In this guide we'll cover the basics of SEO. Please keep in mind that SEO is complex and ever-changing. It can therefore never be considered finished.



TABLE OF CONTENTS


What is SEO?

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. It is the process of increasing the traffic to your website through organic (not paid) search engine results. Search Engines are basically answer machines that scan and catalogue all the content available on the Internet and match the most relevant ones with a query.

Here is a simple video that explains the essence of SEO.




How to improve your site


→ High-quality content

Content should be your first priority when it comes to SEO. Three words: Qualitative, Fresh and Relevant. Let's develop:

  • Your content, informative or artistic, needs to be valuable, genuine and unique. Read Google's guidelines regarding High-Quality content (Section 5.1).

  • Search Engines love fresh content and we're not talking about updating a title or a date but about newly added content to your site. A great way to do this is to create a blog page on your site and regularly post qualitative articles.

  • Your content needs to be accurate and relevant for your audience. For example, if you announce on your website that your sell furniture, it's not recommended to display your holiday photos on the same website. Google won't qualify your holiday photographs to be a relevant content for your site. If you are also photographer, it's best to create another site dedicated to your photography art.



→ Optimise your texts with keywords

Keywords should be incorporated naturally in your texts, image descriptions or titles, in a way that is comprehensible to your visitors. A list of words at the end of a page does no good to your SEO. Here is an example of a compelling and descriptive text including keywords like design, furniture, lighting, accessories, iconic products, architects, etc.

Source: hem.com 



→ Think the structure of your site with the user in mind

  • Keep the navigation simple so that your visitor easily can find his way around your site. 
  • Use internal links to help your visitor navigate through your site, if needed.
  • Use descriptive words separated with hyphens in your URLs, e.g. what-is-seo, instead of whatisseo.
  • Use headers to organise the content on your page. Learn how to add a header to a page and how to edit the style of your headers in Portfoliobox.
  • Avoid big chunk of text and prefer paragraph breaks.
  • Include images or videos when appropriate.
  • Use bullet points when needed and bold or italic for emphasis.



→ Work on your SEO Titles & meta descriptions 

In a search result, your site comes up as follow

  • Site title & Page titles: your page titles should convey what your page is about so they should be descriptive and unique. Try to keep them shorter than 60 characters and add your keywords at the beginning of the title. Edit your page SEO title under the page settings and your site SEO title under your site settings.

  • Meta description: it's an HTML tag describing the content of the page. It is not visible on your page but can be read by search engine. However, search engines may decide to display another snippet of text than the one you provide if they believe it better represents your page. It should be descriptive and relevant. Try to keep it around 150 characters. Edit each page's SEO description under the page settings and your site meta description under your site settings.

  • Sitelinks are automated. Only Google chooses to display sitelinks and which ones.



→ Optimise your images before uploading them

To avoid quality loss make sure your images are 1920 pixels in width or height, before you upload them. We also recommend making sure their color profile is sRGB. If you are using Photoshop go to File > Save for Web. This will make sure that the images will be optimized for web browsers. Read more about images.


Edit the name of the files before you upload your images. Try to use keywords in your image titles. The file name will be the image title in your Portfoliobox admin panel. 



→ Make sure your site can be found by Search Engines

One of the questions you should ask yourself is: can my site be found by Search Engines? This means that your site needs to be published and online. One way to double-check it, is to open Google.com and type site:yourdomain.com, e.g.site:portfoliobox.net. If a result pops up, that means your site can be found by Google and is already indexed. Now, you need to improve your ranking in the search rr

Note! for Bing, you need to type url:portfoliobox.net.



Off-site improvements


→ Content Marketing & Outreach

Get in touch with companies & bloggers with relevant (but non-competing) websites. Publish content on their websites which links back to your own, with for example a guest blog post. 


→ Press Releases & Newsletter

Write press releases to share news and opinions about developments in your industry. Distribute them via online channels and include links back to your website.


→ Pay Per Click

Use Google Adwords & Facebook Advertising to gain new visitors. Constantly review and adjust ads to improve click through rates and reduce the cost per click.


→ Comment & Forum Marketing

Be active on relevant websites, blogs & forums. Leave insightful comments and include links back to your website.


→ Social Media

Create a profile on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. Everything that is relevant to your website. Add the link of your online portfolio in the profile, be active and share your news there. Create content that appeals to social media users. Encourage people to ‘like’ your content and share it with their friends and family.


→ Creative communities

Join creative communities. There are a lot to choose from. Portfoliobox recently launched Findcreatives.com, a community that helps people find, discover and hire creative talent. 


(source: SEOmark)



Google Search Console

Google Search Console is a free service that helps you monitor, maintain and troubleshoot your site's presence in Google Search results. It will help your site get indexed. Read about how to verify your site with Google Search Console.