The very thought of SEO can give many new website owners an uncomfortable feeling at times, especially when they find out search engine bots are crawling their website. To gain some clarity into the art of SEO, all it takes is a bit of understanding about how SEO works and how search engines display the websites that you see as results after performing a specific search.
Crawler based search engines like Google send out mini computers known as search engine spiders, or bots. These spiders will “crawl” through websites and store pieces of data. Google will organize and house all of this information that is discovered as a result of crawling millions and millions of websites. Search engines then serve their audience lists of websites as search results based on a given search query (keyword).
Search engines are getting better at showing the most relevant websites as search results. Once your website is found (crawled) and in turn, indexed by search engines, it is important to boost its relevancy. Trust is arguably the top factor with search engines today. Most of the top ranked websites in any given niche, both competitive and non competitive, show higher trust score factors than do lower ranked ones.
Search engines rank websites according to a number of factors. Most of the ranking elements are contingent upon the relevancy that a search engine gives a particular website. The main goal of a search engine is to show its audience the best possible websites as search results. In other words, search engines strive to display what they believe are the most popular, useful and relevant websites based on the given search query. In order to accomplish this, search engines find websites via spider and bot crawls and assign value to each of them. Many different elements go into this value “score” including the onpage SEO content on the website itself as well as off page elements.
Improve your website’s SEO so that search engine bots take notice
Here are a four ways to show the search engine bots you mean business!
#1. Optimize your HTML titles
Your website’s HTML title is one of the first elements that a search engine bot records. Because of this, the HTML title of your website should always target its top keyword phrases. This HTML tag continues to be a very important facet of the search engine ranking algorithm.
Many times the HTML title is the first part of a search result that a human visitor sees. In other words, it is an important focal point of search results. Thus, it is critical that you use targeted keywords in your HTML title. Keywords located at the beginning of the HTML title are weighed more heavily than keywords at the end of the tag. Title tags should not exceed 72 characters in length. Going over the character limit for HTML titles will cutoff the clickable link on search engine results. By keeping under the 72 characters, the HTML title will appear completed with all targeted keywords displayed.
As you can see from the screenshots below, editing the URL of a post is not the same as editing the HTML title. The first screen shot shows the HTML title at the top and the URL that can be edited below it.
The next screen shot shows the actual HTML for the page. It has not used the URL structure, it has used the title at the top of the WordPress post as the HTML title.
#2. Internal linking
Link pages together to make sure that spiders can index all pages within your website. Search engine spiders rely on links to get from page to page once they index a website. By following link to link, they index each page along the way. If no links point to pages within a website, search engine spiders have a hard time locating the page. Many times, they can all together miss pages that are not properly linked.
Internal links within a website are almost as important as links from off page sources. The anchor text of a link (the part that someone clicks) lets a search engine know what its landing page contains. Search engines rely on anchor text to help make more sense of a link. Therefore, the words included in the anchor text of links have value and should be targeted. By including keywords in the anchor text of links, the chances of being ranked under those terms is increased. This rule is both true for back links to your website from off page sources as well as internal linking.
#3. Use keyword enriched H1 headlines
H1 headlines are great ways to feature and target your desired keywords. Search engines weigh a headline, which is the blog post titles, more heavily than they do regular text on the page. Make your H1 headline short and to the point. The longer the headline, the less value attached to the keywords in it. Just like your HTML title tag, include your most important keyword phrase at the beginning of the headline. Search engine spiders can easily crawl through the text on your website and place a lot of relevancy on the terms that appear in a H1 headline. Think of your H1 headlines as being announcements where you then back up your statement with additional text and copy. Since the H1 headline is looked upon as an important area of your website by search engine spiders, it makes sense to include your keywords within this sort of tag.
#4. Use image alt tags
We have mentioned this tip before but it is worthwhile including it here as Search engine bots look for images with text. We all know that we need to use image alt tags to help search engine spiders “see” your images. Search engine bots will index your website’s textual information during a crawl. Images though are a different story. Search engines treat images very differently. The images on your website do not give direct SEO value when it comes to being ranked on search engines. You can though include keywords in your image alt tags to let a search engine spider know what the image portrays.
Too many websites ignore even the most basic SEO. Every business website can benefit from search engine traffic and should thus include SEO in their marketing plans. In knowing how search engine spiders work, you can now focus on popular areas that they visit when crawling through your website.