ORLANDO, FLORIDA — Because search engine optimization is an industry rife with jargon and a technical process that many people do not understand, some assume that there must be some secret formula for success. According to SEO Expert Ali Husayni, that is not the case.
“Search engine optimization boosts the visibility of a website by making sure that the site’s language gives the best possible chance for it to be found when a web surfer performs a search,” Husayni says.
A small part of the SEO process is on-page optimization, which is constructing the code of a website to be easily crawled by search engine spiders, according to Web Developer and SEO Specialist, Saeed Khosravi. A basic search about SEO will pull up a staggering amount of information and ‘How-To’ tutorials. Unfortunately, knowing which list has ethical SEO techniques, and which has outdated or detrimental ones can be a chore. Plus, it is constantly changing.
“Google’s search engine algorithm is updated on a regular basis, which means in order to make sure you are not using obsolete techniques, you have to find a reputable source that keeps you informed about changes,” Khosravi says.
Google wants to mimic the human behavior of reading, analyzing and organizing content, and so the system evolves as people do. According to Husayni, some changes to the algorithm are to block black hat SEO techniques, which include any techniques that use spam, cheap links and poor or irrelevant content just to get a higher ranking.
Panda was an update like this that Google released in the U.S. in February last year. The major change was that Google began “rating” websites on their content and user-experience. According to a recent Search Engine Land article, the focus of the update was to reduce and penalize websites that had thin, low-quality and duplicate content. It also targeted sites that came up short based on other site-quality metrics, such as high advertisement-to-content ratios.
Where To Get Started
Husayni has been committed to the Google-approved SEO methods that work with the search engine algorithm instead of trying to abuse it, since he started Millionairium in 2004.
He has written an e-book of best SEO practices that he updates as the industry changes, and here he shares seven aboveboard methods he uses for his clients, ranging from the medical field and real estate to heating and cooling:
- Navigation. Navigation includes the top menu, footer links, breadcrumb navigation and HTML sitemap of a website. It should be very user-friendly and easy to understand. Do not make content hard to get to or structure the site in a way that only makes sense to experts in the industry or the person who designed the site.
- Sitemap. Set the XML sitemap to automatically update so that navigation stays current and keeps the latest information easily accessible for users and search engines.
- Header Tags. Header tags are used to define HTML headings and organize page content. <h1> stands for the most important heading and <h6> means that information is the least important of the page. Headers make the layout of textual information easy for the reader.
- Links. The purpose of website content is to serve the reader, so linking to other content within the site is beneficial for everyone: the company, the reader and the search engine. A page that expounds on a topic, issue or technique mentioned on a different page builds an internal link structure that Google loves and, as a result, boosts the ranking on SERPs.
- URLs. Use a consistent URL version and redirect all the other versions to the preferred one. For example, redirect non-www to www, https to http, and the one without trailing slash to the one with trailing slash.
- Keywords. Using short, keyword-rich URLs is another way to share information about the page content, as opposed to a URL that uses an ID number or another ambiguous parameter. Just make sure keywords accurately explain the page’s content succinctly. This information shows up in the SERs, and Google is also factoring this into their algorithm.
- Metadata. Do not use duplicate page titles and descriptions in the code for pages. The page title shows up at the top of the browser window, and the title and description show up in the SERs. This is another opportunity to make information available to readers and search engines.
Using a Millionairium website page as an example, a popular search term, Google Optimization, displayed on the first page of Google results when I entered it. Notice the URL that lists optimization, as the page title is Search Engine Optimization Millionairium SEO Services, and the description said this: “Millionairium offers SEO (search engine optimization) in a way which Google spiders could easily find your site, read its code and content, and rank it for your specific keywords.”
Keeping descriptions concise helps SEO efforts tremendously, according to Husayni.
“The person who did a search like this would have a very clear understanding of what the contents of this page are going to be and whether it will be helpful,” Husayni says.
Husayni also emphasized that these SEO tips are designed to benefit the user, not just make a page rank higher on Google’s search engine. The reality is that on-page optimization is a much smaller percentage of the total SEO work than it used to be. Today, it is five to 10 percent of the work an SEO firm would do for a client.
Husayni explains more on his blog about the SEO components needed to build a site Google will love.