The Anatomy Of A Website: Is Your Site In Good SEO Shape?
You have a business website, and your goal is to rank as high on search engines, particularly on Google, as possible. The higher you appear on a search page, the better the chances that people will see your website, visit it, and purchase your products or services. That’s where search engine optimization (SEO) comes in. But what is search engine optimization? And how do you know if you’re doing it right?
What Is SEO and Why It’s Needed
SEO could be defined as “the practice of increasing the quantity and quality of traffic to your website through organic search engine results.” “Quality” traffic refers to visitors looking at a site for its intended purpose — they’re not misdirected there. “Organic” refers to any traffic your site gets that you do not pay for; when you’re earning organic search engine traffic, visitors are using specific keywords to find your site.
There are a number of advantages to good SEO. It helps potential customers find your site when they use relevant keywords, thus helping you establish a steady stream of potential online customers. SEO also changes as the needs and wants of your customers change.
Why is SEO so important? Over 90% of “online experiences” start with visitors using a search engine, and 90% of the time, Google is that search engine. In addition, 80% of consumers conduct internet-based research before purchasing a large item, and 3 out of 4 never look past the first page of search engine results. Therefore, it is important to appear on that first page. Following some SEO best practices will help you get there.
Consider an HTTPS Address
First of all, change the Hypertext Transfer Protocol, HTTP at the beginning of your website, to an HTTPS. The “S” stands for “secure.” When you’re using a regular HTTP, a visitor’s information is not safe. An informed eavesdropper can see the websites that the user has visited as well as information that is transferred back and forth.
An HTTPS website is encrypted, which makes a user’s information more secure. When you see an HTTPS used on a banking or financial site, you know you are logged into the true site and not some copy-cat site trying to steal your information.
You may be asking yourself, “That’s great, but nothing on my site needs that type of security. Why do I need an HTTPS?” Google is the reason. In 2014, Google announced they were going to give priority to HTTPS websites in their ranking process. Therefore, if you want your website to appear in the top 10 of search engine results, it would be a good idea to secure your site’s URL.
Other SEO Best Practices
After ensuring that your website address begins with HTTPS, you need to make sure it has a responsive design. A responsive design will allow it to be viewed on any device, regardless of whether that device is a monitor, a cell phone, or a tablet. This is extremely important, considering that well over 50% of internet searches are currently being performed on mobile devices.
Other ways to increase your SEO ranking include the following:
- Make sure your website loads quickly. Slow-loading websites cause people to abandon them. Google will also notice and reduce your ranking.
- Use header tags. It will make your website more attractive and readable, which will keep people on your site longer.
- Add other types of multimedia to your site, including videos. It could increase the amount of time people spend on your site, which, in turn, will boost your ranking.
- Make sure the links on your website work properly. Dead links will kill your SEO ranking. You can use a site like Dead Link Checker to make sure links are working properly.
- Encourage your visitors to share content by incorporating social sharing icons on your content and by sharing links on your business social media accounts.
By doing these things, you’ll be on your way to having a website that is well-optimized for SEO. It will have its best chance of standing out at the top of search engine results pages (SERPs).
Along with best practices are some things that you shouldn’t do that will harm your search engine ranking:
- Do not add a disproportionate amount of keywords in your text. The important thing is to add quality content. If you are adding too many keywords, you are not doing that.
- Do not plagiarize content from elsewhere on the internet. Not only is it unethical, but Google will also penalize you for not having original content.
- Do not redirect visitors to irrelevant websites. Make sure your anchor text and its link match up.
New rules are also coming down the pike regarding AdSense ads. If your ads take up more space than your published content, it’s time to change that practice. The rule of thumb is not to do anything that may detract from your visitor’s experience on your site. And lastly, if your site is having technical issues, get them fixed as quickly as possible. If Google cannot effectively crawl your site when it attempts to, your rankings will be negatively impacted.
Today, we live in a highly competitive market, and in many cases, your website is your lifeblood. Your customers finding your website during a Google query could be the difference between success and failure. Using proper SEO techniques and avoiding actions that will negatively impact your ranking will help you appear on the first page of Google and other search engines. This can make all the difference to your business’s success.