This guide is based purely on SEO that works; it contains the proven seo techniques and tactics that you need to start implementing today.
Search Engine Optimization otherwise known as SEO; as most Bloggers refer to it is the process of determining your website status on search engines. SEO is also the act of getting free “unpaid” traffic from search engines. It requires alot of work however to get your website on the front page of search results but with the right tools and knowledge it will be a walk over.
Note: For point of reference, I will be using my website where necessary.
Before we begin……
There are two SEO practices that Webmasters or Bloggers engage in:
- White-Hat SEO;
- Black-Hat SEO;
White-hat SEO is the act of ranking in search results page by following the necessary guidelines, there is no improper tactics in place to influence search results. In order words, your website is optimized for humans not search robots. Your website will be on the front page of search engines for a very long time by practicing proper white-hat techniques.
Black-hat SEO is the complete opposite of white-hat SEO; webmasters try to use illegal methods to influence the search results to their favor either by building bulk backlinks or stuffing keywords in articles. It even advanced when Bloggers use CSS codes to hide stuffed keywords from readers, using PBN’s that work only for 6 months, and much other techniques.
Although, it was actually a working tactic back then in the early days of Search Engines; but gradually over time it became a total waste of time. Black-hat tactics are not part of SEO that works.
Search Engines have gotten very wise over time to know the difference between both SEO practices listed above. SEO is a game and a system that is played properly by following sets of rules in the right manner therefore you should engage in white-hat SEO if you are building your online presence into a brand.
There are two areas in SEO which you must have good knowledge of, they are:
- On-Page SEO;
- Off-Page SEO;
On-Page SEO is the process of analyzing your website structure and implementing strategies to make it Search Engine and User friendly. Some few on-page optimization techniques are:
- Easy Website navigation;
- Good Post Readability;
- Flexible Keyword Prominence;
- Perfect Website Structure;
- Website speed;
and so many other factors that we will discussed later on…
Off-Page SEO however are the practices you carry on to ensure your website meets Search Engine’s guideliness. They are practices you engage in to give your website a good external signal.
What are these practices:
- Link Building;
- Social Bookmarking;
- Social Branding;
You have grabbed a good understanding of Search Engine optimization; we will proceed to SEO that works… this are the verified latest SEO techniques
On-Page Search Engine Optimization Practices
In this section, you will fully understand the techniques I and most bloggers use in optimizing our articles….
Optimize your Titles and Descriptions For higher rankings
When talking about SEO that works It also comes down to the title and description of your article.
It is very necessary if you want to rank quite good in the Search Engine Result pages.
In my experience they are quite well on the boost for good user click-through rate and also for search engines to understand what your content is all about.
how do you optimize your titles and descriptions?! Below is one of my technique that shot me to first spot:
In the image above, be well notable of three things; My Keyword is in the title and also in the description. My description, however, contains a strong call-to-action text that will increase click-through-rates. The first priority to follow is to include your keyword in the title and description while making your description appear “strong”.
Bonus_Tip: Include 2-3 related keywords in title.
Use Proper URL Structures For Better SEO
Search Engines are beginning to think like humans and they tend to provide contents that are friendly to researchers; Proper URL structures contribute to this.
“The URL you see above is the worst I have ever seen; How do you expect to get a returning visitor with such?!”
They are lots of problems attached with that URL:
firstly, there is no keyword in it and I can see it is a website with commercial intent; how do they expect Search Traffic then?!
pretty much no visitor can remember that URL, none at all.
That article might be a great content, maybe a review of the latest automobile car, what do I do if I want to share such url with my audience who might love cars?!
I won’t go searching for it again because it is too long and does not also appear friendly to me.
In my research, I discovered that much percentage of my readers actually preferred an article of mine over another because of the URL structure despite that the articles have same information.
Optimize your URL structure to be friendly if you need SEO traffic, the trick I use is by including my keywords and limiting my URL to 3 words.
Bonus_Tip: Keep your URL structure withing 3 – 5 words.
Friendly Website Navigation is a Key Factor
Another feature of SEO that works is good website navigation.
“Have you ever been to a website that you went deep through the articles of that website and suddenly you don’t know where the previous page you left is; or pretty much bad you forgot how the pages were sorted out and which appears first or last while you were browsing through it”.
It is not your fault but that of the owner of the website.
A major rule is that Search Engines think like users and will also need to understand how you arrange your web pages. If you take a look at my Website, I use a feature called “Breadcrumbs”.
A user on a website with breadcrumbs will never get lost and that applies to search engines crawlers too. Your reader is in control of tracking his location on your site.
Take the above image as an example. The reader knows he left the homepage to a category titled SEO and he saw a list of contents and decided to view Proven SEO techniques. He has knowledge of his location on the website and he will navigate easily without stress.
Lots of bloggers will however proclaim that implementing breadcrumbs requires coding or their theme lacks the feature; the proper solution is using a sitemap.
Sitemaps are generated to show search engines the total URLs on your website and it is updated regularly based on you changes you make. Of recently, I discovered sitemaps are not only for search engines but for readers and that is why I make use of them. Alternatively, if a reader is lost, he or she can easily navigate to my sitemap and view what ever is necessary.
The premium yoast plugin does sitemap generation automatically. For those of you who don’t use yoast or who are using Blogger host below is a link to generate your own sitemap.
Search Engine crawlers want you to make crawling easier for them therefore if you need faster index go ahead and make navigation easier for it.
Bonus_Tip: Make your sitemaps visible on your Front Page Menu.
Text Formats matter alot
Search Engines read web pages through html tags because they are not real users reading styled texts and the best approach is to make search bots understand the context of your html text.
These are my personal guidelines below:
- Make use of H1 tags on Homepage;
- H2 and H3 tags should be used mostly in your articles;
- Format texts with description in italics.
- Misplacing header tags in articles (placing h2 tags first, then using h4 tags in middle and using h3 tags in the conclusion);
- Including 7 or more words in an article header tag;
- Formatting your entire content to be bold or as a heading.
Bonus_Tip: Include and Bold your keywords in first paragraph of your article;
Ensure Proper Image Optimization to win off the Image Search
Another factor in SEO that works is image optimization. Google has a section differing from the web search and that is the image search and if you are not obtaining traffic from there like everyone does then you need to start optimizing your images immediately. Also in consideration, you won’t give your image the respect it deserves on search results for an article if you don’t add proper tags on it. Below is a proof of proper image optimization…
“That took some good optimization technique” But it is simple, below are the rules to follow when optimizing images in a blog post:
- Use proper img tags and names for your images;
- Optimize image size by smushing it; WordPress users can use WPsmush plugin while Blogspot users can visit Optimizilla before uploading;
- Make use of the proper “alt” tags for your images, the alt tag should be your article keyword.
Those are basically what I do for my images to rank properly.
Bonus_Tip: Don’t make your image size too small for users to view.
Mobile Friendly Pages Contribute a whopping 30% to your SEO
The world has gone mobile and majority of readers come from mobile, that is why you must optimize your web page to be mobile friendly.
According to Google “Users spend 177 minutes on their mobile phones per day.”There is more impression to pages that are responsive in design and layout. I basically don’t like to stress my mobile viewers with much heavy designs and widgets. Just keep it simple, responsive and flexible. Bounce rates occur mostly through bad mobile pages that “hurt readers eyes”. Below is how my mobile web page looks like and also view the score I got on Google mobile friendly test.
You can also score 100/100 in mobile test. To achieve that you have to use a mobile-friendly theme or template. For WordPress there are 3 themes I adore alot:
These themes are great on mobile and also on desktop view and if you want a highly responsive mobile page then download one of them.
For Blogspot, MagOne template is great, along with DUOS Mag or Emporior. But there are other several mobile responsive themes for blogger.
Bonus_Tip: Keep your mobile page as simple as you can.
Keep your 404 Pages Friendly To retain Readers and Search bots
Users at times will tend to view a page on your website but maybe that page has not been made yet or the page has been deleted.
The best thing to do in such case is to use a 404 page which will indicate to readers and search engines that there is no page available like such on your website.
For some reasons in SEO we will love to actually have a 404 page, it does help.
It’s same as going to a book store and probably you may not find the certain book you’re looking for, but if the book-seller displays other books there for you to see then it will definitely get your attention.
That is same as a well structured 404 page, it keeps your readers on your website.
Alot of Bloggers have however failed to make a 404 page for their blog and it keeps hurting their efforts without them knowing.
“How do you do a 404 page?”
Some themes are inbuilt with awesome good looking 404 pages. Most of those themes are premium;
What of Blogspot users?
Here’s what to do….
Head to your blogger dashboard
Go to settings
Select Search Preferences
Under “Errors and Redirection” edit the “Custom Page Not Found” section using html tags.
With that you will be head on in making your very own 404 page.
Bonus_Tip: In a 404 page include the link to your homepage and add your categories to the 404 page because it is best for SEO.
- Read: 12 Blogging Mistakes You should avoid at all costs
Make use of external and internal links to show your online activeness
External links are links you give out to websites that have contents relating to yours; Internal links are links you give out within your own contents.
Giving out external links is a great ranking factor in SEO. Search engines like websites that give out links, they see it as a signal that your website contributes to the internet. As a preference, I keep external links in articles within the range of 3-7 because it helps alot.
Internal links are also necessary, there are pages on your website that has more authority than other pages, try linking to the less authority pages in your website to pass Link Juice to the other pages. Not only is it passing link juice it is also a persuasive encouraging factor to readers in viewing other pages on your website.
Bonus_Tip: Avoid giving Backlinks to untrusted websites and in necessary cases where the website doesn’t deserve your link then make use of the “rel=”nofollow” tag.
Have a Fast Website that boots within a Milli-second to 10 seconds
In Google’s ranking factor, fast webpages tend to have a high and dominating ranking above slower ones.
Search Engines have a competition among themselves in serving the best contents to researchers and no Search Engine will bring up a slow website for any user.
To make your webpages faster then you need to optimize it and remove unnecessary files that slow your website down. Matt Gaunt (A Google Engineer) once gave a website load time fraction.
Below is how he rates it down:
- 0-1000ms = Task Focus;
- 1 Second+ = Context Switch;
- 10 Seconds+ = They Leave your site;
What this means is that once a reader loads your webpage he or she is much excited to view your content. Once it is 1 Second then he/she gets distracted and once it passes 10 second then expect a BOUNCE RATE.
Your web host also influences your website speed, maybe due to server maintenance or the engineers that optimize the server speed. Either ways it all depends on the money you are ready to spend on hosting plans, for me Blue host, Namecheap, hostgator and siteground all work best for a fast website.
To test your website speed I usually don’t suggest you use the Google’s pagespeed insights because the metrics there don’t relate to your website speed but to the size of your website.
A better tool to use when testing your website speed is the Pingdom Tool which I used to test mine as seen above. Test yours below.
Make Quality Contents That Feeds Readers
This is very important, infact it is the most important factor in SEO that works. The content is the most important in this concept. It is the foundation of your website and also in determining your SEO rank. Make contents that are informative and serve digestion to your readers.
The mistake alot of Bloggers make is actually copying and pasting someone else’s content, for the content to be on your site then it renders that content void and strips it off quality. In SEO, a copied content does not rank properly at all and can only harm your website the more.
Another factor is content spinning, this doesn’t fool Google anymore because it crawls websites like a real user and it has the ability to identify spun languages. Spun articles are presented in a markup language called Spintax.
Spun content is part of black-hat SEO and any webpage that is spun from another has only little time at the SERPs (that is if it manages to rank).
Bonus_Tip: It is very important that you maintain your content’s readability and don’t post articles that are false or misleading for the sake of views.
Okay, we are done with the first section which is On-Page Optimization… Pass those factors! and you will be well on course for the main session which is off-page optimization. On-Page SEO is not really a stress if only you follow the right instructions. For me, On-page is the first start-off for any new website, the webmaster can then do off-page after the on-page.
So…. to the next phase we go…..
Off-Page Search Engine Optimization Practices
Off-Page SEO has been branded as the most stressful part of SEO. The truth is that it is not stressful at all. The “Self-acclaimed” SEO experts won’t tell you the proper thing to do; they will only tell you to publish everyday and that publishing will give you backlinks and increase your alexa rank which is totally false. When we talk about Off-Page SEO, I brand it more interesting than On-Page which when you are done all you have to do is write contents and promote using special strategies.
Link-Building Is the major factor
In the past, when Search Engines were less smart, Off-Page SEO wasn’t considered and people literally stuffed up keywords in articles to beat search results but overtime those who stuffed up keywords were penalised and that marked the new age of Backlinks in SEO.
Backlinks are the reference links to your website or webpage from another website.
Depending on the type of backlink (Dofollow: where authority and link-juice is passed) or (Nofollow: where authority and link-juice is not passed).
The only reason to make a backlink to another website “nofollow” is if that website has “bad” contents and you want to mention the link of that website therefore you add a nofollow referrer in this format: <a rel=”nofollow” href=”https://your-site.com> your-site name </a>.
In the case of Dofollow backlinks then it is: <a href=”https://your-site.com> your-site name </a>.
Alot of people find backlink building very difficult but it is just a 2 minute action you have to start engaging in today.
I have already made articles on Backlinking here is: Most effective way to build backlinks.
Here is another to build backlinks safely: Perfect way to build backlinks safely.
You might want a high quality backlink so check this out: How to get backlink from Nairaland.
Another Great way to build backlinks is using DropMyLink tool. What this tool does is that it filters all the searches down to what it suspects will give you backlinks and I personally use this in building backlinks.
Another way to get backlinks is by reaching out to bloggers in your niche, it is easy to find them through different platforms like Facebook or contact them through their website.
But how exactly do you get them to give you a backlink?
Firstly, make a pretty great content that is really outstanding and worth linking to. It should be something simple and informative, then E-mail them with a link to your website. Their is a way to effectively do this which is shown below:
Hi [Title], [Name].
I am [Name] from [website name],
I saw the article you published on your blog [article name] and I really loved all the informations and points you wrote.
Similarly I published an article that is related to yours and you will surely want to read being a person that loves and shares great information.
This is what the article is based upon and it can also contribute to yours
[Few points in the article] [link]
Thanks [name] and keep up the nice work at [website name]
I hope to get your reply soon [Title], [Your Name].
That is a personal message I send to other bloggers that gives me backlinks, try it and it will surely assist your link building efforts.
Bonus_Tip: Never buy bulk backlinks or hire someone to build backlinks for you. Google and other Search Engines will know and they will penalise you for it.
Social Media Promotion Gives you traffic
Social Media marketing contributes to SEO way-off than you will imagine. Search Engine communicate to social media and the tend to get information to rank pages with good social signals higher in SERPs. They see good social signal as a great message that readers love your website therefore they will tend to push you higher in rankings. You will need to promote your articles on social media so as to get this shares that will help in boosting your rankings.
First you have to understand where your audience are hanging out. Because if you are in the wrong platform you won’t get any conversions from promotion at all. And it is also a waste of time to join all social platforms to promote your content. But how do you find where your audience are?! Let’s assume you blog about shoes…
Head on to Facebook
Search for Shoes…
Narrow your results down to Groups
Then Join FB groups that relates to shoes
What if the group don’t allow links? Below is what will work the magic
Anytime you publish a content on your blog then post it in the group in this format:
Hello Admin and fellow group members,
Here is an article that is based on [the topic]
I bet you will love it whole heatedly!
Check first comment for link
This is what works alot of times for me and I bet you will gain traffic through this manner.
Another way to gain from social promotion is by running FB ADs; This is a great way to get your information across the platform to different people that have interest based on the topic you are promoting and also get them to click your link.
Twitter is also a great way to exploit traffic by using hashtags that are less competitive, this method can even pull you twitter followers if done rightly.
Reddit is another platform to get you traffic easily. Try joining subreddits with members that have interest in your niche or the type of articles you publish.
Don’t just join reddit and start posting links immediately. Build your comment and post karma first, it usually takes time but it does worth it.
Bonus_Tip: Ensure that your niche is actually popular and discussed in the social platform where you are promoting it otherwise you are only wasting time and efforts.
Social Bookmarking gives you an online mention
Bookmarks is a proper manner people save your website so that their web browser or the tool bookmarking it notifies them of your updates regularly. They can also do this because they find your website to be useful and relevant to them. Social Bookmark sites are tools online where readers can add any website they want regular updates from. The main thing that differentiates it from the normal browser bookmark feature is the sorting out of websites based on their niche. This reduces a reader’s stress of searching each time for a website when they need to re-visit it.
Like-wise Google and all other Search engines, they regularly crawl social bookmark sites in their index and they tend to observe websites that have relevant occurrence.
This is an SEO feature that the “so called SEO-experts” won’t inform you of. There are lots of benefits from social bookmarking in terms of SEO that you probably haven’t started reaping but you actually have to.
Search Engines like Google track their readers using cookies and anytime you bookmark a website and it turns out several other people have also bookmarked that same website then the SERPs position of that website tends to improve thereby leading to a good SEO status. Bookmarking websites also link back to your website.
But how do you get this social bookmarks? It is simple following this basic steps that pay:
- Proving to readers that your website is worthy of bookmarking;
- By E-mailing your subscribers and informing them about social bookmarking and the benefits it contains for you and them;
- By making accounts on social bookmark websites and adding your website to it manually.
A good website to bookmark your site is StumbleUpon.
Bonus_Tip: Don’t be fast in adding your website to every social bookmarking site because Google and other search engines will detect spam and you will be flagged and de-indexed making your efforts wasteful. The best thing to do is to bookmark twice daily.
Conclusion | SEO that works
I said this in the beginning and I will say it again. SEO that works takes hardwork. SEO on its own is not a system that you should attempt to game, it has set of rules that you have to follow in order to succeed. I mentioned alot of things above that will skyrocket your website’s SEO but that won’t happen overnight and won’t also happen without you getting backlinks or promoting your blog posts.
Thanks for reading SEO that works.
It probably took you 15 minutes to read this and if you’re an SEO addict like me then you surely enjoyed it 🙂