SEO Basics to Focus On
Here’s the deal, everyone and their mom has a “Top 10 SEO Tips” or “The 12 Ways to Improve Your Site’s Ranking” article these days. Even Buzzfeed and Forbes are in on the fun. The problem with all of these articles is that they rarely agree what those 10 or 12 essential search engine optimization tips are. This leaves us asking “what’s really important?”
In the past, we’ve put together our own take on why SEO is important. Given the rapidly evolving nature of this industry, it’s time to add on to that article. As we research SEO, we come across many of the types of articles mentioned above and have seen the different recommendations they make. So I have listed out a few things that should be considered for any present day SEO strategy.
Work on your meta descriptions and title tags
Meta descriptions are the small paragraphs located directly below the page title tag in the search results. These brief descriptions are no longer a ranking factor that Google considers, however, they are a chance to preview for the user what type of useful content they can find by visiting your site. It’s always a good idea to include keywords that you think users will be searching in your meta descriptions. They should be around 150 – 160 characters in length and include a call-to-action that matches the content on the page.
Title tags are the blue lines of text that populate search results pages. The title tag is the main text that describes an online document and has been considered one of the most important on-page SEO ranking factors for Google. They should be around 50 – 60 characters long and include any important keywords. The title tag is also a good place to leverage any branding that might attract searchers.
Ditch meta keywords
If you haven’t already, it’s time to call it quits on meta keywords. Meta keywords haven’t been a part of Google’s core search algorithm for several years. In early SEO, they were an easy way to tell Google what topic a page was about. That got abused pretty quickly with keyword stuffing, now according to Google’s Matt Cutts “they really don’t use them at all.”
Mobile is your friend, not your enemy
Back in 2015, Google set a deadline for when their algorithm would begin using “mobile friendliness as a ranking signal.” This update became known as Mobilegeddon and caused SEOs everywhere to brace for a catastrophe. Fortunately, the initial impacts weren’t as severe as some expected. However, Google has only continued to increase the importance of mobile-friendliness.
The need for speed
Page speed became a factor that Google included in their rankings back in 2010. Aside from SEO value, having a site that loads quickly provides a better user experience. It will theoretically keep people from “bouncing” off of your site. More recently, Google has hinted that an update to the algorithm including the speed of mobile-specific pages is coming.
Unfortunately, none of these recommendations are magic bullets that will get your site ranked number one immediately. Instead, they are SEO best practices that should be considered for any current site. Search engine optimization is an ongoing exercise that requires regular attention. Both Google and Moz have great beginner’s guide if you’re interested in learning more and getting your SEO up and running.