There are hundreds of minor changes that can be made to a website in order to increase its search engine optimization, or SEO for short. When simplified, each SEO consideration can be reduced to one extremely important factor: enhancing user experience. Google uses algorithms to rank a website, so if a website’s SEO is exceptional, that site is more likely to appear in Google’s top 10 search results. A website with poor SEO could be nearly impossible to find from a search query.
The timeless question people wonder is, “How do I get my site found on Google?” — and the most direct answer is to make your website all about your visitors. Page load speed, page descriptions, quality of content, originality of content, and even URLs are all aspects of a website Google will take into account, because they ease the online experience for visitors. It’s almost impossible to stay up to date with the latest news for SEO, but as long as the major factors are taken care of, you don’t need to worry.
The best way to learn the basics of SEO is to hear it straight from the source. Google created a search engine optimization starter guide, sharing the best practices of SEO in the simplest of terms. As a little teaser, here are five of the best practices anyone can do without outsourcing for extra help, although we’re here if you need it!
1. Create fresh, unique content
Websites which create their own original content are more likely to appear before sites that regurgitate information found elsewhere on the internet. Take this post for example, it references Google’s starter guide and there is even a link to the guide. However, the copy visitors read originates from an individual mind, not snippets from a dozen different articles written by others. When websites host quality, relevant content that cannot be found elsewhere on the internet, Google gives the site a little nudge forward.
2. Don’t be wordy
Page titles, headings, even anchors (search engine optimization starter guide is an example of an anchor) should be concise. Even though keywords are an important factor when it comes to SEO, titles and headings should not be a run-on sentence of searchable words. If a title is long enough to be a sentence, we’ve got a problem. Website visitors like to be able to skim text. Short, quick phrases are a skimmer’s bread and butter.
3. Let the words lead
To reiterate, people are notorious skimmers. Let the text on a web page navigate visitors through the site. Ideally, a web page will follow one theme, and walk the visitors through a hierarchy of information without getting off topic. Keep in mind, too many headings are distracting and any message you try to relay to readers could get lost among long, scrolling copy.
4. One topic per page
It’s easy to let the words lead if each page revolves around a single idea. A search query for “website design services” is more likely to show results for web pages which specifically offer website design services, rather than web pages that offer four or five different web-related services. Going back to creating the best user experience, providing one web page for each product or service eases website navigation and shows visitors what they are seeking. Google also has an easier time creating website descriptions when pages center on one topic.
5. Cater to people, not Google
If it is not yet clear, SEO and user experience exist together. Positive user experiences will boost SEO. So, when developing and designing a website, don’t think, “What can I do for Google to boost my search rank?” Instead think, “If I were visiting this website, what content and design would make me return a second, third, even fourth time?” If user experience is always kept in mind, many of the ways to capitalize on SEO will be taken care of on its own.
Each practice mentioned above requires website developers and designers to step into the mind of visitors. Think about all the ways someone who enters your site will navigate the page, sometimes it’s not the way the website was intended. Other practices, like supplying Google with sitemaps and having a 404 page are beyond what business owners know to do, or have time for. It’s wise to know what SEO is, but understand it’s not as easy as some make it seem. SEO takes experience in order to get it right, so keep educating yourself on the best web practices, and if you need more guidance, call 10 Pound Gorilla and let us help you expand your reach!