Google “SEO” and you’ll get more than 500 million results. Why? The reason is simple – Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is vital to the success of any website.
Unfortunately, there is no perfect optimization recipe. Not only do search engines carefully guard their algorithms, they are constantly changing them. The keys are to follow best practices, monitor your website’s performance carefully, and make regular improvements to your site.
Whether you have a website right now or you are building one, these seven questions will help you evaluate your SEO and make improvements as necessary.
Is your site user-friendly?
As frustrating as search engines and their algorithms can be, the good news is, they have the best of intentions. Namely, they want to provide the best user experience possible. This means, if your site isn’t user-friendly, your search placement in search results will suffer.
If your site isn’t user-friendly, your search result placement will drop significantly.Click to Tweet
Take a close look at your site. Better yet, have one of your customers take a look at your site. Consider these key questions:
Is it easy to find key information?
How simple is it to navigate between pages?
Is the text easy to read?
Are the visuals engaging?
Is your site mobile-friendly?
Mobile devices aren’t just a fad. They are the tools folks use to do research and make purchasing decisions. In fact, more than half of all search queries are performed on mobile devices.
In order to deliver a high-quality experience for mobile users, Google updated search engine algorithm in April of 2015 – they began using mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal in their search results.
This means if your site’s not mobile-friendly, its SEO strength is suffering greatly. Use Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test tool to find out what they think of your website’s design.
Is ALL of the content on your site completely original and valuable?
“Content is king.” “Develop great content.” “Deliver valuable information.”
While these mantras border on cliché, following them is crucial to your website’s success. Sharing duplicate content significantly decreases your site’s ranking. This duplicate content could include:
Re-Publishing Text From Another Site – You might love the blog post a gentleman in Alabama wrote or think the description a colleague shared is spot on. Don’t simply copy, paste, and publish. This is known as copy scrapping and it is seriously frowned upon by search engines. Rather, you need to bring something new to the conversation. If you really want to share someone else’s content, only share a snippet with a link back to the original. And, add your own sentiment about why you find the re-shared bit important.
Repurposing Your Own Content – It’s not uncommon to talk about the same product or service in multiple places on your site. Unfortunately, using the same verbiage more than once is considered duplicate content.
Printer-Friendly – In some instances you might want to also share content in a ‘printer-friendly’ version. If you are sharing a recipe or how to guide, this can be a great way to deliver value to your customers. But, you have to be careful how the ‘printer-friendly’ version is loaded or it can appear to be duplicate content.
Is your site engaging?
When determining how engaging your site is, search engines consider two primary factors:
Bounce Rate – The percentage of visitors who land on your site and leave without visiting more than one page.
Average Session Duration – How long, on average, visitors are staying on your site.
Comparing your site’s performance to millions of other sites, search engines judge the quality of your site.
Is your site easy for search engines to crawl?
While search engines have gotten a lot smarter, they’re still just robots crawling your site’s code. To make your site crawl friendly, you need to: * Provide a Sitemap – An organized list of your website’s pages.
Title Tags – Offers the first wave of information about the page’s content by defining the title.
Meta Description Tags – 160-character snippets that summarize each page’s content. They are typically displayed within search results to help visitors make an educated decision about where to click.
Headers – Appropriately using header tags (such as H1, H2, and H3) provide an outline of your content.
Schema – Savvy use of web schema helps search engines to identify and display relevant details within search results. These details can include: Menu Items, Events, Products, Services, and Prices.
Are your inbound and outbound links legit?
When search engines began using the number of inbound and outbound links as a ranking factor, some site owners began purchasing them. Luckily, search engines caught onto this spammy technique.
Now, search engines consider the value of all your inbound and outbound links. Links acquired through reciprocal link exchange programs or link schemes can significantly reduce your site’s rank.
This doesn’t mean all links are bad. In fact, high quality inbound and outbound links are great for your SEO. When considering if the link is high quality, ask yourself:
Does this link add value to my visitors?
Did I acquire this link in a reputable fashion?
Are you using the language your visitors use?
If you own a fitness gym, you might be inclined to write about “fitness.” It’s a logical first step. What if your target audience uses the term “workout” rather than “fitness”? You could be missing out on a huge number of potential customers.
Take some time to get to know the audience you serve. Consider their language. What words and phrases are they using? Then, incorporate the key terms they are using into your copy.
Now that you’ve evaluated your SEO, it’s time to start making improvements.
Our team specializes in crafting user-friendly content that ranks well.