SEO is one aspect of content marketing that seems very complicated. That’s why I decided to write this article, SEO : basics for beginners. To make it accessible.
This blogpost is for you, business owner, if you want to try to optimize your website by yourself or simply, if you want to understand the basics to talk with your copywriter or your webmaster.
Moreover, the myth of: “I put a maximum of keywords in a text and it will do the trick” is tough. If it was true a few decades ago, it is not the case today.
Before explaining several tips, I will briefly define the SEO. For begining, precisely, on a good basis.
When I am writing texts for the web, blog posts or texts for a website, SEO is a part of my job.
What is it about? For saying it clearly, it means making your web content pleasant to read for Google’s small bots. They review all web content and evaluate them. This will define your rank in Google search results.
There are two types of optimization: natural and paid.
SEO, which means Search Engine Optimization, refers to all the actions you can take to optimize the SEO of your content or your website by yourself.
In French, we also name it natural optimization (not sure it exists in English🤔). Anyway. SEO comes from work that you can do without using money, at the opposite of the second type of optimization.
In this article, I will talk about this SEO and explain some basic techniques to optimize your web content. Only your brain and not your wallet.
SEA means Search Engine Advertising. These are paid ads that you can do in Google so that your website arrives in the first rank of the results. These are the famous Google Adwords.
And let’s be clear: you need a big budget to get results. Some people are specialized and certified to set up this type of advertising. Fortunately, because it is a logic to understand and to use that can be complex.
There are several elements you can work on your own to optimize your content:
- internal and external links
Three parameters will help you optimize your visuals so that they contribute to SEO.
Before downloading a photo on the web, you have to rename it. A photo 2012DCS.jpg will not be read by Google robots. While a photo with a name related to your content will be.
If I wrote an article about the pasta recipe with pesto, my picture would be called recipe-pasta-pesto.jpg
As you can see, we can use several terms. You just have to separate them by hyphens.
The weight of the photos
Obviously, we must integrate photos with the best quality. But quality is not only measured by the size and weight of the photos.
Using too heavy photos slows the loading of your website. Our friend Google does not like that. Moreover, it is rather right, because all the countries of the world are not equal before the power of the Internet network.
So everyone have a chance to access your content easily. Even with a very slow or weak network. That’s why I advise you to reduce the weight of your photos.
If you use, like me Photoshop, you can set the weight when you save your visual in jpg. If you do not have this program, you can find image compressors online.
The alt tag also called alt attribute or text alternative is a kind of second name for your photo. It may be the second name, but it is not the least important.
You find the field of the alt tag when you integrate your photo in WordPress.
As for the name of the photo, you can put the words you want. Here, no need to separate them by dashes.
Be careful that your name is related to your text and your keywords. But choose a short extension.
All of these actions make it easy for Google robots to read. The more you help them, the more they love you and give you a good rank.
Second element to focus on if you want to optimize your SEO: the text.
As I said in the introduction, it is not enough anymore to align the keywords for having a text well ranked. You have to be more subtil. Google robots have become intelligent and penalize texts that abuse keywords. In addition, other aspects of the text are important.
The structure of the text
Google robots are like human beings, the long blocks of text reject them and they fall asleep in the middle of too long sentences. Marcel Proust definitely would not be friend with Google robots.
This is why we use titles and subtitles to structure the texts. In SEO jargon, we call the set of Hn tag titles. In this beautiful set, you will find your main title, then H2, H3, etc.
The choice of the terms used in your title and subtitles is crucial for SEO.
Other elements can help to push the referencing of your text: bullets points or numbering, the insertion of visuals or the quality of the content.
Anything that makes it easy or pleasant for people to read your text will also make it easier for Google.
The choice of your main title is important because it is the one that will appear in Google researches. Therefore, he needs to be relevant. By relevant, I mean a title that answers to the researches made by Internet users. I mean a title that meets the demand of your audience.
The title must be attractive to the user while containing the keywords on which we want to be referenced. At the same time, the title must to be sexy for the user to click and read more AND be optimized.
Meta description tag
The meta description is none other than the little text that appears under the title in your Google search results. Called also snippet, it’s composed of 160 signs but there are only 130 that appear on mobile.
As for the title, you have to choose powerful words to make your readers want to click while thinking SEO. Therefore integrate your keywords. For summarise, you need to be synthetic.
Finally, here are the SEO stars: the keywords! How to find the right ones? This is a big question. I would answer: experience, thinking and tools.
Once you’ve decided which topic you’re going to cover, it’s important to brainstorm what keywords might help you optimize your text. You can first think about it yourself.
Then you can simply use the Google search bar to get a general idea. After you can go to Google Trends to see what are the terms currently used and related to your theme.
By the way, keep in mind that keywords are also used to target your ads in Google Adwords. Hence, without doubt, their status as SEO stars …
Internal and external links
What is internal or external links? All the links that you incorporate into your text.
If you have a blog and you add a link to an article you’ve already published, it’s an internal link.
For the external links, it’s the same thing, but with links to websites or blogs that are not yours.
Well chosen, these links can allow you to be better ranked. Putting a link in a content is not so insignificant.
Speaking of link, pay attention to the URL of your content. Since you can modify it, choose it short and with relevant terms. Again, separated by dashes.
In addition, people wanting to share your content will be able to do this without using link shorteners like bitly.com.
This is SEO, but not only…
The different techniques I explained above are a good basis for optimizing your texts for the web.
However, keep in mind that SEO is a wider batch of parameters. For example, having a responsive website, updated regularly, also help to be better ranked.
In addition, many of the parameters of optimization are not known or can not be sure at 100% that they really work. For example, bolding some words would improve its SEO. That would be quite logical, since it is a way to help reading. But nobody can say it. If you can, please write a comment below.
Nobody knows how Google’s algorithms work in their entirety. That’s why there is still some mystery. And as the algorithms change, SEO rules change as well. Moreover, to obtain a high performance SEO, you have to work constantly.
I hope this article will help you to understand more clearly SEO. If this is not the case, you can ask me your questions by email or in the comments below. And if you have other techniques, I would be happy if you share them with me.
The keyword is: optimize!
par Delphine Berclaz