Understanding how search engines work is going to help you increase your web traffic. Treat your website like your social media accounts. It's important to maintain and update your web content on a regular basis. You want to engage your readers.
Getting your site at the top of search engine results pages isn’t always a fast process. But, the sooner you start laying the foundation for a strong online presence the better.
To help, include images, videos and other content elements on your website and in your blog. That's just to start, though.
Search Engines Crawl Websites
A good starting point is to have a rough understanding of how content fits into search results.
Google created a search engine optimization (SEO) guide that explains the basics of Google.
The guide walks you through what the search engine looks for when digging up content.
“Even though this guide's title contains the words ‘search engine,’ we'd like to say that you should base your optimization decisions first and foremost on what's best for the visitors of your site,” the company wrote in the introduction. “They're the main consumers of your content and are using search engines to find your work.”
Google explained in the report that you should create content for the consumer. This is the main idea to keep in mind when looking at all angles of your website.
But for now, look to your blog and similar content on your website.
What you're looking for is structure. Headlines help flag down the search engine, picking your post from the crowd.
Headlines should relate to your content. It's important to keep it relevant to your consumers. As you produce content for your website, remember to keep that angle.
Avoid keyword stuffing as you produce content. Adding unnecessary keywords to your page makes it longer and harder to pin down. Keywords should appear on your website and blog when appropriate.
With the title and body, a description also helps search engines find your content.
It should be short and relative to the content, summing up what users are going to see on the page. Installing a plugin, like Yoast, helps make defining a description for your page easier.
Consumers find their way to your website in different ways, including your URL. Google reported that easy URLs help consumer and search engines.
Even though search engines can weed out tough URLs, it's still about the consumer. So, keep it simple and easy to remember.
Learn how to choose the best URL for your real estate website.
Your navigation should also be simple.
Even for websites that have hundreds of web pages, there are ways to dial it down, and when you do, it becomes easier for search engines and consumers to work through your content.
Bring the ways users move through your site together. Make it clear where to go in and where to come out. Then, give consumers a few extra ways to get around.
For starters, your index should be shallow and clear.
A deeper hierarchy gives search engines a longer route to crawl through. It’s likely that if it’s going to take too long, the search engine is going to move onto the next option.
Google recommends having a sitemap on your website. A sitemap is an index of all the main web pages. This helps the search engine crawl around. It also gives consumers a clear way to navigate your website.
The way you help consumers get around works hand in hand with the content you want to deliver.
Strong content includes a few structural parts, including formatting and grammar.
As you’re writing your next blog post, think about what you want to tell consumers. Then, think about how you would tell them if they were standing right in front of you.
What would you say to them? Now, write that down.
When you begin writing, keep it organized. You want clear transitions and a start-to-finish run.
Avoid going from point 'A' to 'D,' then back to 'B' and so on. It's one step at a time. The same rules apply for breaking up the blog post or article.
Search engines read through your posts looking for sections in your content.
Use various heading tags -- as in H1, H2, H3, etc. -- in your content to break it up.
Your page title should be H1, your blog post title should be H2, and subheadings follow the same pattern.
Before publishing your post, read it over to fix any potential mistakes. You can also use web apps like Grammarly to help you edit.
Google said that search engines pick out misspellings and grammatical errors.
Errors work against your rankings.
Editor’s tip: Read your post out loud to yourself. If you have trouble reading it or if something doesn’t sound quite right, fix it. It should read like you're telling a friend about it.
Including hyperlinks in your text helps Google too. The more information consumers have, the better chance they have at understanding. Google works the same way.
The hyperlink doesn’t always have to go to external sites either. You can link to articles on your website.
Just remember, keep it simple.
The hyperlink shouldn’t be complex and ongoing. It should be a few words that get right to the point. Google seems to like that.
Simplicity is the overarching theme here if you didn't pick that up. As you go through your website, pay attention to how you structured content to make sure it's easy to follow. Do this often and continue updating your website.
And remember, this takes time. Landing on A1 doesn't happen overnight. It takes time, strategy and diligence to refine your website and your content.