Tips to optimise your website SEO
SEO has never been more important for the success of your online presence, and we at Swindon-based web design agency Pixel Pixel are keenly aware of the value of the quality, unobtrusive work that goes into baking effective SEO protocols into every facet of a website. With that in mind, here are Pixel Pixel's top tips for improving your search rankings…
10 key areas to focus on:
Content is king
- This is a cliche but it is honestly really important for any web content. Search engine bots will crawl your site looking for content relevant to the user’s search keys - if there is nothing relevant then why would your site be picked up? Be sure to explicitly mention key topics of interest on your site, don’t be shy.
- But, don’t get hung up on site-wide keywords. Although a mainstay of SEO advice a few years ago, Google is retiring the use of keywords as an SEO metric.
Success breeds success - the more traffic directed to your site, particularly from within your industry, the higher Google will rate your site.
- Be careful, however. You will get black marks if a high proportion of your traffic comes from specific URLs - don’t click-farm.
- Don’t be scared to link internally - we might for instance link from this article to our portfolio page :)
Restrain your use of specific-purpose markup tags.
- You may find it a quick and dirty way of styling elements or of applying a cheeky code hack but over-use of these elements will negatively impact your rating.
- Use a maximum of one H1 per page & limit your use of H2s - these should be for semantically relevant content headings - e.g. keywords! Think of them like the title and chapter headings of a book.
- Don’t put important target keywords into images - crawlers cannot read this. Use text.
Be sure to improve the accessibility of your markup.
- Follow a11y principles to keep up-to-date with accessibility principles. This is a responsibility we all ought to improve upon.
- Ensure that you add title tags to your links and alt tags + names for your images. Semantic keywords!
Use semantic URLs.
- Avoid meaningless URL slugs like /example.com/blog/123/456?=content
- Tools like WordPress can be bad for this by default, but usually offer an option which allows you to choose your URL. Use /example.com/blog/holidays/christmas-2017 instead.
- The age and ownership of your URL can also have an effect. Don’t swap domain names every week if you want to be considered an established, trustworthy source.
A fast page load should be a priority.
- Google ranks fast-performing sites much higher than poorly optimised ones.
- Mobile-friendliness is also taken into account and will soon be much more important.
- The indirect benefit of this is that a quicker, more responsive browsing will increase your conversion rate and improve site traffic, further boosting your SEO. Yay!
Update your site content frequently.
- Constant activity boosts your visibility, hence why blogs and e-commerce often do so well in the search rankings.
- This should be happening anyway…
- These are the highlighted boxes at the top of Google’s search results page. Content in here can see a big boost.
- Try to keep key content in an easily-readable paragraph beneath a heading which uses a target keyword. Keep this around 50 words long.
User robots.txt and sitemap.xml
- Use your robots.txt file to tell crawler bots which URLs they can or cannot scrape. You can restrict certain URLs or file extensions, and designate a specific sitemap.
- Use your sitemap.xml to keep the Search Engines apprised of the makeup of your site and any changes that are made.
- Use Google’s Search Console to submit and monitor which content you want to be visible.
Try a browser extension to debug your page SEO on the fly
There are dozens of variables that can affect your SEO rankings, so this list is just a drop in the ocean, but it should get you started. There are countless resources out there to help you fine-tune your implementation, or you can get the assistance of a friendly digital agency.…