Your first steps optimizing your website for Search Engines (SEO)
First let’s start with the definition of SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and why it is very important for your business. SEO is the process of making sure your website can perform well in search results. When someone searches about a product, or a service you are selling, they can find your website and business.
All search engines work similarly, they crawl the internet to find new websites, they index the websites and categorize them, they rank websites according to a lot of ranking factors. Each search engine use it’s own ranking algorithms to rank websites, that’s why you can get different results when you use Google and Bing as each of them uses very different algorithms to rank websites on the internet.
This is how Search Engines work, and it is important to understand that as it will help you in your website optimization.
How Google crawls websites?
There are millions of websites on the internet, and each day thousands of websites are created and registered (70 new websites registered every minute!!!) How can Google know all this new websites, and crawl them?
Google has a crawler which uses a simple method to crawl new websites. Basically it visit the websites in their database, and then follow each link on these websites and visits these links, and follow links on these websites as well. Google is creating a network of all websites linked together (see the image bellow). It simply goes from link to link to discover new websites, and pages.
What Google does with these new discovered websites?
After Google crawl these pages, and websites, they start to index these pages. When Google visits new websites, it gets your website content to know what is your website talking about. It checks everything in your content, your titles, actual content, images, links, etc… This is how Google can categorize websites according to the keywords it think your website is about. Let’s take an example:
Let’s assume you have a website that sells sports wear. Google crawls your website and gets it’s content. How will Google know what are you selling? Simply Google will check your content, What is your title? What images do you use? What is your actual content? Are you selling anything else?
After Google analyzes your website Google may categorizes it as an e-commerce website selling sports wear in Egypt. Google will do the same and put all e-commerce websites that are selling sports wear in Egypt in it’s index.
How Google ranks websites?
OK, now Google has an index of millions of websites, How can Google rank websites and show the most relevant results when you search for something?
Google uses over 200 ranking signals to determine which websites should be on the top, and Google is always updating their ranking algorithms, but there are some basics you should follow if you want to rank higher in search results.
Optimizing your website content, and structure helps Google indexing your website, and it will improve your website ranking. Some elements must be optimized like:
- User Friendly Web Design & Mobile Friendly
Having a good website design is a must, it will help you keep your website visitors on your website longer, and Google will favor that. Also having a mobile friendly website is a must, as more than 60% of Google searches are done from mobile. Google clearly stated that having a good mobile friendly website is a must if you want to rank higher in search results (learn more about our professional web design services in Egypt).
- Meta Tags
Meta tags are used to describe your website to search engines, your Page Title tag is very important as it is one of the first elements that Google checks to know what is your website about. Also meta description is displayed under your page title in search results, and having a good meta description can help you getting more clicks.
- Headings & Content structure
Your content must be structured properly. Your content must contain headings, paragraphs and used in logical order. It is advisable to use main heading for your content called <h1>, and secondary headings <h2>, <h3>, etc…
- Images Titles & Alt Tags
Images must be relevant to your content. Google is very good at identifying images. Use relevant image titles, and alt tags to help Google know what your images are bout
- Inner linking structure
Remember when we first talked about how Google index new websites and pages. It is by following links. That’s why it is very important to link to other pages on your website so that every page on your website is linked from another page. Google will follow these links and also from these links it can determine which pages are the most important to you.
- Advanced on-page techniques
There are other advanced techniques to optimize your website, but doing the basics will help you a lot. Some of these techniques are using canonical tags, structured data, noindex tags, etc…
- Website performance
Having a fast loading website helps a lot in ranking. There are a lot of factors that must be considered if your SEO is important to you. Your website system or CMS must be fast (learn more about our CMS and our web development services in Egypt). Don’t use too much images as it can make your website slower. Use fast hosting for your website, even a small vps or a dedicated server will help a lot in your website performance. Use caching to serve website files faster, and use CDN.
to be continued….