What is Search Engine Optimization (SEO)?
SEO is the practice of promoting a web site in order to increase the number of visitors or site traffic the site receives from search engines. This practice is a time consuming step by step process and clear understanding of ‘what to do’ and ‘what not to do’ is crucial. The ‘to do’s can genuinely promote your site and ‘not to do’s will get you blacklisted and eventually demoted.
‘To do’s or white hat SEO includes a range of activities from writing good code and good content to letting the word out. So some of the stuffs you do on the site (On page SEO) and some are off the site (Off page SEO). There are some in the middle as well! For instance writing .htaccess and robots.txt files.
It’s about time that you know the prerequisites as well. You should have a clear understanding of HTML tags (e.g. meta tags, alt tags) at the very least to carry out on page SEO. Other than this, anyone who can follow instructions can do search engine optimization themselves. So if your question is: ‘Can I DIY(or DIM) SEO?’ The answer is: ‘YES’
* DIY- Do It Yourself; DIM- Do It Myself.
How to do Search Engine Optimization (SEO)- 3 steps to take before you develop you site
Step-1: Book a domain Book the right domain.
It’s always better to plan ahead and have a strategy. Your SEO starts at the very first point when you are thinking about launching a website. It’s important to do some research on your target market and identify a ‘keyword’. The word(s) people are most likely to type in to search for your service is the jackpot! It’s great if you can fit that keyword in your domain. If that domain is taken, try to keep it closely related to your chosen keyword.
You should avoid going for a long domain name. A short and relevant name which is easy to remember and good to your tongue (easy to pronounce) should be the prime target.
Step-2: Choosing a “good” Hosting
Hosting is like a launch pad for a rocket! If that is broken you‘ll surely have problems taking off. You have to put special attention to reviews from diverse sources as hosting companies often try to rig reviews. Give special attention to Uptime, bandwidth allowance, traffic allowance and extra benefits that come with the package (e.g. facebook ad credit, google ad credit etc.). Ask the host about the costs following the first year before you sign up. They tend to give a very lucrative offer for the first year and then increase the price twice the deal (or even thrice) from the following year. Don’t forget to research into their customer service as well. When you have a daunting trouble and you seek help only to hang up, you know you took the wrong turn somewhere (in choosing the hosting)!
….my bad forgot to tell you why I was talking about hosting here. Downtime (when your website doesn’t show up) drives away traffic as it is a bad user experience. Consecutive downtime will affect your ranking. So, all your hard work can go in vain and that’s not even your fault! (well…you chose the hosting)
Step-3: Configuring .htaccess
“.htaccess” is a special file that you will find in the root folder of your website’s directory. It manipulates server response for your site and that is why a well written .htaccess is necessary. For instance, it controls compression and caching, file access, various header declarations etc. When you run your site through Google page speed test, you’ll often notice that Google moans about entity tags (E-tags), leverage browser cache, add expires headers etc. Proper configuration of these elements in .htaccess can phenomenally speed up your website and hence reduceloading time. Page speed is one of the measuring criterions for user friendliness. Pages that load fast are liked by users and search engines alike. So don’t forget to use the power of .htaccess to speed us your website.
Moreover, if you are after rewriting ugly-looking URLs to nice, readable and easily memorable URLs, you can use .htaccess to do so. Clean URLs are better for human and search bots alike. There is myth that Google doesn’t index URLs with numbers and character like?, _, -. In case if you haven’t noticed, it’s a myth. However, Google inspires writing user-friendly URLs. So don’t overload your URLs with session variables, instead learn how to write .htaccess files properly.