Part 1 of Why Good SEO is Essential! ended with Inbound Links.
Quality Content Delivers Quality Links
Let’s revisit the importance of quality content to inbound links. Producing quality content is the key to earning inbound links … the ideal content is insightful blog posts, videos that entertain or teach, infographics and informative analyses & reviews. This level of content will be shared generating the links back to your website.
It does require time and energy to produce this level of sharable and link worthy content.
SEO success or failure … your content is the key!
SEO content success will have two benefits:
Firstly direct SEO benefits, showing the search engines the content keywords that will rank your website and a growing list of inbound links … ticks of authority for your website and the information it contains.
Secondly a direct business benefit, establishing your website with visitors and prospective customers.
Is your website search engine crawler & visitor friendly?
Not only does your website need to deliver informative content, it also has to give visitors a great experience. If your website is hard to read or navigate, or take too long to load the information, most visitors will go back to the search results and choose the next website.
The search engine algorithms apply a number of aspects of your website’s usability:
There are a number of HTML code elements of your website that should be optimised, i.e. formatted correctly and contain the relevant keywords for your business
To deliver a consistent message to the search engine crawlers ensure that following elements are in place:
Page Content: Each web page clearly expresses its purpose and its relationship to your business. Use keywords as appropriate but don’t overdo it!
Title Tags: Title tags provide the names for the pages on your website, they are that clickable link in the search results and in the tab or top of web browsers. With a limit of 55 characters “Keyword | Brand Name” is the recommended format, hyphens can be used instead of the vertical bar “|”.
Meta Description: This is the first description that visitors see of your business! On Google search results the meta description is the two lines of text that appear underneath the clickable title tag and URL. Even though they don’t count for search rankings they provide the description to encourage visitors to click by giving them a preview of what they will find on your website.
H1 Tags: H1 (Heading1) tag is the most powerful heading tags, acting as the headline for a page. There is no specific character limit for an H1 tag, but it is recommended to only use once on the page.
H2 Tags: H2 is the sub-heading to the H1 headline for your web page. H2 tags carry less importance with search engines and can be used multiple times o the page.
URL Composition: Another way to tell search engines the main theme of each page is to use keywords in the url structure. e.g. “https://sharreid.digital/why-good-seo-is-essential/“
Images: Whilst search engine crawlers cannot see images they do see the additional information contained in the code around the image, the “image file name” and the “alt tag”. To ensure the search engine crawlers understand the image, include a descriptive image file name and update the alt tag text.
Easy Navigation: Visitors should find it simple to find and move between pages on your website. Search engine crawlers and visitors are not impressed complicated navigation. View your website structure like the design for a house. There are all the different rooms (pages) where visitors can stay but they need hallways (navigation) to move between the rooms.
Consider creating pages that give an overview of your products and services, i.e. Catalogue, from these “hallway / navigation” pages, your visitors (and search engine crawlers) can move to specific pages for more details. On these overview pages give visitors a preview of what they will find if they click by simply including a sentence or two under each item listed.
Page Load Speed: Search engine crawlers measure how long it takes for your web pages to load. With clean code and reasonable size images your web page will load quickly, make visitors wait for pages to appear and they will go elsewhere.
Missing Page 404 Errors: A page that no longer exists is like hitting a dead end street. 404 errors occur when links to a page has been deleted still exist. If a web page has been deleted use a 301 redirect to send the search engine crawlers and visitors to an updated page.
Social Media, Reviews & Local SEO
SEO doesn’t just involve your website. A presence on external sites that the search engine crawlers index also sends additional information to Google about your business.
Some examples of external websites for your business:
Google My Business: A Google My Business profile gives you a strong presence when visitors search locally, with your business name, address, contact details and website URL displayed in the Google search, maps and the Google+ social network.
Social Media: Social media has become an essential part for businesses. While social media networks like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn do have some SEO benefits, Google+ does directly influence your SEO efforts.
Review Sites: These websites allow customers to review your business, sending additional information about your business to search engines. For potential customers they can also influence the selection and purchase process, with positive reviews helping your business stand out from your competition.
Feeling overwhelmed and wondering where to start?
Start by checking your website pages, pick the 3 or 4 major pages, and optimising your website code and content, so that the search engine crawlers get a best view of your website and business. Then move through the remainder of your pages.
Once completed you are ready to move on to on-going content, this is where the success or failure of page 1 search results is measured.
In Part 3 of Why Good SEO is Essential! we will cover a number of tools that can help you with your SEO … stay tuned!