Master These SEO Fundamentals to Optimize Your Site for Search Engines
Optimizing your site for search engines is important. That being said, there are some SEO fundamentals that complement quality content, ensuring that search engines understand what your post and site are about. SEO, or search engine optimization, is increasing how many people see your website when they search for keywords on a search engine…and compelling them to click on your post and visit your site.
Before we get to tips and tools, it’s important to highlight that the essential underpinning to all SEO is quality content. Well-written valuable content will naturally have many of the elements of SEO including clear keywords, useful imagery, and original content written in a way that helps the reader to easily navigate and discover information. So first and foremost: keep creating quality content! Making sure your site has the information that people are looking for is the first step to positioning your site as one that is authoritative and offers valuable information.
“Once you’ve got the content thing down, it’s time to focus on some basic SEO fundamentals to ensure content is readable and understandable by search engines.”
Most major website platforms (WordPress, Wix, etc.) are organized and formatted to allow search engines to crawl your site. The most recent themes are mobile responsive and allow visitors to view content on all sizes of handheld devices.
- If your site isn’t optimized for mobile, update your site to a theme that is responsive for both mobile and tablet.
- Make sure your settings allow search engines to crawl your site.
Get strategic when selecting your keywords. Using a few simple tricks and tools, you can quickly see what people are searching for, and use that information to target those keyword searches.
- Research your keywords. The simplest and free method for beginners is to enter a few keywords in a search engine, such as Google, and scroll down to the “related searches” to see various options that people are searching for too.
- Other tools you can utilize include: answerthepublic.com, trends.google.com and keywordtool.io.
- Short-tail keywords vs. long-tail keywords: short-tail keywords are not only harder to rank for, but often don’t show your site to the right audience. Long-tail keywords render more targeted audiences- not only is it easier to rank for those words, but those searching for them are looking for your content.
- For example, if you create vegan recipes for toddlers, ranking for “vegan recipes” will not only be very difficult, but many of the searches will be looking for adult recipes, which isn’t your target market. Instead, you might try and rank for “plant-based toddler meals” or “vegan lunch ideas for kids.”
From paid to free, there are many tools and it can be easy to go down a rabbit hole! Keep your keywords on topic and don’t overcomplicate them.
Employing these on-page SEO tips can ensure that a search engine understands the topic and the value your site brings, and that searchers know what your post is about. You can demonstrate value by optimizing your images, title tags, and text.
- Ensure that your title is an H1 Heading (no other H1 title tags on the page).
- Use your keywords at the beginning of the title. Not only does that signal to Google what your post is about, but when people are searching they immediately see the keywords.
- Use emotion words in your title that compel engagement like ‘cheap’ or ‘10 healthiest’ or ‘guaranteed’ or ‘simple.’ Research shows that people are more likely to click on these.
- Use your keywords in the first sentence and repeat throughout the text naturally.
- Don’t keyword stuff. A keyword might appear 2-3x max per 300 words.
- Use paragraph subheadings. Subheadings not only serve to improve your user experience but it tells search engines what is most important in your content.
- Link to a high authority site on the topic of your post (outbound link).
- Link to related posts on your blog (internal link).
Google reads your image descriptions!
- Make sure to include ALT tags with all of your images.
- The ALT description should just be an accurate description of the images.
- Don’t keyword stuff the description.
- If you aren’t using images, consider adding images to your content.
Also known as teaser text, this is your opportunity to draw a reader in! By manually entering the Meta Description, you can design text that compels a searcher to click on your link versus the others.
- The Meta description is the 150-160 word description that a reader sees when your site ranks for a keyword.
- Meta description text is also used when a post is shared socially.
- If you do not enter text, one is created automatically but it likely won’t be as compelling to searchers.
In short, SEO isn’t (and shouldn’t be) complicated. Most people who are writing high-quality, useful content, will naturally be using keywords and phrases that fuel SEO. While there is no end to SEO strategies, if you’re a beginner, these tips can help you ensure that search engines can more readily understand your original, quality content and the value it brings.
Marie Clark is the founder of CostContessa, and blogs about her journey navigating food, home, family, travel, and all things #reallife – we’re blogging all our new finds, reviews, recipes, tips, and adventures from our favorite places. You can follow her on Instagram for her amazing Costco finds!
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