I am sure you will agree with me when I say: It’s really hard to RANK on the first page of google.
or is it?
Well, it turns out, you can increase your rank on google search results just by following some of the basic Google SEO guidelines. A few basic guidelines that can rank you higher on google.
And in this post, I am gonna tell you exactly what you can do to rank your website higher in search results.
In this post, I am gonna tell you my experience with SEO and what I have learned during my journey as an SEO expert. I promise you won’t be needing any basic SEO material apart from this blog post. I have tried to cover everything you need to start with SEO.
So are you ready? keep reading…
Table of Contents
How Does SEO Actually Work?
The first thing first doesn’t focus on SEO. Yes! do not focus on SEO or rankings at the very beginning. Focus on your client, focus on the quality of content or service you are going to offer to your client, rest will follow, believe me.
You know why?
It is not just SEO it is what search engines expect from you and what people are looking for. I think SEO is more than ranking on the first page of Google; it is about pulling the right people to your website. People who are genuinely looking for you or your services don’t need unnecessary people to visit your website and just bounce back.
Of course, nobody wants the irrelevant traffic to their site because it can increase the bounce rate which again can affect the ranking of the website.
Enough said with that, How do you pull the right traffic? If you want the right people to your website make sure you use the right keywords in your website contents.
What are the keywords?
These are the search terms we all use while searching for something online. For instance, I am a fitness freak and I want to know what is a healthy diet pre-workout.
So what I am going to search on google – “What is the healthy diet you should take before the workout.”
In the above example, Healthy Diet is the main keyword. If you are a fitness blogger and you write posts about fitness then you must put this keyword in your post title, in the meta tag, and also in content.
So the question arises, How can we find the right keyword?
How could we know what people are looking for?
Well by doing some research. Yes, research.
Here is your first step as an SEO expert: Keyword Research.
1.Finding the right keyword
Here you need to understand two terms, first is search volume and the competition. Search volume is nothing but the number of people have searched using that keyword. Competition means fewer search results for the keyword. Fewer search results mean you have a better chance to rank higher.
Also while finding the right keywords, you must keep in mind the relevancy of those keywords. You must choose the keywords relevant to your content. There’s a lot of tools to help you out with keyword research. The most popular one is Google AdWords Keyword Planner.
OK moving forward once you have selected the right keyword now it is time to craft your content.
2. Creating valuable content
You might have heard the term content is the king. why content is so much important for SEO. Well, the answer is pretty straightforward Google wants to give the best result for there user. whenever someone searches for any specific keyword then what Google scans hundreds of million websites that match that keyword and give the best result.
So, how does Google understand which is the best content?
Well, Google uses intelligent programs called crawlers. These crawlers scan websites and content and on the basis of that, it gives the result to a user. You can influence crawler results using optimizing tactics for your website and using the right keywords.
Your content should be valuable to Google if it looks valuable to Google then only it will rank your website higher, it’s that simple. Fresh, pure, authentic, and useful content is what google always looks for.
So, how to write good and valuable content?
While creating content for better ranking you must keep an eye on:
Always keep in mind nobody wants to read a boring article. So try to make your article title a little bit catchy. Your title gives the first impression and it tells exactly what is in your article. So keep it interesting. Here are some catchy words you can use to make your visitors click through,
Today, Right Now, Don’t miss, Important, Works Quickly, Step-by-step, Easy, Quick, Simple. When you use any of these words in your title then chances are higher that people are gonna click it. But be clear in your title and your content doesn’t overdo it or else people will hit the back button.
Be sure that the keyword you have chosen is present in your title and also in your meta tag and description.
Also, try to put the keywords at least 3 times in the introduction of your article. Always be sure you pick the right and relevant keyword. I am telling you this thing again and again because I don’t want you to make mistakes that I have made earlier during my learning phase.
Yes, links do matter and links are the most powerful factor when it comes to ranking higher. Try to link to the big and popular websites in your niche. But make sure not to put many links in your post. a few links are enough.
2.4 Quality Content:
Never copy-paste the content. Bring something new to the table. Google loves fresh content. Create some quality content that people would love to consume. If people like Google will automatically like it and it will reward you with a higher rank.
Okay, now that you have created your masterpiece content and you all set with the keywords in your content everywhere. Now it is time to optimize your website so that Google can understand your site architecture easily. That will help Google to scan through your website easily.
Keep in mind If Google finds hard and timely to navigate through your site then it is not gonna rank it higher.
Let’s understand how to optimize the code of your website.
3. Optimizing your website
Let us understand the architecture of a basic HTML page.
<!DOCTYPE html> <html lang="en"> <head> <meta charset="UTF-8"> <meta name="viewport" content="width=device-width, initial-scale=1.0"> <title>Pritam Chougale: My blog on my learnings</title> </head> <body> <h1>PritamC.com</h1> <h2>Welcome to my blog</h2> </body> </html>
This is the basic architecture of an HTML webpage. Let us understand each one in detail and how to optimize it.
3.1 title tag:
Title tags contain the title of your website. For example, my blog have the title as,
<title>Pritam Chougale: My blog on my learnings</title>
Always put your target keyword in your site’s title tag. I would like to rank my blog for my name. If someone searches by my name then this blog should be showing up and that is why Pritam Chougale is one of my focus keyword here.
3.2 meta tag:
According to w3school.com, Metadata is data (information) about data. he <meta> tag provides metadata about the HTML document. Metadata will not be displayed on the page but will be machine parsable.
You should be concerned about your site’s meta tag specifically meta description tag. It should contain what the site is about and should also have your target keywords.
Headings are defined with the <h1> to <h6> tags.
<h1> defines the most important heading. <h6> defines the least important heading.
Generally, there should be only one h1 heading for each page and make sure your headings contain relevant keywords to the content on your website.
A sitemap is an XML file that lists the URL for your site. According to Wikipedia, The Sitemaps protocol allows a webmaster to inform search engines about URLs on a website that are available for crawling.
what this means,
sitemaps are the programs that tell the Google Search Bots where the pages, blogs and other resources of your website are located. They make sure that bots find everything easily on your website. Sitemaps make site scanning easy for crawlers. They are like roads to the crawlers. There are two types of sitemaps HTML and XML sitemaps.
When you have a few pages, let’s say less than a thousand then it is possible for you to link to each page in your sitemap. But if you have more than thousands or hundreds of thousands pages then XML comes for rescue.
Whenever I design any of my client’s websites I pay much attention to URL structure. URL structure is the most important part of SEO which is often overlooked.
If your URLs are messy Google will find it hard to crawl through it and if it finds it hard it will not index them properly. And it will rank you lower. Why? Again Google wants to give the best experience to its searchers.
I always keep in mind a few factors while designing URLs, you should too.
- Never use extraneous characters ( $ @ ! * % = ? ) in your URL
- Try to keep your URL shorts because shorter URL tends to rank higher than the long one
- Only use numbers and letters in your URL
- Don’t use Underscore instead use Dashes.
- Use sub-domains rather than sub-directories
5. Cross-Linking Your Contents
It is good practice to cross-link your content within your Blog post. Try to put your best articles’ link in your blog post. Also, link to the authority sites. Do not hesitate to put links in your content. It will add more value to it and also Google will find it valuable. Links work like magic.
But keep in mind don’t overdo it. Don’t just go on putting links in your content, do it whenever it is necessary. A maximum of 8 links is enough in a single post. I know most of you aren’t gonna put that many links though.
Never link to an irrelevant web page, Otherwise, readers will lose interest in your content.
6. Alt tag
Do you know Search Engine bots are smart but they are not as smart to read the images?
Use alt tag to describe the image. What the image is all about. So that bots can understand that this is an image regarding this and that.
You understand the point?
There will come the time when bots will be so smart and they will read images and understand the videos but, until then we have to use the Alt tag to describe the image.
Another one thing is never to name your images like img1.jpg or image43.jpg this is not a good way. Name your images as Coffee Mug.jpg
Finally, I am going to tell you more in-depth about LINKS. Yes, LINKS again!
Links are the most important part of SEO. It is as simple as the more websites linking to your site there are higher chances that you will rank higher in the search result.
A few links from Authority websites can help you a lot rather than hundreds from not so popular websites.
Google gets a clear notification that if some authority websites are linking to something then that something must be valuable so Google takes it seriously to rank that something higher.
For instance, Neil Patel is a well-established brand for SEO and online marketing. Google knows it very well so it considers Neil Patel’s website as a valued and authority website in the SEO domain.
So, the more trustworthy sites linking to you back the more you are valuable for Search Engines.
Here are some things to take care of while building backlinks.
- It is always better to get backlinks from the related site in your niche and for related content. Backlinks from irrelevant sites are not more than useless.
- Links in content are better than links in the sidebar or somewhere else.
- Always use Anchor text. It tells the reader what is in the link for him. Links with anchor text are clicked the most.
Always remember to avoid the following things
- No backlinks from irrelevant, spammy sites.
- Reciprocal linking doesn’t help much. Reciprocal means I link you then you link me back.
- Don’t waste your time buying the links that won’t help you and Google also doesn’t like that. Eventually, you will be caught by Google.
How can you get more LINKS?
Well I know this article is getting lengthy but we gotta cover everything basic SEO. Keep reading. There is more valuable information down.
I have been using these techniques for myself and for my clients. Follow these tricks to get more legit links to your site.
7.1 Find dead links in your niche:
What are dead links?
These are the links that are no longer active. There are billions of links out there over the Internet and most of the links die over time.
Inform the website about the dead links and also tell them that you have similar content and ask them to replace the dead link with the one going back to your site.
Do you get the point? Hope you understood. Here is Free Broken Link Checker for you (http://www.brokenlinkcheck.com)
7.2 Find your competition:
Find other sites that are doing good in your niche and find out which website links to them, email them that you too have the valuable and unique content, and ask them to link you. Be polite in your email.
Keep in mind you need to email a lot of sites, few of them will reply to you and out of a few will link you back. Put some time and work in it. After all, it is worth it getting backlinks from authority sites.
7.3 Use Social Media:
Use social media to get the links. If you have thousands of followers make use of it. If you don’t have started building followers.
Submit your site on different directories over the Internet. Here are a few.
7.5 Top 100 sites in your niche:
Find the top 100 sites in your niche. Sites which are doing great in your niche. Send them a nice email, tell them you like their content and you are a daily visitor and huge fan and blah blah blah. After that ask them to check your content and link back.
I know most of the sites in the same niche might be your competitors and why would they link back to you. But there is also a chance some might not like your competitors they may reply to you. It’s worth giving a shot. It worked for me and I’m sure it will work for you as well.
forums are great to get backlinks. Google loves the discussion that is why it ranks forums higher. Google consider a well-established forum a good source of information
Find forums in your niche, take part in the discussion. A lot of forums allow you to create signatures so that you can link back to your website.
I am sure you are still with me and going through the entire article. I’m sure you get the idea of SEO.
If you apply all these tricks and tips to your site it will rank higher in search results. You need to be patient. Your site won’t rank higher overnight. There isn’t any magic pill.
You need to put hard work into it. Be Consistent in your work. I am sure you will get good result. SEO takes time but it really pays off eventually. Don’t do anything shady because you will be caught eventually and search engines will punish you. It’s never worth it.
Also, keep in mind. you need to keep on experimenting because if some strategies are working for site A then those strategies may or may not work for site B. You gotta find out what works best and stick to it.
Find out what people searching for in your niche. Create content around that keyword and pull the traffic ( pull the right people to your site). Use all the steps I have shared above.
If you get some value from this post then let me know in the comments. I want to hear from you. Let’s share the ideas. Did I miss anything? Let me know in the comments.
Cheers! Happy Learning 🙂