SEO FUNDAMENTALS AND OBJECTIVES
SEARCH ENGINE ALGORITHMS AND GOOGLE
Mobile speed became a ranking factor in 2018. Google announced that it would use mobile page speed as a ranking factor in its search results. This means that websites that have faster loading times on mobile devices will tend to rank higher in Google’s search results on mobile devices. Google has stated that this change was made to provide a better user experience for mobile users, as faster loading times can significantly affect how people perceive and use a website.
Google has always placed a high emphasis on page speed as a ranking factor. Still, the decision to use mobile page speed as a ranking factor was a significant change, as more and more people are using mobile devices to access the internet. This change has encouraged website owners to focus on improving the speed of their websites on mobile devices to improve their search rankings and provide a better user experience for mobile users.
Page Experience is a ranking factor focused on the user experience of a website, with a particular emphasis on the website’s performance on mobile devices. Google introduced it in 2021 as part of its search algorithm. It takes into account several different metrics related to the performance and usability of a website, including its loading speed, whether it is mobile-friendly, and whether it has any intrusive interstitials (pop-ups or overlays that cover a significant portion of the page and make it difficult for users to access the content). By prioritizing websites with good page experience, Google aims to provide a better search experience for users and encourage website owners to create fast, easy-to-use, and good user experiences.
CORE PRINCIPLES AND RANKING FACTORS
Technical SEO refers to optimizing a website’s technical aspects to improve its visibility and ranking in search engine results pages (SERPs). This includes optimizing the website’s structure, code, and content to make it more easily discoverable and understandable by search engines. Technical SEO is an integral part of any SEO strategy because it helps search engines understand a website’s content and can also help improve the user experience for visitors.
Some everyday technical SEO tasks include:
1. Optimizing website speed and performance: Search engines favor fast-loading websites, so it’s essential to optimize the speed and performance of your website to improve its ranking. This can include optimizing images, minifying code, and using a content delivery network (CDN).
2. Fixing crawl errors: Crawl errors occur when search engines cannot access or parse certain pages on your website. It’s essential to identify and fix crawl errors to ensure that all your website’s pages are indexed and ranked by search engines.
3. Creating and optimizing a sitemap: A sitemap is a file that lists all of the pages on your website and helps search engines understand the structure of your site. It’s essential to create a sitemap and submit it to search engines to ensure that all of your pages are being indexed.
4. Setting up and verifying webmaster tools: Webmaster tools, such as Google Search Console, allowing you to submit your sitemap, view search analytics data, and fix crawl errors. It’s essential to set up and verify your website in webmaster tools to ensure you have complete control over your website’s presence in search results.
5. Using header tags and meta tags: Header tags (H1, H2, etc.) and meta tags, such as the title tag and meta description, help search engines understand the content on your website. Therefore, using these tags correctly and including relevant keywords is essential to improve your website’s ranking.
Overall, technical SEO ensures that your website is well-structured, fast-loading, and easily discoverable by search engines. Therefore, focusing on technical SEO can improve your website’s visibility in search results and provide a better experience for users.
On-page optimization refers to optimizing individual web pages to rank higher and earn more relevant traffic in search engines. This can be achieved through various methods, such as optimizing the content and HTML source code of the page and ensuring that the page is correctly linked within the site structure and has a user-friendly design.
Here are some key elements to consider when optimizing a web page for search engines:
1. Page Title: The title tag is the most important on-page factor for search engine optimization. It should be concise and relevant to the content on the page.
2. Meta Description: The meta description summarizes the page’s content in the search results. It should be written to entice users to click on the link and visit the page.
3. Headings: Headings help organize the page’s content and signal to search engines what the page is about. Use headings to break the content into sections and highlight important points.
4. Content: The content on the page should be high-quality, unique, and relevant to the keywords you are targeting. It should also be easy to read and understand.
5. Images and Alt Text: Use images and alt text to provide additional context and to help search engines understand the content on the page.
6. Internal Links: Use internal links to link to other pages on your site and to help search engines understand the structure and hierarchy of your content.
7. URL Structure: Use descriptive and concise URLs that accurately reflect the content on the page.
Optimizing these elements can improve the visibility and ranking of your web pages in search engine results and drive more relevant traffic to your site.
Off-page optimization refers to the actions taken outside of a website to improve its search engine rankings. Reputation is an essential factor in off-page optimization because it can affect the perception of a website and its content by both users and search engines.
Here are a few ways that reputation can play a role in off-page optimization:
1. Links from reputable websites: One of the most critical factors in off-page optimization is the number and quality of links pointing to a website. Links from reputable websites can boost a website’s reputation and improve its search engine rankings.
2. Social media presence: A strong presence on social media platforms can help to build a website’s reputation and improve its visibility.
3. User reviews: Positive user reviews can improve a website’s reputation and increase the likelihood of ranking it highly in search results.
4. Brand mentions: Mentioning a website or brand positively on other websites can help improve its reputation and visibility.
Building a positive reputation is essential for off-page optimization and can significantly impact a website’s search engine rankings.
CORE PRINCIPLES AND RANKING FACTORS
It’s important to note that SEO techniques that break Google’s guidelines or seek to manipulate ranking factors can lead to a search engine penalty or a devaluation of the site.
Unapproved SEO practices
Several SEO practices are generally considered unapproved or unethical. These practices often referred to as “black hat” SEO, are designed to manipulate search engine rankings rather than improve a website’s content or user experience. Some examples of unapproved SEO practices include:
1. Keyword stuffing: This involves cramming as many keywords as possible into a website’s content, regardless of whether it makes sense.
2. Cloaking: This involves showing one version of a website to search engines and a different version to users.
3. Link schemes involve acquiring links from low-quality or spammy websites to boost a website’s rankings.
4. Doorway pages: These are created specifically to rank well in search results and redirect users to a different page.
It’s important to note that these practices can result in a penalty or even a ban from search engines. Therefore, it’s always best to focus on creating high-quality content and building genuine, authoritative links to your site to improve your rankings.
Approved SEO practices
There are many approved practices that you can use to optimize your website for search engines. Some of these include:
1. Conduct keyword research: Identify the keywords and phrases your target audience uses to find information online. Then, use these keywords in your website content and meta tags to help search engines understand what your website is about.
2. Use header tags: Header tags (H1, H2, etc.) help to structure your content and make it easier for search engines to understand. Use them to describe the main topics and subtopics of your website.
4. Use alt text for images: When you include images on your website, use alt text to describe them. This helps search engines understand what the images are about and can also improve the accessibility of your website.
5. Create high-quality content: Search engines value websites that provide valuable, informative, and well-written content. Create useful and relevant content for your target audience, and update it regularly to keep it fresh.
6. Build backlinks: Backlinks from other websites can help improve your ranking in search results. To get high-quality backlinks, focus on creating valuable content and promoting it on social media and other platforms.
7. Use social media: Social media can be a powerful tool for promoting your website and improving its visibility in search results. Share your website’s content on social media platforms and engage with your followers to build a solid online presence.
8. Make sure your website is mobile-friendly: With more and more people accessing the internet from their smartphones and tablets, it’s essential to make sure your website is mobile-friendly. Use responsive design techniques to ensure your website looks good and works well on all devices.