What is SEO?

For some years now, almost every web development website and hosting services have been talking about one thing: SEO. They promise to do wonders for your website SEO, they offer you very expensive services in order to increase it, they bomb your email inbox with tons of resources about it. But, what is SEO?.

There is a lot to discuss about SEO. There are plenty of books, articles and courses about it. In this post we are going to cover some basics about it.

What is SEO? SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization

As it name suggest, SEO is the process in which we make a few tweaks in our website in order to optimize its performance for the search engines. What does it exactly mean for your website?

  • Your website will appear higher in the search results, improving your online presence.
  • It will increase the quality and quantity of your audience, and potentially, your conversion rate.
  • It will improve your brand trust and credibility.

How do I improve my website SEO?

The number of techniques that you can use to improve your website SEO are countless. But these are a few basic actions you can use to improve it.

Write meaningful and quality content

When you’re setting up your website, you must have defined which is your target audience, that is: who are you writing for? Once you’ve defined your target audience, write about subjects that are meaningful for your target audience.

In other words, if you started a blog about cooking and all of the sudden you start writing about cars, your audience might get a bit confused, and you will lose audience.

The format and the style of the text are your best friends

Remember to use the different text formats to emphasize your ideas and help your audience to spot important parts of the text. You can use different formats like bold, italics, underline and strike through.

Make an effort to make your content attractive.

Give your content a proper structure

When you are writing a long post or making a page with a lot of content, you can consider using headings to create a hierarchical structure. It will not only improve how search engines process your content, but it will also help your readers to distinguish between the different parts of it.

There are a few things to keep in mind when using headings:

  • Respect the order. Using a h4 heading for a main title and then using a h1 for an inner section title doesn’t make a lot of sense.
  • Use them for structure, not for style.
  • Don’t write long headings, keep them short.
  • If your content is long enough and it has a lot of headings, you can consider using a table of contents. It will help the search engines to index your content.

Use pretty URLs

If you have used WordPress, you might have noticed that the default look of every post URL is something like this: https://webdevcorner.com/?p=4579. Does it tell you something about the content of the post? Absolutely not.

Instead, you should use URLs that give your audience an insight of what is the page about. It will not only be good for your audience but it will increase your visibility in search engines.

Now, what about this one: https://webdevcorner.com/seo/what-is-seo ? Better than the previous link, right?

Use the right metadata

Let’s check this image:

List of results from a Google search

Have you ever wondered where do the title and the descriptions of the search results come from? Well, they are part of those pages’ metadata.

The metadata comes from meta tags. They are snippet of code that content useful information about your website and its pages. This data won’t be displayed on your website directly, instead, it will be used by search engines to display information about your website.

Some of the most important meta tags are:

Illustrated example of meta tags. Image from https://blog.hubspot.com
  • Title: this is the text that will appear as the title of your website in the search results.
  • Description: this is the portion of text that will appear below the title of your website in the search results.
  • Keywords: a list of words that are relevant for a website page, and for the search result.
  • Robots: indicates the search engines what to do with the page itself and the links inside it. Should they be ignored or followed?

There a lot of websites that indicate how to properly use meta tags. Also, if you use a CMS like WordPress, there are a bunch of plugins that will help you with the usage of meta tags. One of my favorites is Yoast SEO.

Wrapping up

There is a lot to say about SEO. If we continue, this post will never end.

These are a few basic tips that will increase your website SEO. We will cover more on this subject later.

Also, keep in mind that improving your SEO is not a thing that takes a few minutes. It takes time, consistency and hard work, but at the end it will be totally worth it. It is easier to start doing things right from the beginning, than fixing them once you have started, but it is not impossible of course.

If you are a WordPress beginner and this SEO thing if new to you, I really encourage you to give Yoast SEO plugin a try. It will make your life easier with the SEO of your new blog. It’ll help you with the SEO and readability of every post and page of your blog, and it’ll give proper advice of how to fix the problems you have. Even with those you didn’t even know you have.

An example of how Yoast SEO plugin analyze your content.

SEO is a very important subject for every website. Here in the Web Dev Corner we’ll be talking about it in the next posts. Make sure you don’t miss anything.

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