Very often I receive a variety of questions about Search Engine Optimization (SEO). What is it exactly, how does it work, what does it really do for your business, and does it have anything to do with the Google search?
The first and foremost thing you need to know about SEO is that it’s the natural or organic way to get your website seen by search engine users. Using all the elements of your website or blog, the search engine sends out its spiders to search and pick out the best elements. If you have what it likes, it increases your visibility (i.e. improves your rankings) on its search engine. If it doesn’t, then it goes against your current ranking.
Although there are other social media portals that can drive users to your website such as Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter, most traffic is done through a search engine (I’m going to be using Google as our #1 search engine throughout this post because that’s my favorite, but there’s also, you know, Yahoo! and Bing) which means that your website actually needs SEO to be able to compete against other websites – regardless if if you’re a blogger, you’re selling some type of service, or you just want to give out free information, good SEO is where it’s at.
Although there is a spectrum of the complex world of SEO, even just knowing the basics can make a pretty big difference.
This should be your number one priority on your website. Because Google wants to look good and maximize efficiency to its users, if you can provide content and value that your audience loves and get it shared, Google will love you! Google ranks its searches by relevance (using keyword research) and popularity, so if you are active on your website, making sure pages are getting updated, consistently putting out new content, and getting your audience to share that content it will do wonders to your ranking.
Do you know that if someone searches for something in a search engine, and your website comes up and that person doesn’t click on your website then that counts against your SEO ranking? Also, if a user clicks on your site, spends a short amount of time on it, decides you don’t have what they’re looking for, and then heads back to their original search results then that also damages your ranking? Make sure there’s always something for your audience so that they never feel like they want to back out of your website.
Renaming Your Photos
You know when you upload your photos to your computer and your computer automatically gives it some generic name like photo_1234? Yeah, you’re going to want to change that. Those spiders that I mentioned above that Google sends out to check your website also crawl through your image texts. If your image has some random name that has nothing to do with the image itself or the source it came from, it’s going to hurt your SEO.
Don’t forget the alt tags!
Even though Alt tags are primarily used for screen readers, it’s also another opportunity to add a better description to your photo. But, a word of caution, Google will penalize anyone who tries to add too much text to their alt tag because they think they may be trying to “over-optimize.”
Google hates oversized images. When you have an oversized image on your website it increases your load page time, which Google doesn’t like. When resizing my images, I shrink them down to 1800 width x 1200 height using Photoshop.
Overall User Experience
There’s a few aspects of the overall user experience. If your website is easy to navigate, use, and understand, then that counts towards your rankings. If its proven to have valuable content, with high quality images, and can work on a variety of browsers as well as easy to use on mobile devices, you also have better chances of increasing your ranking.
These are just some of the basics that will lay down a foundation for your experience with SEO. There’s a wide spectrum when it comes to Search Engine Optimization that you can find out on the web, but like I said above, sticking to just these tips will make a big difference! If this is something you don’t want to deal with, I can help you out with it at my hourly rate. Shoot me an e-mail at: firstname.lastname@example.org and let’s chat!