Search Engine Optimization simply means making your posts, products, ideas and services more visible to general users who are searching for specific keywords in the search engines. There is a big dilemma in the web world about how to create SEO friendly website. If you are confused between what SEO’s best practices are and what old-school rules are, here are the basic rules of SEO every bloggers must follow.
13 Basic Rules of SEO Which Every Bloggers Must Follow
1. Give unique and accurate titles to your pages and posts
The title is kept inside the title tag in the head section of your page. Titles should be brief and unique for every page. It should describe your page’s content. Choosing unrelated titles with unnecessary keyword stuffing can be harmful.
2. Make use of description Meta tag
Description is the summery which tells Google and users about your page. It can be a sentence or two or a short paragraph. Google can use your page’s description as the snippets of your pages. Always use unique description for each page that describes the page.
In HTML, the title and description are given using the meta and title tag.
<html> <head> <title> A Guide for Building Mobile Friendly Responsive Websites - Mustbeweb</title> <meta name=”description” content=” More websites are being loaded on smart phones and tablets than on computers. Follow our guide in making mobile friendly responsive websites.”> </head> </html>
For WordPress, you can also use plugins like Yoast SEO to give the title and descriptions to the post and pages.
3. Take care of structure of URL
Another basic rules of SEO say that URL should be simple, friendly and understandable. Search engines find it much easier to crawl the URL with proper filename and categories. The URL is also displayed as the part of search result along with title and snippet. So it is SEO advantage to have keywords in the URL.
We also have an article on “How to Make URLs SEO Friendly in WordPress”. Webmaster help center also have some useful tips on creating Google-friendly URLs. For WordPress users you can go to Settings > Permalinks from your WordPress admin dashboard. Here can set the URL to have post name instead of date or numeric values.
Single content should have only one URL. If you find users accessing same content from multiple ULRs then set up 301 redirects for less preferred URL. Focusing on single URL for single content improves the reputation of the URL.
4. Make your site easier to navigate
Navigation can help search engines and general users to quickly find the contents they are looking for. Using breadcrumb menu can be a very good option to improve the navigation system of your page. We actually have a very good article on “How to Add Breadcrumb Navigation Links in WordPress”. Breadcrumb can enhance user experience by allowing users to navigate back and forth in various sections.
Sitemap is another necessary element in improving the navigation system of your webpage. Sitemap is the listing of the hierarchical structure of your website. Users use sitemap to find a particular page in your website whereas search engines use it to crawl different pages. We have an entire section of articles in our website dedicated to sitemap. Also keeping a custom 404 page for broken links can improve use experience. If you want to know more about 404 error then we recommend you read our article “What is 404 Error in WordPress”.
5. Offering quality contents and services
This is the most important factor for increasing genuine visitors and subscribers. If your services and contents are compelling and useful, you can get better recognition in the web world. First select a long tail, relevant and unique keyword for your posts and articles. Using the mix of keyword phrases in the right places in the article can bring positive results. Try providing unique, new and useful services which no other sites offer.
6. Using Anchor tag in the correct manner
Anchor tag holds the link that directs the users and search engines to other part of the website or to other websites. Avoid using the page URL as the anchor text. You can use relevant and descriptive text as anchor text. Internal links are as important as the external links so consider using them whenever possible.
7. Optimize your use of images
Organize the images of your website in a single directory. Use commonly supported file types like JPEG, GIF, PNG, and BMP image formats. Instead of generic image name use a descriptive one. Make proper use of the alt attribute in the image. Alt attribute keeps the alternative texts for the image if it is not displayed. It is a good practice to use keywords inside the alt tag.
8. Using proper heading tags
Giving header tags like h1, h2 to h6 to your paragraphs and sections of page and post help users to know users about the type of content underneath the heading text. A good practice is to place the keywords inside the h1 or h2 tag. Also avoid using too many header tags or placing all your page texts inside the heading tag.
9. Use robot.txt more effectively
Robot.txt is the simple text file that directly communicates with the search engines. You can use robot.txt to prevent certain parts of website to be crawled. It gives instructions to the search engines about the parts of your site they can crawl and the parts of your site not to crawl. We have a very good article on “Create and Optimize WordPress Robots.txt for SEO”.
Setting up a robot.txt file is an important step for SEO. You should not disallow Google from accessing too much of your site since it can have adverse effect in search result ranking. So your robots.txt file should be well optimized and should not block access to important parts of your blog.
10. Be aware of rel=”nofollow” for links
If your site has public comment on then you may be vulnerable to spam comments. Spam comments with external links can degrade the hard-earned reputation of your site. So you need to set the “rel” attribute of a link to “nofollow”. This will tell Google that certain links shouldn’t pass your page’s reputation to the pages linked to. If you want to nofollow all of the links on the page then you can use “nofollow” in your robots meta tag which is placed inside the head tag.
<html> <head> <meta name=”robots” content=”nofollow”> </head> </html>
The best practice is to automatically set “nofollow” to the external links in comments. For WordPress we have guide called “How to Automatically NoFollow External Links in WordPress”. If you want more help on removing the spam comments from WordPress site you can read our article on “How to Remove Spam from WordPress Comments”.
11. Use mobile version of your website correctly
Mobile Compatibility is a very essential element of any website. Adding responsiveness to your website can grows traffic and increases Google ranking. You can also create Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) by Google for your website. To know more about how to implement Google AMP in WordPress check our tutorial on “The Simplest Way to Implement Google AMP in Your WordPress Site”. If you can code and want to make your website responsive by yourself then check out this article on “A Guide for Building Mobile Friendly Responsive Websites”.
If you already have a mobile version of your site then you have to configure your mobile sites properly so that they can be crawled and indexed. Redirect mobile users to the correct version. When you create any different mobile site for website then you may need to create a Mobile Sitemap and submit it to Google. You can submit the Mobile Sitemap using Google Webmaster Tools, just like a standard Sitemap.
12. Promote your website in the right ways
A blog post is a great way to let people know about your service or content. Our article “How to Start WordPress Blog for Beginners” can help you create new blog. RSS feed or news feed can also help people to get updated about your sites. To know more about RSS check “Everything You Need to Know About RSS Feed in WordPress”. Offline promotions like business card, letterhead, posters, etc can help too. For local business, adding your info into Google Places can help customers find you into Google maps and web search. Social media promotion and email subscription are other effective methods that can help you grow visitors. If you are interested in adding Email subscription to your site then you can check our article on “How to Add Email Subscription to WordPress using MailChimp”.
13. Make use of free Webmaster tools
Make use of Google Analytics and Website Optimizer. These tools can help you identify issues that might be hurting your Google ranking. With the help of these tools you can address the areas of your site that might need improvements. To know how to add Google analytics on your site please check our site on “How to Setup Google Analytics on WordPress”.
Avoid Black Hat SEO techniques since they can get you banned from Google. Stick to the basics of SEO. With patience and consistency you will be rewarded with good recognition and ranking. We hope the article helped you to understand the basic rules of SEO.
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