Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is often viewed as either techie la-la land with its own Klingon-style language of confusion or an overwhelming need for keywords, backlinks, technical reviews, audits, research, competitor analysis and more.
When you are creating a new page for your website, where do you start?
Google wants you to display your expertise, authority and trust as part of their algorithm that ultimately decides if your content appears on Google Search results or disappears into oblivion.
How do you optimize your pages? Simply put, the starting point is to have these 12 basic optimization options in place:
1 The page name: URLs (i.e. www.evcmarketing.com/news)
Be clear from the outset, help your site visitors and search engines understand where they are and what they can expect.
- Insert keywords in the URL where relevant – remaining clear on the page topic and theme.
- Remember, URL’s will display in search results and can increase your click-through rate.
- Omit symbols (&*^) and spaces.
- Your URL should be future proof – try not to include dates/year.
- Use a standard format rule which will help to organise your site structure, prevent unintentional duplication, use lower case letters and dashes to separate words.
- Keep URL’s to between 50-60 characters so the full URL displays in the search results.
- Try not to use relevant keywords instead of stop words such as and, but etc.
2 The Page Title
The title tag is essential and is also displayed within search results – a good title will encourage visible relevance to the search conducted and more click-throughs to your site.
- Try to include keywords and as near to the start of the title as possible.
- Use between 50-60 characters with critical keywords first.
- Your search snippet is a marketing message – write it for the reader, include your key sales or competitive statement.
- Include 10+ tips, latest 2020 advice or other attractor phrases.
3 Meta description
Meta descriptions are not high on the Google algorithm system, yet the search result displayed includes your meta description.
- This is another opportunity to present a marketing message.
- Include keywords but write to sell the page content to encourage click-through.
- Use 150-160 characters.
4 Schema Mark Up/Structured Data
Structured data can present your page higher in search results and enhances your overall SEO performance.
Where you have product pages, news updates, etc., you must have schema mark up in place.
Is this technical, yes. And some technical knowledge is required; however, there are helpful options:
- WordPress Plugins: Install and activate.
- Google Markup Helper.
The latter does require some hands-on implementation. However, Google offers a walk-through process, although you will need to download an HTML file and upload it to your website.
5 Heading optimization (H1 – H2 etc.)
A header is the opening title akin to a newspaper headline – it attracts the audience to read more of your content.
The difference is that you can use header tags throughout your content and divide content into specific sections.
- Header tags provide search engines with key relevancy signals.
- Include keywords where relevant.
- H1 tags have no character restrictions.
- H2 tags help both search engines and page visitors understand the content sections.
- Include informative words for skip-to-content browsers.
- Include keywords and secondary relevant keywords.
- H3 + headers will provide further sub-division of content.
- Try to limit content headers to H1 – H3.
6 Latent semantic indexing and natural language processing
Google’s algorithm continues to evolve to natural language processing, and Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI) offers the opportunity to write as you would speak using relevant words or phrases without the need to force repetitive keywords.
- Do use keywords at the beginning of the copy. This will establish content and topic relevancy.
- Use synonyms and related terms.
7 Content length
Search Engines do favour long-form content (between 1500-2000 words); however, where this is inappropriate, shorter page content can be interspersed to provide a natural content profile.
The exact length of the content may be determined by:
- Depth of the theme or topic.
- Competitiveness of the primary key phrase(s) focus.
- Search volume for the key phrase.
8 Images, video, infographics – visual content
The results of search indexing and click-through rates all endorse the increase in SEO visibility and engagement by using visual content within the content text.
- Include images etc. to highlight the quality of the content.
- Content may be visible for image-based searches.
- Include an Alt Tag to describe the image.
- Compress the image file. This will help page load speed and user experience both beneficial to SEO.
9 Creating a first impression – increase click-through
The initial content at the top of the page is the first impression to the reader.
To ensure that readers continue to read the content, you must be clear from the outset on the content topic, theme, why they should read it and what to expect.
- Keep any reader distractions to a minimum.
- Use pop-ups only when adding value.
- Consider removing ads or sidebars that drive readers away from the core content.
- Remember that the use of mobile offers additional challenges.
- Understand Google Core Web Vitals – user experience metrics in Google Search Console.
- Use Google Page Speed Insights to measure your current desktop and mobile speed performance.
10 We are in a Mobile world – how to be Mobile-Friendly
Google has evolved into a mobile-first, indexing approach. You must have a web site that meets the mobile-friendly criteria.
- Responsive web site design.
- Content pages optimized for mobile viewing.
- Compressed images for faster load speed.
Use the Google Mobile-Friendly Test
11 Website Links
Internal links on your website provide the visitor with a journey plan to move from one page to another and can be viewed as a sales funnel or structured to offer authority transition from main pages to less viewed pages.
The inclusion of calls-to-action will retain visitors on your site and lead them to the outcome objective you require them to take.
Inbound links have been the core of SEO for many years; however, providing outbound (external) links to relevant, high-quality and authority-based sites can drive authority back to your site.
- Limit the individual pages to no more than 2/3 external links.
- Do not include outbound links on sales funnel / Call-to-action pages.
12 Website Comments
Where you allow comments on your site, all links inserted within that comment should be automatically set to no-follow.
- No link authority passed to their site/link destination.
- No value for SEO link building.
- Prevents spam and other malicious links that could harm your Google authority.
If you require assistance with Search Engine Optimization for your website, then check out the suppliers in the marketing category of the Supplier Network.