SEO DIY – Top 10 Helpful Tips
One of the many web related services we perform here at PTC Computer Solutions, and more of it lately, is Search Engine Optimization. We have a team of experts with a ridiculous amount of experience in improving your SEO. But, if your budget is tight and you have the time, you don’t have to have us do it if you want to Do-It-Yourself. Just follow our recommendations listed below and you will be well on your way to improving your website visibility on Google and other search engines.
Keeping your website on the first page of the search engines requires a combination of best practices in terms of website design and coding, page and post writing and having well planned content that is interesting to both humans and search engines. SEO is an ongoing process since the web is a competitive environment with millions of websites all vying for just 10 positions on the first page. In order to rise above the competition ALL aspects of SEO have to be actively managed in an ongoing strategy.
The following items are a Top 10 of Helpful Tips PTC Computer Solutions recommends to achieve SEO Best Practices for your website with suggested strategies to improve your page rankings:
- Unique Page URLs, Titles and Descriptions – Each page of the website should have a Unique Resource Locator (URL) that is keyword rich, a unique Page Title and unique Description. These metadata items are critical to basic SEO for all search engines. URLs are the actual website page names. These should be limited in characters but keyword phrase rich wherever possible. Keep in mind URLs are the exact location for the page on the web so any previous search engine page rankings (SERPs) will be lost if URLs are changed. Also, any pages with a Backlink or bookmark to the URL will get a “404/Not Found Error” if the URL is changed which is detrimental to SEO.
- Page Titles must be a concise synopsis of the page content in the form of a keyword phrase. The title is used as a primary index and becomes the headline in search results. Make it a High-SEO value title and avoid using the same Low-SEO value title for every page.
- Page Descriptions should be no more than 160 characters including spaces. These become the short description in search engine results and should concisely compel searchers to click and read the page. There should be a User Friendly description for every page that grabs the human eye as well as the Search Engine eye.
- Image Titles/Tags: It is also very important that all images used on pages and in posts have file names (titles) and Alt Text that add SEO value. Be sure to set these whenever an image is uploaded and review/update for existing images.
- Blog and use a Page/Post SEO – If you’re using WordPress or some other blogging software, don’t rely on just one SEO plugin. There are lots of good WP.org tools but there may not be just one best option. Have several SEO options installed and utilize them all. Look to install one that offers tools to analyze SEO and Keywords to help less knowledgeable users ensure higher SEO values. Also, find one that includes the ability to keep an XML (Extensible Markup Language) site map and other features. An XML Site Map is important to have on websites to assist Search Engine crawls. This makes it easier for Search Engine “bots” and “spiders” to index and re-index all pages on the website.
- Google is King – It is estimated that Google controls over 80% of search engine traffic. Having anything related to Google associated with a website, while they claim otherwise, is a good idea. Consider the following:
- Analytics Tracking Code
- Google Plus Account
- Google Webmaster Tools (also has value for SEO and other suggestions)
- Robot Text – A robot text file is helpful to make Search Engine crawls more efficient. If there are pages that do not need to be indexed for SEO purposes, use Robot Text to remove them from view and also tell the Search Engines when to come back. This should be evaluated and considered for any website.
- Footer with Navigation – A Footer with a fully revealed navigation offers value. The best footer is one that fully reveals all pages on the website to make it easier for humans find pages and navigate the website. It also does the same for search engine “bots” and “spiders”.
- Website Speed – Search Engine rankings take many factors into account in their algorithms (and it is ever evolving). One element is the speed of the website. The faster pages are delivered, the higher they rise above slower competitive pages. Be sure pages are loading fast and use the Google Analytics PageSpeed Tool regularly to ensure a fast load for all pages.
- Targeted Page/Post Content – Blog posts are a very important element of SEO if they are used to target keywords. A blog post can have high value even if a human never reads it provided that the proper SEO is set and specific keywords are targeted. Each post becomes uniquely indexed with search engines and targeting the right keywords can move a post quickly to the first page of Search Engines. A Keyword Study utilizing the Google Webmaster Tools can provide better understanding of the volume of traffic and competition for relevant keywords. The Keyword Study should be used to guide your web development team in updating web pages and writing targeted blog posts. Keyword Search Trends, like everything else on the web, are dynamic and fluid. It is important to update the study at least every six moths to ensure targeting is valid.
- Relevancy – Having web pages with URLs, Titles, Descriptions, H1 Headline Tags and keyword-rich content that match what users are searching for in their searches are critical to page rankings. As noted above, having the proper metadata, and SEO oriented text, is critical to rankings. This is an art that requires a balance between headlines and text meaningful to both humans as well as Search Engines. It is best to have the Keyword Phrase in the headline, and repeat the Keyword Phrase a few times in the first third of the page/post text. Be careful not to “stuff” the same keywords in a page/post or many pages and posts since this can trigger flags with Search Engines. Keyword Stuffing is frowned upon by the Search Engine algorithms and will be detrimental to your SER.
- Recency of Content – “Recency” means regularly adding new content to a page. Search Engines place higher value on pages that have been updated recently. There is no specific period for making updates. However, pages that are dormant between several crawls by a Search Engine can lose rankings to other more active pages. THIS IS CRITICAL FOR THE HOME PAGE. Have a strategy to refresh content on a routine basis for the home page and other key information pages on the website.
- Backlinks – One of the most important elements of Search Engine Rankings (SER) are links from other websites. Backlinks are considered “votes” for popularity by the Search Engines. All Backlinks are helpful but they are not of equal value. Links from other highly relevant websites, and from other highly ranked web pages, increase the value of the “vote” and helps the pages being linked to rise in the Search Engines. A strategy to find non-competitive websites with relevant content and high page rankings is important. Offering reciprocal links is a way to get other websites to “trade” or “reciprocate” links. Having resource content with information of value to other websites in the form of blog posts is an excellent way to draw Backlinks. This can be the most difficult item to accomplish but it is also very high in the Search Engine ranking criteria so it must be a high priority for SEO.
With these Top 10 Helpful SEO Tips, you should be well on your way to improving your website Search Engine Awareness (SEA) and improve your Search Engine Results Page (SERP) placement. Being on the first page of the SERP is almost as important as having a website in the first place. You must have eyes to have sales. Keep up your website like you would your store shelves and you’ll have Top 10 Results.
Too much stuff to handle in one post? Go to www.ptccomputersolutions.com or contact PTC directly at firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know some of your thoughts on this. You want to create a website that encompasses all of these ideas AND satisfies you and your company needs. It’s important that everyone is happy with your company website as you move forward.
If you are looking to get noticed on the Internet but don’t know where to begin, let PTC Computer Solutions help you get started or help improve your current website and website marketing plan. We can plan a full budget for your company and complete any web marketing efforts you wish to achieve in order to deliver a consistent and effective message to your prospects. Contact David W. B. Parker (when you think of “W. B.” think of WeB) at email@example.com or go to www.ptccomputersolutions.com for more information.
By David W. B. Parker
PTC Computer Solutions