Using those kinds of words makes it easy for search engines to understand what you are writing.
For example, if you are writing about “how to start a business”, the LSI keywords would be a company, loan, business plan, market, customers, payment, profit and losses.
Hope you get the point.
So, try to use LSI keywords in your posts. Avoid Keyword stuffing so you won’t get penalised by Google and so you don’t drive people from your blog.
13. Guest blogging
Guest blogging is also a way to make the most of your SEO efforts because it is a good and proven way to get backlinks.
When you write as a guest on the blog of other people, you can link to relevant content on your website. By doing so your website will get backlinks.
Backlinks increase the credibility of your website on the internet.
Another way to get backlinks is by creating share-worthy content on your website. When your website has content worth linking to, you don’t have to beg for people to link to them.
Making the best use of your website SEO efforts requires that you keep abreast with the latest news and practices in the SEO world.
Don’t just learn, but rather learn and implement. In this way, you will be able to drive traffic to your website organically over time.