17 Easy to implement Search engine optimization (SEO) tips
Want to improve your site's ranking and increase revenue, for less - Or even better, for Free? Then our '17 Easy to implement search engine optimization tips (SEO) tips' will help your site achieve achieve Googledom and grow your business.
Search engine optimization (SEO) can help boost traffic to your site (and we want targeted traffic and not just browsers), increase your small business revenue but attain Googledom is not simple and easy anymore.
Please note that our easy to implement 17 SEO tips are not listed in any special order and will be updated regularly!
Before you start implementing our 17 search engine optimization tips
No matter how experienced you are in search engine optimization, failing to dismiss the importance of the following steps might be hazardous to your SEO campaign. The following are the 5 important areas you need to include and focus on in order for your search engine optimization campaign, and business, to be successful.
- Hosting and hosting plans - Focus on the server hardware and software setup customized for optimal speed, and not that cheap hosting plan you managed to find
- Design platform - Choose the right platform for the type of website. For example, WordPress for a blog website, Magento CE for an eCommerce website, and so on
- HTML, or On-page SEO - These are the on-page SEO techniques such as having an optimized Page title, content copy, Alt and Description Tag (more on page description later on)
- Link building - Many SEO professionals say that links, especially, are attributed to improved ranking. So check your external links often, and disavow any you believe might harm your website
Oh yeah, let us not forget that SEO should start during the design phases of the website, and not once the website has been completed and LIVE! Why you may ask? Well, because it is better, easier and cheaper to implement SEO during the design phase (or in parallel) then once your site design phase has been completed.
A word of warning about using Proprietary site builders
Before you choose that so called easy to use, proprietary site builder (being advertised and made to look wonderful), do some research about whether the site builder you want to use for your new website is SEO friendly, whether you have access to .htaccess and Robots.txt files for further tweaking, and so on. And don't forget to read the reviews not only about how easy the proprietary site builder is easy to use, but also look for any mentions of its SEO capabilities, or downfall.
In order to put your business website on the first page of Google (or on any other major search engine), SEO knowledge (which can be acquired), patience (this is a must), and keeping up with the ongoing search engine's algorithm updates is a must.
One more time about hosting - You need to choose the right hosting company, with the right hosting plan, instead of just going for that too good to be true hosting deal of $1/month you found, or you will end up paying deeply!
Read our 'How to save money on professional web design' article where we talk a little bit our hosting and the use of a site builder!
SOME GREAT TOOLS TO HELP YOU WITH YOUR SEO ENDEAVOR
Can you implement SEO on your website, perform competitor analysis, proper keyword research and improve your search traffic? Want to know why your competition website is ranking higher than you and learn how t outrank them?
Below are some of the great tools (from many) available online that I guarantee will answer the above questions, and help you implement a great SEO campaign, easier - Thank you Aleksandra Vassilieva!
- Moz SEO Tools - Offers Free 30 day trial
- Raven Tools - Helps you create marketing reports - Offers Free Initial Trial
- AHREFS - Helps you research your competition, improve traffic, and much more
- Topvisor - An All-In-One SEO and PPC tool - Offers Free Trial
And now, without further ado, let's go through the 17 SEO tips together.
You might think that site speed should not belong in our 17 Easy to implement Search engine optimization (SEO) tips but trust me, it does!
Do you like waiting 5, 6 or 8 second for the page, of a website your are visiting, to load? No you don't. Most of your visitors are very impatient, including you (yes, you), and this might be in our genes! So put yourself in your user's shoes and see if you like watching your slow page download, and let us know how you feel! If your page takes more than 2 seconds to load, fix it, and if it takes 2 seconds to download, try to improve it!
If the slow page load is due to the server's slow hardware (mechanical hard drive instead of SSD drives are used) your hosting company is using, then we highly recommend that you look for another home for your website - Trust me, it is worth it!
Our web hosting recommendations
- When looking for a hosting company, don't focus on the cheap price! Look for optimal hardware, features such as SSD drives, cached DB, and so on
- If you can afford it, get a cloud hosting with dedicated IP
- Ask about any SSL promotion and get one
- Read unbiased reviews (reviews that are not on the hosting company's own website)
- What about their support? - How long will it take to answer a phone call, start a live chat, and respond to a ticket?
- Use a hosting company that has it servers optimized for specific CMSs (if using a CMS)
We could've used all the bells and whistles to make our website look pretty and more professional but since our focus is content, we decided to forego using sliders, and anything else that has no purpose.
The changes we made to SimplerWebs and why we made them
To make it easy for our readers, and customers, to find what they came for, we moved some menus we had on the top navigation bar, to the footer, and focused only on important services and content. Providing good content for your readers is extremely important! When writing your content, choose a topic that is within your niche and can take it to their social media page and share it with their followers, friends.
Our site layout recommendations
- Your main content should be clear, concise and upfront
- Use simple and clear navigation
- Use SEO friendly URLs
- Have a clear site hierarchy
We all want our website to make us money but inserting ads, that are not even related to your niche (and trust me, I've seen a lot), is not the way to go. We have nothing against Ads but if you must put one (or possibly two) on your page, make sure that
- They are related to your niche
- You do not insert the Ads above the fold
Ask yourself this question: Do I want to market my content, or someone Else's?
Site navigation is not only an important part of SEO (search engine optimization), but also an important part of good user experience (UX - read below). Don't crowd your site navigation with too many menus, and if you need to use sub-menus, keep their amount low.
Remember, short and easy to navigate site navigation is part of having a great site layout. I've seen websites (and some of them from so called UX experts) with 12, and 15 menus (so long that the nav bar extends to a second line), then the menu has another 9 sub-menus, and the sub-menus having their own sub-sub menus. that is an overkill.
THINK OF YOUR USERS
By focusing on your users and provide them with the best users experience, easy layout and navigate website, and of course, great content, you will reduce your bounce rate.
Our recommendations about offering great user experience (UX)
- Offer great user experience
- Make your site has a mobile friendly design (or responsive)
- Make your site load as fast as you can
- Avoid over crowding your site with flashy banners, Ads, and so on
- Leave 1990's design trend out (some) like a hit counter (remember those? - We still see them even in 2016)
- SSL - Even though your site might not be an eCommerce site and takes credit card, implementing SSL is a good more, especially when Google stated that SSL is a ranking factor (even though a small one for now, we believe SSL ranking factor will increase in a year or two). Plus, don't you want your visitors to feel safe.
SEO FRIENDLY URL
Even though there are a lot of people (maybe mostly web designers, and a small fraction of SEO consultants) say that search engines can now read non SEO-friendly URLs! We recommend that you go with the search engine friendly URLs from the get go, and possibly ignore anything you read about using SEO friendly URLs is not that important anymore because now, search engines' bot can read any type of URL.
Most of the CMSs (content management system) available out there are SEO-Friendly, or at least make it very easy to switch to SEO friendly URLs by checking an option(usually an option in the back end of the CMS for "mod_rewrite") and renaming your htaccess.txt file (found in your website's root directory) to .htaccess
CHOOSING THE RIGHT PLATFORM TO DESIGN YOUR SITE
OK, there are a lot of good CMSs that you can use to build your business website, but not all of them are created equal. For example, WordPress (get it from WordPress.org and not Wordpress.com), or Joomla (plus many other CMS platforms) can be used to design your eCommerce website (extensions are available to add a shopping cart and payment gateway to your WordPress based website) but are those CMSs the right platform for your eCommerce website?
Our recommendations when choosing a CMS
- Use WordPress for a blog, newspaper, or magazine website and not for eCommerce - Remember that the more extension you install onto your WordPress website to turn it into an eCommerce site, the slower it will get. Don't take us wrong! We love WordPress (from WordPress.org) and we highly recommend it.
- Joomla - Joomla is another great CMS you can use to design your website, and like WordPress, many big companies have a Joomla powered website. Still, we do not recommend using Joomla for an eCommerce site, even though, with the right extensions, you can turn your Joomla site into an eCommerce website. Just remember that, just like WordPress, the more extensions are installed, the slower your site gets.
- If your website is going to be an eCommerce, we recommend using Magento CE (You don't really need Magento Enterprise edition)
- CMS Theme/Template - Use a professionally designed and light weight Template, or Theme from a renowned theme design company
We love WordPress but for an eCommerce website, we recommend going with Magento instead.
CHOOSE A KEYWORD (UNIQUE KEYWORD FOR EACH PAGE)
Before you start writing that high quality content you strongly believe will bring customers to your site, you need to know an important step that is so fundamental to the success of your online business, if not performed, your SEO campaign will fail, and the only visitors you will be bringing to your expensive website are just plain visitors. - We also call them 'window shoppers'.
Do you want your site to be buried beneath millions of other sites (or pages) and find out the reasons you've been buried was due to your choose of the keyword?
We've talked to business owners and we noticed one common mistake they make - 'they know what their customers are looking for', thus, they will choose a keyword they think is the right keyword to target because they believe it is the keyword their customers are using, instead of asking their unbiased friends and family members for the keyword, or keyword phrase they will use.
It is better to spend a day, a week doing keyword research and analyzing your competition and see how they got to be on the first page of Google, or Bing than to find out, months later, that the keyword you've chosen was not the right keyword to target in the first place!
What do we think about selecting the right keyword
- Take the time to study your competition
- Take extra time to do keyword research for the keyword to target
- Only use one main keyword, and its synonyms per page (throughout the page)- And do not spam!
- Check your competitor's website to get a list of what keyword they are optimizing for (if they have their keyword meta tag filled). Is it OK and ethical? Yes it is! Don't let anyone tell you other wise!
- Do you need to have your targeted keyword at the beginning of your first paragraph? Not really but that will depend on your copy! If putting your targeted keyword at the beginning of your first paragraph will make your paragraph not sound and read natural, then don't start that paragraph with the targeted keyword, as long as you have the keyword somewhere in the first paragraph of the copy.
PAGE TITLE (TITLE TAG)
The page title can make or break your SEO campaign! When you do a search on Google, or Bing for that matter, what is the first think you see and read? The title (highlighted in a blue text) of course. Think about it, what will make you click on one, and not the other? Is it the title, the description?
Your would be customers are used to reading the page title on the search engine result pages(SERPs) first because it will give them a good idea what the page (or website) is about, then to decide whether they should click on your link, and not your competition, they read the description (more on that below).
Again, we recommend that you spend some time thinking of a good page title for that page - It is worth the effort. Don't forget to stay withing the character (actually, within the pixel limit) allotted to the page title in the SERP, or it will be truncated to a title that won't make sense and you might not like.
As of 5/12/2016, Google has increased the pixel length of the title (on SERP) from 512px, to 600px - This is what we believe.
Note: A capital letter M uses more pixels space than a capital letter I.
The following two tools are good to check your title Pixel width for your page meta titles
What do we think about writing a good Page title
- Choose your keyword wisely
- Start with your keyword first in the page title - You can also add your keyword synonym in the middle
- Do not repeat your focused keyword
- If you have room, add your brand at the end of your title
- Stay within the character pixel limit of the title so it is not truncated on SERP
- For example: Main targeted keyword | Secondary keyword, or synonym - Site name (or Brand)
Is content King? Well, only if the King is a good King! - Some client came to us saying they spent thousands of dollars on their professional website and want to know why their expensive website is not ranking good, or why it is not bringing them traffic?
After performing an SEO audit (HTML and Technical SEO audits were performed), our SEO audit report helped them see where their expensive designed website failed. You guessed it - Poor content!
They outsource the copywriting company overseas (outsourced company claims to employ 150+ skills copywriters) and the result is that the site had duplicate page title, descriptions and even some paragraph were duplicated.
What do we think about page content and SEO?
Since you know your business better than anybody else, write your copy yourself and if you are not SEO inclined, give that copy to an SEO expert to check it and possibly improve it, and not to write the whole content for you!
- Avoid thin content - Long content correlates with improved ranking.
- If during the content writing you can't come up with a long content, then it is OK to start with a medium content (500 words) then add more content, this way, search engines will notice that you added more content to that page, thus boost your ranking because they will take a notice that you update your page with fresh content, and not a stagnant site.
- Don't write a 5000 word content for the sake of having a 5000 word page
- Add internal links - Important and this will get you more pages indexed
- Add external links - To related (same niche) and authoritative sites
- Don't worry about keyword density
- Put your readers first, search engines second - What we mean by this is write for your readers, and not just search engines
- Don't use the same anchor texts for your links linking to the same page
- Blog - If the page is a blog article, encourage sharing your content with others
- Post on social media - You have a great article, mention it on social media sites with a link to the article on your site, and add a great picture.
PAGE DESCRIPTION (DESCRIPTION TAG)
We all know that the page description tag is no longer a ranking factor, so why spend hours to come up with a good description? Well, even though the page description is no longer a ranking factor, it is a conversion factor! So it is important to spend some time writing good page description, not for the search engines, but for your would be customers.
Note - If your site has a poor content copy, and if search engines can't tell what your page is about, they will try to do their best and guess, thus showing their description instead, and not the one you wrote
What do we think about the Page Description?
- Know that the Page description is no longer a ranking factor
- Use your targeted keyword in your page description (preferably at the beginning) to entice your users/customers to click on your link in the SERPs (search engine result pages) and not to try to boost your search ranking
- Don't forget to stay within the page description character limits - We like to stay within 150 characters max.
OPTIMIZE YOUR IMAGES (FOR SEARCH ENGINES AND SPEED)
Nobody likes a slow website and large images are one of the main reason websites are slow! So before you upload that great looking, and large image and add it to your content, we recommend that you take the following steps (trust me, it is worth it)
Our image optimization recommendations
- Optimize your image for speed - Your image might be a large 300KB file, so before you upload it, use an online tool to reduce the file size while keeping the quality intact.
- Optimize your image for search engine - We've seen many images with names like 0259874.jpg. This filename will not help improve your ranking. So name your file properly and help it help you boost your site's SEO by giving it a name that describes the image, and tells the bots what the image is about.
- And don't forget to use hyphens (-) instead of underscores (_) in the file name. For example, our first image above is named '12-search-engine-optimization-tips.png', and the Alt tag we select for the image is '12 Easy to implement Search engine optimization (SEO) tips'
OPTIMIZE YOUR HEADER TAGS
Should you take the extra step of optimizing your Header Tags (H1 through H6)? Yes! Just because Header tags are use for headlines, making content easy to read and help readers follow a story, it does not mean you can't use them to help you optimize your site for search engines and achieve high ranking!
Our recommendations about writing good Header tags
- Use one H1 per page or article
- Do not use H1 in your layout (in the Sidebars, Footer, Copyright, and so on)
- Use H1 for your targeted keyword
- Use H2 for your semantically related keyword (LSI) - Note that you can use more than one H2, H3, and so on - Except for the H1 tag
PROMOTE OTHER CONTENT - NOT JUST YOURS
If your business is offering search engine optimization (SEO) services to small and mid-sized businesses, don't just go on about what your business can do for them! Offer some SEO tips and tutorials, through a blog, or info-graphic about search engine optimization. They will thank you for it, and they might even link back to your article and share it with others
Don't just be selfish and just promote your website or content, Get involved by
- Get involved on the web by promoting other people great content
- Help make the web a sea of knowledge for anyone looking for help in something you are skilled at
- If you are not skilled in that topic but have information about that topic, direct them to a site they can use and get answers from
- Someone posted a great content that you can still add to it, or improve it
- Give feedback on the topic you just read, and share it with your friends and family, or mention it on on a blog, or forum related to that topic
- Found a great article on someone else site, share it or mention it on your blog!
PAGES THAT SHOULD BE INCLUDED AND VISIBLE
We recommend that you have (create if needed) the following page and make them visible, or easy to find within your website.
- Contact info page (or form) - This should be visible and accessible from the menu
- About Us - This also should be easily accessible from the menu
- Terms and Conditions - This also can be put on the footer
- Sitemap - This can be on the footer also
- Site Search feature - This can be anywhere on your site (preferably on every page) but it is important that it is clearly visible whether on the header, sides, or somewhere on the footer.
- Depending on the design and your desired layout of the website, the header or a sidebar location might be the best.
- Custom 404 page - It is very important to create a custom 404 error page and even better if the page includes a search box feature.
WANT TO LEARN HOW TO OPTIMIZE YOUR WEBSITE FOR SEO?
There are a plethora of websites that will help you learn about search engine optimization (SEO), and we believe that with time, patience (a lot of it), you can optimize your own website for search engines. We have only listed some (short list) of the site's we recommend.
You are welcome to email us the link to a website you believe we should add to this list.
- Search Engine Land: http://searchengineland.com/ to learn about SEO and keep stay up to date with search engines news and algorithm updates
- Search Engine Watch: https://searchenginewatch.com/
A guide to search engine marketing and search engine optimization. Forums, reviews, articles, ratings, and frequent newsletters.
TOOLS TO USE TO HELP YOU WITH YOUR SEO CAMPAIGN
In order to see the result of the hard work you did, and keep track of what is working and not working, we recommend the following search engines tools:
- Google Webmaster Tool - Setup a Google Webmaster Tools account and add your site
- Google Analytics - Analytics lets you measure your advertising ROI as well as track your Flash, video, and social networking sites and applications.
- Bing Tools - Sign in or signup for Bing Webmaster Tools and improve your site's performance in search. Get access to free reports, tools and resources.
- Choose a hosting company for its hardware feature and great support, and not for that cheap price!
- Choose the right design platform, specific to the type of website, and stay away from proprietary site builders
- Enable SEO-Friendly URLs
- Have a clean and well laid out layout and make sure your main content is clear and above the fold
- Ads are OK as long as they don't take away your visitors' focus from the main content, and are within the same niche
- Make sure your site's navigation is not crowded by having too many sub, and sub-sub menus
- When designing your site, think of your uses first, and not the other way around
- Perform keyword research before writing that copy
- Write great page title. Insert your keyword as early as possible in the title, and if you have room, add your brand at the end
- Don't just write your page copy just to reach that 1000 words. Make the copy easy to read, natural and avoid spamming or keyword stuffing
- Even though the 'Page Description' tag is no longer a ranking factor, you should still write a clear and enticing page description. Don't forget to use the main keyword
- Optimize your images for faster page download, and SEO
- Optimize your header and only use the H1 tag one time in that copy
- Promote other content on your website, and comment on great content on other sites
Now, it is time for some questions, if you indulge us!
- Do you believe that speed is important and if so, what is the most important feature you look for when choosing a a web hosting company?
- What feature, or layout irritates you the most on a website?
- Do you put your users first, or search engines?
- Do you believe that having SEO-Friendly URLs are still important, or we should just stop worrying about them?
- Which web design platform, or CMS (content management system) do you prefer, use often, and why?
- Do you thing doing keyword research is outdated and unnecessary, and if yes, why?
- Great title Vs Brand in the title - Which one is important to you - Making sure you have your brand in the page title and forget about having a great title if there is room for it, or having a great and enticing title, and forego the brand if there is not enough room to include it?
- Do you believe having keyword, several times and in several place in your content (keyword density) is an important part of improving your ranking, or having the keyword placed once or twice, and in the right place is more important?
- Is the 'Page Description' a ranking factor, and if not, can you tell us how it could be used?
- What are the steps you take to optimize your images?
- Do you believe we should still use the targeted keyword in headers (H1 - H6)?
- Can you tell us how many times H1, H2 (H3 - H6) can be used in a page, or anywhere else in the page?
- Do you promote great content on your website, and do you take the time to answer someone's SEO question(s) posted on another website?
- Is there a tool you know could help someone with their SEO campaign and that you use (Free tools is always better)?
That is all for now but we will our keep updating our 17 Easy to implement Search engine optimization (SEO) tips on a regular basis! But before we go, we recommend that you read our 'Anatomy of a well designed and successful website' article!
Your Feedback, or Comments are welcome!
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SEO Tips that will help boost your site's ranking