September 16, 2017 Top 5 Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Tips You Can Do Today
One of the most important parts of any website is driving traffic to your site. After all, what’s the point of having an amazing looking website if no one is visiting it? The most important way to generate traffic from people on the internet is through Search Engine Optimization, or SEO. Almost everyone relies on Google these days to find what they are looking for, whether it is a new restaurant to order dinner from, a hairstylist, or to find the average height of an adult giraffe (fun fact: it’s 14 to 19 feet). However, there’s a lot that goes on behind the scenes to determine which websites display first in search rankings, and that’s where proper SEO techniques come in. Keep reading as we explain our top 5 SEO tricks for getting ranked highly in search results!
SEO Tip #1: Identifying Keywords
To find websites and index content, Google has “robots” that search the internet and categorizes websites and posts. Therefore, it is very important to include relevant keywords on your website and in your blog posts to help Google find and direct traffic to your site. Try to be specific with your keywords and blog post titles as well. For example, calling a blog post “My Favorite Shoes” would be too generic to compete with massive sites. Instead, really drill down to what your post is about and title it “The Best Nike Air Force 1 Shoes for 2017”. There are also several tools online to help you choose relevant keywords, including the Google Keywords Planner, WordStream’s Keyword Tool, and Moz’s Keyword Explorer.
SEO Tip #2: Keyword Friendly URLs
Once you’ve identified your relevant keywords, it’s important to use them effectively. To do this, a good default rule is to “think like a human, not a machine.” For example, WordPress lets you choose how your URLs appear in the Settings tab under Permalink Structure. Be sure to choose an SEO friendly link structure like Post Name so your posts appear as “mywebsite.com/best-adidas-spring-2017/” instead of “mywebsite.com/?p=22837” or “mywebsite.com/archives/826.” See how the first link is much more readable and you can instantly guess what the post is about, where the other two links leave you clueless? That’s how Google reads pages as well, so you will get a ranking boost by making your links easier to understand.
SEO Tip #3: Google Search Console
Given that Google is clearly the focus of our SEO efforts, it makes sense to register your site on the Google Search Console. This is a free service provided by Google that gives you a lot of information on how to best manage your site, and alerts you if Google is having any issues accessing your site. To have Google index your site even faster, you can also submit an XML Sitemap directly to Google. This sitemap contains a text list of every page and file on your site to help Google understand the structure of your site faster. Many plugins, such as Yoast SEO, can generate this Sitemap for you, as well as providing other benefits as discussed below.
SEO Tip #4: WordPress Plugins
One of the best parts of WordPress is the ability to use plugins to automate important tasks for you. One of my favorites is the aforementioned Yoast SEO plugin which includes many useful features to help you optimize your SEO. They can automatically generate an XML Sitemap for you to submit to Google, as discussed in Tip #3, as well as give you real time feedback on how your pages are looking for SEO purposes. Many of these features are included with the free version, and by simply following their recommendations you can get your site in great SEO shape.
SEO Tip #5: Image Optimization
While a lot of SEO is based on the text content on your site, images play a very important role as well. First, be sure to include a description, title, and alt text for each of your images. Try to make these relevant to the image and also include your main keywords where appropriate, so your images can appear in a Google Image search and boost your SEO. Name the image appropriately before uploading to your website, such as changing the default name “IMG2834.jpg” to something more descriptive of the image like “bali-seminyak-sunset.jpg.” Avoid using text in images because Google cannot read the text embedded in images, so it will be skipped for SEO purposes.
Finally, make sure to resize the images and use image compression which will help the site load faster. Aim to get the image size down to 200-300 kb where possible, which is a significant savings over a 5 MB+ images that comes out of today’s high quality cameras. Image compression can be done through websites such as TinyJPG or Compressor.io, or you can use a plugin like Shortpixel or WP Smush. Loading speed is one of the main factors Google looks for in ranking sites and large images are often the chief culprit in sites loading slowly. By making your images smaller your page will load faster, which will be appreciated both by your visitors and by those important Google robots!
There are plenty more SEO tips that can be used to help your site get found by visitors, but this guide is a solid start to get you headed in the right direction. If you have any questions or would like an SEO analysis of your site, then please feel free to get in touch!