SEO: Speaking with Search Engines
Whether you are trying to improve your site’s Search Engine Optimization (SEO) or interested in how search engines rank sites, you will find this post informative. I am going to stick with Google for my examples, well because it’s the only search engine that is both a noun and a verb, but Google’s methods are identical to other search engines, thus the techniques I speak about here can be applied to others. This post will be divided into two sections, one will be the front end, more of what your users can see, and the other section will be on the back end, behind the scenes, what the users does not see.
- Content- It is important for you to have quality, relevant, up-to-date content on your site, choosing words that people use when searching for the content you have to offer.
- Titles- Page and post titles should describe the content of said page. Coming up with appropriate titles not only increases your SEO but it is often the first, if not the only thing users look at when quickly scrolling through Google.
- URLs- Many people underestimate the importance of the URL since it does not concern the average user. However, search engines will have a much easier time understanding and indexing www.MyStore.com/poducts/shoes/running/model255 than www.MyStore.com/model255.
The content, page titles and URLs all increase how well search engines crawl your site, increasing your SEO. Other front end factors include, how quickly the site loads, is it mobile friendly, and how crowded the site is with advertisements.
- Links- Having other sites linking yours displays to search engines that it is worthy and trustable. However, people that try to abuse this, using black hat techniques, such as making scam websites, or paying others to link their site, have their sites banned from search engines.
- Engagement- Google really does consider how much time users spend on your site. Are they engaging with the content, or quickly leaving your site?
- Sitemaps- Tying in with URLs from above, it is important to submit a list of these URLs to Google, this can be done using Google’s Webmaster Tools. Webmaster contains many other tools to improve your SEO, and can also be used to view stats such as clicks and search traffic.
- Flags- Search engines will also check to make sure the site has not been flagged for anything such as piracy/infringement of copyright and for any black hat techniques.
For all the methods to improving a site’s SEO, there are black hat and white hat techniques. Black hat techniques will get you quick clicks, but these clicks are not as valuable, and most likely will get you flagged or even banned. White hat techniques is following the given rules and guidelines of SEO, this will benefit you in higher quality clicks, where the user is genuinely interested in your site, will spend time on it, and possibly even recommend it to others.