Optimizing your content
As we just saw search engines are taking into consideration the content you are including on your web pages in order to rank them.
As you can imagine search engines have no interest at all to show websites which are not relevant to a search term. So if you write a content which is 100% original, do not feel surprise if your website rank first for some specific keywords or phrases, the reason behind is that there is no competition at all on those keyphrases.
A typical example is the following one, imagine that you are creating a company which has for name YYYYYXC, as you will be the only one on earth carrying this name, you will probably be soon the first ranking on this keyword. In addition to that you will probably rank as well on sentences combined with this word such as "service yyyyyxc", "contact yyyyyxc".
Ranking for the keywords you are highly legitimate is the easiest part in SEO. The most difficult one is when you are using the same key phrases as others, as you will be competing with others, search engines are using other criterias that you
will need to know in order to bypass the competition. We will see those other criterias later on in this course.
Which part of my content should I optimize?
Whatever the search engine or website you are trying to be visible for, you will see that the different locations where you need to have your keywords in are closely the same.
Here is below a non-exhaustive list:
- web hosting: having a reliable web hosting platform is a good thing in terms of SEO. In fact some search engines will be tired of indexing websites where the machines hosting the content are not able to answer properly.
- https: some search engines are penalizing websites which are not in https and honestly, they are right. Moving a website from http to https became easy thanks to many providers out there and it is even possible to make it for free. You won't
probably get it right away the first time but with a bit of effort you will be fine.
- domain name tld: this one is important as it will give the tone of your website. If your domain name is ending with .it it is a cultural thing to say this website is targeting the Italian market. So better to not purchase a domain name such
as make.it in order to play on the words. Same thing do not create a domain name in .org if you are a company as .org are mainly for non-profit organization. You have a lot of TLD here around so pick up the one you consider are the most relevant
for your organization/company/project. The reason why I choose the .com tld for the Floss Marketing School is because .com is the most well known TLD and that I didn't want to have to purchase many different TLD for all the different markets,
I really prefer to go for https://fr.floss-marketing-school.com, https://floss-marketing-school.com etc.
- domain name: it has been said that some search engines are not considering that much keywords within the domain name and that some are even giving penalties for exact match domain name. I have to say that here the most important thing is to have a domain name that people can recognize. Most of the time it will be the name of your project or company. If you project or company is carrying a name which is the description of your activity it is even better. This is why I used the word FLOSS Marketing School. So when people read the domain name, they know this is about a school of marketing... then they need to investigate what FLOSS is about... you cannot have a domain name which is too long. It is too long when people are making mistakes when typing it :P
- subdomains: subdomains are a good location to insert words in but it has to be short, descriptive and consistent with all your other subdomains. In general subdomains such as blog.ndd.com, intranet.ndd.com are nice because by just reading them you get the point directly.
- folders: so as domain names and subdomains, they are good places to insert keywords within but it is all about getting your website consistent. So do not use them in order to stuff keywords within if it breaks your general organization. Here the rule of thumb is always to have something descriptive. Let's imagine that you have a folder which host only images and which will host images in the future too, then call it images as it is more descriptive than just files. Same thing for your folder named "services", if all your services are well identified then give the name of your service straight away like "cleaning" as it will provide you one keyword straight away for all your urls.
- filename/URI/URL: same thing as above, here you are trying to be as descriptive as possible without having a URL which is 4 km long. Here the best thing is to rely on your CMS in order to automate the process of generating the URL. Most of CMS will take a part of the title of the page and then mix it with something else. Here the big mistake that you can do is to let URL which are not descriptive. That's typically the case when features such as URL rewriting are disabled, it will provide you with URL such as https://my-domain-name.com/54541454545414545.html. So if a general internet user is reading just this URL it won't be able to identify what is behind, so as a search engine robot. If your URL is https://my-domain-name.com/ask-for-a-website-design-quote.html then the internet user and the bot know that this page has to be index on those keywords (here we are exagerating the example, but you are getting the idea).
- title: the title tag refers to what is within <title></title> this part is really important as it is the first information that internet user will see about your website without getting within it. So as a good practice always insert here the words which are related to the page you are sending your visitors to. If you lack of inspiration, look at what your competitors are doing. Have a look as well to competitive industries such as tourism, insurance... in fact he more advertisements you can see out there, the more competitive it is.
- meta data: there are many meta data you can use in SEO. They are used to discuss with robots only and to tell them some information about your web page. The most famous are the meta description, canonical, robots. Meta description is used in order to indicate search engines the description of the page you would like to list within their SERP. Canonical indicates if robots are visiting a duplicate version of the page, and the robot is here to indicate what they should do about this page (index or not index) and if they should follow the links on the page.
- headings: h1, h2, h3 and so on and so forth are used in order to structure your page in terms of titles and subtitles. The words you will insert there will have a lot of value to search engines.
- first paragraphs: reading on a computer is always more difficult than on paper, as a result there is a trend when writing on the web which is to make a summary of what the web page is about before starting to go in depth, in fact if you look at a Wikipedia article you will see what I am talking about. As a result always include the words you would like to rank for within the first paragraphs or your web page.
- strong/underline...: every emphasize you will add to your keywords will have an impact on SEO.
- links: so as strong and underline the links you will include on your web page and to who you are linking to will send some signals to search engines. So always have descriptive links with rich keywords.
- images/media: medias, whatever they have can also include keywords, so this is about the name of the file, what it is showing, the title of the media, the alternative text of it.
- ... and this list could continue on and on.
In fact the key thing to remember here is to make it clear to your visitors and search engines what your web page is about. So if you would like to optimize your content to the maximum then you need to pay attention to every details when drafting your