SEO is a marketing strategy that optimizes the design and content on your website so they can easily be found by search engines. A website that is search engine friendly will rank higher in search results and in return receive more organic traffic. As of 2020, there are over 1.74 billion sites on the web which means it is crucial to ensure your site stands out from the crowd.
Optimizing your website for search engines also provides a better user experience for anyone who visits your site. Customers who have a positive user experience are far more likely to return to your site than those who do not. Keep reading to uncover five quick ways to make your site SEO friendly.
1. Optimize your meta tags
Many website owners forget the importance of the nitty gritty details that come with optimizing for search engines. There are a lot of small tweaks you can make on the backend of your website that will make a massive difference in terms of your SEO efforts.
One of the most important things when it comes to on page SEO is your meta tags. Two of the most important meta tags include title tags and meta description.
Title tags are used to let search engines and visitors know what to expect from a web page. They’re important because they show up on the search engine results page (SERPS) and the browser tab.
While title tags may be a small element, they make a huge impact for SEO, in fact Moz has said, “title tags are the second most important on-page factor for SEO, after content.”
So how do you create an effective title tag? For starters, title tags should be short, we’re talking anywhere between 50-60 characters. Now, the tricky part — they must be liked by users and search engines alike.
To optimize title tags for humans, make sure they sound natural and state a benefit that would entice the user to click through to your page. When it comes to search engines, make sure the title tag contains your main focus keyword and ensure the placement is organic. Also, it’s important to avoid stuffing your title tags with keywords as search engines can pick up on this and mark your page as spam.
Here is an example of a bad title tag versus a good title tag. Notice the bad one is unnecessarily jammed with duplicate keywords. It contains the word “chicago” and “hotels” three times! The latter is a great example of an well-optimized title tag that communicates a benefit for the user and contains focus keywords for search engines to easily index the page without overdoing it.
The meta description is another important meta tag for SEO. This a 160-character snippet of information that gives users a quick summary of what your page has to offer.
Most users who are browsing the web will use your meta description as a way to decide if your site is relevant to their search query, which is why it is so important to ensure this snippet is as optimized as possible.
160 characters isn’t much to work with and sometimes it can be tricky to condense your information. Similar to title tags, it’s important to showcase the benefit of this page to the users while also optimizing for priority keywords.
Here is a great example of a well-executed meta:
Tesla keeps it short and sweet with their meta. In just 22 words they managed to use focus keywords and share a notable amount of useful information about the company. A meta description like this is sure to peak interest and encourage consumers to click in to the site while also being search engine friendly.
2. Make sure your website is compatible for all devices
When creating a website, people often forget about all the ways customers might be viewing it. Since websites are usually designed for desktop, many of the features your desktop users are able to access might not be available to mobile users which is something to keep in mind.
As of 2020, mobile traffic accounts for approximately 50 percent of traffic worldwide, which means it’s optimization is just as important as desktop. In fact, mobile has become so popular in recent years that Google has begun experiments that primarily use the mobile version of a site’s content for ranking purposes. Even Google recognizes the surge in mobile usage and the importance of providing a quality experience across all devices.
Google prioritizes websites that are compatible on all devices because the algorithm knows it can trust that your website will maintain its quality no matter what platform someone is browsing on. Google doesn’t want to promote sites that will provide a bad user experience. Here are some quick tips you can use to ensure your website is compatible across devices.
What does your site look like on mobile?
The first step is taking a look at how your site appears on mobile. Take advantage of the numerous free resources on the web that allow you to see if your site is optimized across all devices. Google even offers this free tool that shows you how all pages on your website are displaying on various devices.
How quick does your site load?
One major aspect when it comes to optimizing for mobile is your site speed. Take a look at how quickly your website loads on mobile by using a tool like Google’s Test My Site. If you notice your load speed is slow, some quick easy fixes include compressing large images, deleting unnecessary plugins, and enabling browser caching.
Is your content optimized for mobile?
Optimizing content for mobile is also something that should be kept in mind when creating new content. As we mentioned earlier, mobile traffic is on the rise and that number is only expected to increase. It’s crucial to start thinking with a mobile first mindset. When it comes to content make sure your sentences and paragraphs are short, break up your content in chunks, and write short, attention grabbing headlines.
Is your site responsive across different devices?
Responsive design is another important thing to look at. While this may not be a quick, easy fix there are things you can do going forward to make sure elements are optimized for the screen on which they appear. This includes things like scaling images for mobile users, avoiding pop ups that take up the whole phone screen, and having clear, visible calls to action.
3. Nix the keyword stuffing
When the concept of search engine optimization first came to light, keyword stuffing was seen as one of the best methods to “trick” Google’s system into bumping your site up in results. Sites that were irrelevant and full of useless information were ranking on the first page for highly-desirable keywords.
Of course, it didn’t take Google long to notice that people were finding ways to cheat the system. Google has since updated their algorithm to actually drop the rank of sites that participate in keyword stuffing.
The problem? Many site stewards still don’t realize this once successful tactic has become useless. They are stuffing their pages full of keywords in hopes of being found by those target customers, but with Google’s more advanced algorithms it simply doesn’t work that way anymore.
Google’s sole purpose is to connect users to relevant and useful results that provide answers to their queries. This means it will do it’s best to filter out any information that is viewed as spammy or low-quality. Content that is keyword stuffed is written with an algorithm in mind, not a human and that’s where the problem comes into play. If a page is going to be valuable to users, it won’t sound like it was written by a robot, so incorporate your keywords and phrases in a natural way that is comprehensible to your readers.
Most SEO experts say it's best to aim for a keyword density of 1-2%. This gives you the chance to get those keywords in without making completely obvious to readers.
4. Fix those broken links
Broken links may seem minor but in reality, they are a very big component of your website’s search engine ranking. Broken links tell Google’s algorithm that your site is unreliable. These links might make it appear like your site is either outdated or just not properly maintained, two things Google doesn’t want to promote on their first page of results.
Just a few broken links on your site can be detrimental to your search ranking. Broken links also have the potential to interfere with user experience. It can be incredibly frustrating for your site users if they are searching for information and run into a broken link. It puts your web visitors at a dead end and will likely result in them exiting your site.
The most important component of SEO is keeping your user in mind. Put yourself in the shoes of your web visitors and consider the information you would want to find and the experience you would want for yourself. A site that takes all of this into consideration is bound to be one that succeeds in SEO.
Ryan Gould - Vice President of Strategy and Marketing Services at Elevation Marketing
From legacy Fortune 100 institutions to inventive start-ups, Ryan brings extensive experience with a wide range of B2B clients. He skillfully architects and manages the delivery of integrated marketing programs, and believes strongly in strategy, not just tactics, that effectively aligns sales and marketing teams within organizations.
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