Most website owners know that SEO is necessary because it’s the driving force behind the majority of ones organic (free) traffic, but the majority are not quite sure what to do – or not do – to get the results they want.
So, do we all know what SEO is? What does Search Engine Optimization mean? and how do we do it?
This is where the water usually gets muddy.
That’s in part because there is a fair amount of misinformation about SEO floating around the web; and also because once you do start learning about it, it can seem like a daunting process.
Combine that with the fact that it’s usually super time consuming to actually put all of this information together, and any “course” you buy from a college or university will more than likely become obsolete by the time you’re actually done learning… and you have a recipe for chaos.
That’s where website’s similar to Lucrative Online come into play – we try out best to deliver the best information to not only help you but help solidify it in our own minds as well.
Why is SEO important?
It’s important to ensure that your website is as visible as it can be to search engines because this ultimately means that it is highly visible to readers as well.
This means understanding how search engines work so you can maximize your site’s ability to be found, and leverage the content you already have.
To do this we have to get inside the mind of a Google bot.
When you perform a search, you are actually searching through an index of websites the search engine keeps and regularly updates. Search engines like Google use an army of “bots” to constantly scan websites and add them to their index.
The bots make a note of the site’s content, keywords, page titles, meta-information, and other elements to determine how “important” the site is relative to other similar sites. Based on these and other factors, the search engine bots “rank” your site.
The key is that SEO refers to search engine rankings that people actually click on. Just getting on page 1 of a Google search isn’t enough. The information displayed on the search engine results page needs to be compelling and useful enough for a human being to want to pursue your link further.
Ultimately, your site has to be useful to actual human beings. If you keep that in mind as you apply search engine techniques, it will be easier on you and will create better results in the long run.
Maximizing Natural/Organic Search Traffic
By engaging in solid search engine optimization strategies, like keyword research, you boost your site’s chances of appearing high up on the search results list.
Showing up in search results in this manner is referred to as “natural/organic search” because you have not purchased keywords to influence your site’s chances of showing up.
So what are the strategies you can deploy to maximize your site’s chances of being found high up in a natural search?
Page Titles & Descriptions
According to Google, one of the best ways you can help their bots determine the relevance and content of your website is to give each and every page a unique and descriptive page title and description.
Page titles and descriptions can be set in the <head> section at the top of your HTML page.
Do not use the same title for each page. (Note that while your page title can be more than 60 characters long, only the first 60 characters show up in Google search results.)
If you are using a CMS like WordPress, you can utilize SEO plug-ins to do a lot of the grunt work for you. (“Yoast SEO” is recommended)
Search engines scan the text portion of a page to determine the page’s content, and the keywords being used within that content.
Therefore, you should research the kinds of keywords that readers will use when searching for your product and/or service, then sprinkle these into your site’s content. Be careful to only target 1 post to 1 primary keyword though, as any more can cause issues.
Think beyond the obvious words. For example, if you are selling blenders people may be searching for “best smoothie blender”. It, therefore, makes sense to integrate these types of phrases into the body copy and headlines of your page.
Search engines will also look at the frequency of keywords, or “keyword density” as it’s called. Be careful not to stuff too many keywords into one piece of writing though, because you can be penalized for that.
Jamming a ton of keywords into your page content is known as “keyword stuffing” and is something search engine bots are watching out for. If the bots suspect your page is trying to stuff keywords in unnaturally, the engine actually penalizes your page’s ranking, which is the opposite way we want to go.
That being said, you’re aiming for about 1-3% “keyword density” which isn’t something you’re expected to figure out with some mathematical equation, but an idea to keep in mind.
You should include your keyword in the title, first paragraph, once or twice in the body, and maybe in the closing paragraph, just make sure it reads naturally and doesn’t seem awkward.
Another factor that search engines consider is the way you assign header tags to content.
Search engine bots assume, for example, that a selection of copy marked with a <h1> tag is more important than a selection marked with <p> (paragraph).
So, if you have a <h1> headline that reads “Best raincoats for sale” and a <p> that reads “How to keep dry ” the bots will determine that the focus of the page is more about raincoats than keeping dry. (but “how to keep try” would be an LSI keyword for “best raincoats for sale”)
Therefore if someone types in “how to keep dry” your site will most likely feature lower on the list than if someone typed in “ best raincoats”.
Always “Keep it Fresh”
Search engine algorithms are always trying to serve up the most recent and relevant content to users.
Therefore, sites that have new content on a regular basis are thought to be more active and relevant than pages that haven’t changed much since the last time the bots crawled over them.
You absolutely have to have a consistent stream of fresh content, or your rankings will suffer – on the other side, if you DO have that consistent stream of content, your rankings will improve.
You’re going to want to be posting at least 3 articles a week, even if you have to pay $5 for them from somewhere like Fiverr.
Search engines like Google and Bing not only rely on the content within the HTML code, they also look at several other factors such as the URL path, a Sitemap file you submit online, and the actual HTML file names to determine a site’s focus and its relevance to a user’s search criteria.
There are several legitimate ways to get to a website home page.
From a user perspective, there’s no difference between typing “www.company.com” and “www.company.com/”. Both URLs get them to the same spot. But from a search perspective, each path is seen as unique.
Therefore, your site’s search ranking is diluted as if your website has multiple evil twins on the Internet. To fix this problem, you can specify one “official” URL path using the canonical link element up in the <head> section of your page. This way, whichever link users click on or enter to get to your page, the search engine knows to credit the one official link.
- If you are using a CMS such as WordPress, you will not have to worry about this as WordPress handles these types of things for you!
- It’s still good to set your URL path within Webmaster tools regardless
The term “sitemap” is used frequently in web design circles and actually refers to a few unrelated items.
One kind of sitemap is the blueprint an information architect prepares when designing a site.
Another sitemap is a web page often included in sites that lets users see an index of all pages.
There is a third “Sitemap” (with a capital S) that specifically relates to SEO, and is one your users never see. This type of Sitemap is an XML file (extensible markup language), that lives on the root directory of your server (ideally, although not mandatory).
The file contains a list of all the URL paths of your website, along with some data such as when the page was last updated, and its relative importance in your site’s hierarchy. If you do not provide a Sitemap XML file, search engines can only rely on the paths they see based on the links within your navigation.
A Sitemap file does not guarantee that a search engine will display your pages in search results, but it does help them make better-informed choices.
- Again most Content Management Systems will take care of your XML Sitemap for you. If you’re not using CMS then you can create your own sitemap here for free www.xml-sitemaps.com
There are two types of links – inbound and outbound – that have a direct impact on your site’s search ranking relative to other similar sites.
Inbound links are links to your site found on other websites or links to yourself from your own post.
Outbound links are links on your site that go to other sites.
Backlinks are becoming less and less relevant with each and every update to everyone’s ranking algorithms (Google, Bing, etc).
That said, having links coming in from other related blogs and other sources is still going to benefit your site – just not to the same extent that forum spamming etc used to.
Approaching these blog owners and asking for a link in some form is usually acceptable, and most places would be happy to exchange links – as long as your sites have similar content.
You could even make relevant comments on blog articles with a link back to your own site using a keyword optimized bit of anchor text.
The links to other websites that you include on your site can also affect your search ranking.
Search engines see the outbound links you provide as offering value to the user. In this regard, search engines want to share your site with users by boosting your ranking.
The rule of thumb is to link out to sites that are credible and are relative to yours. Also, to try and have at least 1 outbound link per post.
Having too many outbound links, however, can make your site look like a link farm (or worse, a spam site) to a search engine. So be careful in the number of outbound links you end up creating.
Search Engine Marketing/PPC
So far I’ve outlined ways to naturally boost your site’s visibility to search engines using good optimization strategies. To complement these efforts, you may also consider purchasing advertising under specific keywords and phrases.
Google Adwords is a prime example of SEM (pay-per-click), and is probably the best way to go about advertising if you’re going to pay for it.
Adwords is a tough nut to crack though, and they are very strict about their advertising policy. You can check out Adwords here
You should be utilizing keyword research tools like Jaaxy, SEMRush, Ubersuggest, or even Google’s free tool.
A keyword research tool is going to mean the difference between ranking, and not. It is literally impossible to blindly target keywords and hope for success.
Jaaxy is an industry-leading keyword research tool, and if you are serious about internet marketing, you’re definitely going to want to be doing your keyword research.
When you sign up to Jaaxy, you get 30 FREE searches, which is more than any of their competitors offer. Not only that, but Jaaxy comes equipped with full range customer support, so if you have any keyword questions, they’ll answer them for you!
Have anything to add? Did we overlook something important? let us know in the comment section below!