What is SEO?
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization and it is the process by which a website gets in the first pages of Google search results. SEO is relatively simple but requires background knowledge on certain technical features, such as URLs and how a search engine runs. It is important to understand the basic mechanics of the technique before attempting to make a website SEO friendly.
What are the benefits of an SEO-competitive site?
An SEO-competitive site will mean a better spot in Google search engine results, and in turn, more traffic from users. Having a popular and useful site will allow room for growth of every means.
Tips for SEO-competitiveness
Here is a short list of fifteen tips that will help you and your site be SEO-competitive in the cyber world. Before asking for help from an SEO specialist, it is important for you to get to know how it all works to contract a true professional. Read this guide and dip your feet into this cesspool of valuable information that can get you going.
1) Use authentic and unique titles
It may be obvious but it is extremely important to use titles that clearly represent the information that is going to follow. Try to avoid long, wordy titles that will only complicate things. Titles should be brief and easy to read. All titles and subtitles need to be unique on each page according to the content supplied for Google’s search engine to differentiate between information on pages. Consider that most search results will display the page’s title to users.
2) Implement a smooth flowing site hierarchy
An organized website will provide an easy and simple way for search engines and users to find the information they seek. Websites with a clear and smooth flowing site hierarchy can help search engines know which data is important and it gives an overall generalization of what your website is about.
A correct site hierarchy will also allow for quick and laidback navigation for users, which keeps them on your page. You can choose to create a unique navigational page for your site if you have plenty of content to display. All SEO-competitive sites have a homepage, in which the whole site hierarchy should be based around.
3) Use simple URLs
URL’s will be displayed in search results and intimidating ones can be a put-off. Use links with comprehensive words to promote linking across websites, which helps with user popularity in the long run. Though you can choose to use descriptive URLs, it is best to avoid lengthy descriptions. Try to implement keywords in your URLs. Another tip for URLs is to only use one version for each page. Using various URLs to link to the same page will split your website’s reputation.
4) Find your target audience
Your website should be specifically focused on the type of audience you wish to attract. Targeting one type of audience in an interesting way will help you expand on the type of users you want but will keep the main ones “locked” or secured for steady traffic. Targeting an audience implies you can offer what that specific group of people need or want. Having a website with no unique characteristics will be harder to optimize.
5) Give users meaningful information
There is nothing worse than getting on a website with bait techniques that offer no useful information. Users know quickly when something is amiss. It is fundamental that your content is authentic, adapted to your audience (language, style of writing, and vocabulary for example), and is actually helpful for everyday users. Meaningful information is what will keep those online consumers coming back to visit for future updates. If this means researching before adding content, then do it to save yourself and others time and effort.
6) Use of robots.txt to avoid crawling of certain pages
Robots.txt files are used by the Google search engine to know which parts of your site it can crawl or not. Therefore, if you want the search engine to skip over irrelevant data, for example, you should add in a robots.txt file. Google Search Counselor can offer you more information on how and when to use this type of file. Be mindful that robots.txt should only be used for non-sensitive information. Data that should be confidential or private requires better security!
7) Only link to trustworthy sites
Posting links on your site can help boost that sites reputation or popularity and this works vice versa. It is important to only link to trustworthy sites to avoid potential security risks, spam, or lower ranking. Trustworthy sites must also provide relevant and meaningful information to users. Allow other sites to link to your website to expand but investigate their credentials beforehand.
8) Clean up public forums or comment sections of spam
If your website allows for commenting from public or logged in users, it is important to periodically clean up the forums, chat rooms or comment sections of spam. Spam is annoying, for everyone, so getting rid of it is significant in raising your website’s rank and achieving a good SEO competitiveness level.
All links will have an attribute called ‘rel’ which can be set to ‘nofollow’ to avoid linking to spam or high-risk websites. This is done by adding rel=”nofollow” inside of the link’s anchor tag. There are also options to add the command automatically, reducing the time it will take for you to go through all the comments or posts.
9) Use effective, clear images
Images are great for attracting the attention of users and they are also an excellent method of transmitting sensations or getting a message through. When you use images on your websites, always assure that they are in the standard format (JPEG, PNG, GIF, etc.) and are pleasing to the eye (not pixelated unless that is what you require).
You may also choose to add an ‘alt’ feature, which will display the pictures description in case the image cannot load for some reason. If your site will handle a plethora of images, you should take into consideration an image sitemap to optimize your site. Be sure to have all the permissions necessary to display every image on your site.
10) Make your website mobile friendly
Cell phones are the number one method of communication in this day and age. If your website is not mobile friendly, it is one huge mistake. Give your site a chance and opt for mobilizing. Remember that there are many different types of devices (smartphones, tablets, etc.) with their own specifications to consider.
Large websites will be clumsy on devices with smaller screens, which is another big turn off. There are various ways Google can help you make your website mobile-friendly: using different URLs, responsive web design, or dynamic serving. Configure your mobile website and test it before making it public to avoid unnecessary troubles.
11) Promote your website
A key factor that can be done outside the realm of the internet is the promotion of your website. This means that you display your homepage link on business cards, social media accounts, in walk-in offices, and more. Getting the word out there about your page in the real world will help the news spread in the virtual one. Do not be afraid to seek advertising techniques, free or otherwise. A perfect way to promote your site is through blogging, which can be updated periodically and when interesting, attracts plenty of online users.
12) Analyze search performance
There are plenty of tools to choose from for search performance analysis; Google uses Search Console. Take advantage of these to see how well your website is doing when it comes to search engines. It is also important to check occasionally if your information is easy for Google to access and read.
This performance analysis should be done before webpage initiation and on regular intervals thereafter. The Search Console will help you identify potential issues that are making your website lag, fall behind on reputation, not result in optimal search capabilities, and more.
13) Analyze user behavior
Google Analytics will provide you with useful information regarding user behavior. This means you can find out what content is most popular, how users are reaching your webpage, and help you measure the impact optimization or recent changes on your website has had. Analyzing user behavior should also be done periodically, especially after heavy or critical changes. Keep in mind that user behavior will fluctuate due to its dynamic status.
14) Use structured data markup
A structured data markup will help search engines better understand the content on your pages, providing more efficient results. Structured data is a code that must be implemented. Structured data markup will produce richer and more precise search results. You can also check your structured data markups by using the Google Structured Data Testing Tool. Data Highlighter is also available. It is similar to the markup but does not require changing the source code.
15) Use description meta tags on each page
A description meta tag is as the name implies, a description of what the page in question is about. Description meta tags aides search engines in understanding the content of your page. Description meta tags can be a short sentence or two, or even a brief paragraph that gives the overall description. They will also be used by Google as snippets so keep those tags relevant, meaningful, and accurate. Do not use generic descriptions, try to offer specific and correct summaries for each page.
The list of tips to be or have an SEO-competitive site is quite long and will require an in-depth review of various attributes, technical features, and such. However, the top fifteen tips mentioned above are a sure step to having a better site and understanding a bit more what search engine optimization implies. Each tip is essential but the most important of all is offering your audience authentic, rich, useful, and honest content. Once that is offered, the rest implies tweaking and a bit of strategy to reach optimal online usage, reputation, and popularity.