Before we start, there’s one thing you should know – 93% of all experiences on the web start with search engines.
That essentially means that if you haven’t optimized your website, you will inevitably suffer from poor rank in search results. How to create a website, which is SEO-friendly and maintains a high position in search engine rankings? Read on to find out the top industry advice on website SEO optimization.
Get Some Keywords
The first step you need to take is to establish the keywords for your website, which you want to be found for and that best describe your business, products and services. Prepare a list of potential search terms and then do your keyword research – there are lots of tools on the web to help you do it like Google Adwords Keyword Tool or Wordstream. In general, go for keywords that are relevant, have a low competition and boast a high search volume.
Have a Go at Title Tags
After selecting your keywords, you’ll need to add them to various places of your page – among them the title tag. This is basically the name of the page that appears once you slide your mouse over the tab. For the best optimization, you need to give search engines as many pointers as possible to make sure they understand well what the website is about. Title tag is one of those important indications.
Write Some Meta Descriptions
If you want your keywords to become really powerful, make sure to include them in your meta descriptions – this is a short summary of your website shown by search engines in their search results. Provide a short, but informative description and possibly, a call to action message that will attract users to your website. Meta descriptions are crucial for your website’s SEO. They need to be directed to your target audience – your job here is to inspire people to click on your link and not the one of your competitor.
A file called robots.txt is there to basically make sure search engines know that you don’t want them to crawl particular pages of your website. Perfect for things like check-out pages and other areas of your website, where information needs to be kept private.
Make Sure Your URL is Friendly
This might seem like a small detail, but it can really affect a website’s SEO. The URL is itself an important indication of what the website is about and, ideally, both search engines and users should get this idea immediately form just looking at it. This is especially important for e-commere websites, which depend on user experience and sometimes serve terrible URL, such as this: www.this-is-my-great-ecommerce-website.com/gh/4765534bdavdx/ghgh.
To make things nicer to read and easier for search engines, a URL should look like this: www.this-is-my-great-ecommerce-wesbite.com/here-are-my-great-products. It’s quite simple: avoid codes, numbers and random letters and keep things simple.
Use Heading Tags
Headers are crucial for a great SEO – it’s here that you capture the sense and aim of website. If your keyword is irrelevant, placing it in the headline will affect user experience – people will spend less time on the page and its bounce rate will increase. Choose your keywords wisely, or face this serious problem!
It’s best to include your keyword in H1 – if it’s applicable, you can also place it in H2 and H3 tags. Don’t overdo it – landing pages full of keywords can easily be considered spam – not just by the user, but search engine as well. And we all know what could be the consequences of spam detection on your website – penalization and an immediate drop in traffic.
Optimize Your Images
With image optimization, you want to achieve two things: first, make sure that file names and ALT tags include your keywords, and second – that images are light and don’t affect your website load time. With every additional second of waiting for a website to load, users are more likely to leave it.
Load time is important for SEO as well – it helps search engine spiders to quickly index the page. So, tie your pictures to your keywords and place them close to relevant text – their location will also make them more SEO-firendly.
Provide Great Content
Interesting and relevant content is appreciated by both users and search engines. Make sure you use your targeted keywords in the body of the content – there are lots of tools on the web that will help you see whether your content makes the most from your keywords. Some say that mentioning a keyword twice every 250 words will do the trick, but it’s more important to keep things natural.
Your text should also be relevant to the data in meta tags and ALT tags, helping search engines to correctly link your content to specific search terms. Remember not to go overboard – a text full of keywords looks like spam and you know how dangerous spam can be for one’s SEO efforts, right?
301 is a great way to show to search engines that a page was permanently moved and replaced by completely new content. 302 won’t do the trick – it’s temporary and won’t pass the authority of one page to the other. To be on the safe side, go for 301.
Sitemaps are really important for SEO – search engines themselves use them to navigate on websites and you can make their job easier by featuring your own sitemap. An XML sitemap is a great alternative to a traditional one, and will help search engines to easily see every page of your website and crawl it. An XML sitemap will also inform search engines when something has changed on your pages – for instant, when you add new content.
Duplicate Content Alert
If you spot any duplicate content on your website, remove it right away. It’s something search engines really hate and can easily penalize you for its. If you’re thinking of getting a bit too inspired by the content from another website, think twice – it might affect your rank in search results. Is it really worth it?
Duplicate content doesn’t always result from mischief – it can be an honest mistake of having a duplicate page and forgetting about it. If you’ve got one of those pages and they don’t redirect to the main version of your website, you’re in for trouble:
Another thing to look out for are product pages – that’s where you might find lots of duplicate content. To avoid trouble, create some unique product descriptions and include some valuable information for your users – reviews from other customers and supporting content will do great.
Technically social media isn’t part of SEO, but over the years it has become a significant factor in link building efforts. Your marketing strategy simply must include social media –choose those where user generated content (UGC) plays the main role like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube or Digg. Place social icons on your website and help people to share your content, inspiring others to visit your website.
Benefit From Microdata
Microdata is a code language designed to supply search-engine crawlers with information about website content. Integrate microdata into your website’s code to inform search-engine robots how the site should be indexed and ranked. One more benefit of microdata is the creation of “rich snippets,” which show more information on the search result pages than traditional listings.
Set Up Your Navigation
Now, you might think navigation is important only for user experience, but the truth is that it plays a major role in SEO as well. Define a clear hierarchy structure of your website to help crawlers index your website by following a defined path. Avoid using frames or complex tables – sometimes search engines aren’t able to see them and so won’t index those pages at all.
Blogging is great for SEO purposes and since industry experts predict the rise of content marketing in the near future, the floor is yours to share your ideas and opinions. Set up a blog on your website and share relevant links to other pages on your website in blog posts. Provide high-quality content and inspire users to come back for more.
The use of mobile devices is on the rise and you should take this trend into account when designing your website. In short, make sure it’s responsive – that it looks good and performs well across various mobile devices with different screen sizes. Check your web traffic data to see how many people access your website from a mobile device to make sure you’re doing the right thing.
When having a go at SEO optimization of your website, don’t expect your efforts to bring immediate results. Be patient and work on your content marketing strategy – you’ll see that eventually your website will draw lots of visitors interested in your product or service.