Helping Google Help You: Essential SEO Hacks
Learning and applying the right SEO basics can help boost your website to higher search rankings than you previously thought was possible and the gains that your online property will acquire will probably last for years – if you know how to maintain your rank once you’ve already landed much better search rankings says the CEO of SEOExplode.
The following essential SEO hacks can help Google index your website better, so it can finally determine – which keywords are relevant for your website?
- Linking internally
We all know now that longer-form content rules now, but there’s more work up ahead. Once you have a trove of content focusing on the needs of a particular niche, you need to make sure that your website internal linking system is working properly.
Here’s the main challenge: google bots or spiders are constantly crawling the web, taking note of new information, pages, etc. When a google bot reaches your website, it’s going to take note of the internal navigation system, the inner linking system has to be healthy because the google bot is going to use this to identify related and relevant content from your website.
For example, if one blog post from your website is about “healthy green shakes” and the internal navigation system shows related content about “vegetable shakes” and “protein shakes,” then the google bot would be able to measure the content relevancy of your website as a whole by taking note of the titles and actual content of your different posts.
- Inbound and Outbound Links
On the Web, reputation and authority play huge roles in determining which websites people trust, and for how long.
A website that provides information to people, even if the ultimate aim is to sell a product or service, should still endeavor to become an authority on the niche by linking to authority sites and by striving to receive inbound links from websites that are already considered as authority in particular niches.
Ironically, websites that try to become the authority in certain niches too hard often fail while those who take it easy and allow their websites to mature naturally are the ones that succeed.
Why? Because Google knows that it takes time for people to discover and pick up on new websites. With the exception of websites that go viral on social media, for the most part, the progress of a website to become a leader or authority in a niche will take months, not days.
What are we really pinpointing at here? Generating inbound and outbound links requires time and effort, and each inbound/outbound link has to be meaningful; it’s no longer enough to just generate links randomly from article directories, as was the case more than ten years ago. Trends have changed, and places like Hubspot and EZine Articles are no longer considered authority sites (not really).
- Write those Meta Descriptions!
Meta descriptions only contribute a small percentage to the overall ranking of a Web page, but it actually helps boost your rankings by inviting people to click on your link. A website’s meta description actually appears on Google search results, right underneath the title of the Web page. That small paragraph you see? That’s the meta description.
To write a great meta description, you need to:
– Write about an interesting point about the content (not necessarily a summary)
– Write no more than 156 characters
– Engage the reader in less than 3 seconds
– Make the reader want to click
Essentially, meta descriptions are a way to promote your content one last time before the user moves on to read the next title and meta description in a Google search result.
Statistically, search results that have crisp, informative, and engaging meta descriptions get more clicks than those with no meta descriptions, or whose meta descriptions have not been optimized for Google search results.
Make sure also that you write the title of the page inside the head area of the Web page, and that you are always writing for humans, even if you are optimizing for websites. Use one or two relevant keywords to make your title informative and precise, but never ever sacrifice readability for keywords.
Here’s an example:
<title> Roger’s Daytona Walking Tours </title>
Using relevant keywords doesn’t have to be awkward. The keyword is not the ultimate goal, but the content. Other relevant signals will tie your content to your desired keywords. Work on the content more and then add these elements later as a finishing touch only.
- Stay Away from Spam Domains
Spammy domains like .biz and .info are no longer being prioritized by Google as of this writing. The reason for the deprioritization? SPAM.
There are hundreds of thousands of spammy websites on the Web, and nearly all of them use alternative domains that magnetize users but provide low quality content. Ad-filled websites that pop up often use these alternative domains.
Also, stay away from using hyphens in your website’s domain. There is no need to hyphenate and there is absolutely no reason to add a relevant keyword to your actual domain.
For example, if you are selling puppy diaper pads, using a domain like ‘best-puppy-diaper-pads.biz’ will likely lead to closer scrutiny from the search engine and you might even be penalized for having a really long and suspicious domain name in the first place.
Because here’s a fact: if your website has great content related to puppy diaper pads, that would have no bearing on your domain. Branding works through the delivery of content and better user experience, and not just because you have a long and hyphenated Web domain.
- Write better permalinks and headlines
The headline or title of a piece of content should be engaging and descriptive at the same time. In short, we want users to know exactly what is in the content, and not just guess based on a vague title.
Avoid click bait titles that over promise but do not deliver mainly because they are click bait. There is so much click bait on the Net already that people have learned how to spot click bait content almost immediately.
Permalinks are the link titles that lead to specific pages on your websites. Google recommends that the permalink to a page should have one or two relevant keywords. The permalink and the actual headline need not be identical.