You probably saw the title of this post and got a little antsy, am I right? As someone who isn’t an SEO guru anytime I hear the words SEO I get a little nervous because it’s something that I have so much more to learn about. Today I wanted to share with you some of the SEO basics that you need to know to get by in the online world. Let’s dive in, shall we?
SEO Basics That You Need to Know
What is SEO?
According to Search Engine Land, SEO stands for search engine optimization and is the process of getting traffic organically from search engines.
Why does my website need SEO?
Your website needs SEO because the majority of website traffic is driven by search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo. Of course, social media can surely play a part in your website traffic but most people use search engines and Pinterest to find what they are looking for.
Search engines are looking for websites that have good long form content, decent domain authority, and a good user experience. These aren’t the only rankings that search engines look for but they are some of the most important.
How to Optimize Your Site for SEO
Do use meta descriptions
Meta descriptions are the 160 character snippet that summarizes a page’s content and is displayed underneath your post on search engines.
As you can see above, that is a meta description from one of my posts displayed on Google’s search engine. You can optimize your meta description by downloading the Yoast plugin if you’re on WordPress.
Don’t Utilize Keyword Stuffing
Keyword stuffing is a big no-no for search engine optimization. Not only does it make your posts more difficult to read, Google and other search engines easily catch on to this behavior and will most likely flag your website as spam.
Do make sure your website is user-friendly and has a quick load time
Use a tool like Peek User Testing to see what non-bloggers and business owners think of your website. Sometimes the results you get from there can be not so helpful but I’ve gotten a few reviews that helped me organize my site better.
For a faster load time, check Google Pagespeed Insights and see what you can improve on to make your website’s loading time quicker. I try to do this once a month so that my site can be as fast as possible for both you guys and Google.
Don’t swap links to rank higher
Have you ever been asked to put someone’s link on your website? I know I sure have. You want for people to organically link to your content – not just because you’re doing them a favor by linking their website too. Proceed with caution with this or you could get flagged as being spammy.
Do use alt text on your images
Alt text is a beautiful thing. I use it on my Pinterest sized images in every single post. If you’re on WordPress inserting some alt text is easy as 1, 2, 3. When you upload a photo on WordPress it’s going to ask you to insert a few things. All you really need to do is write in the title on the title field and then on the alt text field just write a brief description of what your post is about.
Don’t have pop-up ads on mobile
At the beginning of the year, Google started penalizing websites that have intrusive pop-up advertisements on mobile so if you do have pop-up ads turned on for mobile, then make sure to turn them off ASAP because it could already be affecting your website traffic. You can still have them pop up when people are browsing your website in desktop mode but you’re putting yourself at risk of being penalized if you keep them available on mobile.
Do post evergreen content
I wrote a post all about evergreen content and it’s benefits the other day so if you want to know more about that then click the link above but posting content with longevity is so important. It ranks a lot higher in search engines because it remains relevant for a lot longer than seasonal content.
Don’t post duplicate content
Another absolute no-no that can get you in trouble with search engines is posting duplicate content. If you just change up the order of the post and paragraph or two you should be good to go and not at risk for a penalty from Google.
Do use a tool like Yoast to optimize your SEO
If you’re on self-hosted WordPress and you don’t have the Yoast plugin downloaded then you need to reevalulate your life. Yoast offers suggestions to make your posts more SEO friendly and gauges the readability of your posts. It’s good practice to have the green light on both of those fields, but that doesn’t mean that you’re going to rank in the top 10 for your specific topic.
This plugin is not the be all, end all SEO tool but it sure does help with optimizing your posts. I plan on doing a more in-depth post on Yoast in the future if that’s something that would be of interest to y’all.
I hope you enjoyed learning more about some SEO basics and can now feel just a little more confident with SEO and optimizing your posts to be in compliance with the best practices. Did you learn anything new from this post? Please feel free to let me know down in the comments.