The complete seo tips you need for every website today

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Fashanu T.

31, Dec 2020

12 Minutes Read...


What is SEO and why do every website owners need to know about it.

SEO means search engine optimization. It is simply all about doing the right things in order to rank higher in search engine result page. Search engine being Google, Bing and others.

SEO also refers to all the methods used in order to have your website and its content appear in the first page of  —lets say a google search result page. (SERP)— Search engine result page. 

In this article, we will cover these key points in no chronological order:

  1. Keyword(s)
  2. Anchor tag
  3. Content
  4. User Experience
  5. Schema markup
  6. Caching
  7. Page speed
  8. Image tag
  9. Meta tags
  10. Duplicate content
  11. Sitemap
  12. Website bottleneck
  13. Static and dynamic website

Lets get back to SEO real quick::

Note that when i mean SEO, i am talking about both WordPress and non WordPress websites included.

If you have read about SEO in other blogs or website, you will notice that there content are mostly geared towards WordPress, Joomla, Vuepress or anything having a CMS — content management system. But at Apluswebmaker, we serves both developers and non developers.

You should also know that when it comes to SEO, there are few things you need to have at the back of your mind.

  • Your domain age and reputation plays a huge factor in your ranking. For Apluswebmaker, its been little than a month. I would be over-achieving and day dreaming if i expect this page to rank number one in the next month from the time of writing, but i expect a better result overtime (obviously).
  • Doing all the right things don't necessarily mean you will rank first, but likely close. That is because there are so many factors google consider for its ranking which might be out of your hands to begin with.
  • There is no perfect road map to SEO. Experienced and bigger websites leverage long term learning, using several tools, — google analytics report included to better under how to create content that ranks high.

With that out of the way, you can be at least 50% guaranteed your page will eventually rank high enough, and with more effort, maybe your page will pop up as the first result in a google search result page by using the few tips listed below:

Creating rich contents

One of the most important, if not the most important is the actual content of your article.

Content quality goes a long way to tell google that it's time to move your web page up the food chain.

What this means is that, if your contents are engaging enough to keep users coming back for more, or staying put to read through it all, just know that google knows. And there my friend, you are on the right track to ranking higher 😃.

— Fun fact: do you know that there are hardly any new contents out there to write about, except maybe news headline or something similar.

For blog owners, starting out is the most difficult step, and if you had read the top part of this article, i made mention of your website age and reputation.

So, if you are just starting out, you have no reputation to rely upon.

That means that you have to start out like every other popular websites you see out there —slowly growing from scratch and walking your way up there.

Now a question might arise: how do we write something that a lot of other big websites had covered already, and still climb all the way up too?

Well, you adopt a method i call clarity. 

—this is all about searching for a particular keyword you will like to write about, and then you move on to do your research. Find something those highly ranked websites failed to covered and make sure you cover them on your next article. If you discover some wrong or incomplete information, add that in your next article as well. 

Secondly, if you made mention of something foreign or not easily understood by everyone, make sure you start out by defining the terms used before you proceed.

furthermore, if you feel you have some core words or phrases that requires an article of there own, but you don't know much about it or feel you need to write about it, provide a backlink to a reputable website that covers that topic, as that will make your website feel a lot more open minded and vast.

Lastly, — still on backlinks. Google bots, like every other user, sees the links to other posts you added to your article. That simply means that those links rank higher if the article you publish eventually rank high. So, make sure you provide the links to other content you feel might be relevant to what you are writing about. And a little between 4 to 10 links is a good range when it comes to adding backlinks.

Embedding videos in your articles

If you feel your article will be better served in a video, you can simply post your edited video to YouTube and add it to your article. The reason for this is because, if a user search for a content that targets your keyword, you will get to rank for both video and article. 

And while that doesn't necessarily double your chances of ranking first, it goes a long way into driving google algorithm in your favor.

Lastly, videos are easily shared and accessible compared to writing an article for instance. The fact remains that people can stick around to watch a 10 minutes video compared to reading through a 10 minutes article.

Caching

This is mostly important for WordPress websites.

Take a look into the source code of a WordPress article. You can do this by right clicking on a WordPress site post and choosing view page source in the menu list that appears in your browser.

In the source document, you will see links to several scripts, files and more, and with all those links, it's no surprise if your WordPress website loads sluggishly. The good news is that you can remedy this by installing a caching plugin in WordPress and that will be all.

For developers building a website from scratch, unless you are making multiple concurrent request to the database, or having extensive computation going on in the backend, or the returned data size is quite large, i.e. returning over 100 thousand rows or more for instance, caching feels more like an over kill to be honest.

If you however opt for caching, its either you are serving your most used content from the server ram or creating, opening, reading and writing from multiple files that represent each page on your website (most likely). While this can save a fraction of a second, the benefit it intangible.

User experience is important for SEO

Let me say that i have come across several websites, both dynamic and static, and one thing they all have in common is how annoying it is when there pages load.

Being the hasty type, all i want to do is to navigate to a familiar website, immediately click on one of its menus to get to my required destination. Only after clicking do i realized i had just pushed a download button to an app, or some annoying ads that floats around the screen.

For the general users like me, this can prompt me to find an alternative website, unless it's hard to find one.

If you want to place ads, do it in a constructive way that will not annoy your users.

Talking about ads, if you need help on ads placement and how to attract users into clicking them, a simple google search is all you need for ideas.

For non google ads, you should only accept ads from companies that relates to your niche. You can't be running a recipe blog and expect your users to click an ads talking about web development 😕.

Next: how responsive your website is...

Google bots behave more and more like human these days. They can tell apart a desktop from a mobile website. What this means is that, if your website is not responsive, you will only rank for your version of that website, and lose out on ranking for both categories because google already knows what device you use.

Last but not the least on user experience, make sure your website navigation menus are easy to reach and understand. You can choose to display important links while making the rest a dropdown.

Improving your website speed

To be honest, you might have a thoroughly planned out article —unique even. Lets just say you did everything right but your article ends up in an awful position in search results for months, even if your content is whey better than those ranking above you. What you should pay more attention to is your website load time.

Research has shown that a website that takes longer to load ranks low in SERPs and so will the number of its users decline.

No one, i mean absolutely no one wants to wait around for a 8 seconds load time on any website, especially when they are certain their web connection is perfectly fine.

So how do you improve your website speed?

For WordPress users, caching your website, optimizing your images, disabling your theme preloader, uninstalling irrelevant plugins and add-ons will go a long way to improve your website speed.

For non WordPress websites, make sure you use less plugins and external scripts.

Except its necessary, you should choose to write your own JavaScript rather than including a JQuery library.

Meta and title tags

For non WordPress website, there are so many relevant meta tags you need to know about when starting from scratch. The good news for WordPress developers and users is that, this is handled by WordPress and the others by plugins like Yoast or its equivalent at the backend. So, all you have to do is to fill in the appropriate fields and it will be handled automatically.

Note: if you are not a developer, you can skip this section:

When it comes to meta tags, there are few relevant ones you need to know about.

  1. <mata charset="utf-8"/>
  2. <meta name="viewport" content="width=device-width"/>
  3. <title>AplusWebMaker — article</title>
  4. <meta name="description" content="your journey to web dev"/>
  5. <meta name="Keywords" content="wordpress, seo tips"/>
  6. <link rel="canonical" href="https://apluswebmaker.com/how-.."/>
  7. <script type="application/ld+json"> {...} </script>
  8. Open graph tags
  9. Meta tags for Twitter and Facebook

For a web developer starting out, i will assume you are already familiar with some of these tags. So, i will only focus on the canonical, open graph, Twitter and Facebook meta tags, as well as a bit on the keyword meta tag.

Lets start with the keyword meta tag.

—quick history: few years ago, a lot of website added long comma separated text in the keyword meta tag. Some call it an abuse, others sees it as an opportunity to rank for every keyword by going an extra mile to adding words their article never covered in order to rank for those keywords as well.

Not too long afterward, search engines began to ignore the keyword tag in favor of the actual content of the article and also rely heavily on its algorithm to figure out what the article is about.

Bots began to punish websites that abuses the keyword tag, and as a result, most website opt to omit it entirely. The keyword meta tag is however still relevant today, but it should not be abused, less be punished for it.

Using Canonical tag

You should include a canonical tag if your article can be accessed from different links.

Lets have a look at the url below for instance:

  • http://king.com/how-i-read-books
  • http://king.com/how-i-read-books/
  • https://king.com/how-i-read-books
  • https://king.com/how-i-read-books/

To you, the four urls above might not mean a lot, but to a search engine bots, it could means different files entire. And that my friend, is how duplicate contents arise 😐.

Duplicate content is when a article on your website can be accessed from different urls.

This posses a dilemma for search bots because, duplicate contents can significantly affect your website search ranking.

The way to combat this is by adding a canonical tag in the head section of your post. For WordPress website, this is done automatically for you.

The canonical tag tells google bot to index only the provided link in place of any other links used in accessing that content. Either through http, https, www etc.

Sitemap

Sitemap is simply a xml or html file containing a list of your website url links.

Think of it as a file containing all the possible public directories on your website.

So why is sitemap important and why do you need to have it on your website.

If you are just starting out a website, either using WordPress or not, there is this burning desire in you to rank as high as possible and drive as much traffic to your website from Google search and other search engine. But, you realize how frustrating it is for these search bots to index and rank your website based on what you are offering, rich content or not.

A sitemap is one way to point search engines to your website and that means more traffic —right, and all you have to do is make an xml file of your website public url directories and submit it on google search console.

A regular sitemap contains tags that looks more like below 

apache
<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"? />
 <urlset> 
  <url>
    <loc>https://example.com/blog/text-formatting/</loc>
    <lastmod>2020-09-01</lastmod>
    <changefreq>monthly</changefreq>
    <priority>0.6</priority>
  </url>
</urlset>
  • The <url> tag holds all the data for a single url link on your website.
  • The <loc> tag specifies the full path to a link on your website.
  • The <lastmod> tag specifies the last time a change was made to the link content.
  • The <changefreq> tag specifies the frequency of your changes to the content of the url.
  • The <priority> tag holds a scale of 0 - 1 in terms of url priority.

You should add your sitemap at the index of your public_html folder, and also add it to your robot.txt file just for good measures 😃. 

robot.txt is just a text file that gives directives to search bot crawling through your website. You can add directives that tells search bots to index or not to follow certain links in your website. You can also tell search bot to craw through your site map.

To add a site map in your robot.txt file, simply create a robot.txt file and add this to it:

Auto-detect
Sitemap: https://example.com/sitemap.xml
User-agent: *
Disallow:

Last but not the least, head to google search console, click start, add your website domain and click submit sitemap from the navigation menu, add your site maps and call it a day.

Include Open graph tags in your article head section

Open graph was developed by Facebook for link sharing. This provides social media a better understanding of your website.

You probably must have come across this. When you post a link into Facebook, LinkedIn, Quota, Twitter and other popular social media websites, you will notice an automatic loaded image, title and description used in that link.

To simplify, open graph tags (og:) are what all these social media gets all there information from.

So, including it in the head section will not only improve your search engine ranks, but also you social media rank as well.

The meta tag for Twitter and Facebook functions a lot like the open graph tag. They also provide additional useful information to anyone accessing your link through social media.

Meta tag content like your Facebook page id, Twitter user, author and more comes to play here. For more read, check this link.

Schema markup for SEO

The schema script is used by search engine to better understand the structure of your article or website. If you have ever searched on google and a website pops up with a search bar, and several other links associated with it, that is schema in play.

313668648schema.jpg

Schema Markup

Schema shows search bots how your website is structured, and in turn search engines will be able to understand how to present your website to users. Good news is that there is a Google schema markup creator for you to build your own schema markup today. For more read on schema markup, check here.

Add alt text to all your images

This applies to both WordPress and non WordPress users. Adding alt text helps google bot better understand the content of your images. It also aids audio readers and those with eye disability to better understand your content.

—still on meta tags, your article title, meta description and slug (url) must be meaningful and should relate with the core points in of article. That means you shouldn't just copy and paste a section of your content into your description box and call it a day. Make a meaningful summary of no more than 160 character for your meta description.

The use of hyphens and underscore

While this might seem irrelevant, hyphens is mostly associated with space while underscore is an extension of a word. For example:

how-to-catch-a-big_lion is almost like how_to_catch_a_big_lion

Note: there is no harm in using underscore as a seperator in your url. But, underscore is mostly associated with extension for names, things etc, i.e Fashanu_Tosin.

User Engagement enhances SEO

Allow user to comment on your page when possible. Because, search engine can also understand and identify a highly engaging article. Take medium.com as an example.

Last but not the least, pick static over dynamic pages for your content. For WordPress users, all article are served as static, but for a developer using react without a pre-render library included, this can negatively impact that website ranking.

This is because end users see text generated through JavaScript, but search bots sees the source file of the website and guess what, it's plain JavaScript. It either your website source code looks like this:

818198996view-source.jpg

Static Website Source Code

Or like this:

320957504react-page-source.png

React Page Source Code

The last one doesn't leave anything for search bot to index. And while google says they see JavaScript, its better to be on the safer side by pre-rendering a react application for SEO.

In conclusion, make sure you always provide search engine the necessary ingredient they need know that your content is relevant and need to be ranked higher —cheers 🙂.