In today’s internet world, all businesses need an online presence to help drive traffic to a physical or web location. Landing on page 1 of organic search is results is the ultimate goal. But how do you get there? Here are nine critical factors for search engine optimization.
1. Search Engine Indexing
Do the search engines know you exist and what products or services you offer? While it sounds basic, some sites might not be indexed because of a programming error. Search crawlers automatically crawl the web but if you want to notify them immediately in a change in your site, Bing and Google Webmaster tools tell you how.
Checking indexing status can be done through a variety of SEO software products or directly in the search engine. Type in your site address in the address bar at top prefaced by ‘site:’ — example “site:www.yoursite.com” or “site:yoursite.com”. Checking ‘Walgreens’ shows 8,860,000 indexed in Google.Check how many pages are indexed on your site. Walgreens has 8,860,000.
2. Keyword Selection
Have you done your keyword research? If so, are the targeted keywords low competition, with a realistic chance for the site to rank well? The key is to find a balance between competition, relevance and traffic when choosing keywords to target.
3. Title Tags and Meta Data
The title tag is one of the most important on-page search engine ranking factors. All title tags and meta data should include descriptive and keyword-rich descriptions for every page. This is a legitimate way to tell both search engine and people what you do, it has a powerful impact on rankings.
4. Site Content
Along with title tags and meta descriptions, including the targeted keywords in the body copy of blog posts and product descriptions is vital to proper SEO. For blog posts and articles, including keywords near the beginning of the content is best and then repeat them several times throughout to helps search engines categorize and rank your content.
5. Content Freshness
Regularly added content has never been more important for search results. When possible, add fresh content through your blog or site articles weekly of at least every few weeks. Don’t overlook old content. It can be repurposed and still add value when you update information useful to your audience. At the Content Marketing Institute they point out that ‘repurposing is NOT republishing‘. Like all of our do it yourself SEO tactics, we propose you only follow all guidelines and don’t try to ‘game’ the system.
6. SEO Friendly URLs
Ideally, default URL structures should be changed and redirected to SEO friendly URLs. This means the URL address isn’t a long string of numbers but, instead, the title of your content. Many off-the-shelf platforms automatically do this for you. Our Word Press blogs shows SEO friendly title of this post as: 9-critical-factors-for-seo. It tells the search robot exactly what the article is about. Include your target keywords when appropriate.
7. Inbound Links
An assessment of inbound links looks at the quantity and quality of the links pointing to a page. High quality links, with terms related to the target keyword as anchor text, helps to improve authority as well as search engine rankings. Our platform provides all of our subscribers with an analysis of their business and competitors links.
8. Site Speed
Page load speed is one of hundreds of signals search engines take into account in ranking a page. One of our favorite free tools is Pingdom. Analysis should focus on factors such as host server speed, data caching, image sizing, as well as clean and well ordered website code, among other factors.
In addition to assessment by search engines, user experience is impacted by site and page speed. A slow page may result in a higher bounce rate, where a user clicks away without taking further action. Speed matters!
9. Website Architecture
Site structure includes design factors like layout and general aesthetics, but also how content is categorized. Good looking, easy to navigate, properly categorized websites are easily crawled, easily linked to, and easily engaged with. Each of these on their own may factor into a small amount towards improved rankings, but together can have a significant effect.
These basic SEO factors can greatly impact your site search ranking. Remember, you need to think of people first when executing any SEO strategy but if the search engines can’t find you, providing a stellar product or service doesn’t matter. Not sure if your site lacks this important pieces? Check out our website grader to learn how you rank.