Please Keep It Simple
Ok, we’ll keep the question of What is SEO? nice and simple. Leaving aside Pay Per Click (PPC) ads, you can do a lot for your search rankings by applying a few easy steps. We will highlight in just a second.
Ideally you want to want to be on the first page of any search engine result page (SERP). Beyond that, the number of people likely to find your website drops off dramatically; Most internet users won’t even check page 2 of the search results. Do you?
What are search engines looking for?
When you do an internet search for a topic, product or service, you are only interested in results which are relevant to your search term. The same applies to search engines. Their main aim is to deliver search results that are the most relevant to the searcher’s query.
Consider Your Own Search Habits.
I know you consider yourself to be an individual and I don’t want to burst your bubble, but I’m afraid you’re just like everyone else. When designing your own website and content, consider your own search habits and don’t over think it. Imagine what content you would find relevant and deliver exactly that.
2. The quality of your content
Deliver content useful and helpful to human beings. A lot of website owners get consumed by finding little tricks to gain a higher ranking rather than delivering great content and user experience. The importance of good quality, relevant content is paramount and cannot be understated. Ranking factors now give prominence to the ease with which a reader can understand the written text and understanding the user’s intention when searching. Good quality images and video content are essential too.
Avoid Keyword Stuffing. It’s years since Google fell for that old chestnut. Instead focus on the user experience.
3. User experience
Building a website around a great user experience has so many SEO benefits as well as making it a joy for people to use. Your website must be easily navigable with relevant content and contain internal linking. Basically all the things that keeps visitors on your website and wanting more. It’s not rocket surgery, try your website out on yourself and friends. Get some honest opinions. Do they like it? Do they find navigating the site intuitive? Is it too ‘wordy’? Do they nod off half way down the first page?
4. Site Load Speed
The speed at which your website loads is increasingly becoming a factor for search engines. More people are now browsing the web on mobile devices. Users can’t always be connected to fast 4G and WiFi networks. Make sure your site loads quickly over both fast and slow networks.
5. Cross-device compatibility
Is your website equally optimised for any given screen size or device using a Responsive Design? By now it should be. Remember that Google now labels websites in search results to show if it is mobile-friendly or not. Search rankings are prioritised in favour of sites built with a responsive design.
6. Internal linking
So now you know about the benefits of ensuring your site is clear and easily navigable, but there’s also a practice called Internal linking. You use this when publishing articles to help push traffic around your site. Google loves internal links as these hint towards a higher relevancy factor:
- They give your audience further reading material. Providing you link to relevant material and you use clear anchor text it can help reduce your bounce rates.
- They can improve your search ranking for certain keywords. For instance, we might want this article to rank for search term ’What is SEO’. To help achieve this we can link to it from other internal posts using variations of similar anchor text. This has the effect of telling Google that this post is relevant to people searching for ‘What is SEO’. It’s best to vary the anchor text if you have multiple links pointing at the same page.
- They help Google to crawl and index your site. Google crawls the internet using their teeny weeny Googlebots. These are are sent out across the internet to fetch new content, or any changes, on your site. The more they crawl and follow your internal links, the more idea they have as to how useful and trustworthy your content is.
A website with authority is a site that’s trusted by its users, as well as other relevant websites and the industry it operates in. A link from an authority website has always been thought of as valuable, because it’s seen as a vote of confidence. The more of these your site has coupled with a higher quality content, the more likely your own site will become an authority too.
8. Title Tags And Meta Descriptions
Title tags tell search engines and visitors what your site is about. They should be concise and representative of your content. The keywords in your title tag show up as highlighted text in search engine results (if they match the search query used). They also appear in your browser tab and when sharing your site om social networks etc.
Title tags are written inside the head area of your site’s HTML as in this example:
Website Design Skipton - Mobile Optimised Websites | W3BWORKS
Use just a few accurate keywords describing the page as well as your own brand name using relevant keywords only. Although you are formatting for search engines, you should write for humans.
Meta descriptions are short paragraphs of text that appears under your page’s URL in the search results. They won’t necessarily improve your search ranking, but you should definitely use these because they increase the chance of the person searching clicking on your result.
If you use a CMS (Content Management System) like WordPress, Title tags and meta descriptions are easily applied in the settings without having to access the code. Keep it descriptive, relevant to your headline and content and under 156 characters is good.