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If SEO was really simple, then Google wouldn’t have made in excess of $40 billion in advertising for the year 2019. The reality is, that it’s a challenge to get your business to show at the top of the SERPS, so that the most valuable clients will access your site and make purchases where applicable.
When it comes to ranking in the search engines, just looking at Google alone, they have over 200 factors that they use to determine where your site should end up. In this article we will be looking at, tactics that you should use, that covers the vast majority of these factors.
Ideally, you’d want to have your own SEO team, as this kind of work can be time consuming and grinding. However, if you do not, it’s still possible, you just need to be realistic of what you’re getting into.
1. Make Your Site Responsive
Most websites today are viewed on mobile devices, such as a smartphone, tablet etc. This is also true for the search engines. Most people who use Google, do so on a mobile device. For this reason, it makes perfect sense for you to have at the very least, a mobile version of your site, so that everyone who may want to view your site, can do so.
So, what exactly is a responsive site? Well, the term responsible is simply another word for mobile optimised. It’s basically a website that adapts to the size of the screen it’s being viewed on. So if it’s viewed in landscape or portrait, the text, images and functionality will shift to accommodate this reality. All of which is done automatically. Which is why proper execution of design is required.
If you have a website, but it isn’t responsive, then your first cause of action should be to carry out an audit, that way you’ll be able to best determine what changes may need to be done to make your website responsive. What kind of adjustments will you need to make. With more and more people choosing to browse the internet on their mobile phones, it’s a no-brainer for you to make your site compatible for this audience.
2. Website Security
Your SEO ranking can be affected by the security of the site. Google wants a search engine that only shows the most secure websites to its visitors. If a website is found to be compromised, Google can go as far as to flag it, to prevent surfers from visiting the site.
One of the simplest ways to make your website safe is by using HTTPS or Hyper Text Transfer Protocol Secure. The HTTPS will show up on sites that are secure. However, in order to use this protocol, you must first have a SSL certificate (Secure Socket Layer certificate). It’s this SSL that will create the secure line between the site and the user’s browser.
Most hosting companies implement HTTPS into their services free of charge, so you needn’t concern yourself with the technical aspects. Just know that you should prioritise it, if you want to rank in the search engines.
3. Optimise Meta Tags and Titles
Every piece of content on your site should have its own unique titles and META tags, there should be no duplication of titles, if you want your content to rank in the search engines. There has been a lot of research and testing done on both these elements, to determine how crucial they are, and whether or not you should take the time to optimise them.
When it comes to the META tags, Google has already announced, on more than one occasion that they do not use it, when it comes to ranking. So if you do not have META descriptions on any of your content, and you have a lot of content, then it may be best to simply put it off, as the amount of time to put them in, may not be worth it, in the long run. With Title tags however, it’s the complete opposite.
Backlinks have been around since the dawn of search engines and are the fundamental way they determine where sites should rank. To put it simply, the better the sites linking to your website, the higher your site will rank in the search engines.
Backlinks are an imperative component of any SEO campaign. With many different elements for you to delve into.
5. Original Content
Once you have your website setup to succeed, the next step is for you to start putting the most compelling content onto it, which hopefully you’ll push out to the masses. When it comes to making content, it’s fairly straightforward, just ensure you have a substantial amount of content, you want to go with long-form content. This doesn’t mean putting a lot of text on your pages, just so you can rank high, as this isn’t always the best approach. Typically, content that is well written, is content that is most likely to be read, linked to and shared with others.
6. Audit Your Backlinks
Backlinks are pretty self-explanatory, they are links from one website back to your own. As previously mentioned, they are an integral aspect of SEO. As they let the search engines know whether or not your site is worth listing and ranking in their search engines. However, if your website has spammy links from bad neighbourhoods, it can end up adversely effecting your SEO rankings. To combat this, it’s possible for you to disavow these links to improve your SEO. That’s why it’s important that you perform regular audits of your backlinks and disavow any links you think may not be good for your website. Link building is one of the most important aspects of SEO, so it should be treated as such.
7. Site Load Speed
The average site visitor has very little patience. So if you have a website that takes a lot of time to load, for many people, they will not wait for it to load. This is even more so the case on mobile devices. Over the past decade or so, website speed has become a factor in the ranking of websites.
This isn’t as surprising as the speed of a website should be considered a factor in a sites UX user experience matrix. When websites lag, it can deteriorate a user’s experience on that website. Additionally, search engines will have a much harder time crawling the various pages of a site that functions very slowly.
So what can you do to increase your sites speed? Well, you can reduce the size of your images, you can add a lazy load plugin to it to decrease the amount of load time. Another important factor is the hosting, you can opt for a much faster hosting service, which oftentimes costs more money.
Uchenna Ani-Okoye is a former IT Manager who now runs his own computer support https://www.compuchenna.co.uk.