After you have made your website live and accessible by the world, you may want to give the public a way to find your website. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the practice of making a website more accessible through search engines. This way when people use search engines like Google to search for a topic related to your site, your website has a higher chance of being in the user’s search results. This article will go through some of the very basics of SEO that you should be aware of.
First, let’s briefly go over what search engines are and how they work. A search engine is an application designed to search the internet for content. Some examples of search engines would be Google, Yahoo, and Bing. When you type in a search term on their website, it searches through their index for relevant content and presents it to you. These indexes are typically built by using programs called web crawlers. Web crawlers are programs that go to websites and visit every link they can see from there, while saving all the content that they are able to save. This means that if no other website has a link to your website, is it unlikely that your website will get found by these crawlers and get indexed in the search engines. However, you can submit your URL to these services so that they can index it for you.
Some SEO methods can also change with time, since it depends on how each search engine currently ranks their search results. Sometimes things that worked a few years ago may not work as well in the present. For example, when search engines were still new you could probably show up at the top of the results if you were to spam other websites with links to your own website. This is because some search engines will rank websites higher in their results if they see a site being referenced more, since more references can imply that the website is more credible. As a result, some people may employ the use of bots to mass register on other people’s websites and post links to their own site, or even write about it in their user profiles to try and trick search engines. However, most search engines will change and improve their ranking system, so these methods may actually be detrimental to your site’s credibility if done in more recent years. So in the rest of this article, we will go through basic things that seem to have remained consistent with time.
Submitting your website
Most search engines will allow you to submit your website’s URL to them so they can start crawling. You can search up each of these search engine for instructions on oing so. For example, Google has this page that provides further instructions: https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/submit-url
Title tags determine what is displayed on search engines as the title. In the picture below, this would be the first line that you see in the Search result (the word “Google”).
A title tag goes in youpart of the HTML document and should something look like this:
This is very important to have since it briefly describes what the page is about.
Meta Tag Keywords
You may still see this on some sites. This tag includes some keywords that are relevant to the page, but may not be used by some of the major search engines anymore. The meta tag to include keywords should look something like this:
Meta Tag Description
The description tag briefly summarizes the page and what it is about (in more detail than the title). It is recommended to be less than 160 characters. In the picture above, this would be the third line. The meta tag to include a description should look something like this:
Including the above elements on your website will help search engines index your site better. Otherwise, they may not know what to display, or see that the site does not have much value and rank it very low. There are a lot of other methods you can use such as adding back links, reducing loading times, and optimizing keywords, but adding the tags above would be a good place to start. You can always search for the most relevant SEO tips of the year to get more up to date information on this topic. There are SEO tools that help automatically assess your website’s SEO while providing you with tips as well.
For more basics on SEO, this article goes into more detail on some of these topics: https://www.wordstream.com/blog/ws/2015/04/30/seo-basics