Search engine algorithms have evolved dramatically over time and nowadays the websites that are ranking on top are mostly websites that are:
- Privileging user experience and contents
- Communicating to the search engines the website objectives in order to recommend your site for relevant searches
1 – A solid keyword strategy
Before starting building your website you should carefully analyse the market you will be competing into and think what future visitors will type into search engines in order to find your services or products. Keyword research requires experience and intuition. While there are tools that will help you find the right keyword combinations and the competition level, you will have to use your judgment. For example if you own a real estate website, you will face a fierce competition if you build the site around “Properties in Spain”, while it might make more sense if you optimize the site around the keywords “Properties in Almunecar”. Variations on your keywords known as “long tail keywords” are also very important.
2 – What Search engines want
Content to index: This is essentially the text on the page, including Title tags, headers and any other text that spiders can load and read. Time should be dedicated to careful content creation. The more quality content you have the better.
High Speed: The speed at which you website is delivering pages
High Authority: Is an index that measures the level of trustworthiness of the site and thus, the likeliness of your content to be linked from other authoritative websites.
Great User Experience: Is the content structured logically? Is it easy to navigate? Do you have a high bounce rate?
Freshness: In general search engines will favour fresh and relatively recent content.
3 – What Search engines do not want
Keyword stuffing and duplicate content: Search engine want basically the content of your site to be written as naturally as possible. Stuffing the pages repeatedly with the same keywords will be penalized. Plagiarizing content will be penalized pretty badly.
Paying for backlinks: Link exchanges and other pay per backlinks schemes will be severely penalized.
Mediocre user experience: I very high overall website bounce rate, is an indication that there are sources of visitors that are not really interested to your content. A cluttered page with difficult to navigate content will make thing worse. A bounce rate higher than 70% is generally the sign that there is something wrong.
4 – Know your objectives and measure SEO against them
It’s very important to know your website objectives. For example if you own an ecommerce website, your objective will be to maximize the website profits and the amount of repeat clients. If you are a news website, the objective will be to maximize the amount of advert impressions. Too often website owners focus on the total amount of visits, without correlating this to their real business objectives. Therefore SEO has no purpose if it doesn’t help you reach your objectives.
5 – Optimize the site for different types of devices
In addition to build the site for a desktop computer, optimize the site for laptops, tablets and mobile phones. Search engines are putting more and more emphasis on mobile devices as their usage has increased dramatically in the last few years. Responsive website design is becoming a very common design technique and you should consider redesigning you website with this in mind.
6 – Domain names and URL architecture
The domain name is a very important aspect of your website. An old domain name is a signal to search engines that your business is established (that is also why expired domain are often reused by spammers). As much as possible use subdirectories rather than subdomains. This is because subdomains are treated like separate websites. For example it is better to have http://example.com/blog/ rather than http://blog.example.com/
It would be better to insert important keywords in the URL of your pages.
7 – Use your title and heading tags wisely
The title tag is since the beginning of the World Wide Web one of the most important pieces of information of the page. It allows search engines and visitor to understand what the page is all about.
Heading tags are also of great importance in order for search engines to understand the content of the different subsections of the page