SEO is a grey area. There is no sure-fire way to guarantee amazing organic results with one quick fix, but there are many components to making your website “SEO Friendly”. Beth Rimmer presents her top 10 tips to maximise search results.
There are many ways to help make your website as SEO friendly as possible. Here are our top 10 tips to help boost your organic results, attract leads and maximise on conversion.
1. Make Sure Google Can Visit Your Website!
A common mistake for new websites is to forget to change the robots.txt file to allow search engines to crawl your pages. Without changing this, you are stopping any traffic to your website. Have a quick check now - does your robots.txt file disallow search engines from crawling the entire website? On the contrary, if you have any pages you do not want search engines to see, add these individual pages or folders to your robots.txt file.
2. Minimise Internal Redirects and Broken Links
For any vital internal redirects, such as a site wide capitalisation redirect, implement a 301 redirect. This ensures page rank strength is passed on (with a 15% dissipation). 302 redirects are seen as ‘temporary’ and pass on no strength! Any internal links should not be broken – never link internally to a page that redirects to another page or returns an error page, simply change the link to the correct destination. Also, ensure URL formatting correctly returns a 404 for any bad URLs, with an interesting error page to keep users on your website.
3. Add Descriptive Alt Attributes to All Images
This is vital for both search engines and users. Images with descriptive alt attributes (such as ‘a sunny beachside hotel in Cannes, France’) containing keywords appropriate to the page will be more likely to rank in Google Images. Optimised alt attributes also contribute to the overall ranking of the landing page, and can be useful for any blind or partially sighted users requiring an audio description of the image. Read more on this in our blog How To Use Image Tagging to Optimise Search Results
4. Optimise All Meta Data, and Fill in the Blanks
Titles and descriptions are a great opportunity to boost your keyword mentions for a page – add an optimised title and description to each page, with a consistent structure throughout your site and the chances of you ranking for your keywords will be higher than if you do not. Titles should be less than 57 characters; descriptions should be less than 156 characters.
5. Keep Page Load Speed to a Minimum
Google’s guidelines specify each page should take no longer than 2-4 seconds to load. If you have slow pages, the most common causes are large images (which can be made smaller) or videos.
6. Check your Website and External Websites for Duplicate Content
You should never duplicate your own content; it will cause content cannibalisation where two pages are fighting to rank for the same keywords. Google will not know which page to rank – so you are more than likely to find you will not rank at all. Check for any externally duplicated by searching for a snippet of your content in a search engine within quotation marks. Anything that comes up has duplicated your content – ask them to remove it, or change yours to be unique.
7. Create Page Tags with a Hierarchy
Each page should have a <h1> and <h2> tag, with relevant keywords to the page. Do not make the mistake of using page tags to aid ease of formatting in the CSS. It will likely lead to many irrelevant page tags and dilute the relevancy of the page. Your page tags should match your content, in terms of both structure and keywords. Any less important page tags should be given a <h3> or <h4>, following a hierarchy structure up to <h6>. Never use <h> tags in the header or footer as you will consequently duplicate the tags across every page of your website!
8. Correctly Implement Canonicalization
Make sure your entire site follows the same structure for URLs – either ‘www’ or ‘non-www’. Whichever version you choose, implement a site-wide 301 redirect rule to ensure any URL entered incorrectly then redirects to the correct version of the same page.
9. Create Content Which is Both SEO and User Friendly
Write content for the terms you know your users are going to search for. Make your content engaging and optimised to most relevant terms for the page. Content is ‘King’ and contributes to so many ranking factors. Spend time on your content with thorough keyword research - it will be good to you in the long run. Read our blog User Experience vs. SEO Optimisation: How to Win the Battle of Man and Machine.
10. Detox your External Backlinks Regularly
Go through all of your backlinks and make sure each one is following Google Webmaster Guidelines – if not, you are putting your site at risk of a penalty by not actioning them. Any links which do not follow the guidelines should be requested to be removed and placed in your disavow file, which then gets uploaded to Webmaster Search Console. Don’t let spammy links ruin your rankings. Follow our 6-Step Guide to Auditing Your Link Profile for more on this.
Elevating your website up the search engine results pages (SERPs) is vital to your online success. Implement the above top tips and see your organic results improve.
For more on how to create an SEO friendly website, contact us.