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Author's profile photo Manimozhi Rathinam

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) guidelines and practices to increase traffic to your website

Every day, millions of people search for answers to their queries on search engines. In most cases, users click on the top five search results of a search engine. Search engine optimization (SEO) is a set of rules that websites can follow to make their websites search engine friendly and improve their rankings. As a result, the website will be more user-friendly, faster, and easier to navigate. An organic search like google search is not a paid search, it is easy to build, and it provides long-term benefits.

The purpose of this article is to present some best practices for SEO implementation, and it assumes readers have a basic understanding of search engine optimization (SEO). This article will give the audience a better understanding of how SEO strategies can be implemented.

This blog is not intended to address the basic training of SEO.

SEO – Don’t be late to the game

It is possible that the business will see less traffic after the channel is live, despite having effective marketing in place. Additionally, the business may notice that the site is not listed in top search engines despite selling the searched products.

B2B businesses may complain that their channel has low traffic and that only existing customers are buying from them. There are more scenarios where businesses are not attracting customers.

All the problems listed may be due to ineffective SEO techniques or the business did not give SEO much importance and here are some common reasons for the failures.

  • There may not be an SEO story in the backlog or on the to-do list
  • The development team does not have SEO expertise, so they need guidance from an expert or business to incorporate the SEO elements
  • Due to other critical features taking precedence, businesses may give less importance to SEO
  • Search engine optimization is often viewed as an after-the-fact element of marketing.

What is the significance of SEO for your business?

SEO is a long-term sustainable marketing strategy compared to short-term campaigns. The entire process can be seen as a framework with guidelines and controls.

  • Improves customer experience by making it easier to find products and services
  • Increases brand awareness and trust for your business
  • Reduce the cost of paid search
  • The SEO strategy drives more traffic to the site, which increases conversions and generates a high return on investment
  • SEO can help you build a bigger and more relevant audience to remarket to by driving more interested visitors to your product pages

Strategize SEO Implementation

In order to strategize the implementation, the business needs to analyze the following:

  • Business Goals of SEO strategy
  • Team enablement on SEO implementation.
  • List of pages that need to be enabled for SEO
  • Is there anything that needs to be added to the current process of content creation to make it more efficient?
  • Business tasks, improvements, and priorities
  • Search engines to focus on (Google, Bing etc.)

Types SEO

On-Page SEO

On-page SEO helps to provide search engine crawlers enough information to understand the meaning and context of your content. If followed correctly, on-page SEO will improve the usability and credibility of the ecommerce channel.

On-page SEO primarily deals with the following:

Off-Page SEO

Practice Recommendation
Social sharing Have relevant social sharing integration.
Social reputation Ensure that the social reputation is high. Select appropriate Social Sentiment analysis tools to help monitoring social sentiments
Backlinks

Pages and domains having link to your site impacts SEO in a major way.

Backlinks from more reputed sites help more.

Backlinks from pages related to topics on my page help more.

Blogs Blogs help build a brand and create a positive image of your site.
Images and Videos Blogs, Images and Videos about your site help build your brand, which ultimately impacts your SEO.

SEO Best Practices

Page Content and Structure

  • Page Development should adopt a semantic structure and follow best practice and the relevant HTML Coding Standards
  • Prepare guidelines for formatting key elements, such Page Titles, Meta Descriptions and H1/H2/H3 tags
  • This approach should apply to image filenames as well
  • Every Page must have a Page Title that is used to define the title of a web page.
  • The Page Title, also known as title tag or title element, identifies the purpose of the page to search engines.

Keywords

  • Search engine optimization keywords are the words and phrases in your web content that make it easier for people to find your site. The keywords for SEO on a well-optimized website speak the same language as its potential visitor base, which helps connect your site with searchers.
  • Long-tail keywords are those three to four keyword phrases that are specific to whatever you are selling. A customer who uses a highly specific search phrase is more likely to be looking for exactly what they are looking for
  • It is important to use long-tail keywords in the right context within the URL, title tag, and body text for them to be effective
  • Use keywords that define and identify your products and services.
  • Do not overuse keywords which creates negative impact for the digital channel

HTML Tags Affects SEO

Title – You should have a title that defines the purpose of your page, and your most common keywords should be included in it as well. Title should be less than 70 chars

In the Page Title, the most relevant or valuable keyword term or phrase should be the first (or first few) words, followed by more contextual and descriptive terms

A page title should follow a structural template that concatenates Brand Name, Primary Keyword, and Secondary Keyword

Description– Describes in detail what the page is about. Make sure your description contains your most common keywords and it should not be more than 160 chars

There should also be a structural template for the Meta Description. For example, Product Detail Pages should include the H1 tag and the first couple of lines of the product description.

Header (H1)- Have unique keywords .E.g., Product Title and Description for Product Detail Pages; Category Name and Description for Category Landing Pages.H2, H3 and H4 tags (in decreasing order of priority) are SEO aids too e.g., H2 tags containing section titles; H3 tags for tab titles if there are tabs on the page and so on depending on the structure and content of the page.

Metadata language – Identifies the site language for a given page and helps bots show language specific content in a search response.

Image – The image alt-text attribute helps search engines understand the image more effectively. It is better to use keyword here

URL Structure and Strategy

  • Use proper keywords relevant to the page topic in URL
  • All domain and sub-domain characters should be lowercase
  • Don’t use spaces, underscores and any special characters and use hyphens. All special characters should be properly encoded.
  • Avoid using query parameters. Instead, user canonical URLs that are more SEO friendly.
  • URLs should follow the selling hierarchy of the site. URL structure for the PDP (product detail page) will be similar to /p/L1/L2/<product_name>/<productid> – where L1 is the highest super-category and L2 the next category in the selling hierarchy
  • It is best to have the URL with a product name and id in product page, likewise category page should have category name.
  • Categories should have unique names within a level in a selling hierarchy. Duplication of names within categories could jeopardize either page being indexed or cause suppression within the rankings.

SiteMap

Sitemaps are data files which tell search engines what content exists on the site and help search engines to find your content. SiteMap helps search crawlers know all the pages on their site, including URLs that may not be discoverable by Crawlers’ normal crawling process. Business can submit it to Google using the Search Console Sitemaps tool or insert “sitemap:Sitemap: http://example.com/sitemap_location.xml” line anywhere in your robots.txt file.

There are two types of sitemaps,

User-facing site map–the user-facing site map is usually a flat HTML (or xHTML) flat file that provides an overview of the website in terms of navigation and content. This is often the most important site map in terms of SEO impact and must not be missed. This sitemap should be a static HTML page and included as a link on the footer of all pages or as a boilerplate in the footer.

  • This sitemap should be found at the root of the site hierarchy.
  • It should be referenced as www.your-site.com/sitemap.
  • Use descriptive, relevant keyword-rich anchor text.
  • Regularly check the sitemap for broken links and correct HTML.

 

XML Site Map – these are generated as content feeds for search engines and help to set the site crawl rate based on the frequency of site content update. Google has a maximum file size for this type of site map – usually no more than 50K URLs for Google and no larger than 10MB at the time of writing this document.

  • The sitemap is based on the sitemaps.org protocol. (Please check the current version of protocol)
  • Consistently use fully qualified URLs as someone would normally access them
  • List canonical URLs for each language in your sitemap file and use hreflang annotations to point out translated versions of a URL to Google for crawling and indexing.
  • Sitemap files must be UTF-8 encoded, and URLs encoded appropriately.
  • Break up large sitemaps into smaller sitemaps to prevent your server from being overloaded if Google requests your sitemap frequently.
  • Instead of submitting individual sitemaps to Google, create a sitemap index file that lists all your sitemaps

Page Performance

Page performance is an important factor affecting a site’s SEO ranking. Search Engines penalize slow pages. Few common tweaks are:

  • Minify css, Js
  • Use compression for HTML/Images
  • Use Page caching

URL Redirect

HTTP 302 redirects (temporary redirects) should be avoided. Use HTTP 301 (permanent redirect) whenever possible. 301 redirects traffic parameters related to SEO to the new page and accumulates them.

Penalty from search Engine

Google penalizes sites for engaging in practices that are against its guidelines. Some factors leading to penalty are

  • Paid advertisement links
  • Irrelevant backlinks
  • Overuse of keywords

Robots.txt

This file provides site URL crawling suggestions to search engines bots and is primarily used to allow/disallow crawlers to access the site or part of it. Crawlers may choose to disobey too. (Example:https://www.sap.com/robots.txt )

  • This should be a text file and placed at the root.
  • must place the file in the high-level directory of your site (or the root of your domain)
  • Must be named robots.txt
  • If you use sub-domains, you’ll need to create a robot.txt file for each sub-domain

Robots Exclusion

As part of the Robots Exclusion Protocol, the “/robots.txt” file is a publicly available file that is used by website owners to give instructions about their site to web robots.It is mainly used to exclude robots or provide instructions to search bots.

It is important to change the contents of this file to allow/disallow access to different sections of the site as the site goes through testing (when it shouldn’t be accessible to search engines)

Conclusion

Thank you for reading this and please share your thoughts in comments section.

Using this article, businesses and technology teams can analyze and plan their SEO strategies. SEO implementation is not a one-time act but a continuous process. Please refer to the following resources for additional information

For General test

https://seositecheckup.com

https://metricbuzz.com

Broken links test

http://www.brokenlinkcheck.com

http://www.deadlinkchecker.com/

Helps identify right and most searched keywords related to a site.

https://adwords.google.com/home/tools/keyword-planner/

http://lsigraph.com/

 

Search Engine Results Page (SERP)analysis

https://www.woorank.com

http://www.whatsmyserp.com/serpcheck.php

http://serp-checker.online-domain-tools.com/

Find out, what people are searching for. What are the top trending searches. https://trends.google.co.in/trends/

 

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