Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process which enhances the visibility of a website or a web page in search engines organic search results.
The higher a webpage ranks in search engine results, the more traffic it will get.
SEO techniques use the knowledge of how search engines work to determine what people search for online. There are two different techniques in SEO namely White hat SEO and Black hat SEO. As you may have guessed White hat SEO is the good one while Black hat SEO is the bad one, ‘NEVER USE BLACK HAT SEO TECHNIQUES’.
White hat SEO techniques produce good long term results while black hat techniques eventually get a website banned either temporarily or permanently by search engines.
White hat SEO techniques are those which adhere to the search engines’ guidelines and do not use deceptive methods to rank higher while Black hat SEO is the technique where deception is used to improve rankings for example buying of backlinks, comment spamming etc.
To optimize a website, there are a number of things that have to be considered which include but are not limited to:
- Content Editing: This is editing the content of your website or blog to adhere to SEO best practices, for example, an ideal post is supposed to be a minimum of 300 words to have a good SEO rating and the post must be ORIGINAL. Original doesn’t mean you must write from your head even though that is the best option, you can also get articles from different sources, merge them and write a similar article in your own words.
- Keyword Targeting: Keywords as they are called are the most important words in any post, they are the words which users will type into search engines therefore you must use them well. Your keywords should appear in your post title and in the post itself. For your blog/website to rank well, you must find the most searched keywords and keyword phrases in your niche and use them in your post titles and the posts themselves; You can use the Google Keyword Tool to find the most searched keywords in your niche.
- Increasing the number of backlinks (inbound links): A high ranking backlink is one of the most important things in SEO. It is simply a link from another website to your own website for example Linda Ikeji writes a post and mentions your website or any of your webpages in it and if someone clicks on your website address from her blog, he/she will be directed to your blog. Did you notice I used the phrase ’high ranking’, that is it must be from a high authority website.
There are two types of backlinks namely No-Follow Backlinks and Do-Follow Backlinks.
No Follow Backlinks are those which Google does not use to increase a website’s ranking while Do Follow Backlinks are those which Google uses. Therefore target high ranking Do-Follow Backlinks, You can also get No-Follow Backlinks but don’t waste your time on this type. You can get backlinks in any one of the following ways but be careful because if you start spamming or use black hat SEO methods, Google will penalise you by decreasing your ranking
Here are some ways to get backlinks.
- Submitting Guest Posts to High PR Websites/Blogs: Most of them do not easily accept posts but if you can offer a very good and original post (that is not on your website/blog) that will benefit them, they might accept so try your luck.
- Commenting on top websites in your niche and leaving a link to your website if there is provision for it. Please do not over do this because if you do, Google will penalise you.
- Writing very good and original posts which could be copied by a high ranking site which will then link to your original post.
- Submitting your website/blog to both free and paid web directories e.g. Yahoo Directory and DMOZ, these two directories are the most popular and high ranking directories in the world, there are many others, browse for them.
- Getting a good SEO company to do it for you; this will cost you a pretty large amount, in the range of thousands of US dollars depending on how high you want to go.
Other ways to improve your SEO ranking are:
- Adding Meta Description: This refers to the post title and the text which is displayed under it in search results, it is very important in SEO and it should be able to attract the prospective visitor to visit your site instead of others, they must contain relevant focus keywords to increase your rank.
- Interlinking between pages of your website: This is also a good SEO technique, you should insert links to related pages on your website in your posts, these will also help to boost your ranking.
- Always update your content i.e. post new content regularly so that search engines can crawl it more frequently and increase your ranking.
- Make use of Google Webmaster Tools and Bing Webmaster Tools, browse for them, register your site and start using the tools there to improve your site. One very important thing you use these sites for is to submit an XML Sitemap (This is a daily updated list of your webpages) to ensure that all your pages are found by search engines. Browse online about how to generate and submit one, it is of paramount importance!
If you are a WordPress user, there are several SEO plugins available for you to use but I recommend Yoast SEO, It is the best and gives you a very good way to optimize your blog or website.
Google is the biggest search engine by far and that is why I am focusing mainly on it. There have been a number of updates to the algorithm (program) Google uses to rank websites with different changes made with each update. In 2011 there was Google Panda update, which penalizes websites with copied content from other websites and sources. Google Penguin update was released in 2012 and penalizes websites which use manipulative techniques to improve their rankings on the search engineand in 2013, Google Hummingbird update came with an improvement to Google’s natural language processing and semantic understanding of web pages.
In order to maintain a high traffic to your website/blog, it is advisable not to completely rely on search engines as they can bring SEO updates which could lower your rankings at any time, It is better to build a loyal fan/follower base which will still exist even if your ranking goes down in search engines but first you have to get the traffic from the search engines to get a fan base and then it’s your duty to keep them coming back, ‘POST IRRESISTIBLE CONTENT!’
Best SEO companies worldwide
Improving a website’s SEO is not easy but there are experts who can do it for you, these companies have been rated the best in the world by but I am not guaranteeing any of them, use them solely at your own risk. You can also check online for others. Here they are arranged in descending order: WebpageFX, Boostability , Digital Current , etc.