Search engine optimization is one of the most common terms when people are developing a website. It’s such a common element that people who don’t even have a site know the gist of SEO. This is because of how important optimization is when developing content.
Creating a website doesn’t mean much unless it’s visible in search engines. Through certain practices, nearly anyone can improve his or her position in the results page. Although hiring an expert may deliver faster results, there’s nothing wrong with taking on SEO without third-party help.
The Right Kind of Content
Content creation plays a key role in SEO today. Since Google’s implementation of the “Penguin” algorithm, quality plays more of an important role than just having the right keywords. Although keywords and phrases will still be important, it’s the quality behind the words that search engines are looking for.
Produce Valuable Info
Visitors need to feel like they’ve gained some valuable information when they leave a site. Developing information-rich material only serves to keep them coming back for more while scoring well in search results. Filling a webpage with fluff or nonsensical rhetoric will hinder SEO overall.
Know the Key Content Length
Although some studies support content between 2000 and 2500 words rank higher, sometimes that isn’t the case. In some instances, a shorter and well-developed piece can outperform longer articles of the same topic. This means that it may take a bit of trial and error to find that sweet spot for article length depending on the topic and the industry.
Formatting the Text
Using headers to break up the content makes the page flow easier for readers. When creating materials, avoid the “wall of text.” This is when the content bleeds together in one giant block. Not only does it look badly to the visitor, but header tags to separate the text work to boost SEO.
When creating content, it’s ultimately useful to make sure that it’s easy to read. Scanning with tools that use the Flesch Reading Assessment will ensure the text is easy to absorb by visitors. Websites such as Readability-Score.com can be of great help when trying to make the material user friendly.
The speed of a website will weigh on how well it ranks in search engines. This is aside from the fact that most people will avoid a site if it takes longer than three seconds to load on a mobile device. Although web hosting plays a role in the functionality of the site, more can be done to make pages load faster.
A few ways to boost speed for the site include:
- Enable caching pages and objects. This is easy to do when using a content management system such as WordPress.
- Optimizing images. This can be done by keeping image sizes low or optimizing through compression techniques.
- Keep coding clean. Removing extra CSS and other coding elements that are not needed can reduce access time.
- Reduce inbound data. Using things like affiliate banners and other widgets that request external data reduces load time.
- Use a CDN. Content delivery networks are very beneficial to enhancing website speed by creating copies of the website closer to visitors.
Not everyone uses the same technology or has the same Internet connection speeds. It’s always a good idea to test the performance of the site using tools such as Google’s PageSpeed tools or Pingdom.com. A web hosting provider may also be helpful when determining how to increase performance of a website.
Know Where to Link
Backlinks are nice when they come from an authoritative source. However, these connections are not the only links that play into improving SEO. In reality, any linking can be beneficial as long as it’s done in moderation.
When internal links are created, “link juice” is shared along the content. Essentially, this tells search engines like Google that the linked article is relevant and important while sharing priority. This also makes it easier for visitors to find additional relevant content to the topic.
Linking to outbound sources can be helpful to readers as well as SEO. It is believed that outbound links to authority sites relevant to the content improve SEO by sending “trust signals” to the search engine. It can also be a good way to cite sources when sharing facts and other pertinent information.
Although links can be useful for helping SEO, there is such a thing as too many. Filling the content with a menagerie of links may appear “ugly” to a visitor. Use the links sparingly and only if it’s valuable to the topic that is being covered.
Search engines such as Google will score links that are not relevant to the content poorly. For instance, a link to a bird food supplier when the content is about fishing supplies would rank lower in search results. This is because the two topics are not considered relevant.
Consistently Scan for Broken Links
No one wants to click on a link expecting valuable information only to be faced with a 404 error. Broken links not only make the website look unprofessional, they can affect SEO as well. This is because it makes the site appear neglected. As an active site ranks better in search results, it’s important to perform maintenance such as checking links.
Out of the many different kinds of maintenance to perform, checking for broken links can be the most time consuming. This is especially true for websites that have a lot of material. Luckily, links can be scanned thanks to tools like W3C Link Checker. This tool will scan an entire website and produce a report of any broken links found.
For those using content management systems, such as WordPress, there are a number of plugins and modules that can be used to check the site regularly. For example, Broken Link Checker for WordPress will periodically ensure that all links on the site are still valid, which helps users and can improve WordPress SEO performance.
Proper web hosting is only the beginning of developing a popular website. Optimization practices can help owners get far more out of their content when it comes to search engines. Don’t assume that SEO is too difficult to master. Even the simplest changes can have the most profound impact on a website.