SEO Basics for Optimizing Your Website
Everybody wants to rule the search engine results pages for their industry, but most people don’t know where to start their conquest. Getting your website to appear in the top listings for searches related to your business takes a lot of time and effort, but it’s worth it to achieve the glory of the first page of Google. In order to get started on the climb through Google’s rankings, it’s vital to know some SEO basics for optimizing your website.
Cultivating good SEO is not a one-off task; it takes constant work to improve a website’s search engine optimization and keep other websites from overtaking it in the rankings. Imagine that SEO is like a garden; if you plant it and prepare the garden perfectly but then walk away and don’t water it or weed it, it’s unlikely to yield anything worthwhile. Although it’s important to implement SEO basics on a website, remember to put in the ongoing work required to build up a better online presence.
Basic Tips to Improve a Website’s SEO
Getting started with SEO can be daunting. There are a massive number of things to consider that factor into a website’s SEO value. It can be helpful to have a team of experts backing your efforts to improve your website’s search engine rankings, and the gang at FirstPage Marketing is always ready to help. If you are looking for a few basic tips that will help you to get started on optimizing your website for search engines, be sure to:
1. Create Better Content
One of the biggest drivers of a website’s SEO is its written content. Content needs to be relevant to what people are searching for related to your industry, so it’s important to do keyword research and include terms that connect with popular searches; however, it is important to write the content well and not stuff it full of keywords. Search engines are set up to look for a good balance of keywords and related topical content, so filling your content with spammy search terms will only yield negative results.
It is also important to create better content to appeal to your audience. Poorly written content will result in an audience that does not want to stick around, which will increase the website’s bounce rate. Search engines are set up to demote websites with high bounce rates, so having good content that people can enjoy reading is vital to SEO. Content also needs to be unique: duplicate content can negatively affect SEO rankings, so it is important to be original.
2. Make Sure Your Website is Responsive
Responsive code has been a standard within the world of website development for a while now. As such, search engines put a heavy emphasis on whether or not a website adapts to mobile devices when determining rankings. Having a mobile-friendly website that can adapt to the device on which it is being viewed will also ensure a smooth user experience. Make sure that the website is tested on phones, tablets, laptops, and desktops and that it functions properly on each device.
3. Improve Loading Speeds
The page loading speed of a website is extremely important for SEO. A website that consistently loads slowly will do poorly on most search engines, even if it is winning in all other aspects of SEO. Make sure that your website is hosted on a high-performing server, that the pictures and other content are optimized for speed, and that the website structure and design facilitate fast loading.
4. Clear Up Site Hierarchy and Navigation
Search engines need to be able to easily crawl through the pages of a website to determine the order of importance and relevance to effectively index and rank the website. Pages need to be arranged using proper URL slugs and hierarchies in order to leave the proper breadcrumb trail for search engines to follow. When structuring a website, it is useful to think about the website in levels: the homepage is level one, the broad category pages would be the various second levels, and the third level pages would consist of information that nests within the broad categories. For example, a common website page hierarchy would be:
Homepage > Services > Specific Service
Homepage > Company > Our Story
Once you have this organizational system planned out for the entire website, the pages can be linked accordingly. Website page URLs should also reflect this hierarchy.
5. Build Proper Internal Links
Links from page to page within the website should be included in order to show the website’s structure and offer a better user experience. When links are put in the content of a website leading to related content, it can help keep users on the website longer, improving both SEO and conversions. Make sure that you consider the anchor text for links, as this helps search engines identify what content is related to certain pages. Anchor text should almost always match the slug of the page being linked to.
6. Incorporate Proper Headings
Certain types of headings can help search engines prioritize content on the pages of a website. Content should be written in descending order of what is most important for users and search engines to see, and the headings used should qualify each block of content. Like the website’s pages, headings need to have a hierarchy, with the most important heading for the page stating what it is and including the most important keywords (this is called the H1) and then the other page headings breaking down the content in order of importance (H2’s, H3’s, etc.). A page’s heading structure can be thought of as a pyramid: at the top is the page’s sole H1, underneath that there could be a couple of H2’s, and underneath each of H2 there could be a couple related H3’s.
If you would like to have a team of professionals get started on implementing some SEO basics for your website, or to talk with us about any of our other services, please reach out to the team at FirstPage Marketing so we can assist you with this.