People find many different reasons to create their own websites. Maybe you have a product that you would like to sell online. Maybe you’ve written an essay you would like others to read. Uploading it to the internet has to be the fastest way. Maybe you have a range of hobbies you would like to share with others. However, the unfortunate reality is that these things matter very little if your site has no visitors.
If you would like people to find your website, then utilizing search engine optimization (SEO) is the way to go. SEO is a general all-encompassing term, used to describe many processes used to boost one’s website in the search engines. Whether you have a website hosted on a VPS, shared or dedicated server, leveraging off SEO is the way to go. And when it’s done properly, it can mean, your page ranking on the first page of the major search engines. The tips to follow, won’t guarantee that you rank at the very top, but they are things you should know, basically essential things when looking at honing your site for the search engines.
One of the most important aspects of SEO has to be keywords, that is, the chosen keyword, and its placement throughout the page. When choosing the right keyword, you have to imagine yourself as the visitor, consumer or customer. Then think about what kind of things they would be searching on, if they were looking for what you had to offer. Of course, you don’t want to go overboard. When creating any post for your site, you want to have at least one keyword, but it’s possible to have more, if done properly. Just be sure to make them related to the content of the page you intend to use them on. Also, do not keyword-stuff, as this could get your site penalised.
2. Optimise for Mobile
It’s been some time now, since Google rolled out its mobile-first indexing, this in turn, adversely effects sites that are not optimised for mobile search.
It’s understandable why they went down this route, as over 50% of search traffic comes from people on mobile devices. If you choose not to optimise your site for the search engines, then you could be missing out on a great deal of potential traffic, you could also see other sites, that have been optimised, rank above you.
When it comes to going mobile, there are 3 approaches you can take to do it:
- Responsive Site: The website will adapt to the screen size.
- Different URLs: You have two different websites, one for desktop traffic and the other for mobile.
- Dynamic Serving: Somewhat similar to a responsive site, only the page is generated dynamically, depending on traffic source.
If you choose not to optimise your site for mobile traffic, then you will miss out on a great deal of traffic, so this is something you definitely want on your to-do list.
3. Reduce Sites Load Time
According to market research carried out by google, over 50% of surfers will leave a website, if it takes more than 3 seconds to load up. Most people have very little patience and an even lower attention span, so you want your site to be as fast as possible.
There are many websites and tools you can use to analyse your sites speed. Most notable are Google PageSpeed Insights, Pingdom and Google’s Test My Site. These services will provide you with detailed information on ways you can improve your sites load time. This may include adding or removing scripts, optimising or removing images, or removing redundant code.
If you have a WordPress site, then you should definitely consider removing any plug-ins that aren’t critical to your website. There are also plug-ins like WP-Rocket that are designed to make your site load faster by caching your pages.
4. Update Site Content
Search engines are designed to prioritise most recent and up-to-date content, as it tends to be the most relevant.
When it comes to updating site content, there’s no limit to how many times you can and should do it. Generally, the more the better. For bloggers, you want to publish at least one post per week, to keep your site relevant.
In addition to creating new content for your site, you also want to be updating your older pages, which could mean, fixing grammar errors, adding additional text, etc. And, although the grammar or spelling of your content, isn’t a factor when ranking, they do affect user experience, which is.
5. Don’t Use Flash
A lot of small businesses make the mistake of creating a website using Flash. This is because they are quick and cheap to launch. However, the major search engines, always rank Flash sites lower than your typical website. Primarily because it’s not possible to link to individual pages of a Flash site. Switching from a flash-based site to a WordPress one, should see you witness massive ranking improvements in the search engines.
6. Grow Natural Links
One of the more important ranking factors in the major search engines, is the amount of quality links you have pointing to your site. Think of a link as a recommendation. The search engines will rank a site and its pages, high or low, based on the amount of recommendations it has from other highly or lowly recommended sites. For this reasons, you may want to pay attention to the amount of natural or organic links you are acquiring.
7. Address Your URLs
When creating your URLs, you definitely want to apply SEO tactics to them. The search engines will look for the keyword you intend to rank for, within the URLs as well as within the content of the page.
Are you using dynamic URLs? Are your URLs numbered? If so, then you’ll definitely want to replace them with static URLs.
For example, take this blog post example: https://www.website.com/post/detail?id=1234. The number at the end of the URL represents the actual post, but it doesn’t in any way describe what the post is about.
However, you can fix this, all you need to do is enable static URLs, as this will allow you to implement keywords into your site’s address.
Now, when using static URLs, instead of your post being represented with a number, it will instead look something like the following: https://www.website.com/post/mini-vans/
Search engines prioritise this URL link structure above all else. Just be sure to keep it brief, focusing on the keyword. You may also want to use hyphens to break up each individual word. That way things don’t end up crammed together.
Uchenna Ani-Okoye is a former IT Manager who now runs his own computer support website https://www.compuchenna.co.uk/.