12 Simple SEO Checks To Make On Your Site
Search engine optimisation (SEO) can be quite a daunting subject. Business owners generally don’t understand the importance of SEO, and many businesses I work with still struggle to realise the huge return of investment to be had with a solid foundation for SEO. SEO isn’t going anywhere, it’s just evolving. We are still at the dawn of the digital age, so there is no time like the present to apply these SEO tips. After all, SEO is a marathon, not a sprint, and you still have time to get ahead of your competition. Whether you’re a business owner, a digital marketer, or just on the hunt for some cool info, you can easily apply what I am about to tell you and the best part is, it’s all free! Here are 12 tips that you can take away and apply to just about any website.
1. Content, you need content!
Imagine landing on a webpage to find there’s little or no content, images or links? A page without content won’t help anyone and it won’t help Google rank your web page if it doesn’t tell them what it should be ranking the page for. Through the use of content you present more opportunities for your site to contain even more keywords that Google can give you rankings for. Harnessing rich media content and imagery can also garner interest from visitors and, with Google using ‘time spent on site’ metrics as a signal to determine the quality of your website, rich content that engages your visitors will help your website to perform much better in the search results. Using pictures also helps to sell products and can be the decisive factor when people are making that all important buying decision. Discount Supplements do this well, ensuring all products are accompanied by an image of what you are buying. The job of a web page is to communicate some sort of sales message, so you need words on the page to communicate that message. Google strongly recommends a minimum of 250 – 300 words per page so try to keep this in mind when writing your web pages for search engines and the end user.
2. Keywords, Keywords, Keywords
I am sure you have heard this term before but for those who haven’t, your keywords should be about and should target your main business services or product. If you have a page on your website about ‘tomatoes’, your keyword and theme for the page will be tomatoes. Simple right? Not quite. You need to strategically place the assigned keyword for the page within certain elements and it must appear to be natural. Google will penalise you if you try any manipulative techniques including stuffing them into the page, or hiding them behind a black background for example.
So where do you put your keywords?
3. In the Page Title
Every page of your website should have a unique title tag. It is still one of the most important on-page attributes from a rankings perspective. The title element is the area at the top of your browser which describes your webpage in 512 pixels or fewer:
4. In the H1 Tag
Regarding keyword placement, the second most important to the page title is the H1 tag. Not only should your keyword appear here for search ranking signals, but the significance of the H1 tag as an engagement metric is often overlooked. It can be the first page element a visitor sees when landing on your page. It is imperative that the H1 tag assures visitors that they are indeed on the page they have been searching for.
5. In the URL
To help build relevance for the webpage you are trying to rank, you should place the keyword in the URL. Having the target keyword in the URL also signals to Google what the page is about. We use ‘SEO’ within the URL for our SEO page.
6. In the body of the content
As previously mentioned, your web page needs content. Your content should be about the theme of the page and so it is very important that your keyword is placed within the body of the content and that your content reads naturally. If you feel like your keyword is used too often, it most likely is, so my advice would be to rewrite the content until you are happy it doesn’t look like you are trying to manipulate the search engines by stuffing the keyword into your web page.
7. Link your web pages together
Link your most important web pages directly from your home page and cross link them with each other. This helps Google understand your content and leads them as well as the visitor on a journey through your website to the information that you want them to find. The text within the link is what we call Anchor Text. This tells search engine spiders what the linked-to page is about. Try to use a keyword within part of a sentence as the anchor text for your link but don’t overdo it! Links that say “click here” do nothing for your search engine visibility.
8. Add an XML Sitemap
XML Sitemaps help Google find content within your site when they visit so that no content is missed when they’re trying to store all of your web pages in their index. To generate a sitemap, visit http://www.web-site-map.com/, punch in your domain and follow the instructions. Once it has been generated place the file into the root directory of your website. If you would like assistance doing this simply leave me a comment at the end of this blog and I will be more than happy to assist.
9. Use only one version of your site
Duplicate content has been a hot topic for some time now ever since Google released an algorithmic update codenamed ‘Panda’ back in February 2011. The main duplicate content problem I see time and time again is two versions of the same website. Are you able to view your site on www.yoursitename.com and yoursitename.com? If so, Google can probably see two versions of your website as well. Many business owners will build links to both thinking it is the same, unfortunately it’s not. Solution? Set up a 301 redirect to the preferred version – but do check that individual web pages are directed to the same or most relevant web page on your preferred version of your site. This will ensure the link equity is funnelled through to that site and the user journey is not disrupted. You can set up the redirect by adding a few lines in your .htaccess file on your web server.
10. Update your website frequently
Google loves content. But not just any old content… fresh and engaging content! By updating your website with news, views and opinions within your niche via a blog or news section, you will be feeding Google’s spiders, but will also be viewed as a consistent source of information and can help to attract links into your website. Don’t let your site stagnate; make sure you update your website on a regular basis.
11. Ensure your website is Mobile Friendly
Did you know that more people are now using smartphone devices rather than desktop PCs to do their daily surfing? You’ve probably experienced it yourself, landing on a website that doesn’t fit to the screen on your mobile device making it almost impossible to read. Well, where there was once a need for a mobile friendly website, it is now a must have. On April 21st 2015, Google released a significant new mobile-friendly ranking algorithm designed to give a boost to mobile-friendly web pages in Google’s mobile search results. To check if your website is mobile friendly use Google’s free tool here: https://www.google.co.uk/webmasters/tools/mobile-friendly/. If your site fails, here are two ways you can optimise your site for mobile with a few button clicks: 1 – Create a mobile version of your website using a conversion platform. 2 – Use mobile plugins. Some content management systems such as WordPress and Drupal have bolt-on solutions to make your site mobile friendly. If you would rather someone else did it, Receptional can assist. Just give us a call.
12. Add a robots.txt file
This file allows you to specify exactly which web pages major search engines can crawl when they first land on your site. Think of it as a rule book prior to entering. Make sure you include a link to your XML sitemap in here as well to help Google locate all of your web pages at the earliest opportunity. These simple yet highly effective tips will put you on a sure path to success. If you need help with anything search related, get in touch with the Receptional team for a free SEO health check.