When you’ve finished designing the website, in other words, you’ve further developed it, you can get to work on the content. In this phase, you should consider applying SEO. So, what is SEO? Well, I’m going to explain this to you in this episode. You’ll get answers to the following questions:
- What is SEO?
- How do you put it into practice?
- How important is it?
- To what lengths should you go with SEO?
Last time we talked about the web design of your own WordPress website. Like I was telling you, web design has two meanings. The first meaning is the technical design or development of a website and the second meaning is a website’s graphic design. In that episode, I explained the graphic design to you.
SEO helps your website to be found easily
Sooner or later, anyone with a website will hear about SEO. It’s a term that’s often used on social media and networking events, by web design studios and in marketing. What is it? The term SEO stands for ‘Search Engine Optimization’. And what does it involve? SEO involves implementing certain changes to optimize the website for search engines, such as Google, Yahoo and Bing. The optimization makes it possible for search engines to list the website in search results for people looking for what the website has to offer. So, with a bit of attention to SEO, your website will be found easily and you’ll become visible online.
The next question is how you put SEO into practice. In order to optimize the website for search engines, you can either work on the technical side or on the content. Technical optimization can, among other things, increase the speed at which the website is loaded. By optimizing the content, your website will provide the information that potential visitors are looking for. In this episode, I’m going to focus on content. However, please contact me if you want to know more about the technical side.
How do you put SEO into practice?
Before I explain how to apply SEO to the website content, I’m going explain briefly how search engines work. It’s very simple really. Search engines work with webcrawlers, also known as web spiders, spiderbots or simply bots. A bot is a software program that constantly and systematically scans and subsequently rates content on the web according to pre-set algorithms. So, if you know exactly what it is that the bots scan and how the search engines rate this, you can take this into account when creating your website content.
This is what bots scan: the keywords, meta titles and meta description of web pages, and the alt text of images. In plain English:
- Keyword: A word or group of words that people enter as a search in a search engine’s search box
- Meta title: The name of a web page
- Meta description: A brief summary of the text on a web page, that is shown with the search results
- Alt text: A brief description of an image or video
What it comes down to, is using the keywords in the text on the website that best describes your website and what it has to offer. Around 2% of the total number of words on each web page. Even more important are the name (meta title) and the description (meta description) that you give to a page. That’s because these words are rated more highly by search engines than keywords. So, make sure that these suit the page. The same goes for the alt text. Unless the image is only used decoratively, you use the alt text to make clear what the image or video is about or what it’s called. If you apply all of this consistently to all of your content and submit the website sitemap for registration to Google, you will have completed the basics.
Search engine friendly and visitor friendly
Bear in mind, however, that this is only the beginning. Your website won’t be on page 1 directly after going online. You’ll still have to put in some effort to optimize your website. The question is to what lengths you should go. It all depends on how important SEO is to you. Some people don’t find it important at all, whereas others think it’s so important that they put in lots of time to get their website on the first search results page. Another option is putting in lots of money. The web is littered with online marketing agencies that specialize in SEO and make sure their clients’ websites are always in the top 10 or even top 3 search results.
I also used to value SEO very highly. Now I believe it’s just as important that the website has good texts that people can relate to. It’s up to you to find the balance between being search engine friendly and visitor friendly. This is where I remind you that it’s not Google but your visitors who are your clients and customers. If your website is easy to find, even though it’s not on the first page, and the visitors value your content highly, then the search engines will do the same. However, if visitors keep leaving your website early on, because they’re not finding what they’re looking for, the search engines will value your website differently.
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SEO needs time and effort
So, put yourself in your potential clients’ place and ask yourself how you would feel if you visited your own website. I can hear you saying: “I’m so glad I found your website! But even gladder that you provide what I’m looking for.” This is what you’ll accomplish if you stick to the basics I mentioned earlier. That means choosing your keywords carefully and using these in your texts in such a way that the texts are easy to read and appealing to visitors.
Search engine algorithms aren’t set for texts with a lot of keywords. So, there’s no point in an overdose of keywords. In fact, algorithms are constantly adjusted and nowadays, web pages with many keywords and little valuable information are valued less. That’s why it’s more effective to at least use your favourite keyword at the beginning of the text instead of using the same keywords very often throughout the text. When you’ve done this, use this keyword a few more times, for example halfway. Also make sure you actually use the keywords mentioned in your list of keywords for a certain web page. And use a meta description that represents the content.
Talking about the text content, this should be unique and personal. I myself believe this is very important and apparently so do search engines. They even reward it more and more. SEO needs time and effort, and it’s more difficult to maintain a good position in the search results than getting one. However, if you’re prepared to put in some effort and not afraid to experiment, your efforts will eventually be rewarded with visitors who are willing to reward you for what you have to offer.
SEO made easy
Are you going to get started on your website SEO? Make it easy on yourself with these 7 steps:
- Carefully choose keywords that are relevant
- Use these sparingly in your texts (2%)
- Use the most important keyword at the beginning of the text
- In the page information, name the keywords you’ve used in the text and also in the title and header 2
- Make sure there are suitable and concise meta titles and meta descriptions
- Provide images with a suitable alt text if the images provide relevant information
- Take your time and experiment