SEO
Software Development

Basic Search Engine Optimization

What is SEO?

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization which means taking an online content and optimizing it so that search engines like Google show it towards the top of the page during search. This is a continuous practice to increasing the quantity and quality of traffic of your website through organic search engine results.

How Google Search Works?

Google gets information from many different sources, including:

  • Web pages
  • User-submitted content such as Google My Business and Maps user submissions
  • Book scanning
  • Public databases on the internet
  • Many other sources

However, this page focuses on web pages. Google follows three basic steps to generate results from web pages:

Crawling: The first step is finding out what pages exist on the web. Google constantly search for new pages and add them to its list of known pages. Other pages are discovered when Google follows a link from a known page to a new page. Still other pages are discovered when a website owner submits a sitemap for Google to crawl. Once Google discovers a page URL, it visits, or crawls, the page to find out what’s on it.

Indexing: Google analyzes both the text and non-text content like image, video and overall visual layout to decide where it can appear in Search results. This process is called Indexing.

Serving: When a user types a query, Google tries to find the most relevant answer from its index based on different factors. Google tries to determine the highest quality answers that will provide the best user experience and most appropriate answer, by considering things such as the user’s location, language, and device.

Basic Steps to implement SEO in your website

Inform Google which page you don’t want to crawl by Google

Using Robot.txt file you can block unwanted crawling from Google. A robots.txt file tells search engines whether they can access and therefore crawl parts of your site. This file, which must be named robots.txt and is placed in the root directory of your site.

For sensitive information, use more secure settings to block unwanted crawling. Robot.txt is not the ideal option to restrict sensitive information to crawl, instead you must use “noindex nofollow” metadata tag in the page.

Create unique, accurate page titles

A <title> tag tells both search engines what the topic of a particular page is. Place the <title> tag within the <head> element of the HTML document and create a unique title for each page on your site.

Choose your page description which will describe the page uniquely and properly in your website. And use brief and descriptive title.

Avoid using same title in many pages, don’t use a title which is not related to that page, avoid using long title for a page.

Use the description meta tag

A page’s description meta tag gives Google and other search engines a summary of what the page is about. A page’s title may be a few words or a phrase, whereas a page’s description meta tag might be a sentence or two or even a short paragraph. Like the <title> tag, the description meta tag is placed within the <head> element of your HTML document.

Description meta tags are important because Google might use them as snippets for your pages. Note that we say “might” because Google may choose to use a relevant section of your page’s visible text if it does a good job of matching up with a user’s query.

Avoid the following while creating the description tag-

  1. Writing a description meta tag that has no relation to the content on the page.
  2. Using generic descriptions like “This is a web page” or “Page about baseball cards”.
  3. Filling the description with only keywords.
  4. Copying and pasting the entire content of the document into the description meta tag.

Use heading tags to emphasize important text

Using meaningful heading help create a hierarchical structure for your content, making it easier for users to navigate through your document. Use heading tags where it make sense.

Avoid the followings-

  • Placing text in heading tags that wouldn’t be helpful in defining the structure of the page.
  • Using heading tags where other tags like <em> and <strong> may be more appropriate.
  • Erratically moving from one heading tag size to another.
  • Excessive use of heading tags on a page.
  • Very long headings.
  • Using heading tags only for styling text and not presenting structure.

Add structured data markup

Structured data is code that you can add to your sites’ pages to describe your content to search engines, so they can better understand what’s on your pages.

Understand how search engines use URLs

Search engines need a unique URL per piece of content to be able to crawl and index that content, and to refer users to it.

URLs are generally split into multiple distinct sections:

protocol://hostname/path/filename?querystring#fragment

Google recommends that all websites use https:// when possible. The hostname is where your website is hosted, commonly using the same domain name that you’d use for email. Google differentiates between the www and non-www version (for example, http://www.example.com or just example.com). When adding your website to Search Console, we recommend adding both http:// and https:// versions, as well as the www and non-www versions.

Avoid to have space in the URL, instead of space use hyphen (-).

Use breadcrumbs in the page where possible.

Consolidate duplicate URLs

If you have a single page that’s accessible by multiple URLs, or different pages with similar content (for example, a page with both a mobile and a desktop version), Google sees these as duplicate versions of the same page. Google will choose one URL as the canonical version and crawl that, and all other URLs will be considered duplicate URLs and crawled less often.

In this senario, you can tell Google which page you want to show in the search result by using Canonical link in the page as mentioned below-

        <link rel=”canonical” href=”https://example.com/pagename&#8221; />

Optimize your images

Use HTML image elements <img> or <picture> to embed images in your content.

Semantic HTML markup helps crawlers find and process images. By using the <picture> element you can also specify multiple options for different screen sizes for responsive images. You might also use the loading=”lazy” attribute on images to make your page load faster for your users.

Use the alt attribute

Provide a descriptive filename and alt attribute description for images. The alt attribute allows you to specify alternative text for the image if it cannot be displayed for some reason.

Implement SEO in a specific section of a Page

Let’s assume you have a page in the website, where you are showing Heading, image, address related information and description section within a div. So, if you want to push the key information in Google search or tells Google to crawl the page these specific information you should implement this as mentioned below-

itemprop

The itemprop global attribute is used to add properties to an item. Every HTML element can have an itemprop attribute specified, and an itemprop consists of a name-value pair. Each name-value pair is called a property, and a group of one or more properties forms an item. Property values are either a string or a URL and can be associated with a very wide range of elements including <audio>, <embed>, <iframe>, <img>, <link>, <object>, <source> , <track>, and <video>.

Ways to manage your resources for discovery by Google

You can choose several approaches to help Google find your resources and data, from entirely passive to very pro-active. This section describes the general choices you might want to make to providing resource metadata—sitemaps and resource linking—to best position your content to appear in Search.

Actively manage your URLs

You can Google a direct list of URLs to your content, known as a sitemap. These speeds up the process of Google systems discovering your content. Typically, you host the sitemap on your domain in a place accessible by Googlebot.

Advantages: Enhances the performance of your rich results in Search. Speeds up the process of ingesting new and low-referral content into the system. This approach removes one potential obstacle for getting your content quickly served by Google in a variety of forms.          

Disadvantages: You do the additional work of providing resource metadata, which is your sitemap and relationships you specify between your web pages, your app, and your AMP pages.

Submit new and updated URLs to Google

While you can merely host your sitemap on your site for our systems to discover, you can also provide notification about new URLs or existing URLs that have changed content.

For new URLs, submitting your sitemap helps Google more quickly discover them.

You can also add the below meta tag in head section of your page. Where you can mention revisit timeline for Google bot-

<meta name=”revisit-after” content=”7 days” />

Advantages: Submitting URLs to Google helps drive the timeliness of content updates from your domain to Search.     

Disadvantages: Not many. Once you’ve done the work of creating a sitemap, submitting it to Google is a simple process and many content management systems offer programmatic sitemap updates.

Off-page SEO

Off-page SEO refers to anything done outside of your website with the potential to affect search engine rankings.

Creating valuable back-links

This is the most talked about aspect of digital promotion, and for a good reason. The more efficiently the site is promoted by links, the higher it is in Search Engine Results Pages.

The more difficult it is to get a link from a site, the more efficiently it will work. With the right approach, any link acquisition method works, including outreach, blogs, scholarships, donations, press releases, as well as links from educational (.edu) and government (.gov) websites and crowd marketing.

Social Media Marketing:

Search engines do not see social media as a strong ranking factor, but it can still dramatically impact SEO nonetheless. There are several ways in which SMM improves SEO:

  1. SMM ensures efficient distribution of your content across multiple outlets.
  2. It enhances your brand reputation & recognition.
  3. SMM helps boost your local SEO rankings.

Guest Blogging

One of the most advantageous off-page SEO activities – guest blogging – helps you to build both links and your reputation.

Whenever you are making a guest appearance as a writer on another website or blog, the site often allows you to insert a link that leads back to your own site in the post or author bio. This is an added bonus point for your brand awareness efforts as your name and brand are being featured in a new place.

Customer Reviews

When working on off-page SEO in 2021, the role of customer reviews is very important. Reviews guide how regular users and search engine crawlers perceive your brand. Sites with positive reviews appear more credible and therefore are more likely to get to the top of search results. Google, Facebook, LinkedIn are some popular options for providing and getting reviews. For software company Glassdoor reviews are also very effective.

Local Listings

Local SEO is a separate branch of SEO. However, there are two off-page SEO techniques that deserve a special mention in this article  — your Google My Business and citations listing.

  • Google My Business

Any actions focused on optimizing your webpage to get it to rank higher on the Google Map Pack are regarded as off-page SEO. An account in GMB is a powerful tool essential to boosting the digital presence of local startups and businesses. Google map pack is the general term used to describe the location based results you see on a Google search results page, where it lists local businesses and identifies their location on a map with little place marker icons.

  • Citations

A citation is a reference to your company or brand online that features your NAP (name, address, and phone number). These business listings on Google My Business, Facebook, LinkedIn and other online directories are considered a key tool in advancing your brand on the web.

Citations is one of the most actionable off-page SEO methods that can help you to step your game up. If you are looking to rank for keywords tied to a specific geographic location, for example, “top software company in New York”, citations are a proper way to achieve that.

Conclusion

In the above post we discussed about the basic on page and off-page SEO which can easily be managed and maintained by the developers and designers. You  don’t need help from any SEO expert to manage these basic things in your website to rank higher in Google search.

We will discuss about some advanced SEO features mainly followed by SEO experts in a future post. The following points will cover in that-

  1. Journalist Keywords
  2. Use Animated Images to Improve Time On Site
  3. Create Content Hubs
  4. Target Comparison Keywords
  5. Use Dynamic Parameters for Pagination
  6. Maximize SERP Real Estate
  7. Embed Original Images In Your Content
  8. Optimize Your Content For Keyword Relevance
  9. Create a Comments Section On Your Blog
  10. Uncover People Also Ask Keywords
  11. Add “Content Features” To Your Page
  12. Publish Topic + Year Content
  13. Get Backlinks From Unlinked Brand Mentions
  14. Optimize for Google Discover
  15. Find Low-Competition Keywords From Reddit

One thought on “Basic Search Engine Optimization”

  1. This is really informative post. Every web developer need the basic knowledge of SEO.  Thank you for sharing this information.

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