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.

bro-alchemist-website-seo

broalchemist.com July 15, 2016 Alexa ranking

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.

fix-website-seo-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:

<IfModule mod_headers.c>
<FilesMatch "\.(js|css|xml|gz)$">
Header append Vary: Accept-Encoding
</FilesMatch>
</IfModule>

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.

c. Combine external JavaScript or CSS

Just use this plugin.It’s what I use but there are a lot more other plugins available. If you want a different one, just search the WordPress plugin repository.

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

3. Keywords

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.

website-seo-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


< rel="nofollow">
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.

Examples are:
<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.

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Jeffrey Nerona is a neophyte writer, and a future engineer. He discovered how writing can evolve his thoughts instead of just keeping them sealed inside his head. He is always fascinated with science and new technologies. He dreams to travel soon, and witness the coolest techs, theories, and inventions, then meet the giant minds behind them. Despite being in the engineering field, he's also into spirituality like meditation and alchemy. He aims to meet monks and alchemists in his travels to gain wisdom from them. Jeffrey enjoys at least 2 cups of coffee everyday, and occasionally, a bottle of beer.

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