I’ve seen a lot of articles saying you shouldn’t worry about the numbers, just write for yourself and produce quality content. I agree with the second part but I think we should consider the numbers like page views, rankings, design and page load speed. Because we can use them to improve the website for a better reader experience.
Why do a website seo?
A better SEO means having a better chance of being found by readers. I know there are some who write for theirselves or only to express, but for those who also want to be read, this can be very helpful. Not in a needy way of wanting to be adored but of having the ability to share, motivate, teach, and inspire more people.
Yesterday, I received an email asking how I increased my Alexa ranking to 1m on the first month of my website. I’m not really sure how they rank websites, and I’m not very professional in Search Engine Optimization or Search Marketing but I want to share some of my website optimizations and SEO practices that beginners like me can do.
Basic SEO Tips and Website Optimizations
1. Monitor and tweak page speed
This is one thing I have monitored in the first few weeks of my blog. Page speed is very critical for me because I’ve had a lot of experiences where if the website loads too slow, I close it. I know I’m not the only one. I use a cheap shared hosting service so my website doesn’t load very fast, but I did some tweaks to at least make it faster.
How to detect page speed problems?
For my website, I use Pingdom Tools.
Just click the link and enter your domain name to see you page load speed,and possible recommendations.
The most common problems are:
a. Specify a Vary: Accept-Encoding header
To fix this, you need to have access to your .htaccess file which is located on the root of your website files. If you don’t have that you can use plugins like Yoast SEO. For Yoast SEO, you can edit the .htacess file by going to SEO>Tools>File Editor
Just add the following code after the last line:
Header append Vary: Accept-Encoding
b. Leverage browser caching
This is quite easy to fix but I can’t get a perfect score because we can’t cache external resources.
To fix this, just use this plugin.
d. Remove query strings from static resources
This happens because some files use something like “?version=1.0” to indicate file versions. You can also fix this by using this plugin.
There are some more possible tweaks you might need. If you have problems not indicated above, just comment below and I can add a solution.
2. Optimize Images
Images are the largest files in every website. The texts and codes only comprise around 10% of a website page and everything else will be the image. You can reduce your image file sizes using plugins like: EWWW Image Optimizer
Keywords means the words that make it up. They are the key for the readers to find your content using search engines. And it’s your job to give them a decent door. Search engines are not humans, they rely on what exactly the words are and not in abstract meanings. So keywords optimization is important. This doesn’t also mean that you need to remove your awesome titles.
Ex. Your title is “A hot cup of coffee” which is your metaphor for your regret on not drinking the opportunity given to you, and now it’s cold. You can still use that as a part of your title but who searches for that if they’re literally looking for articles about opportunity? You can use something like “A hot cup of coffee: Never waste opportunities” or anything you think people search for. But how can you know what people search for?
How to find the right keywords?
There are a lot of tools online you can use to find the correct keywords. Of course the best one is from the number one search engine itself: Google Adwords.
Using this, you can see how much a keyword is being search at google. You can also use it to generate keyword ideas you can use based on other keywords or topics. You need to setup a billing account to use Adwords. If you can’t, there are alternatives like RankSonic.
Keywords for images
The intelligent systems processing images is not yet intelligent enough to know what your image is about, especially if it’s new. To tell Google, place an alternative text or alt text. Just add something like alt=”website-seo-basics” in your img code.
4. Link Building
Link building is very important in Google Ranking according to websites I’ve read. This comprises the links to your website from other websites. The more website that links to you, and the more popular they are, the better for your website. You can get links by commenting on other blogs and publishing guest posts.
5. Use nofollow in outbound links
Because of link building, Google and other search engines can also detect links you post on your blog. This is where nofollow links come in. Sometimes there are websites who doesn’t have a good reputation and knows if you link to them. Not just websites with bad reputation but also, according to some forums, affiliate links. I’ve read about someone who disappeared in the first page because of affiliate links, and got back after she removed it.
To make a link nofollow just add
Ex. <a href=https://www.google.com/ rel="nofollow"></a>
6. Avoid too much plugins
It’s tempting too use a lot of plugins because of their awesome features. But anything too much is usually not a good idea. This roots back to number 1, page speed. Having more plugins means having more resources to load like css, and js files. Only keep the essential ones and make sure they are updated at least every six months to make sure they follow the updated standards.
7. The Typography
Lastly, typography is very important not just for the eyes of the readers but also for search engines. It’s you telling them, “This phrase/sentence is very important, if a user is looking for something similar to this, show my website.”
For the readers, it could be boring to continue reading a page with the same font sizes all along. Using the proper typography can help decrease bounce rates and help users find what exactly are they looking for.
<h3>Your text here</h3>
<h4>Your text here</h4>
<strong>Your text here</strong>
<em>Your text here</em>
These are just some
These are just some basics for website optimization or SEO. I’ll make a part 2 soon. There are a lot more around you can search for. I am not yet an expert in search engine optimization, but I learned most of this by searching and keeping what works. Do you have SEO practices you want to share? Please do so in the comment section.