Search engine optimization (SEO) is extremely important. As of August 2016, Google was processing over 40,000 search queries every second. Why shouldn’t your website be well-represented in Google’s results?
Since search engines are so important, savvy website owners give serious thought to on-site and off-site SEO factors. Below are five of the most crucial techniques you can use to improve your website. Or, if you are an SEO consultant, you can use them to improve the websites of small businesses.
SEO Tip #1: Page Load Time
Reducing page load time is my top SEO recommendation. Websites that take too long to load are frustrating for users and search engines alike. Slow websites can prevent search engines from crawling and indexing their content.
Load time is a ranking factor in the Google algorithm. So, even if Google indexes your slow website, its content will rank below content from faster websites.
Users are also quick to hit the “back” button when they have the misfortune of visiting a slow-loading website. Check your website’s load time regularly.
SEO Tip #2: Mobile Friendliness
Some industries are seeing as much as 60% of their traffic from mobile devices. Given that statistic, it should be clear that mobile friendliness is critical. Search engines and users expect easy-to-use mobile friendly websites.
Websites that ignore the mobile user experience do not rank as highly as responsive websites in Google’s search results. Additionally, mobile users quickly become frustrated with non-responsive websites. If they have to zoom in to find the information they seek, they are likely to hit the “back” button.
Don’t offer a poor mobile user experience.
SEO Tip #3: Page Titles
Your page title is an SEO factor that helps users and search engines understand the content of your web page. Users rely on clear page titles as they scan search engine results to find results that match their searches.
Well-written page titles encourage clicks from users. Clicks are a positive signal to search engines that your website is relevant. In your title, incorporate a keyword that represents the focus of the content on each webpage.
Avoid keyword stuffing your page titles, or you will seem spammy to users and search engines.
SEO Tip #4: Meta Descriptions
Much like page titles, meta descriptions help users find relevant results in the search engine results. Meta descriptions serve as the tag lines that stimulate user engagement.
Well-written meta descriptions should support the claims made in your page title. Remember to include a call to action to encourage users to click through to your website.
SEO Tip #5: Content
Quality content is the name of the game of on-site SEO and off-site SEO (i.e. content marketing). Drafting quality, unique content for each webpage or blog post is important in many ways.
- Content that answers questions encourages users to stay on your website. While there, they will consume more of your content, and respond to your calls-to-action.
- Quality content gives Google more information to understand what your website is all about.
- Lots of content that isn’t unique or doesn’t answer questions hurts the user experience. By extension, it hurts your ability to rank well in search results.
- Too little content or duplicate content can have the same negative effects as having a lot of lower-quality content.
Bonus Tip #6: SEO Training
Learning SEO can seem intimidating. But, starting with an SEO audit helps you learn the most critical SEO factors. By auditing your website, you’ll learn what you must improve to meet today’s best practices.
You can learn DIY SEO one of three ways:
- trial and error,
- spend months wading through lots of blogs that aren’t up to date, or
- complete online SEO training courses that are current with today’s best practices.
Trial and error is not recommended. You can waste loads of time building a plane in the air.
Some blogs may preach SEO practices from a decade ago, promising an easy way to optimize your website so that it ranks highly in search results. But SEO has changed significantly over the years.
If you’re interested in learning SEO, I offer online SEO training courses that cover:
- SEO website audits,
- keyword research,
- content audits, and
- content marketing.
Interested in mastering SEO? Sign up for our free email course to learn more.