Are you building a new site or redoing an existing one for SEO purposes? While optimizing your site for the search engines alone won’t necessarily help you attain high rankings, it’s an essential part of the process. To increase your chances of high rankings, here are the steps that you will need to take to create a SEO friendly site.
1. Optimize for Speed
The loading time of your site is a big ranking factor to the search engines. There are many things that you can do to decrease your site’s loading time. You want to start by using Google’s Page Speed Insights tool. It will analyze your website and identify all the factors affecting the loading speed of your site. You can then follow Google’s recommendations to make the necessary adjustments.
It also helps to upgrade to a faster web hosting service. Upgrade to a better service provider or a faster plan to have your pages load faster for your visitors. In addition to web hosting, you can also opt to sign up for a CDN service. This service helps you serve the files on your site from multiple servers across the world. This is helpful if you have a lot of media files (photos, audios, videos, interactive elements) on your site.
2. Make Sure Your HTML Tags are Optimized Properly
Most people are aware of the importance of optimizing their HTML tags for SEO. However, there are still many simple mistakes that website owners still make. The most important tag you’ll want to focus on is the title. Make sure you include the target keyword for the specific page in the title. The title also needs to be attention grabbing and descriptive because it is displayed in the search engine results for the specific page.
Then you want to focus on the meta description. You want to expand on the title and provide a helpful description that will want users to click on your listing. This should be followed with the header tags. Always start with the h1 tag and only use one h1 tag (the other headers such as the h2 and h3 tags can be used multiple times). Make sure your main keyword is in the h1 tag. As for the content itself, you want to include keywords related to your target keyword and link to authoritative sources. Finally, make sure that all of the images on your site have an appropriate alt keyword tag.
3. Create a Strong and Tightly Themed Site Structure
Site structure helps the search engines understand the idea of your site and pages. That’s why you need to create a strong site structure to increase your chances of ranking higher in the search engines. The first step to creating a strong structure is to create a hierarchy. Create the main categories and its following sub-categories if necessary. Make sure that the hierarchy makes sense and is closely themed so that the relationships within the structures are clear.
You’ll find that structuring your website in this manner is not only good for SEO purposes, it also helps your visitors find what they’re looking for. With a strong site structure, you’ll find new pages getting listed in the search engines faster. This is important whether you’re creating any kind of link building and content creation/marketing campaign. You’ll see far better results with a good site structure.
4. Link Internally to Your Important Pages
One of the things that you’ll notice as you build your SEO campaign is the fact that not all of your content and pages will specifically be created for SEO purposes. Many times, you’ll be creating a blog post, editorial, video, or PDF download page to simply add value to your prospects and customers. But this doesn’t mean that you cannot get any SEO value out of this content. One of the best ways to enhance your SEO keyword focused pages is to link to it from other pages on your site.
High quality content tends to get passed around a lot and mentioned by other websites. So if you’re producing high quality content that’s not targeting any particular keyword, you want to pass on its link value to pages that are targeting keywords for SEO. All you have to do is tie in the subject matter of your other keyword pages into your content page so that you can offer a relevant link to the reader.
5. Design Using the Mobile First Approach
Google has talked about the importance of designing for mobile users. They even display different results based on whether the user is using a desktop or mobile device. This makes a lot of sense when you consider that half of the web’s traffic originates from some kind of mobile device. While your site’s loading speed is a large part of the equation when designing for mobile users, it’s only the beginning.
There are other things to consider such as image compression, site layout, easily clickable CTA buttons, navigation, readability, and more. While responsive web design is often used to serve both mobile and desktop users, it can’t really be considered as a mobile first approach. The mobile first approach focuses on creating an absolutely simple version of your website that loads fast and is designed to work with smaller screens. The design, functions, and feature reflect the restrictive aspects of smaller screens.
It then moves on to the desktop design only after it has fulfilled the criteria for serving mobile users. Responsive design tries to take the desktop design and try to optimize it for mobile users. It can still do a decent job but obviously fails to deliver the optimum mobile browsing experience. Designing mobile first makes sense for new or fairly new websites, but may not be ideal for older and larger sites. It can cost a lot of time and money to update these websites using a mobile first approach.
These are the five steps you will want to follow if you want to create a SEO friendly website. While SEO is constantly changing, the steps outlined here will probably be fundamental to a successful SEO campaign for many years to come.