What matters when it comes to website optimization and improving your online rankings? We’re going to give you a step-by-step guide on what your website needs to have to boost its SEO rankings and examples of how to do it. Welcome to Marketing and a Mic. We’re here to give you a variety of digital marketing tips, trends, and useful guides all to help your business get results.
Website Optimization: What does that mean exactly? Simply put, website optimization is the process of improving your online rankings with search engines to drive more customers to your website. Think about this: search engines must sift through billions of websites out there, and their #1 job is to deliver the most accurate and relevant results back to the end-user. It’s only logical that search engines need to have specific rules in place to ensure they are giving their users legitimate information. Otherwise, it would be like the wild wild west out there on the internet. Search engines use a ton of factors when it comes to online rankings, but for today’s show, we’ve pulled together our top 5 website optimizations “must-haves.”
#1 WEBSITE OPTIMIZATION: USEFUL AND CONSISTENT CONTENT
The content on your website matters. More importantly, the quality of your website content matters. Creating pages on your website that aren’t useful or provide no real value to the end-user will come back to bite you. Useful content means providing information that keeps the user on your website longer. Why is this important? The longer a user spends on your website without clicking off sends a signal to Google that your site must be sharing engaging and relevant information. This is called having a low bounce rate. Pumping out mediocre content isn’t enough. The stakes and competition are too high to get away with fluff. You must prioritize quality and consistency over quantity. You need to write content that is useful to your target customer AND content that is worth showing in search results.
How to Improve Your Website Content
Blogs and Videos
We talk about the importance of adding ongoing content – so does that mean you need to rewrite your About Us or Our services pages every month? Hardly. The most beneficial way to keep your website fresh with SEO-rich content is to publish blogs and videos. Blogs have the superpower capabilities to produce multiple SEO ranking factors in every single article. At a minimum, your website should be producing 1 blog per month, at best 2 blogs a week if you have the resources to do so. Blogs need to be a minimum of 600 words and include a variety of industry-related topics relevant to your potential customers. Again, you need to make sure you are creating blogs and videos that align with what your potential customers are looking for. Writing about your favorite things won’t matter if they aren’t topics your customers are searching for.
Optimize Your Images
You might think adding a giant stock image of a delicious bowl of ice cream will really pull people in, but it would slow down like a lactose intolerant cow if your websites are not optimized. Adding images to every piece of content you publish is very important, but make your images are optimized. Optimized images mean your image is:
- Original and unique
- Formatted and compressed correctly
- Includes SEO-friendly Alt text
Alt text- what’s that?? Search engines are talented, but they can’t read images. That’s why alt text is so important. The alt text describes the contents of an image file so search engines can interpret it. For SEO purposes, make sure to include associating keywords with the alt text. Include an alt description that accurately describes the image and the context of your article.
#2 WEBSITE OPTIMIZATION 101: PAGE SPEED
Show of hands, who loves a slow-loading website? The answer is no one loves a slow website! How fast your website pages load is a big ranking factor both on desktop and mobile devices. The slower your website loads, the more your bounce rate will skyrocket. Faster load speed leads to a better website experience, a better website experience means more website visits. More website visits signal to search engines that your website has got it going on. With Google, the user’s experience comes first, and slow load times mean dissatisfied users.
How fast should your website load? A 1-2 second load time is optimal and the expectation for users. Google’s research shows that bounce rate increases to 32% when a page load time goes from one to three seconds, and by 90% when the page load time increases to 5 seconds. If the site takes up to 10 seconds to load, well, you might as well shut your website down because no one is staying there.
What Factors Affect Website Load Time?
A web hosting company provides the server that your website will be hosted on. Different hosting companies have different uptime guarantees, which means the amount of time the webserver is available with no issues. Choose a company with a guarantee of at least 99.9% uptime.
Images, Videos, and Files
The larger your file sizes and the more files you have on a page, the longer it will take for the page to load. Make sure all your files are formatted and compressed correctly so they don’t swallow up your speed while loading.
A plugin is a piece of software that adds new features or functionalities to your website. Too many can slow down your speed or cause your website to crash.
Caching is the process of storing a copy of your website’s files in place. If this weren’t in place, the client’s browser would need to request your website’s assets from your origin server every time. This lack of caching layers leads to slower response and loading times.
Unclean refers to HTML text code that includes overcomplicated, messy, or unnecessary code elements that make it difficult for search engine bots to read. You can check the readability of your code through Google’s search console
#3 WEBSITE OPTIMIZATION: INTERNAL LINKS
An internal link is a hyperlink between two pages on the same website. Internal links are a great way to help readers easily access more information from related articles or pages on your website. From both a user and search engine standpoint, internal links help with the navigation of a website and build equity in your site. Search engines find your posts and pages best when they’re linked to and from somewhere. It helps Google get a better idea of the structure of your website and allows for pages that are deeper within your site to rank better for related terms.
If a page isn’t linked it becomes harder to find additional pages and less likely to be crawled by search engines. Think about it as doors within your house. If you build a house with 20 different rooms but only a few doors to help you get from one room to another it would be easy to get lost or not see other areas of the house. The more doors that connect the rooms, the easier it is to connect from one place to another and get the overall layout of the house.
#4 WEBSITE OPTIMIZATION: INCORPORATE YOUR LOCATION
Location-based SEO, also known as geo-targeting, is the practice of optimizing your content to appear in your target location. Google prioritizes local rankings based on 3 factors: relevance, distance, and prominence. Ever notice when you search online for a burger restaurant your search results will come back with what’s closest to where you are located?
Relevance is connected to how well a local business profile matches what someone is searching for. Your business listings like GBP and Bing Places are tied into your NAP (Name, Address, Phone Number) and other key details related to your business. Therefore, it’s so important that your business at the very least creates a profile in all the local directories to help search engines better understand your business and its relevance to the searcher.
Distance considers how far each potential search result is from the location term used in the search. If a user doesn’t specify a location, the search engine will calculate the distance based on what they understand about the location.
Prominence refers to how well the business stands out from another similar business, or how well known it is in general. Google also heavily factors in the amount of information they have on the business, such as links, articles, reviews, website information, site visits, etc.
How to Optimize Your Website for Local Searches
- Complete your local directory profiles.
Fill out your business information completely across all local directories
- Target location-specific keywords.
This is a simple strategy that almost any company can use to leverage itself in local searches. Think about incorporating local keywords such as your town or your area in general into your website content or blogs. Let’s say I wanted to improve my pest control company presence in the Mt. Laurel area. A great example would be to write locally specific articles such as “Winter Pest Control Tips for Mt. Laurel Homeowners”
- Separate location pages.
To better rank for multiple locations, you must create a separate page for each location and publish content that is unique to each location. It’s important to make sure that location is included in the slug – aka the URL. /Alabaster. Each page should also include location-specific contact information and easy to find call-to-actions
#5 WEBSITE OPTIMIZATION: ON-PAGE USER EXPERIENCE
This deals with the behind of the scenes of your website. The great news about this website optimization factor is it’s been around for years and still makes a significant impact on your website’s visibility and SERP (Search Engine Results Page). Your SERP position is simply the position a website holds in organic searches. If your website is optimized well, it will be positioned higher than your competition.
The best writers understand the power of a captivating title. It’s at the top of on-page SEO and critical for attracting the user’s attention and increasing website clicks Your title should be there not only for users but for crawlers so make sure you have title tags on all of your website pages
Every URL on your website should be clear and incorporate essential keywords. A great example of this would be if your title custom websites the URL slug would be /custom-websites
This is the brief description the users see in the search results. Here’s how it looks: It’s the first impression to entice the user to click through to your site, so write the best titles and descriptions for your pages Schema: Schema markup is another hidden gem of a website that tells search engines about your page content.
Schema markup is code that’s added to the HTML code of a website. All that means is it allows search engines to change the way your website content is displayed in the SERPS. It’s important because it helps search engines present users with more informative results, call “rich results.”
Header Tags (H1, H2, H3, etc.)
One of the easiest and most common methods is to break up sections of your text and make it easier for search engines to understand your content. Plus, they make your content more readable, which is a key SEO ranking factor with website optimization
Those are 5 factors that can make a big difference when it comes to optimizing your website and bringing in more traffic. If you want to see if your website is optimized for search engines, we’ll love to see how we can help. Don’t forget that our podcast also goes live on Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and LinkedIn, and you can catch the replay on Instagram. You can also subscribe to our YouTube Channel for more resources to help your digital marketing plan.