How to rank on Google: SEO Basics (SEO Secret Tips)
You have got a beautiful website made and cannot stop gushing over it and have already taken feedback from your friends and family and have shared it over your social network but that is that. But you are still not seeing any traffic on your site post that day 1 Déjà vu?
Read our part 1 of this blog here. How to Rank on Google: Get online
Well you need to invest your time in a process called Search Engine Optimization aka SEO to get yourself listed on Search engines and have them direct traffic to your site. Let me help you with these easy SEO basics tips to get started and start seeing your website on Google search.
Indexing and Crawling: How search Works
Let’s get this straight search engines are a piece of code and work on some algorithm. The search engines need to first discover all your pages, URL’s, read all the content and add your URL’s to its database so that it can then show your site in search results.
The process of the search engine discovering your content and your site URL’s (Reading your site) is called as Crawling. And the process of them adding content to their database is called as Indexing.
You can also view this great interactive presentation by Google to understand How Search works on Google.
Keywords and Content: How Search Works
All search engines crawl and index a site based on the content and keywords. There is much more to a site ranking, however keywords are the most basic and the starting point for SEO of your site.
So what are keywords? Well keywords are the search term (Words or Phrases) that people key in to search for some answers. These are the most basic criteria for SEO and cannot be ignored.
Your content needs to be highly focused around your keywords and provide healthy and high quality information on your keyword. You need to have your keywords spread across the article and not force them in. Look to maintain a keyword density of 1-2.5%. Keyword stuffing is not a great idea.
How do you choose your keywords?
Marketing is about targeting your customers. Do not lose sight of this important learning with SEO basic implementation. Target what people search for, not what you think people search for.
Look at Google Auto complete and suggestions
The first place to start looking for search keywords is to start typing your search phrase in Google search bar and you would see auto complete options which would help you get an idea of what is popular.
Google Trends is your friend
Google Trends is a great website and tool to figure out what keywords are being searched for and what is trending in your particular geography.
Google Keywords Planner
Google AdWords has this free great tool called Keyword planner which not only helps you discover keywords but also look at the competition around that keyword. What is more is that you can discover new phrases and view their average monthly search volume. Fantastic isn’t it?
Long Tail keywords: Why long tail keywords?
Well let me use a simple analogy. If you are speaking to a prospect, the more questions you ask, the more sure you are about converting a lead. Well it is the same here. If you target a simple keyword like
“SEO”- well people could be searching for ‘how to do seo’, or ‘study seo’ or ‘seo jobs’ and etc. But if you target a long tail keyword like “SEO agency in India”, well you have a lead who is searching for your services. These customers are more likely to avail your services and also you are not competition with all the other SEO phrases and business. Long tail keywords are phrases with more than 4 words. Long tail keywords will help you reduce your efforts and increase your conversion.
Meta Tags are very important
Though Meta Tags have a larger role in SEO, but let us focus on the basics. Meta tags like Title and Description are ones that show up on the Search listing on Google and bing etc. These HTML tags are defined in the head section of your HTML page.
Inserting your keyword in these tags is a great way to get started. Why you may ask, well when a user searches for something, you have to realize that their subconscious mind is searching for the keyword. Get your keyword out there to have them click on your link.
A great template for your keyword could be the following
Title: Primary keyword, secondary keyword- Branding
Spice up your content
No one wants to look at bland content, nor does your search engine. – Anshuman Sen J
Search engines only rank sites which have great content and presentation.
Things to do
- Divide your content into paragraphs and small related content pieces
- Do not write a 2000 word essay, see if you can divide your content into multiple pages and sections.
- Use images. That gives the audience a break from textual content.
- Hyperlink internal content so that it helps users discover not only your great content but also helps them read more on a topic which they might not know about.
Things that you should not do
- Keyword stuffing is a bad idea. Do not try to exceed the 1-2.5% keyword density rule.
- You can try to avoid empty meta tags.
- Try and limit your paragraph word count to 250-300 words
- No jazzy up market language. The internet is for masses, keep your language simple and comprehensible, this is not an IELTS or TOFEL exam.
Help Google Crawl your site
If you have done the above steps and still not able to see your ranking on Google (Use smallseotools.com to check your ranking), you need to understand the discoverability of your website by search engines. We discussed about the process of Google bots crawling your site links to index your URL’s. Google bots are continuously crawling the web, however they need to find your website link and then crawl, and this could take 2-6 months unless you help Google discover you.
A better method is to generate a SITEMAP file, this is a document of all your site URL’s in a xml format. You would use this free tool to generate your free sitemap.xml file. Download your sitemap.xml file and upload it to the root folder of your site, so that the sitemap file could be accessible in this format
Once your sitemap is ready, you need to head over to Google Search console.
- Add and verify your website as a property on Google search console
- Under Crawl section, you need to update and submit your sitemap
Once your sitemap is accepted, Google bots crawl your site and index your URL’s, you can start seeing results.
Secret Tips to SEO
There are a few secret SEO tips which will help you rank better. Usually these are neglected and undocumented.
Review on your Google Plus page
Reviews by real humans on your Google Plus page (Google Map location Page) will really help in Local SEO. Keep in mind not to get a many reviews at the same time from the same IP address. Space them out and encourage your customers to review.
With more than 70% users are viewing your website or searching on a mobile device. Having a mobile first approach or a responsive website is very important. Your website needs to look great on not only the PC but on mobiles too. Side scroll on a mobile website is a strict NO NO.
This will ensure that your users spend more time on your website.
Reduce Bounce Rates
Google looks at bounce rates to understand how good a content is. Users who click on your link and do not interact with your website and close your page are considered as a bounce. How to design a website for low bounce rates?
- Make your topic obvious and clear right at the start
- Use images and text to tell your story on a page
- Look for Mobile usability of your site
Here is a quick recap of all the points
- Understand how crawling and indexing works
- Understand how search works, what are keywords
- Focus on Long tail keywords for conversion
- Discover Keywords using research and tools
- Create content with keywords and also spice up your content with images and links
- Do not forget meta tags
- Submit sitemap to Google
If you do the above things, also known as ON page SEO, you will surely start seeing your website on search engines for your chosen keywords. Getting a great ranking will need more efforts.
We would be coming up with OFF page SEO techniques on how to get a better ranking on Google in our next blog.