Merry Monday everyone! Our 12 Days of Digital Skills continues with some pointers for those of you new to the world of SEO (Search Engine Optimisation). With these SEO tips we’ll have you optimizing like champs in no time!
Without further ado:
Research your keywords
The root question of all SEO: what searches are you optimising your site for? Build a bank of words you think associate well with your brand then try googling them. What do you get? Are there any unexpected misunderstandings? Use this as an opportunity to drill down and refine your keyword selection to a handful of the most effective ones.
Once you know what you’ll be optimising for we can move on to the heavy lifting!
Page titles and meta descriptions
This is what people see in the search results when they search. As this is what gets you your click its important point to strike the right balance between keywords and a useful descriptive title. Please don’t sacrifice readability to stuff in all the keywords you can think of. “Hiker | Hiking | Hiking gear” may cover a lot of bases on the SEO front but has no descriptive ability and looks like a spam site we wouldn’t trust as far as we could throw it. Similarly, you can use the meta description to build on your title and give the searcher a brief overview of what the site/page/content is about.
You’ll want to include the keywords but, like with the title, work them in as naturally as possible. What you really want to focus on here is quality. Keep one saying in mind: content is king. It’s the whole reason people are searching in the first place and it’s Google’s business to get them the right answer. If you look untrustworthy Google is likely to penalise your results! Lucky for us they have some guidelines about what they think makes good content. In essence it boils down to: would you yourself trust the content you’ve got up on your site?
Update with new content
Sadly you can’t create a couple of great pieces and call it a day. Updating regularly gives viewers a reason to keep coming back and for bots to keep crawling your site. Be warned though, google has gone to efforts to penalise those sites that publish samey or duplicate content just to keep hitting their release schedule.
Optimize your images
Slapping the keywords in the image name is a good start as far as SEO tips go but it pays to add on a descriptive alt text as well. This also improves the experience of your site for those visitors who use screen readers to access the web.
Create internal links to your content
This will help ensure your site gets fully indexed by crawlers. It’s also great for retaining visitors: how do you keep them on site longer? Make it as easy as possible for them to reach other content. Ever found yourself on a wikipedia page completely unrelated to your initial query with no memory of how you got there? That’s the effect we want to channel!
Improve your page speed & optimise for mobile
There’s nothing more infuriating on the modern web than a site that takes forever to load. Long load times are a sure fire way to drive away customers regardless of the calibre of your content. Google pagespeed is a great service for getting recommendations on improving your load times!
As you may be aware, a majority of the world’s internet traffic is now mobile. So, like wth page speed, having a wonky experience on small screen sizes is another way to annoy potential customers and increase your bounce rate.
(While we’re focussed on SEO tips here, keep in mind that both of these factors are really not good if you’re running PPC ads)
Customize your 404 page
You want to improve the customer experience? You’ll also need to consider what happens when things go wrong. The basic 404 page (reached by following broken links or mistyping an address for example) is less than helpful so some time spent personalising this with an explanation, home link and a search function can pay dividends
And that’s your lot!
Well, you’ll also need to think about a link building campaign to help push you up the SERP. Lucky for you we’ve covered that in an earlier series of articles!