SEO appears to be an elusive, ever-changing puzzle, which is partly true because the algorithms used by search engines are constantly changing.
However, essentially, the goal of search engines is to find the most relevant and helpful content to show you when you search for something.
So the fundamental rules of SEO remain the same. And we’ll use them to guide you through every step of creating and optimising content for your site.
Optimising your content for SEO involves:
- Creating Excellent, High-Quality Content
- Proper Use of Relevant Keywords
- Creating Quality Links
- Ensuring Mobile Responsiveness
Creating Excellent, High-Quality Content
If you have authentic, high-quality content that contains and offers authentic, one-of-a-kind, information-rich articles and posts, you’re on the right track.
Google’s artificial learning algorithms prefer beneficial, natural content written for the user. And this is because that is what your audience will respond to, and thus that is what search engines will promote.
A lot of content on the internet these days is simply a rehash of existing content, which isn’t very useful. And that type of content will not help your eCommerce site stand out SEO-wise.
So here are the main things you should do to ensure excellent, high-quality content for better SEO.
Write Clear Titles and Headlines for All Pages and Posts
The most important aspect of headlines is to inform people about what they are about to read. If your headline entices users to read more, then that is a bonus but you have to keep this aspect in mind too.
You should only consider inserting keywords into headlines if they sound natural and aid in describing your content.
So to write excellent titles or headlines, these points need to be kept in mind.
- Focus on ensuring clarity and understanding.
- See if you can write them in a way that encourages people to go and read the rest of the content.
- Try to use your keyword only if it serves clarity and understanding, and proper grammar.
Consider a website that’s all about cats (cat training, adoption, food, etc.).
And let’s say you’re writing a blog post about teaching a cat to let go and drop whatever it has in its mouth.
A title like “OMG drop that dead mouse!” creates a comedic connection with your audience. But “Train your cat to drop it” can be more effective as a headline.
This is because the latter title contains terms that people are more likely to search.
You can simply push the comedy and relatability into your article’s body. But be sure to lead with a more straightforward and quickly searchable headline.
Create Benefit-Driven or Story-Driven Headings
Headings are like headlines for each section of your entire content. You can find them as the ones in bold throughout this article.
They enable your audience to skim through a longer article.
Also, they allow search engines to effectively detect major themes on your website.
When you’ve finished writing an article, it would be best to go back and review it, only reading the headlines and headings. Then ask yourself “do they aid in driving and highlighting the story?”
On the “drop it” cat training blog, your headings could be the main training steps (hand the cat a toy / wait / give it a treat when it drops the toy, etc.).
The content under each heading should then explain that step in depth.
Writing this way, it can be simple for readers to follow the article and quickly refer to the main points during training.
Be Specific With Image Titles, Captions and Alt Text
The primary purpose of image titles, captions and alt text is to assist your visitors in understanding what the image is if it fails to load or if they use a site reader.
Search engines will also use alt text to figure out what the image is about. By doing so, they can display your image in image search results.
So keep descriptions short, natural, and accurate. And as with headlines, only use keywords if they truly help explain.
“A cat is excited to get a training treat” to describe the above image is better than instead of just using the keywords “cat training.”
Organise Your Content Using Clear Tags & Categories
Tags and categories are both used in WordPress and other website platforms.
Categories organise your posts into broad groups, wcould includedescribe specific details within those posts.
These elements help you sort content for search engines and your audience. They also allow your readers to easily navigate through the topics that are of interest to them.
For your cat website, categories might include “cat training, cat food and cat exercises.”
On the other hand, tags within the training category couldinclude terms like “sit, come and stay.”
Search engines reward helpful, easy-to-navigate content. So if you organise your categories and tags in a way that they help readers find information conveniently, they become automatically optimised for SEO.
Proper Use of Relevant Keywords
In the old days of SEO, you really had to put effort into using entire keywords in your titles, headings and copy. Keywords were mostly the way search engines would recognise the content of web pages.
Now, Google and other search engines are more intuitive and they can use your content’s organisation and context to understand what it is about.
Here are things you need to keep in mind when using keywords in your content for SEO.
Keep Things Natural
Use the words that people are using to discuss your topic – those that sound appropriate for your company, your readership, and your style of writing.
If you’re not sure what words people are using, search for them on forums or use online tools to find and compare trending terms.
For your cat website, you may consider using the keyword “cat training” because it feels natural.
But could “cat obedience” be better for search?
With a quick look at Google Trends, you can see that “cat training” is a more popular search term.
Its interest over time has been at a steady high compared to the steady low of cat obedience. It means people use the keyword cat training way more often than the other when they are looking for answers or information.
You may want to use the following platforms.
When you find the proper keywords to use, avoid keyword stuffing in your content.
Keyword stuffing is the deliberate repetitive use of keywords in an attempt to boost SEO. But it doesn’t work because Google and other search engines can quickly sense if your content is only spamming keywords without the backing of relevant, quality content.
So see to it that you use keywords very naturally and ensure that you don’t use the same terms again and again. Mix things up with synonyms if you have to.
Remember that if your words sound unnatural, they will turn off your readers too.
Use a Descriptive Website Name and Taglines
Remember that everything, right down to the name and tagline of your website, is searchable.
So including keywords in your website name and taglines can help, especially if your domain name doesn’t use keywords.
Looking at the site name, it can be simple for readers to know what your business is about. Also, with the tagline, your business model is summarised and made clear.
Creating Quality Links
Your links are highly significant to your SEO.
Links essentially help label your content and create some sort of organisation for your website. So you have to put a focus on ensuring that you name yours right.
Also, you need to put an effort into getting other internet sources to link to your content or get backlinks. The more quality backlinks you get, the more Google and other search engines will judge your content to be reliable and thus worthy of ranking higher.
Here are vital points you need to consider about your links.
Use Custom Permalinks
When it comes to how your permalinks are generated, WordPress provides a few options.
Go to Settings > Permalinks and configure how you want URLs to include details such as your post title.
Customizing the URLs in this way (using your post title) improves the searchability of your URLs.
If you want to completely customize them, you can do so as well.
But as a warning, remember that if you have existing pages that are receiving traffic, changing their URLs may have an impact on your SEO ranking.
Strategically Create Your Internal Linking
Internal links move visitors from one page of your website to another.
This diagram illustrates a simple interlinking between pages.
The home page can lead people to two categories, “Cat Food” and “Cat Accessories.” And they have subcategories to further categories and so on.
Internal links can be added within a post or article.
It is common practice to include a link within an article. But because they can disturb your reading, you should only use those that are purposeful and relevant.
An article on your site may include the statement “You need cat vitamins to ensure that your pet is healthy all throughout training.”
So you might want to use the word “cat vitamins” as an anchor text to lead the reader to an article about cat vitamins or directly to your Cat Vitamins product page.
One excellent practice for interlinking articles is to use the SILO method as illustrated below.
Utlising the SILO method involves creating smaller articles to link back to bigger articles so that the latter ranks well in terms of SEO.
And as a bonus, implementing an organised structure for your blogs like this makes it easier for your readers to navigate your content.
Build Credible External Links
External links bring people from a page on your website to somewhere else on the internet that’s not on your website or vice versa.
They are links that take a user either away from your domain or direct them to your domain.
- They can be inbound external links, meaning there’s an anchor text or button on someone else’s web page that, when clicked, brings the user to a page on your website.
- They can also be outbound external links, meaning that there’s an anchor text or button on your web page that, when clicked, brings the user to somewhere else on the internet that’s not on your website.
So obviously, you want more inbound external links or backlinks.
The more people are pointing to and engaging with your content, the more Google and other search engines will find that your content is reliable.
But outbound links can also help SEO indirectly.
You can verify sources with outbound links, leading readers to realise that your content is trying to help them.
The more help they feel they get, the more they may further engage with your content. And greater traffic tells Google and other search engines that your content is reliable and value adding to the reader.
Remember that all viewers of your website most probably initially went onto a search engine because they were looking for something and had a need they wanted met.
Ensuring Mobile Responsiveness
In total, 7.26 billion people own a smart or feature phone, accounting for 91.54% of the world’s population. And you can be sure that your web pages and posts are not only going to be seen in desktop mode.
So you need to ensure that your website is entirely mobile-friendly, and not just for your readers’ convenience.
Google explained in 2018 that mobile-first indexing indexes the URL of your site’s mobile-friendly version.
Google displays the mobile URL to mobile users and the desktop URL to desktop users if your website has separate mobile and desktop URLs.
Whatever the case may be, the indexed content will be the mobile version.
Use a Responsive Theme
A responsive theme reorganises your website for different screen sizes, ensuring that visitors viewing your website on their phone or tablet see your full content in an easily readable format.
It also means that your visitors, whether on a laptop or a phone, will recognise your content and know where to find things.
If visitors find it difficult to navigate your site on their device, they will quickly leave and return to their search results.
And, because search engines want to promote useful websites, if guests bounce quickly from your site back to their search, the search engine will take note, which can harm your website’s ranking.
Make sure the box labelled “Search Engine Visibility” is not checked under Settings > Reading.
Checking that box actually checks “Discourage search engines from indexing this site” and prevents search engines from indexing your site.
Use SEO plugins
SEO plugins can make it simple for you to optimise your website’s content.
You can use:
These plugins can provide you with intuitive data and give you notifications or hints about what your content may be lacking in terms of SEO.
Optimising Your Content for SEO Increases More Than Just Traffic
Content is the most important aspect of SEO because it is the first thing that search engines will see when they crawl your site.
So make sure you write content that is informative, useful and authentic and do the technical work that ensures your pages and posts are crawled and indexed.
Optimised content will get you traffic that you can convert. The more of these you have, the bigger your revenue.