What is SEO?
Definition: Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of affecting the visibility of a website or a web page in a web search engine’s unpaid results—often referred to as “natural”, “organic”, or “earned” results. In general, the earlier (or higher ranked on the search results page), and more frequently a site appears in the search results list, the more visitors it will receive from the search engine’s users, and these visitors can be converted into customers. (A. Ortiz-Cordova and B.J. Jansen, Journal of the American Society for Information Sciences and Technology)
What you can do to improve SEO
So what does this mean to you as the owner of a website? As a start, it means that you must nurture and care for your site by;
- regularly adding fresh, relevant, well written content to it;
- ensuring that your page titles succinctly describes what is on that particular page;
- meta description (this is the brief text that people see when they do a search) accurately tells visitors what to expect on the site/page; and,
- add alternative text to images. Alternate text describes images which is good for SEO and accessibility.
A website that is not updated regularly will languish; a site that has new information that visitors want will thrive.
Let’s do a quick review of these 4 items.
Fresh content – regularly added content is great for a website. But keep in mind it should be content that your visitors would come to your site to learn more about. For example, a shoe store would write about the latest trends in shoe fashion. Someone looking for this information would come to the shoe site to learn more. If the shoe store owner added content about cars — well, that is not relevant to someone looking for shoes.
Search engines love new content so make this a priority when you want to improve your rankings. Another hint: as your write your content, think about your visitors. What words or phrases would they place into a search engine search field when looking for an item or service that you offer. Getting back to our shoe store, someone might look for Uggs winter boots in a specific geographic area. The shoe store may put up a photo and description of his Uggs boots. This will increase the chances of that person looking for Ugg boots to find your site.
If you want to let visitors know that you service a particular area, be sure to put that into your content too. Add it on the About page, and place your address in the footer.
Meta descriptions and more
When I build a site I add Yoast SEO plugin to it. This highly respected plugin aids in processing aspects of your site for better search engine optimization. It reminds you to add good page titles and meta descriptions. If you assign a “Focus Keyword” the plugin will analyze your text and let you know if you are on the right track with your message and wording, or if you need to prop up your text so it supports your focus keyword more.
If you do not have an SEO plugin installed on your site, go to WordPress.org and check out the many options available.
Alternative text is added to an image when you upload it to your Media Library. I just read that the newest version of WordPress will automatically add the image file name as Alt text. This is handy, however if the file name is img-46663, this does not describe what the image is. A much better Alt text is something like “teal flowered high heels”.
Optimizing your website can be a complex task. There are many moving pieces that need to be reviewed and addressed. There are companies with experts in SEO that will do keyword research and more for you. Your hosting company may have SEO specialists that can help.
For you to do it alone my best advice would be to add new, well-written content that is relevant to your visitors and customers. A blog is the perfect vehicle to add new content to: you can write about new products, services, projects, news, etc.
>>> Here are other articles about SEO that I have written:
• 300 words. That’s how long your posts should be.
• A good subject line = increased reader engagement
>>> Read about SEO on Yoast SEO blog. You can even take a course there.
>.> If SEO is very important to your business, hire experts from legitimate SEO companies. Here is an interesting blog post about content from an SEO firm I follow. NOTE: this is not a recommendation, I just happen to be on their email distribution list.
Lastly, there is never a guarantee for search engine rankings. If you have a business with unique products or services and little competition your chances of ranking high are good. If not, you will have to work harder.