Search engine optimization (SEO) isn’t easy stuff. It’s come a long way from run-of-the-mill keyword stuffing. In fact, it’s probably harder to explain SEO to a non-SEO person now than it was just five years ago. In a complicated field such as this, you need to have some competence in a variety of sub-fields.
Sometimes, it can feel overwhelming to learn more about SEO yourself, let alone teach it to others. However, you don’t have to worry as we’ve got your back. We spoke to Tim Smith, an SEO Portland consultant about some tips he could give for ranking a page on Google in 2018. There are a ton of items to consider when it comes to ranking successfully on Google. However, when you take a closer look, a few things are more important than others. In fact, the five that Carpenter gave us will get you through most of the requirements to rank on Google. Let’s get started!
1. Your URL Should be Crawlable and Accessible to Search Engine Spiders
This is probably the most crucial step you’ll need to take. Basically, you want to make your page accessible to Google’s search engine crawlers. If Google can’t find your page, it can’t index it. If it can’t index it then it can’t rank it. In this case, making your URL crawlable can be boiled down to a few things.
First, make sure your web pages are in text readable format. The search engine crawler should be able to parse the web page and figure out what it’s about. Try to use the typical fonts used and make sure everything is either ASCII or UTF.
Next are your images and visuals. Fortunately, or unfortunately, search engine crawlers cannot read images. We are making progress technology-wise teaching artificial intelligence to be able to recognize and parse images. However, we are a long way from that and such bots aren’t viable on a large scale. So how does a Google bot spider know what your images are about? They read the image descriptions and tags, of course! In this case, we’re talking about the alt-text in your HTML document. Make sure it’s as descriptive of the image as possible. That way, the search engine crawlers will be able to tell if the images are relevant to your article or not. Make sure to have good descriptions for your videos as well.
These are important points to consider. Without making your page capable of being indexed, you can never hope to be ranked, so be extra serious about this one.
2. Research Your Keywords
It goes without saying that searchers will be likely to use certain sets of words and phrases more often than others in order to find solutions to the specific problems that are facing them. If your organization is concerned with solving those specific problems, then you need to thoroughly research the words that searchers are likely to use.
What you’re looking for is a primary keyword or phrase and some secondary ones that target the exact intent of the searcher. The idea isn’t that you’re blindly looking for hot words to sprinkle generously throughout your articles. That doesn’t work anymore. The idea is to figure out the intent of your searchers. That way, you can find primary and secondary keywords that target that intent. Once you find them you can add them to your content in strategic spots so your target visitors will find you. Targeting is all about understanding intent. If you don’t know and understand what your potential visitors want and are looking for, you’ll never be able to solve their problems.
3. Perform an Investigation of Google’s Pages to Determine What Searchers Find Relevant
This one is especially easy because you can do it immediately. All it takes is a curious and keen mind. Go on Google and do an investigation of its search engine results pages (SERPs). Basically, perform a search for a particular keyword and see what Google throws back at you. That first page of results will have a lot of insight for you.
What is it that Google figures is most important in ranking a page? Try to guess what the intent is based on the kind of information reflected in the results. You can then cross-reference this with your own understanding of what your intent might when you type that particular keyword into the search bar.
What is it that gets a page ranked among the top five results? If you look closely and keenly enough, you will undoubtedly find some common themes in the format and content of the pages ranked high.
Once you’ve got a fairly good picture of what Google is after and what got the top pages there, look into the gaps that haven’t been filled. If you’re keen enough, you’ll be able to point out certain things that searchers are probably looking for but not getting from the results. That is an opportunity for you. You can use it to craft your own content and dominate the rankings.
4. Generate Helpful Content From an Authority
The first step is to have an authority create the content you serve on your site. This is necessary because that’s the only way you will increase the chances of that content being amplified. It leads to more link building and social sharing. Content prepared by an authority is likely to be seen as more credible both by the visitors who read it on your website and Google bot spiders.
The next step is to make sure the content is geared to solving the reader’s problem. This goes back to the point about understanding what the readers’ intent is and finding gaps in the results page that you can fill to the reader’s as well as your own benefit. It doesn’t matter if you’ve got everything else down perfectly. If your content isn’t helping your readers, Google’s crawlers will figure it out eventually and rank you lower.
5. Don’t Forget the Tags and Meta Descriptions
This has to do with the snippet that searchers see on the results page under your URL. It’s absolutely crucial to your SEO because it is what determines what will be displayed in the results page. The way, Google displays your snippet will influence whether people want to click your link or not. This is your opportunity to draw visitors in with a clever use of keywords and words and phrases that people find compelling. Use it well and you will see massive gains in your web visitors.
These tips are by no means exhaustive but they are essential. Implement them faithfully and about 80 percent of your SEO will be done. The other 20 percent will be much easier to work out from there. Whatever happens, remember that you’re writing for the reader, not the search engine.