Search Engine Optimization 101: Why Your Website Needs SEO

Is your website struggling to rank for your main keywords and search phrases? Are you finding it difficult to attract visitors to your website? If so, then your website most likely needs SEO. 

Search engine optimization is a series of processes that are applied to a website in order to get it ranking better in Google and the other search engines. There are hundreds of different factors that Google looks at when it comes to how they rank websites in their search engine results.

SEO isn’t easy if you want to do it properly. There are some things that the average person can do with their website in order to give it a better chance of ranking, but the majority of things are best left to an SEO expert. 

You’ll find that there are a number of SEO agencies that offer professional services to get your website ranking for your primary keywords and search terms. In this article, we will take a look at the most important aspects of SEO.

Backlinks 1: Creating new links to your website

Backlinks are the lifeblood of SEO. Despite repeated claims by Google that backlinks are not the most important factor, all SEOs know this not to be the case. It is vital that your website has backlinks coming from high authority websites. It’s important that the sites that link back to you also have relevance to your own website. 

For example, if you are running a website for a hotel in Santorini, then backlinks from a site which is about pet grooming in London is going to have no relevance whatsoever. But if you had a backlink coming from another website about travel featuring Santorini as a destination, then this is going to be highly relevant and powerful for your website. 

There are many ways to go about getting backlinks to your website. Avoid any offers from emails you might receive offering you 10,000 backlinks to your website for just $20. These are going to be completely useless and may end up doing more harm than good. If you want powerful backlinks then look into purchasing some guest posts instead. They will be much more powerful and relevant.

Backlinks 2: Removing any toxic links to your website

One fundamental mistake that a lot of people make when it comes to backlinks is that they are under the impression that “more is better”. This couldn’t be further from the truth. All backlinks are different and can affect your way in one of two ways – positively or negatively. All professionals, such as SEO agency SmartRanking, will know the difference between a good backlink and a bad one.

If you build good backlinks from quality websites, then this will have a positive effect on how your website ranks. However, if you build hundreds and thousands of low-quality links, the only effect these will have is going to be of a negative value.

There are lots of places where you wouldn’t want backlinks from. Link farms, which are groups of websites whose sole purpose is to link out to thousands of other websites, are to be avoided at all costs. Maybe in the past, you had SEO work done by a so-called expert who simply spent a few dollars buying you hundreds of junk links to your site.

If this is the case, then you might actually need to start removing such links. In fact, some links cause so much damage that there are some companies that specialize in toxic link removal. If your SEO has identified toxic sites linking to your site, you need to try and get them removed. 

This can be done by either contacting the site owners and asking for their removal, which to be honest is not the easiest thing to do. The other way is to disavow the links through Google, where you are basically telling Google to ignore such links from your backlink profile.

Page Speed

Google has placed a lot of emphasis on the loading times of websites, and as they want to ensure that their users will get the best experience, they want sites that load quickly at the top of their search results.

A slow loading web page is going to lead to a lot of people leaving your page before it’s even finished loading. Most people will wait no more than 5 seconds for a page to load. Any longer than that, then the majority are going to click back to Google and find another site to visit, which will most likely be one of your direct competition.

There are a number of tools that you can use online to check the speed of your site. Two of the most popular are GTmetrix and Google’s own PageSpeed insights. Both provide a detailed analysis of your website and show the various loading times and where you can make improvements.

A lot of page speed fixes will need the help of a professional as they are usually very technical elements to fix. If you find your website has a very slow speed, then this is something you need to take care of right away.

Good on-page SEO

On-page SEO refers to all elements that are on your website and connected to it such as the server you are being hosted on. There are many different factors to consider when performing on-page SEO. 

You’ll first need to perform an audit of your website and see where you have any underlying issues. These can range from anything such as duplicate or non-existent title tags, to poorly optimized images, badly written content, or broken links within your website. 

A great tool for performing your own audits is Screaming Frog. There is a free version that you can download that allows you to perform an audit of a website with less than 500 pages. For most people, this is more than enough, and you can pick up where your site has problems and what you need to do to fix them.

Most SEO experts will spend time performing a thorough audit of your website using a range of different tools. Once they have found where you have problems, they will start fixing the issues, as well as correct any fundamental mistakes that may have been made to your website when it was being developed. 

It’s important to realize that most web designers do not fully understand the importance of SEO, and often do not take into account some of the basic fundamentals of SEO when developing websites.

Final thoughts

How and where you rank in Google is not down to luck. Google is smart enough to know a quality website from a poor spammy one. If your website is a lot poorer in quality than your competitors then the first thing you need to do is to get your site improved. Create new content, invest in a new design, or do whatever else is needed to get on par with your competition.

Once that has been done, then should you start looking at the off-page side of things. There is no point investing in quality backlinks to your website when your site itself is poorly designed and will most likely be a turn off for anyone visiting it.





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