Making sure your website is optimized will help you attract more visitors and help those visitors to have a better experience on your website. This post will show you some easy wins in your battle for an optimized website.
1) Page titles
The page title is the text that appears most prominently in search engines and is by far the most important ranking factor. Your page title should be:
unique – you don’t want people to get one page confused with another.
provocative – why should searchers click on your page title and not the title of another search result?
honest – bait and switch is never a good tactic. Your page title should help people know what to expect on the page. If you try and trick people into clicking on your page title, you will have a high bounce rate on that page and it will lose its rankings.
appropriately optimized – make sure to include keywords that you want that page to rank for, but the benefit of having keywords in the page title is minimal so don’t sacrifice any of the above points just to include keywords.
Want help formatting your Page title? Check out this article: How To Write Meta Title Tags for SEO
2) H1’s, H2’s and H3’s
Use H1 tags for main headings, and H2 and H3 tags for the subheadings. For a blog post, your H1 functions as the blog’s Headline. Headers let search engines and searchers alike know the most important information quickly.
Own your hierarchy – You should only have one unique H1 tag per page, but can have multiple subheadings.
Write for robots and real people – Your headers should be helpful to both people and search engines. Make sure your headers introduce the page, are provocative, use keywords sparingly and let the reader know what to expect.
Don’t use header tags for images or straight text – This will confuse searchers and their engines.
3) Page urls
Your urls are another thing that give humans and search bots a hint about your site pages. Optimizing your urls in the following ways can help your rankings:
Remove stop words – generic words like “and” “the” and “but” can water down your urls so that it’s harder for search bots to tell what your page is about.
Make it short – long urls are messy and hard to share, and they also make it hard for searchers and search engines to know what’s going on.
Use the correct spacing characters – urls can’t have spaces and if you make your urls asolidstringofwords, it makes it hard to read and search engines will read it all as one word. Use “-” or “_” for spaces between words in your urls.
4) Meta descriptions
The text that appears below your website’s title on a search result’s page is your meta description and it’s an enticement for searchers.
Make it the right length – Keep it below 156 characters or the rest will get truncated, but make sure that you use those 156 characters to your full advantage; a vague meta description can make people think otherwise about clicking on your page in search.
Optimize appropriately – Always include keywords that you want that page to rank for in a natural and conversational way. Again, don’t stuff.
5) Optimize images
Search engines aren’t quite advanced enough to actually see images. Because of this, there are a number of things that we need to do to help search engines understand our images:
Create a custom file name – images are given default names like “09483.jpg.” File names like these don’t help anybody. Give your images custom file names that are descriptive and include some keywords if you can.
Make it smaller – large image files can slow your website’s load time down to a crawl. Make sure your images are under 125 kb.
Alt tag – Alt tags are the main way that search engines figure out what an image looks like. Write a descriptive sentence around 15 words long to help search engines know what’s going on.
These aren’t the only things to think about when optimizing your images, take a look at this blog for more on how to make your images work better and harder for your website.
6) Important content above the fold
People make judgements in a ridiculously short amount of time; many times under a second. Make sure your website is making a good impression and put your most impressive content at the top of the page where people don’t have to scroll to see it.
Humans aren’t the only impressionable ones, search engines also put more priority on above the fold content.
7) Keep it fresh
Fresh content will help keep your website visitors interested and coming back for more. Search engines love fresh content and are more likely to crawl your site repeatedly and index it the more often you update your content. A blog or Twitter feed work well here. Take a look at this blog for more on how and why to keep your content fresh.
8) Inbound links
Link building isn’t what it used to be. As a general rule, only make links that you think will help your readers.
Internal links – having links between pages of your website helps search engines and visitors know where things are. Linking to related blog posts on your website is a great way to point your readers to more helpful content. Having internal links on new blog posts also helps them get crawled and indexed by search engines faster. Check out this video on the benefits of internal links.
External links – external links help add validity to your content; they show your readers who you endorse and where you are getting your information. Linking to authoritative content also helps search engines look more favorably on your content.
Don’t manipulate links – Today the only links that are really going to boost your credibility significantly in the long run are when another authoritative website puts a link to content on your website in the body of one of their web pages because they think their audience can benefit from it. Just focus on creating strong industry relationships and great content, and let the links come to you.
9) Use Flash and Java script strategically
Search engines can’t read flash, java script and images, so if your website’s real estate consists largely of these items, you’ll find that it’s hard to rank high in SERPs.
10) Remember the call-to-action
Doing so will encourage visitors to dive deeper into the site. Once you’ve encouraged the visitor to enter into your sub pages, you have a greater chance of converting that visitor into a qualified opportunity.
11) Submit a sitemap to major search engines
There are two ways for search engines to crawl and index new pages 1) following links to that page 2) sitemaps. A sitemap is a .xml file that shows the layout of your website. A great way to make sure new content is getting crawled and indexed quickly is to periodically submit updated sitemaps to major search engines like Google and Bing. Learn how to create and submit a site map to Google here.
Optimizing your website content isn’t the only thing you need to do, your content needs to be optimized and compelling in order to attract visitors. Learn more about what it means to be compelling and optimized.