Search engines like Google, Bingo, Yahoo and DuckDuckGo are a bigger part of our lives than we might care to acknowledge. They dictate a lot of what we do, from where we eat, to which casino online we decide to visit, simply by ranking one search result over another.
It’s this ranking system that has made web developers, designers and customers very aware of SEO, or Search Engine Optimisation. A good ranking near the top of a page in Google or another search engine is worth its weight in gold, and a lot of effort goes into getting one of these sought-after spots.
To help you optimise your site quickly and easily, we’ve compiled a list of 10 tips to give you the edge online:
A good place to start is by taking mobile users into consideration. Many developers tend to design sites with desktop users in mind, which is all good and well. But consider that, increasingly, mobile devices are the preferred method of accessing the Internet. Make sure your site is optimised for viewing on screens of all sizes, and this will raise its relevance in search engines.
Having the most engaging and concise keyword driven content on your site is perhaps the most important aspect of SEO. Google’s search engine does its best to come up with the most relevant answer to a query, and if the information on your site coincides with that query, it will come up as a top result. Of course, a page cannot be the most relevant in every query, but it can be for the specific niche that you are targeting.
User experience, or UX, is always key. A common trend is that so much effort goes into adding keywords that the user experience takes second priority. Don’t let this happen. SEO points are lost if a site design is messy, unintuitive or difficult to navigate. Easy navigation and uncluttered design should be a top priority, with important information situated front and centre.
Rank for Featured Snippets
A featured snippet is when a search engine uses a segment of a site as a definitive answer to a search query. It is obviously a great way to get a massive number of clicks. The only problem is it isn’t easy making this happen. But there are ways to maximise the chances. Using strong external resources, being clear and concise and ensuring cross platform compatibility are all the right things to focus on.
Maximise User Engagement
It goes without saying that user engagement is critically important. Being easy to read is a good place to start of course, but including relevant links to other sites, as well as images or videos that grab the attention is a real winner. A wide variety of media on the topic goes a long way, not only for site visitors, but for SEO as well. An embedded, relevant video is always a great idea as it adds extra value.
Is there anything more annoying than having to wait for a site to load picture-by-picture, paragraph by paragraph? If you think it’s annoying, so do all your visitors; and so do search engines. Ensure that each page is designed to load quickly and efficiently. Yes, Internet speeds are getting faster, but not everyone has access to them. Remember this, and avoid overloading pages with enormous, high-resolution images that aren’t necessary, or can be resized without a decrease in quality.
Google values a site secured by SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) encryption technology more than one that isn’t. We need not say much more than that. Plus, it won’t do much good if visitors don’t feel safe. Some web browsers even issue a warning if a page is not secure, so be very careful about how you’re handling security.
Link building involves including links to other similar sites in your content. This helps the Google algorithm grasp what your content is, and therefore makes it more likely to rank the site when a query arises. It is best to naturally create links and not to spam a page with them, as this can have the opposite effect and be detrimental to your rankings.
Analyse Existing Search Traffic
Understanding what you are doing right, what you are doing wrong, and who is actually visiting your site is essential. Most search engines come with built-in analytics tools, or a web developer may include a traffic dashboard that records stats. Check your analysis data regularly, and understand the impact the changes you make have on existing traffic.
Voice Search Optimization
Voice-based search engines are still in their infancy, but are sure to play a big part in SEO in the future. If you start preparing now to optimise pages for voice searches, you’ll have a head start when it really matters. Experiment with Google Assistant, Bixby or Siri, get a feel for how it works, then see if you can branch out and cover all your bases to future-proof your SEO rankings.