SEO (Search Engine Optimization) has many aspects to it, from the words on your page to the quality and amount of other sites linking to you online. Sometimes SEO is simply a matter of making sure your site is structured in a way that search engines as well as people understand - and it is constantly changing!
New updates get released, new trends get discovered and new strategies developed. It's something that will perpetually evolve.
Lately, with constant changes to the Google search algorithm, SEO has gotten trickier. But that's because most people make it harder than it needs to be. Luckily, if you're just getting your feet wet with SEO, you're at an advantage! The 'rules' have changed so much that being a complete beginner can be a competitive edge.
Below you'll find our big list of things that have significantly helped us rank well in search engines. Remember the system is based on small things that alone don't do much but together add up. Search engines like Google wants to send users to the best result possible. For every comment you leave, I'll add one thing to the list:
Remove All Dead Links
Already this year we've removed over 2,000 dead links on our sites. Over time, 404 Errors and broken pages/links will inevitably occur. It's important to fix these as they can quickly add up and can affect your ranking.
Interlink Every Post To At Least One Other Post On Your Website
The point of interlinking is to allow search engines to crawl and see the structure of your site as well as keeping users on your website longer. The longer people are staying on your site, the better your search ranking will be.
Link To High Quality Pages On Other Websites
Major search engines like Google strive for the best user experience as well as the most relevant content for their search queries, the quality of the site layout and content that you're linking to also comes into play when rankings are determined.
Focus On 2,000 Word Articles
Observations of our own web properties have determined that 2,000 words seems to be the sweet spot for high quality blog posts and user engagement.
Prominently Display A 'Contact' Page
Have a 'Contact Us' or a 'Contact' page displayed on your main website navigation. Be sure to include an address, phone#, Google Map, email and FAQ within the content of the page. Be as transparent as possible and don't hide support. This IS a ranking factor for search engines, specifically Google. Adding an address, phone number, and Google map to our contact is something that will help your credibility and SEO.
Add Table Of Contents To Blog Posts
Adding a table of contents makes it easier for people to digest your content and find what they're looking for, which enhances user experience and can reduce bounce rate keeping users on your site for longer.
Write Shorter Sentences & Paragraphs
Having large blocks of text increases bounce rate. This is because most people skim online and feel overwhelmed when presented with large paragraphs. Break paragraphs up into 2-3 sentences chunks. And write Shorter Sentences Of 14 Words Or Less. Research shows that people prefer to read short sentences online.
Use Images That Look Real Instead Of "Stock" Photos
People want to feel like they're part of something real and not just being 'sold'. Real photos give people a sense of authenticity and moves away from the corporate sales feel. This can help reduce bounce rate. Be sure to rename your images prior to uploading them and include a keyword from the article in the name of the image.
Install A Site Map
If you're using WordPress you can very easily install a plugin to handle this for you. A Sitemap enables web crawlers to get a clear idea of the content and layout of your site. A simple plugin will do all of the work for you and generate a special page.
Use Only 1 Category For Each Blog Post
More is not better in this case. Having multiple categories for each posts only makes it difficult for search engines as well as your readers to decide how relevant your content is to them. Do not use categories like tags in an attempt to 'cover all bases' in an attempt to appeal to a broader audience.
Link Your Website To Google+
This was a ninja move we discovered a while back. Include a footer link to your Google+ account.
Constant Keyword Research
You need to know what keywords to go after and which keywords your audience is interested in. This will help users as well as search engines determine the relevancy of your site.
Mobile Optimize Your Website
As of 2015 Google rewards mobile optimized websites with better search rankings and they have a tool allowing you to see if your site is mobile friendly.
Claim Your Brand On Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter & G+
Increase Social Shares! Use Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram to increase your social shares by creating great content, sharing to your own profiles and asking other people to engage and share your stuff. While social triggers technically aren't part of the Google Search algorithm, the likelihood of somebody linking to your website via a post they saw on social media significantly increases, and that's something Google DOES factor with their search rankings.
Use The Panguin Tool
This step requires that you use Google Analytics. If you've already got your account set up, use the Panguin tool to check how known algorithm updates have affected you website.
The Panguin tool can very well prove to be invaluable to your online business.
Check for Manual Penalties (using Webmaster Tools)
If a manual penalty has been levied against you, Google notifies you within Google Webmaster Tools. You'll find the Manual Actions Report within 'Search Traffic.'
Check and Fix Mobile Usability Issues
Google helps you identify mobile issues affecting your site so you can quickly fix them. You'll also do this via Webmaster Tools. This report lets you know if your touch elements are too close, if your content is sized to the viewport, your flash usage, font size and more.
Login to Webmaster Tools and fix any mobile usability issues asap.
There you have it!
If you’re just getting the hang of all the things that go into a search engine optimized website, there’s no doubt this list can be overwhelming. But don't fret, this will all become second nature, and after you take action on the methods we teach you in Traffic Domination, you'll soon be able to outsource all of these tasks.
In the meantime, David is always around to help you out, so if you have any questions, just drop him a line below.