Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Considerations
Most SEO professionals agree that these factors affect search engine rankings and are considered best practices. Instead of trying to trick the systems - Google has told us what we need to be doing - so we need to just do it!
1. Title Tag
The title tag is one of the single most significant way a search engine can determine what your page is about. It is important to have the keyword you are trying to get a page to rank for be included in the title tag. You do need to be careful with over doing it with your title tag. In other words don't just stuff keywords in the title tag - but make it human readable and make sense - but don't forget the keyword. (You would be shocked how many never pay attention to this at all).
The title tag is displayed in both the search engine result, as well as the browser header, as seen below:
Keyword Only | Brand Name
Keyword & a Few More Words | Brand Name
Brand Name | Keyword Only
Brand Name | Keyword & a Few More Words
- Try to keep it 70 characters or under
- Include your primary keyword close to the beginning
- Use pipes (|) to separate page name from site name
2. Meta Description
Having a good meta description of a page is more about the user experience than SEO. It could be the difference in somone clicking on your link or someone else's in a search. The meta description is what users see under your title tag as the description of the site. If the keyword they searched for is located in there, it will be in bold, further drawing the user’s eyes to it, and increasing your click through rates. The better your click through rates are at the bottom, the better Google will rank you.
3. Page URL
The page URL is the actual filename of the page (everything that appears after www.mysite.com/ ) Although many sites with non optimized URLs do rank high in certain terms, the page URL is known to be important to search engines. That being said you need your keyword in the URL. From a user perspective, if they see their keyword in the URL they’re more likely to feel that it is relevant to them, and thus increase your click through rate.
- Make sure your keyword is in the URL
- Use hierarchy if the category names are secondary keywords
- use hyphens or underscores to separate words in the URL
Over time search engines have gotten more intelligent and they learn. They look for quality content on web pages that make sense to a reader or visitor. Not a page stuffed with keywords. So we have to write our page content so that machines understand what it is about, but also that a human being can read it without sounding like a complete moron.
Tips & Best Practices:
- Include your keyword in the content
- Find multiple ways to say your keyword in a different context. Try to think alternate words to that keyword someone might search on.
- Use correct grammar and spelling
- Use rich content (images, lists, text, media, etc)
- Use deep content (try to keep pages over 400 words)
- Use original content - and if you post your content to multiple pages or websites - each version should be different.
- Make your content easily sharable
- Don’t over stuff your content with keywords
- Use H1, H2 and H3 tags only when it makes sense from a reader’s perspective
- Use alt= tags on images with a description of the image as the alt tag
- Your graphics and pictures should also be named with keywords in the name.
5. Site Architecture
Make sure your site is running smoothly, and is working in your favor overall. It should work and display well on multiple devices including computers, tablets and phones. This is part of the behind the scenes work that we do for our clients.
Tips & Best Practices:
- Make sure your site loads fast.
- Include an XML sitemap on your site
- DO Internal linking in navigation & in content.
- Larger sites are seen as more authoritative - so more content is better.
- Use a 301 redirect from the non www to the www site
- Upload a robots.txt file
- Mobile Friendly - This is a must. It must work well on mobile devices.
6. On-Page Checklist
- Keyword(s) in title tag but not overused
- Keyword(s) in meta description but not overused
- Keyword(s) in the URL with the proper URL structure
- Content is original and relevant to keyword(s)
- Correct grammar and spelling
- Rich content instead of just text
- At least 400 words of text copy
- Keywords are not over stuffed, and there are several variants
- Text content reads well and not spammy
- Images have alt= tags and are named with keywords in the filename
- H1, H2, H3 tags are used correctly
- Page loads fast
- Site has XML sitemap installed (preferably linked up with Google Webmaster Tools)
- Sitewide navigation has relevant anchor text
- Internal linking is frequent & anchor text is diverse yet relevant
- Orphaned pages are removed or redirected
- No broken or dead links
- Site is more than a few pages (larger the better)
- Content is easy to share (social icons)
- 301 redirect from domain.com to www.domain.com
- Site is correctly viewed in IE, Firefox, Safari and Chrome
- Mobile Friendly Layout - your site's code must respond to whatever device is viewing it.
- Robots.txt file uploaded