Search Engine Optimization (SEO) through my lens.
“Wow, this looks nice and beautiful, and above my expectations”, my client was referring to website that I built for his company. I was glad and joyful for his remarks for my work. But, something else was bugging me all around. I built neat and clean website, but it was visible to very few people. In today’s competitive digital world, web developer would want their completed project visible to most of the world. Also, company would want to visualize their presence, and expand all over the world via website, social media, and other web applications. And, I consider SEO (Search Engine Optimization) as one of the major tool to achieve this goal.
SEO is a practice of strategies, techniques, and tactics to increase the number of visitors to a website by obtaining a high-ranking placement in the search results page of a search engine (SERP) including google, Bing, Yahoo and other search engines. As a user, when I search for something, I don’t want to spend more time looking at all search results, maybe I would look for top 5 options in my SERP. So, for me all the bottom ranked websites do not exist. As a developer, I am aware that there might be better choices in bottom of the SERP, but time is precious as well. There are many techniques to increase the rankings, I have visited some of them in this article.
As a developer, my primary focus would be on how contents are displayed, where it is displayed and which contents are displayed. Leave functionality and backend part on me. One of the major part of SEO is contents. If I were a businessperson and writing a content for my website, I would think beyond just selling the products. I would make the content thinking like my customer, and in the language of my customer. Also. I would do a web search for the terms that are important to me and my business.
Another part is technical SEO. Technical SEO is all about tailoring the technical aspects of a website to optimize for searchability. I completely understand, it is my job to take care of the technical part, but decent businessperson would reflect that technical SEO is not just developer’s responsibility. Also, search engines like Google and Bing provide their own free tools, and yes free tools to tell you whether or not you have technical SEO problems.
Now, you may be wondering about realistic SEO goals. Primary goal should be increasing SEO related traffic, month by month. SEO is not about ranking no. 1 in your website launch day, it is increasing your ranking day by day. Also, it is all about analyzing traffic, not keyword rankings. And above all, SEO is just a part of the marketing mix. Think on how you and your business have connected SEO. Some of the great tools used are paid search, social media, content marketing, and traditional marketing. Make sure you integrate SEO with all your marketing activities.
SEO is not just about showing up in google. In today’s world Apple Siri, Amazon echo should be able to answer your questions. SEO is also the local search in web application like Yelp. Promoting rating and reviews helps ranking in local search. In today’s world, search results are customized to the searcher impacted by location and geography. If I am hungry, I would search for restaurant in yelp, and review the ratings and reviews. The fact is, this is the evolving and growing trend for most of the human activities in modern era.
Gone are those good old days, when internet surfed from desktops. SEO is also constantly evolving. Google research suggests, mobile devices accounts for more than 50% of search performed in today’s world. Also, Google is rewarding more for mobile friendly sites. So, ensure your content is mobile friendly. Accelerated mobile pages (AMP) are evolving as well, so keeping on top of trend is very important.
AI (Artificial intelligence) and the use of search bots are changing the way people search. There is a difference between assistant and bots. Assistant search is performed by voice like Siri, Amazon echo and google assistant. Search bots take your request and process in details. One of the great example for search bots would be buying out pizza and getting it delivered to your house. Both are still emerging, but there is no doubt that these techniques would replace traditional search.
Search used to be all about strings or letter, but not anymore. Search has evolved into machine learning or human intelligence. Consider searching for President of United States. Result gives not only name but age, family members name, all educational details, background and many more. Search engines are getting smarter but don’t forget the fundamentals like having rich content, using descriptive titles and semantics.
By now you should be ready for search engine friendly page. What’s next, if you are thinking if paid search devalues SEO. Yes, it does but it does not devalue your web pages. Also, Ad blocking does not impact SEO and paid search.
For your convenience, I have summarized google starter guide for developing SEO friendly pages. Please find it helpful. Again, don’t assume this guide is only for developers and programmers. I always keep in mind, “Knowledge enlightens against ignorance”.