What is SEO? The complete guide you need
8th June 2019
What is SEO
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. It is the practice of optimize your web pages to make it visible when someone searches for it. The best thing is, it is free and organic.
How Search Engine Works
When you do a search using Google, it will return the best relevant result to you depending on your keyword. Google search engine has a set of algorithms helping them to do all these. SEO algorithm is heavy guarded by Google, no one outside of Google knows what are all these ranking factors. There are about 100 to 200 ranking factors with different weight to it. Every year, Google will update their algorithms to make the current standard and also prevent users from misusing it.
White Hat SEO vs Black Hat SEO
There are always two sides of things, a white hat SEO and black hat SEO. White hat SEO refers to users using best practices and techniques to optimize their web pages. While black hat SEO refers to users using the opposite way to fool the search engines. This will put the web pages at risk of being penalized or de-indexed when find out.
On-site SEO vs Off-site SEO
In this article, I will share with you what are the known best practices. It is split into two sections, On-Site SEO and Off-Site SEO. On-Site SEO is things which you can do and within your control, while Off-Site SEO is not.
- Title Tag = <Title>some title</Title> This specifies the title of your web page. Keep your title between 50 – 60 characters (including spacing). My recommendation is to keep the title about 50 characters because you might have your brand name at the back. Below is what the user sees when they search on Google.
If the title is too long, it will be cut. Keep the title short and accurate, so users know what they expect to see when they visit your page.
The title will appear at the top of the browser.In HTML, this is what you will see.
- Meta Description Tag = <meta name=”description” content=”some text”> This specifies the description of your web page article. Keep your descriptions about 155 characters (including spacing). A description is to describe what your content is about and draw users to click on your page.If the description is too long, it will be cut too
In HTML, this is what you will see. Description will not appear anywhere on the page. it will only be picked up by Google bots.
- H1 Tag = <H1>Header title</H1> Good to have just one H1 tag per page. You can give other subtitles using H2, H3, H4, H5, and H6.
- Length of the Content = It is recommended to have at least 300 words on a page. Nowadays, people, have a short time span reading a long article so keep it short and right to the point.Do not write your content for search engines but for users to read. Do not do keyword stuffing, which means don’t flood your webpage with keywords all over the place. Your content must provide value and useful insights and don’t write because you need to upload content today. Google’s emphasis on E-A-T. Expertise, Authority, and Trustworthiness. Your page will rank lowly if your E-A-T is low.
- URL length = Try to keep below 100 characters and put your keyword in URL. No one will remember a long URL too.
- Canonical = <link rel=”canonical” href=”https://www.youwebsite.com”/> This is to prevent Google from penalizing your site for duplicate content.
- Duplicate content = Do not duplicate other people’s content, even with a slight modification to the copy Google will know.
- Image Optimization = Tag your image with an alt name and try to reduce your image file size too. <img src=”https://imageurl.jpg” alt=”image name”> The reason is, if your image could not be loaded the alt name will be display.
- Mobile-Friendly = Now more users are using mobile devices to surf the net so your page needs to be mobile-ready. You can test if your page is mobile-friendly using this mobile-Friendly Test.
- Internal Links = The number of links indicates how important this page is to other pages but do not hyperlink any possible word you can find. Quality, not quantity matter. Fix all broken links, it’s telling Google this site is no longer in use and no one is maintaining it.
- Sitemap = Provide a sitemap in the directory, it helps search engines to index your pages.
- Site update = Upload new content at least once a week. If you work on a topic that is out of date, no users will want to engage and search for it.
- SSL certificate = Google encourages the uses of HTTPs, so do buy an SSL certificate. Security is the top priority for Google. You can read A secure web is here to stay.
- Interstitial popup = User come to your page is to find content and no popup ads, a bad user experience. It is even worse for the mobile user since their screen size is smaller. Google blog topic on Mobile-friendly web pages using app banners.
- Disavow backlinks = If you notice that spamming site is linking to your page and if you can’t get the links removed from the site, you can use disavow link.
- Removal expired link from google = If you have unpublished a page and the page is still been cached by google, you can send a page removal request and google will review it and remove it within 24 hours. So you will not have a 404 error.
- Redirect link = Do not do multiple redirect links. Example redirect link -> redirect link -> real link
- Hyphens = Use a hyphen for word separation instead of underscores. Used underscores to join a word.
- Case sensitivity = Use lower case for all your URLs.
- Language = Check that there is no spelling, grammar, and punctuation error. You can use Grammarly to correct your language.
- Links building = If your link is been shared on third party pages, it is telling Gooogle that your page is of a certain value. Do note that if the third party site is of high quality you will get a better rating. An example comparing a local news site such as yahoo to a blog which just started a few days ago or a spamming site.
- Guest Post on third party website = You can offer to help to write an article for a news or blogger site and have then had a link back to your website.
- Reach out to influencer = Since these influencers have a large audience you can work with an influencer to help promote your products or services.
- Social media marketing = Share your articles using your social media platforms such as Linkedin, Twitter and Facebook. Encourage your friends or fan to share the article with their friends if they find it useful so you can get a greater reach.
- Hacked site = Monitor your site and secure it from been hacked. You might feel there isn’t need to do it since your since is “small”. But hacker might to trying out new software to see how different server/site will respond to it and they need to do multi-test. So do backup your data so if this ever happened, you can recover the site back.