There’s been a lot of discussion in the digital marketing world recently, with many people suggesting that SEO is dead and the basics are no longer relevant. However, this is simply untrue. Instead, it is more accurate to explore how SEO has changed extensively as Google’s algorithm has evolved to focus more on the experience of users.
Google wants to ensure that website owners are getting the basics right first, so let’s begin by reviewing the SEO techniques that still matter when it comes to optimising your website.
Mobile Website Optimization
If your website isn’t optimised for mobile use, you’re missing out on engaging more than 50% of your audience. Mobile website optimisation involves more than just SEO, it takes into account varying screen sizes, page load times and site structure. It’s all about creating an engaging user experience (UX) through design and optimisation.
So, how can you ensure your website is mobile-friendly?
First off, you can test your mobile website’s responsiveness, thanks to Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test, which is free to use.
The Search Console enables you to extract a mobile usability report to analyse any underlying issues on a page-by-page basis.
This report looks at the following technical elements:
- Viewport configuration
- Flash usage
- Content and font sizing
- Interstitial usage
- Other usability issues
Likewise, you should ‘design for the fat finger’ to avoid accidental clicks and it’s best practice for your mobile website to avoid using flash and pop-ups where possible. With no ‘real’ SEO value, Flash code is not even indexed by Google or the other search engines. Instead, they prefer HTML, as it is much easier to understand and will generally load faster.
Title Tags and Meta Descriptions
Title tags and meta descriptions appear on Search Engine Ranking Pages (SERPs). The title is the heading and the description is the block of text beneath, usually 1-2 sentences in length.
This information is used not only for Google’s search engine spiders, which crawl your website, but also to help users identify which search result to click on. Because of this, it’s important that your title tags and meta descriptions comply with the following:
- Ensure they’re engaging, making people want to click through (this is most important).
- They should also include keywords, such as the location, if you’re a local business targeting a specific area.
- Meta titles should be 50-60 characters in length max.
- Meta descriptions should be no longer than 160 characters (otherwise they will get truncated)
On-Site Copy Optimisation
As part of modern day, best practice SEO, it’s vital to create on-page copy aligned with the user’s needs. This means avoiding the ‘hard sell’ when it comes to your products and services. Instead, describe the benefits (USPs) and provide as much value as possible. This is frequently referred to as ‘direct sales copywriting’.
Your website’s visitors want to make an informed purchasing decision and they’re becoming increasingly aware of untrustworthy sales pitches found on many websites these days. Because of this, ensure your company or brand has an ‘authentic brand voice’. The more human you sound, the better the user response will be.
The most successful websites have various types of content, including articles, videos, infographics, ebooks, surveys and even podcasts. This improves the user experience, adds value and increases engagement with the time spent on your website.
When you have quality content on your website, it is more likely to be shared and linked to. This is important because Google still considers backlinks as a key ranking signal when determining the relevance of your website to search queries.
You should also ensure an even spread of related industry keywords are included in your website’s copy, making it appear as natural as possible without taking anything away from the user experience.
A link is considered ‘broken’ when a user clicks through to a page that does not contain the intended information. Links are also considered broken when users are directed to a page that no longer exists (i.e. a 404 error). Broken links result in a higher bounce rate, decreased user satisfaction and ultimately a negative impact on your Google rankings.
Websites with few or no broken links are likely to reap ranking rewards from Google. If you have a broken link on your website, it will be necessary to either:
- Redirect users to a new page.
- Create a new page of value.
- Delete the link completely.
To find out if your website has any broken links, use this free broken link checker.
Page Load Speed
The time it takes for your website to load has a direct impact on user experience. For example, if it takes too long for your pages to load, users are likely to leave, which will affect bounce rates, user engagement and conversion rates.
Page loading times also have a particularly significant impact on mobile website ranking performance, according to Matt Cutts, Google’s former head of web-spam.
If you’re worried about the speed of your website, consider the follow suggestions:
- Improve your website’s speed by using Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool and following their recommendations.
- Determine if there are any unnecessary aspects of your website that are slowing it down (i.e. Flash).
- Consider whether your images are too big, or if there are too many of them.
- Deactivate or uninstall any plugins you’re not using.
Checking how long it takes your website to load regularly is highly recommended, to ensure everything’s running smoothly.
Transcend Your SEO Efforts
Whether you need help with the basics of SEO or a complete SEO strategy to take control of your market, the team at Spotzer Media can assist.
With offices in Amsterdam, Melbourne, Manila and Denver, our diverse team of digital marketing experts are available to discuss and identify your business’s SEO needs.