One thing that is a little bit surprising is the lack of actual search engine optimization we find quite often on people’s content. Look, if you’re taking the time to create the content, you may as well take the extra few minutes it takes to make sure you’re getting the most potential benefit from that traffic right?
You can very well have the greatest product, blog, video or image on the entire internet, but if nobody can find it because it’s drowned out by the other fifty million posts on a similar subject, you may as well have not even created it.
SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is a massive topic and definitely one we couldn’t cover in one small blog post. There are entire books, sets of books even, written around the topic. But that doesn’t mean you can’t get any benefit from getting the basics correct.
A “search engine” (which for most people is Google), is built around returning the content most relevant to whatever it is the user has typed in they’re looking for information about. They find this content through the use of what they call “crawlers” or “spiders” and they then index the content so it can later be found by users searching for content on that topic.
A search engine will “rank” (how close to the top of the page the content is when searched for) by how relevant it believes your content is and how popular your content is. Ranking isn’t something the search engine companies will tell you how they do it, but there are things that we do know certainly help.
- Make sure your site is mobile friendly
- Speed your site loads
- Link Structure
- Relevant Content
These are just a few examples, there are definitely others that go into how a piece of content ranks. You still have a whole other side to it which is called “off site” SEO and we’ll get into that in a later post.
But for now, these are just a few things that you can make sure you are getting right. There’s many ways to check if your site is mobile friendly and loads quickly, simply Google “is my site mobile friendly” and watch what comes up. Then “how fast does my site load” and you’ll have plenty of options to check.
Link structure refers to the actual link your content sits on such as “www.yourdomain.com/yourpost.” This also applies to image urls that you may have on your site. If your content is about how birds fly, then you’d want your url to look like: yourdomain/howbirdsfly instead of yourdomain/newpost3
Tags let the crawlers know what the content is about and is how Google creates the snippets you see sometimes when you look for a topic. It’s also an easy way to group similar content together from searching tags.
Headlines let the reader know what the content is about, but it is also another way to let the search engine know how relevant the content is to the word or phrase that was searched. You will want to make sure you get the word or phrase you’re trying to rank for in both the url and the headline.
Relevant Content is how you bring up other information that is relevant to the content you have created. So for example if you’re creating a site about birds, you could talk about bird houses, bird migration patterns, bird feeding habits etc. While your original content is about how birds fly, all of these other pieces of information are about “other” aspects of birds and therefore relevant content. This allows you to again provide a better indication that your content is going to give the user the best experience, which is exactly what the search engine wants.
Again, there are entire series of books written on this subject and we’ll go further into it in future posts, but for now, start making sure you can get these basics in place. You’ll be surprised how many people don’t and it will give you an automatic advantage.