Probably everyone who uses the Internet met the above term or could at least wonder on what basis the search engine offers him such and not other search results. Simply put, SEO (developing the abbreviation SEO means "Search Engine Optimization") are actions aimed at website optimization (SEO + UX) to get the highest position in Google search results or other search engines such as Bing or Yandex.
The SEO issue focuses on improving your site's position in organic results (organic search results), the so-called SERPah Search Engine Results Page). Anyone who runs a blog or ecommerce and wants to get more free traffic must be aware that SEO should be an integral part of their marketing strategy. In this first of a series of posts on SEO, an entry about SEO, I will explain the basic issues. I will also tell what tool we use on our blog to make it visible in search engines (often in TOP 10 Google).
The more you explore the secrets about website positioning, the more you can feel powerless. However, nothing more wrong - just keep up to date with the changes introduced by Google. Due to the fact that in Poland (and most Western countries) most people use Google search engine, it is necessary to analyze what factors currently determine the ranking of our website. Therefore, first you need to learn the rules, and then skilfully follow the page. These principles are commonly called White Hat SEO. You may encounter the opposite term Black Hat SEO, however, I will talk about good and bad practices in the next article.
It's never too late to learn SEO. You can never be sure that our website in a year will also meet high requirements for algorithms such as Google. SEO is a constant learning - making further changes to make the website useful for both our users and the Google bot scanning our website. Although we will never fully know all the secrets hidden by the Google algorithm, SEO specialists have adopted a fairly good rule and divided the factors described above in the Google algorithm into two categories: on site factors i off site.
On-site SEO factors on the site
These on-site factors are nothing but all elements that we have influence on. These are the technical aspect - the quality of our code and the speed of loading the page (among other things, it is important not to overload WordPress with a large number of unnecessary plugins!). In addition to technical elements, it is worth mentioning aspects related to published content and the quality of the entry (content) and the structure of the site (the structure of the site includes grouping, combining content into categories, tags in the case of a blog). The above-mentioned factors are SEO on-site.
Off-site SEO off-site factors
In addition to SEO factors on the site, there are off-site SEO factors. In this case, it requires more commitment from us and sometimes paid activities. Being more precise - these are factors including, for example, links from other websites, social media and other marketing activities performed outside of one's own website. However, it should be remembered that in this case the statement that the most important is not the QUANTITY, but the QUALITY of the links obtained. The more high quality redirects to our site, the higher our position on Google will be.
The factor that we have no direct influence on is competition and their positioning on similar phrases. Therefore, the competitiveness of our business also has a big impact on the chances in the ranking.
I personally confess and practice holistic SEO. This means that my main goal is to build and constantly maintain the best possible version of the website. Never take a shortcut, because Google will sooner or later detect our attempts to cheat the algorithm.
It's best to focus on a sustainable and long-term strategy - that's the only way to think about SEO. Our position in the ranking will appear when our site will be useful not only for bots and algorithms, but mainly for users. That is why on-site activities are so important to deliver the highest quality content to the site. Thanks to this, the time spent on the site will be longer and we are exposing ourselves to a lower one bounce rate.
You must understand that Google, through its services, wants to provide the best search result so that the person using the search engine returns again. In this case, Google has one mission - it wants to index all information available online to effectively use it in the form of best-matched search results. And we, as content creators, must help him in this by following the above-mentioned rules.
Google is not a non-profit organization, which means it wants to make money. To achieve this, they need to improve their products so that people use their services. This means that they will have to display the search results that people using the browser expect. The better our site is in a given area, the more Google wants it to occupy a high place in SERPs.
Good Google positioning requires us not only to work on content. We must remember about every aspect related to our website, e.g. technical website, user experience (UX) or content. All these elements make up the whole. Now I hope you already know what I mean when I write about a holistic approach to SEO.
Yoast SEO and other tools
If you use WordPress, the Yoast SEO plugin is a must have on the list of plugins on your website. The plug-in is available in the free (reduced version) and paid version. The differences and the price list can be found on the website yoast.com . By using Yoast, it will be easier for you to optimize the SEO part on-site.
The Yoast SEO plugin will help you work with the optimization of entries for keywords, phrases, synonyms and related keywords. You will complete the meta title (meta title) and meta description in a very intuitive way. In addition, the above-mentioned meta titles and descriptions can be viewed on both desktop and mobile views.
The Yoast algorithm will tell you if the structure of the entry is transparent to your readers. The aforementioned plugin watches over breadcrumbs and ensures that the content is not a duplicate content. Creating a sitemap is extremely important to help Google bot navigate our website.
Tools that allow you to control the technical aspects of the site (mainly the speed of the site) are e.g. GTmetrix, Pingdom Tools, Lighthouse from Google. Remember to combine two services, i.e. Google Analytics with the Sreach Console.
According to the Wikipedia definition, the Google Serach Console:
Google Search Console has, among others the following tools:
- Submit and check sitemap status
- Overview of Google crawling statistics
- Website load speed
- Generating and checking a robots.txt file
- Analysis of internal and external links to the site
- List of defective links on the site
- Analysis of the site's visibility in the results of natural Google search engine, according to various keywords
- Preferred domain setting (e.g. from www or without it www)
- Receiving notifications from Google in the event of website viruses, penalties for dishonest positioning.
SEO is a continuous process of website optimization, allowing you to get the highest position in search results. In my experience, the most important thing is to adhere to the principles of holistic SEO, which forces you to focus on every aspect of your site.
It is worth remembering not to take shortcuts and not to use practices that qualify for Black Hat SEO. You should focus on continuous optimization and maintaining the website in the best condition, both technically and with added content. Also remember that you write and add content to people and not to the algorithms that scan the page.