Your Quick and Easy Guide to Better SEO.
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization, and constitutes virtually anything and everything having to do with making your site easier to find on search engines. This is done with the purpose in mind of increasing the volume and/or quality of traffic to the site.
Google, which currently holds market dominance in the world of Web search, frequently changes its algorithms to make its results more attuned to the needs of the user. Over the past several years, its search service has evolved to include social integration and email content analysis. If you are an Android or Google mobile application user, your habits and exact location can be used to better predict what exactly what you might be searching for. If you search "breakfast taco" on your phone from the corner of First and Main Street, your results might be different than they would be if you searched from the corner of Second and Elm. Why? Because, Google has a very advanced system in place to match each individual user to the right results.
The practice of SEO attempts to position your site and its content in a way that gives it the best chance possible to appear on the front page of search results for the right audience and with the right keywords.
A comprehensive SEO strategy includes a wide range of considerations including:
There are several steps you can take to improve your site's SEO aside from changing the content itself.
Joomla, WordPress, and most other popular CMSs out there allow you to toggle an option that adds the title of your site to every page title as it appears in search. This is an important part of SEO because it not only makes it easier for people searching for your site to find you, but it increases brand identity and consistency across every page on your site.
It also does not hurt if every article search engines crawl on your site furthers your brand's authority with a given topic. While no one outside of these organizations really knows exactly what the authority algorithms look for, this step could not hurt. Each instance of your site's title or brand sitting alongside articles and pages about a topic you wish to gain ranking in is a good thing.
Often, sites depend on their logo to establish a brand. Unfortunately, there are not any search engines today that link brands to content via an image, even if that image has a file name that correlates with the brand. Mention of your brand in the content body is good, but the title is better.
For Joomla users, setting these SEO options is a fairly simple and straightforward process. Just navigate to Administrator -> Global Configuration and look for the options listed below.
|Search Engine Friendly URLs||URLs are rewritten to be more friendly for search engine spiders.|
|Use URL Rewriting||Uses the mod_rewrite settings of Apache when creating SEF URLs.|
|Adds Suffix to URL||Adds .html to the end of URLs.|
|Unicode Aliases||Allows non-Latin characters in title and URL.|
|Include Site Name in Page Titles||Appends the site name to all page titles.|
Including your site's name in page titles only impacts how the title appears in your browser's tab. As far as search engines go, it also adds a branding to search results. This enables people to quickly identify and select your site's article over any others that might appear in the page. It is a quick way around having to dig through the page description to find what you are looking for.
There is a downside with doing this. Your total SEF (Search Engine Friendly) title should be no more than 70 characters. If your site's brand is 10 characters with a space, dash, and a space separating it from the main title, you will need to account for 13 fewer characters in your individual article titles.
Unicode aliases are only really useful if you use non-Latin characters in your site or article titles. For example, if you use the Greek alphabet as part of your site's name, then you will want to turn this feature on. Otherwise, it is probably best left off.
This feature rewrites URLs in a way that makes it easier for someone to tell what the article is about by the URL alone. It is a useful strategy that has become part of several major search engine's ranking algorithms. If your site URLs are not easy to understand, then there is probably less of a chance someone will click on them if it were passed on through Twitter or email.
While the science of SEO changes regularly, there are a few tips that have endured over the years as good SEO practice. Here are a few tips to help you better position your site for search engine ranking.
Keywords are key. If you were searching for a how-to guide relating to setting up an Ikea desk, you would probably type something like
How to Assemble Ikea Desks into the search engine rather than a more perfectly formed sentence. In this case, you are using keywords to search for directions.
By titling your article, "How to Assemble Ikea Desks" rather than "Ikea Desk Assembly Directions", you are setting yourself up to receive more traffic.
Those keywords do not just extend to your title. You should use them no less than three times throughout your article. This is called keyword padding, and it allows the search engine to better relate your page's content to the subject the person is searching for. Here are a few examples of sentences that could be used to utilize those keywords in the content body of the article:
These phrases should be separated by at least 50-100 words, but they will make a difference on how search engines like Google and Yahoo rank your content.
There is a debate going on between SEO analysts concerning the recommended length of an article. Search engines tend to rank sites and content based on authority, and it is hard to believe they would treat a 100-word article the same way they would one with over 1,000 words.
In general, the first 300 words are believed to be what Google and Bing capture and store as part of the page's description in the absence of a defined one. It is this description potential visitors see in search results, and part of what search engines base the page's ranking on. These first 300 words should include keywords, a description of the content to follow, and a hook that captures the reader's attention and makes them want to read more.
An article that is artificially pumped full of words can come across as cumbersome and dull. It is more important to have good content than to inflate your word count artificially. Consider article length as a goal and not a rule of thumb.