Getting your SEO right is essential for any website, and will pay dividends in terms of boosting your site ranking and reaching customers. However, many websites fail to understand how important this is, and miss out on the benefits of successful SEO. There are many ways in which you can optimize your site:
Increase Site speed
Increasing the speed at which your pages load will help push you up in Google’s rankings, and also make it more likely that viewers will stay on your site. These days, people expect fast internet as standard, and get very annoyed when a site is slow to load. There are several ways to increase site speed. Firstly, switch to faster hosting. If your site is picture-heavy, compress the images, though be sure that you don’t reduce them so much that picture quality is an issue. Finally, use a CDN, or Content Delivery network. This uses the server closest to the user to deliver web pages.
Use Tag fundamentals
The title tag is possibly the next most important SEO element after content, so don’t neglect it. Choose a title that will have an impact and keep it under 60 characters. Meta descriptions should not be keyword heavy, but should contain relevant keywords with a similar meaning to your main one. Google prefers a single header tag on each page; if you want more than one, limit it to a single h1 and add more h2s.
Use SEO-friendly Urls
Some websites use a dozen or more words in their URL – and that can be damaging their position in the search rankings. Keep your URL under 5 words, as that is preferred by Google. Using too many keywords in your URL can look rather like spam, and may even lead to you being reported by competitors or disgruntled customers. You can place keywords in more natural places throughout your text, rather than stuffing too many into your URL.
Adding pictures and videos to your site can be a big hit with users, as well as doing you a big favour regarding SEO. These work because users are likely to spend more time on your site, rather than quickly moving on to another site. Keeping people on your site for longer reduces your “bounce rate” – where users leave your site without clicking through to other pages. A high bounce rate could penalize your ranking. Also consider the importance of image optimization; try to avoid generic pictures, and ensure that you only use images you have a right to use.
Use responsive design
Technology is fast-changing, and you have to be anticipate and respond to those changes. For example, in 2015 Google began to penalise any sites that failed to become mobile-friendly by lowering them in the rankings. More and more people are accessing sites using their mobile device, so this side of the internet cannot be ignored. Use this tool to check if your site is mobile-friendly.
Internal and external linking
Getting both internal and external links right is important. These should always lead to relevant content. Pages with external links will outrank those that have no external links. It also makes it easier for Google to understand what your page is about, and indicates that your site contains high-quality information – this is very important for increasing your rating, and persuading customers to stay on your site.
Use social sharing button
Sharing content will not in itself boost your rankings. However, it is still indirectly a very useful exercise. Encouraging and making it easy for readers to share your content will increase the likelihood of bringing in new users for your website. People like to share information that they’ve found useful, amusing, or that has caught their interest. So add a button for your readers to share content on social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, and Google+. Of course, you’ll need to add content to your site that readers will deem worth sharing. ‘How to’ articles, videos, and memes are examples of the kind of material people like to share.
Write good long content
As mentioned above, your content needs to be of good quality to indicate to Google that it merits a higher ranking. Reposting too much content from elsewhere – something that is common on many sites as they feel the pressure to keep adding content – will work against you, as Google will give priority to the site that posted it first. Outsourcing some of your content is a handy way to add new material to your site if you are short of time or want to bring a fresh eye in. Essay writing sites like Essayontime will provide content written to your specifications, so you can hand over a title and leave them to write the content for you.
In short, the fundamental basis of good SEO comes from having good content on your site. Once you have that, there are many ‘tweaks’ you can carry out that will boost your chances of appearing higher in the ranks. Make sure you keep on top of any changes in the way rankings are decided.
About the guest author:
Joan Selby is a content marketer and a blogger; a graduate of California Institute of the Arts and a fancy-shoe lover; a writer by day and reader by night, giving a creative touch to everything. Find her on Twitter and Facebook