What SEO Techniques Should You Implement Today?
If you’re trying to make a list of SEO techniques to apply to your website, chances are, you’re already overwhelmed.
SEO and SEM Industry experts keep recommending hundreds of SEO tactics and tools you ‘absolutely’ must use if you want to grow traffic to your website. There’s always something you haven’t included, prevented or optimized.
Google’s ever-changing algorithms might even be keeping you in fear of being penalized by taking what could be outdated advice.
To top it all off, you have to speak both human and machine language so you can equally please your audience and Google’s bots.
To help you identify what essential SEO efforts really need to be made, I’ve put together the checklist below. It targets all the aspects of a website that affects ranking, and all the boxes you need to check to make search engines love you.
Note – if you’re looking for information specific to SEO for marijuana dispensaries, please see the article at our partner agency ColaDigital.ca, who specializes in cannabis and marijuana dispensary marketing.
I’ve broken them down into these 5 groups:
1. Content: For Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
– If you’re looking to optimize your website and implement SEO tactic, you’ll need relevant content on your site so you can optimize your page titles, H2-H4 header tags, descriptions, and image metadata.
2. Indexing: Visibility in Search Engines
– Learn what you need to know about optimizing your website’s sitemap and submitting it to Google to index your site’s pages and images.
3. Navigation: Page and URL Structure
– Both Google and users need to understand and easily use your website’s navigation. Do you have any external links on your homepage? Learn why this can be a super bad idea that’s killing your bounce rate.
4. Server and Hosting SEO
– We discuss how you optimize for server errors and why you should move your site to HTTPS secure server hosting (from HTTP).
5. Mobile Optimization: Over 60% of Searches Occur on Smartphones
– Have you tested how your site renders on mobile devices/smartphones? how about mobile page load time? Below we discuss what you need to know about mobile SEO.
I’ll advise you to bookmark this post so you can keep making reference to it until you have completed the checklist.
Even after that, regular updates are needed to keep your pages search optimized.
Content: How to Optimize Your Content For Search Engines
Content is the #1 ingredient to rank your website on Search Engine Result Pages (SERPs). Updating consistently with new, useful content boosts your visibility over time.
However, doing it the wrong way might cause more harm than good. Here are the things you should look out for:
1. Long-form Keywords
Be very specific with your keywords. It’s no use attracting visitors to your website with generic keywords and having them bounce off seconds later.
Long-tail keywords pull in visitors who are searching specifically for what you have to offer. A good example is “drone cameras”- short form keyword, and “professional drone cameras under $500”- long form keywords.
2. H1 and other header sizes
Although Google has stated that multiple H1 tags will not cause any penalties, they must be used correctly to ensure that Google bots understand what tag is more important than others.
H2 headers are important for both visitors and bots to understand the breaks in your content. Supporting headers should also be used when needed.
3. Meta description
A well-crafted meta description is important for all web pages. Although Google takes a featured snippet from each page, writing your meta description yourself will give the opportunity to include important keywords and texts you want users to see.
The snippet shown is what will convince users to click on your link.
4. Page Title
Ensure that no page title is missing. Your page title is the primary factor considered for ranking on the SERP as it contains your major keyword.
The page title should be understood by both human readers and search engines. To fish out missing titles, crawl your page using the Screaming Frog crawl tool.
5. Outbound links
Outbound links are just as helpful to your website, as they are to the sites you are sharing with your audience.
Including outbound links in web content such as blog posts helps to build your domains authority by increasing your relevance to search engines.
It also shows that your website has relationships with other established websites. Be sure to only link to websites relevant to your industry.
Indexing: How Visible Is Your Website To Search Engines?
Your website pages should be included in search indexes for better visibility. Run tests on the following to view and improve your website’s current index status:
6. Index test
To know the number of pages on your website that have been indexed, Google site:example.com.
Compare the number of pages found to the number of pages on your website.
If the indexes are higher, it means there are duplicate content issues on your website that need to be fixed.
7. RSS Feed
Most readers don’t use RSS feeds anymore but website crawlers do. Being found through your RSS feed can help search engine index additional links.
Use an RSS reader often to verify that your feed is working properly.
8. Social links
If you’re updating your website consistently, make the best out of it by publishing your links using social media channels.
Beyond the exposure to your audience, it also improves your website’s chances of being indexed.
Sitemaps make it easier for Google to find not just your website, but individual pages. To take advantage of its benefits, verify that your sitemap is updated in the Google Search Console. It should be an eXtensible markup language (XML) located at example.com/sitemap.xml.
10. Google Cache
Google cache shows you the exact way Google bots view your website. Viewing your website as Google does gives insight into what information is being used to rank your pages.
To view your website like a Google bot, go to http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:[your URL here]
Navigation: SEO Your User Experience
Both visitors and Google’s site crawlers should never be confused while trying to navigate through your website. Here are a few pointers to avoid that:
11. External Links
While external links in blog content are good for your website, they should be avoided in the navigation bar. They might indicate that you are using your website as a low-level directory. Doing this can result in a penalty from Google as it is against their regulations.
12. Link Depth
Links that go too deep or redirect through several pages should be nowhere near your navigation page. Important pages should be easily accessible from your homepage. You can also use Screaming Frog to check for link depth with the “Crawl depth” feature.
13. The Link Embedded in Your Logo
Are you ever lost on a website and click on the logo to take you back to the homepage? To make sure that your visitors can always find your homepage from any page on your site, it is important to embed the link in your logo. Doing this is also helpful for better indexing.
14. Long Nav-Bar Text
Stick to using one or two words per menu option in your navigation bar. Your layout appears neater and more balanced that way. If you have many pages in similar categories, use sub-menus (in drop-down format) for better organization.
15. No-Link Pages
All pages on your website must be accessible through your homepage. Ensure that every new page created has a link embedded somewhere, pointing back at it. If found, Google can read such pages as spam, and penalize you for them.
16. Individual URLs
Avoid sharing the same URL between two or more pages. Each individual page must have its own URL for easy indexing.
Beyond that, if more than one page shares the same URL, it causes confusion for visitors who might want to return to a page.
Server and Hosting SEO: Move to HTTPS
Your server and hosting service are the backbones of your website. To ensure that there do not create search problems that might affect your website, check for the following:
17. Loading Time
Your page load time can be affected by the size of content uploaded to your website, but capacity also comes into play. Having a slow load time causes visitors to lose interest in your website- fast. Use Pingdom to determine your website’s loading time.
18. Delete Pages With Server Errors
Server errors are bad for business; they discourage visitors and are frowned upon by Google. Avoid having broken links on your website by checking constantly for them. Use the Screaming Frog crawl tool to check for 301, 302, 403 and 404 links.
19. Switch to HTTPS
HTTPS provides more security, and therefore, more trust from your visitors. It makes the decision to release sensitive information to you, a lot easier for them.
Google has also confirmed that they favour HTTPS sites and that they rank better.
20. Remove Malware
Malware on your website cause inconsistencies ranging from small (e.g. unauthorized popups), to large (e.g. theft of users’ information). Test constantly for malware using Google’s free tool.
Mobile Optimization: Majority of Searches Are Done On Mobile Devices
Google penalizes websites that are not responsive to mobile devices. Considering 52% of your visitors are likely to be using mobile devices, your website needs to be mobile friendly.
21. Use a Theme With a Mobile-Friendly Design
When buying a theme or hiring a website designer, ensure that the UI selected has a smooth, mobile responsive layout. This means that regardless of the device being used, the content on your website must be viewed and navigated easily on a phone or tablet.
22. Run Mobile-Friendly Tests
If your website is already up and running, run a mobile-friendly test to see how responsive it is when accessed using mobile devices.
23. Easy Navigation
For visitors, finding what they need on your website should be as straightforward as possible with a clear call-to-action. Avoid cluttering your pages with unnecessary content.
Doing this can distract your visitors from the action(s) you want them to take and seriously affect your conversion rates.
24. Responsive Embeds
Images, videos, gifs, and other files could start causing issues once embedded into a website. It could be because the files are too large, or in formats not supported by the website. To avoid this, test all files before final publishing.
Have you been able to boost your search engine visibility? In the comment section below, share with us some important SEO-focused changes that helped this growth.
If you want more personalized advice on how you can boost your online visibility and start ranking for more terms in your niche, we can help.
At VPDM, our team of professionals can help you create a results-driven digital marketing strategy for your business.
Get in touch with us today and we’ll get started with a plan that works!
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