Search Engine Optimization – Everybody wants to rank higher on Google. Someway, you want your business, personal website or blog to always get displayed whenever relevant keywords related to your business is queried, if not first, to the general curious public.
I know one way or the other, you have needed to accomplish something around this field, either professionally or DIY (Do It Without Anyone’s Help).
Perhaps you succeeded, maybe you failed; It’s normal. I have been there too. But would you like to fail again? I don’t want to think so.
Then you should start focusing on the basics to make your website rank higher in organic search results.
Gone are the days when just anybody could easily make his/her website rank first on Google or other search engines by simply stuffing keywords of all varieties into their pages.
Now, the whole algorithm is changed and Google is all about TWO MAJOR THINGS TO RANK YOUR WEBSITE depending on the information users are looking for.
1. Your Website's Design Structure
2. Your Content's Quality Rating
When trying to optimize your website for Google’s search and other search engines, the first key thing to consider is the code and design structure of your website! Yes. You might have all the quality content on earth, but if users find it very hard to actually scale through your website, you might not get ranked as high as you expect.
And even if you did rank high through some means, trust me, your rankings are surely going to drop way low eventually. Google has algorithms to determine how much of help or information your website offers to users.
The simplest way I can put the algorithm is:
This simply tells Google that, “Well, the user left the website 10 seconds after visiting, most likely, the user didn’t find quality content nor answers for the particular information he was looking for. In this case, let us drop this website a bit lower from the results”.
You don’t want this happening to you. And if this happens, you should know the source of the problem by now based on the Major Things I highlighted above.
This reason focuses on the Search Engine Friendliness of your website.
Your website wasn’t easily accessible to your visitor. Perhaps, at first the website took very long to load, then after loading the whole website structure was cramped up. The user couldn’t access the menu, perhaps there were broken images or links, then the user simply hits the back button to source for a better website. All these probably happened within 10 seconds, then the user leaves.
If you had a good website structure, in this case, I mean a fast loading, clean and simple website layout, who knows, your user might have stayed longer while looking at some other information on your website that might probably be related. Your user might have stayed even longer just admiring the design of your website. Even though he might not have found what he is looking for, the fact that he stayed longer actually communicates a lot of things to Google and will most likely positively impact your rankings in future search results. Now that’s one.
This reason focuses on the Search Engine and Content Optimization of your website.
Your website didn’t provide the adequate information to your visitor. Your design might be great, easily scalable and accessible. Absolutely user friendly, but your user didn’t find what he was looking for. Then guess what, after quick scrolling through your website, user leaves! Google notices, drops your website lower down the results list. There is a lot more to this but I won’t be discussing that in this article.
Before you set out to optimize
your website for search engines (SEO) or hire an SEO expert, you should start
with your website’s design structure. Every professional web designer knows the
SEO impact of wrongly or poorly coding a website. So you should be on the
lookout when hiring a “REALLY CHEAP” web developer to build your website. You
need to be sure they know what they are doing. Most only learn a thing or two
about cranking up websites, then run off immediately assuming that they are
professionals in design.
Website architecture has become a
focus for SEO for some time now, and even recently, it has gotten even more
important. This is because your website’s architecture is the building block of
your entire website. It not only affects how visitors communicate with your
website. It as well determines whether or not search engines will properly
index your website.
Website architecture shouldn’t be
a concern for SEO experts. It is a concern that website developers should take
For non-developers, whenever you want to hire someone to design a new website for you, insist that a
search-engine-friendly website is built for you. Failure to do this might cause
problems that will hamper your future SEO efforts. You will ultimately spend
even more to fix the development later.
Read further to get a hint on the mistakes you are making and how to start fixing them. For non-techies reading
this, I advise you hire a professional to implement these practices into your
existing or new website for you. Any wrong misplacement or application might
lead to ruining or totally bringing down your website, and I won’t be held
responsible for any of that.
WHO IS THIS GUIDE MEANT FOR?
Web Marketing Consultants
If you are out to hire, put this information
into their hands, they might need it as well and if they properly follow it,
your website will be search engine friendly and ready to be fully SEO’ed
(Permit me) once it goes live.
To make your new or existing
website Search Engine Friendly, make sure to follow this guide. Once all of
this is done, you can then move to implementing Search Engine Optimization
practices on your website.
13 MAJOR WAYS TO MAKE YOUR WEBSITE SEARCH ENGINE FRIENDLY
- BEWARE OF CHEAP, UNLIMITED WEB HOSTING
It’s becoming a usual practice as most hosting companies offer cheap and unlimited web hosting to customers, sometimes free. These offers are good but there are a lot of bad sides to opting into offers like these. The saying ‘Nothing goes for free’, not only applies to free stuff, but also to super cheap stuff.
Before purchasing a web hosting for your website, make sure to verify the packages that come with your hosting purchase. You should take important note of : Disk Space and your Bandwidth (Number of visitors you can receive on your website monthly). You should contact your web host for them to as well analyze the speed you will get for the particular hosting plan you are purchasing, and also let you determine if you need to upgrade your hosting plan to achieve the speed you require. Why do I emphasize on speed? Because the speed of your website matters a lot to Google. Google hates slow-loading websites. They work constantly to achieve the best experience for every user. And if your website doesn’t serve that purpose, trust me; your rankings will drop drastically.
If you have little knowledge about the whole web hosting concept, do make sure to contact a web hosting expert to carry out the whole process for you.
- USE HTTPS ENCRYPTION ON YOUR WEBSITE BY PURCHASING AN SSL CERTIFICATE.
Most websites you visit nowadays have a green “Secured” box beside their web addresses somewhere in your browser’s address bar. It’s another factor to successfully rank on search engines.
Having the HTTPS encryption on your website tells Google that your website is safe to navigate and users can as well provide and protect sensitive personal information, such as credit card numbers. This is very important if you are running sales on your website. Websites such as E-Commerce and Classifieds need this as well.
You probably might have no idea on how to go about this. If you do, please make sure SSL encryption is activated for any website you want to rank on Google. If you do not know how to go about this, contact your web developer, or your hosting company. They will definitely assist you on this. It’s not a “wait-for-24-hours” thingy. No big deal about it.
- DECLARE YOUR DOCUMENT TYPE.
Every webpage’s doctype tells Google and browsers how to translate each page and as well determines how it is rendered eventually to your users.
If you do not declare your doctype when coding or designing your website, the browser will most likely guess. This guess might be correct, and sometimes incorrect. Search engines will use whatever guess the browser gives it to process information about your website. So do make sure to properly define the doctype for your webpage.
Most HTML coded websites start with the doctype declaration below:
This simply tells the browser and the search engine to process the logical information on the page as HTML, also urging to the fact that your website is designed and coded in HTML. This adequately prevents guessing errors between your browser and the search engine and is as well a key factor to getting your website ranked on Google.
- USE CORRECT HTML, CSS, AND RESPONSIVE SYNTAX
Even though incorrectly or poorly coded html tags may not necessarily affect your search engine rankings, it is another factor that can cause your website to be wrongly translated by your browser or search engine. Proper and valid HTML coding ensures your browser and Google sees your website the same way you see it, and as well, the same way you want your users to see and access your webpage.
Use up-to-date CSS and bootstrap when developing your website. Avoid incorrect passing of properties and values. And make sure your website is responsive across all devices. In fact, make sure your website is Mobile-First responsive. Google appreciates mobile responsive websites than websites with separate desktop and mobile pages. Learn the basics of bootstrap or material design to achieve mobile responsiveness and scalability across all devices. It helps greatly to improve Google rankings.
Keep in mind: USER EXPERIENCE is important.
- IMAGES ARE GOOD FOR SEO TOO
When using images on your website, take note of the image names and as well the extensions used. The extensions are what formats the images are rendered in, like jpeg, png, gif, etc.
Take note as well of the image description and ‘alt’ attributes. They go a long way in describing what the image and the page is all about. This isn’t so crucial but it is necessary to rank your website when users search using Google Images. You never can tell how much traffic can come to your webpage from a simple image search.
- Redirect broken links and deleted pages to a 404 Page
Be sure to make sure invalid URLS and broken links on your website directs your visitors a properly designed 404 page. It gives your users and Google a good impression about your website, and also lets them know it will be fixed soon.
- UNDERLINE LINKS
Even though it sounds as an old practice, underlined links serves as a universal indicator that a piece of text links to another page within or outside your website. It also helps Google quickly understand that aspect of your page, and quickly index your website, if necessary.
- LET IMPORTANT AND UNIQUE KEYWORDS REFLECT IN THE TITLE ASPECT OF YOUR WEBPAGE
Always learn to implement unique title tags to every page of your website. Having a title that represents and summarizes what the page is all about helps roll out your website faster in search results. Remember, your title is comparable to a news headline. People look out for headlines more. The catchier the headline, the more compelled they will be to read your content. And the longer they stay on your webpage, reading useful content provided, the better it is for your SEO.
- USE UNIQUE META DESCRIPTION TAGS FOR IMPORTANT PAGES OF YOUR WEBSITE.
The tips provided above also apply to the meta description tag. Your description tag is most likely the first aspect of useful information your visitors will see about your website whenever you are displayed. How useful and catchy that information is determines if they will eventually click on your website and visit. Make sure your meta description contains a semi-lengthy summary of what that page or website is all about. Highlight one of the keypoints of your content into the meta description tag. Remember it is what visitors see after reading your headline, which is the title. A good description is between 100 and 155 characters long.
- AVOID DUPLICATE CONTENT
Do your possible best to avoid duplicate content information on your pages. This applies especially to e-commerce websites that have to handle several similar products with duplicate descriptions. Each page should use a single canonical URL. This helps Google differentiate the original source of the content from the duplicates. Make sure to research on and utilize the use of canonical tags as an helpful measure.
- INTEGRATE SOCIAL MEDIA
Google values social media links. So also do users. Using social media icons and links while designing your website will help it rank higher and better. Make sure you include social media elements for all your media accounts. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and the likes.
It shows Google and your users alike that you are personable and reachable.
- USE USER-FRIENDLY URLS
User friendly URLs also mean SEO friendly URLs. URL that is hard to read will not likely rank on Google. Trust me. Google doesn’t want to bug a user with complicated urls like www.mywebsite.com/index.php?&id=12345_rel-ref=#2824738… It is not SEO friendly.
Google prefers urls like www.mywebsite.com/academy/courses . As you see, the latter is easier to read. This makes it very easy for Google to access your website’s structure and as well serve it to searchers.
- CONSIDER ACCESSIBLE DESIGN AND USER EXPERIENCE
The design of your website and the experience users have while using your website is a strong factor in determining your position on search results. If your website is hardly accessible and difficult to navigate, it will surely tell on your rankings. Your website has to be viewable and adapt to all browsers.
Do not use images with large sizes or heavy videos especially on the front pages of your website as this will cause slow loading of your website. Like I highlighted at Number 1, Google hates slow loading websites. Infact, if your website takes longer than 2 seconds to load, it will greatly affect your rankings.
So make sure to purchase quality web hosting, use up to date design standards, make it suitable for your audience and provide quality content.
What are you waiting for?
Make a few simple adjustments to your new/existing website this week based on this guide, and watch how it affects your website’s search engine ranking.
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