It takes more than content to become successful with your SEO campaign. There are several aspects of a website and off-site factors to consider, maintain, monitor, and update to climb the rankings to success.
SEO has become such an integral part of a business that is as important… if not more important… than any other marketing option. Most consumers today rely on the internet to gain information before they ever walk into a store or call a business. Providing the information users are looking for, and quickly, is what can make the difference between a sale and another loss to the competition. SEO addresses the big questions about what a website should be, it’s best to start with an SEO consultant first, before building the website at all.
Let’s look at the 20 key elements that can make your SEO efforts successful and what they mean.
When a site gets redesigned, which is common every few years, there is possibly going to be some changes in site structure. Even file extensions. Redirects help search engines reconnect your old pages with their new address so you don’t lose any SEO credit you may have earned over time. While its possible to redirect an entire website to a new domain, there is typically a huge loss in rankings. There are domain authority and offsite factors that can’t be completely transferred with redirects.
2. Meta Data
Along with the usual page title and Meta Description for search engine results, there are other pieces of Meta Data you can include to better your SEO visibility. A few I see often are: rating, copyright, geo-position, geo region, geo placename, country, expires, and robots are particular meta tags that can be used on most sites.
3. Content-Length Recommendations
After all is said and done, if your page content isn’t very long, Google is going to pass right over your pages. Thin content is the easy route to bad rankings. We use a plugin called Yoast on WordPress sites and in the assessment tools, it actually says 300 words is the recommended minimum to begin to be competitive on Google. Some say 1500 words is the ideal length but comparatively, 900 words seems to have a sweet spot for good performance and audience reception. At this point of this article, we are at 390 words. Not even halfway to 900, but take this as a visual reference for what a decent page of content looks like.
Including just the key elements on your product or service pages to identify crucial items that search engines should not overlook can make all the difference between being competitive and being at the top. Search engines like Google establish their own criteria for search engine excellence and one new but not very widely utilized technical improvements SEO’s and business owners can implement is Schema on interior product pages and focused service pages.
5. Amp Pages
Google has been teasing at the idea of “Mobile First” optimization. The next evolution of mobile browsing is Google AMP pages. Accelerated Mobile Pages are exactly what they describe. Web pages that load quickly and deliver the content users are looking for. That speed in and of itself is what users and search engines are looking for and appreciate.
6. Image Optimization
There are two parts to image optimization that can help with user experience, website performance, and search engine rank factors. The first part is compression to lower the file size of the images to load as quickly as possible. The second part is more keyword inclusiveness in the file naming conventions as well as adding an Alt Tag to give search engines context about the image.
7. Video Integration
Google being so closely connected with YouTube draws special attention to Video content. Video can increase page visit time which in-turn looks great for search engine ranking consideration. The videos themselves can be optimized to rank on their own on the YouTube channel as well as embedded on your site for longer page view times.
8. Rich Snippets
Standing out in a crowd can be hard in a saturated market so Rich Snippets allow for your search result to stand out by adding additional elements between the link and meta description. Like a product image, reviews, and more information than a typical snippet. Hence the “Rich” title.
9. Contact Forms
While not new, contact forms have become so easy to implement that it’s absurd to leave them off of every page possible. Give your users the maximum opportunity to contact you in the manner they desire. A form is also a rank factor, just by including them, you can get a leg up.
10. Heading Tags
Heading Tags are also not new but still widely misused. Heading tags draw huge attention to the content within them and designers still use them to style text. Heading tags should contain the keyword phrases you are trying to optimize for and help with the “scan-ability” of your text.
11. Robots File
This simple yet essential file tells search engine crawlers where they can and cannot go. Advising them to skip past admin areas and keep them in the main content areas you want to rank for.
There are two types of sitemaps in SEO. The xml sitemap which is strictly for search engines. Its just a table of content for search engines to use to not miss a single page when crawling in the event of a confusing navigation or multi level navigations. The second type is the HTML sitemap which is a formatted user accessible page that search engines also take into account because the ultimate goal of search engines is end user experience.
The easiest way to lose customers and search engines is a clunky navigation. Overlinked deep navigations are stressful on users and search engines are not impressed. Departmentalize your website and have secondary navigations where appropriate and you will reap the benefits of the extra time it can cost you to do things well.
14 & 15. CSS & JS Minification
The two script minification factors search engine graders everywhere grade is a speed factor. How clean is your code? Reducing the mud of extra code or extra space in lax coding can be simplified and benefit your search engine ranking, load speed, and user experience.
16. Page Load Speed (TTFB)
The ranking factor is the transfer of information from the server and back. That time to ping and return a result is the Time To First Byte (TTFB). This immediately tells search engines what kind of server environment you may be running on and the speed will affect both your ranking and user experience.
17. Link Building
Connecting your website to others is very important to show search engines you are relevant. Links should be inbound from other high profile sites pointing to yours. It is a long and difficult process to cultivate links but the benefit can be huge and lasting.
What people are saying about you, namely customers is a huge online factor for businesses and their success. Its no different in search engine ranking. Frequent good reviews send a signal to search engines that you are engaging your customers and are open to hear their opinions. While not for everyone, reviews can be incorporated into your everyday business model and they can really get things moving on search engines once you start gaining activity.
All the effort in the world is meaningless if you are not monitoring your traffic. Filtering and interpreting analytics is a key exercise in every good SEO’s routine.
20. The Secret Sauce
Finally, the twentieth and most important thing any company can do to improve their SEO performance and rankings is to talk with VisionFriendly.com. There is no team more dedicated, experienced, and easy to work in the country. Our numbers speak for themselves and the price is better than most because we aren’t afraid of any industry.
We know you will continue with us once your site gains traction that we keep our prices low and our residuals high.
We are proud to have SEO customers that have been with VisionFriendly.com since we first began offering our SEO program in 2009.
In an industry that is so fluid and ever-changing, customer loyalty approaching a decade is unheard of.