page contents

When you here the term “content,” you probably think only of blog articles. But, content is all-inclusive when it comes to your website. It is important to optimize any content on your site if you want it to show up on the various search engines. SEO is constantly changing and it can be difficult to keep up with it. You may be struggling to differentiate the tactics that will be most effective — especially if you’re resource-strapped. However, there are some things that you can do to remain consistent with your content and blog. If you follow these steps, regardless of how frequently SEO tactics are changing, you will have a successful blog and be more likely to rank with the search engines.

Avoid Duplicate and Poorly Written Page Titles

Some websites feel the need to list everything but the kitchen sink in a title tag? Other sites may just ignore the title tag for each page. They may opt to simply duplicate them by default. I’m not sure if it’s just the website owner who is doing it or a poorly trained SEO marketer. The title tag has long been one of the most abused tags on the Web page, with some SEOs desperately stuffing keywords into the title tag like it was a Thanksgiving turkey.

The title tag’s most important role, however, isn’t SEO rankings — it’s what it offers you after you get the ranking. You should use the title tag to your advantage. You have between 50 and 60 characters to complete a message in the title tag. Of course, you want to use keywords in the title but you should also think about what message you want the title tag to convey to the searcher. With such a short space, you may need to get creative.

Optimize Your Meta Descriptions

meta descriptions from google search engineA marketer’s best opportunity to write something compelling that will entice the searcher to click on the search engine results page (SERP) is to take full advantage of both the page title and the meta description. Unlike titles, meta descriptions also show any keywords from the search query in bold, helping the searcher identify at a glance which search results are most likely to match the query.

In addition to containing some keywords to aid with bolding and visibility, the meta description should be a sales piece. As you are writing your meta descriptions, ask yourself, “Why should the searcher click on this result?” Whatever you write needs to catch the attention of the searcher. In other words, sell it!

So often, marketers and website owners alike write descriptions that are confusing. For example, the page title may convey one message while the description conveys another message entirely. The two should flow together so as to not create any confusion for your potential readers.

But what happens if you don’t write a meta description? This is where the fun begins. Google may actually choose a description for you. As amazing as that sounds, do you really want Google to decide what is best for advertising your site? Probably not. It’s not worth the risk or any potential time-saving that you may enjoy on the front end. So, define your own meta description. Tell people why they should click on your result and not your competitors’. Make your most compelling argument.

Monitor Your Sitelinks

While sitelinks are generated automatically by Google, it doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t check them out once in a while to see what’s being generated. Sitelinks are a great way to drive traffic deeper into your website — if it’s to a place you want visitors to go. As you may remember, Google rebranded its Webmaster Tools as Search Console back some time ago. However, if you notice when you do the search, the sitelinks still show the old branding in the links. So, ironic as it may sound, be sure to use Google Search Console to monitor your sitelinks for errors and for those links you want to exclude.

Use Quality Structured Markup

Structured markup, or rich snippets, are a fantastic way to make your SERP result larger and more visible. While it’s always optimal to use structured data to markup your code, it’s not always feasible. To be honest, most people running websites theses days don’t even know what that last sentence means. If you’re in that same boat, if you can’t program structured markup, don’t start stressing. One option for you is to use Google’s Data Highlighter tool (however, this will only generate rich snippets in Google, not in other engines). Other options have been developed as well. If you’re using a CMS like WordPress, there are several plugins you can use to help you with your structured data markup.

Setup Your Analytics Correctly

google analytics on an imac that is being used to optimize a website by best seo mastersIf nothing else, you should pay most attention to this part of the article. Analytics are the marketer’s and the webmaster’s best friend. It tells you the inner workings of your website and how it is performing. From analytics, you will learn who comes, who goes, how they get there and how they interact with your website. The scary thing about analytics, however, is that about 80 percent of the time when we’re doing an SEO audit, we find that the analytics has errors.

You can’t possible hope to track your progress and adequately benchmark organic traffic levels without your website’s analytics operating correctly. So, if you’re using Google Analytics, be sure to check your code. If you’re not sure where to start, a handy tool provided by Google is the Google Tag Assistant plug-in. This tool checks Google Analytics tags, as well as other types of Google tags (like AdWords conversion tags), for errors.

Properly Execute Video Embedding

Videos can be a great addition to any website. Done correctly, they can be very engaging. Sometimes, though, the execution of videos on the website isn’t ideal for SEO. Many websites use JavaScript popovers for video. Case studies via videos are compelling marketing tools. The downside to using a popover, however, is that the popover doesn’t allow your story to rank on its own Web page.

This is a missed opportunity to get additional content ranked. What happens instead is that your story ends up on a page with lots of other information. And, while that’s not entirely bad, there are opportunities to have this page rank in addition to the main topic page. Consider how you’re adding video to your site. Consider allowing each video to have their own rankable page, as opposed to employing JavaScript popovers.

Don’t Go Crazy With Unnecessary Code

So many web designers, talented as they may be, love to show off their talents with unnecessary code. We have to stop the insanity with extraneous code. If your page doesn’t need that code, get rid of it. All the extra code does at this point is just slow down your page load speed. If you have a site you think may fall into this trap, Google provides a helpful list of suggestions of certain types of code that can be mini-fied to improve page speed load times.

Use Google’s PageSpeed Insights Tool and enter your URL to see which improvements you may be able to make to your website. Just keep in mind that Google’s tool can’t always tell if you have old code on your site. For example, if you started using one marketing automation tool and changed part way through to another but never removed the old marketing automation code, you have extraneous code on the site.

The Ghostery plug-in for ChromeOne is helpful tool that will check to see what types of code may be on your site is the . This plug-in is capable of identifying all of the tracking code on a page. This means that it will help you quickly see if you have old tracking code on the site, even if you don’t know HTML. If you happen to be more HTML-savvy, check out the raw code directly, and see what you can remove yourself.

Setup An XML Sitemap

Sitemaps allow website owners to inform search engines which pages on their website are available for crawling. In its simplest form, a sitemap is a document that lists all URLs of your website (that you want crawled). The document details additional information such as the date a page was last modified, how frequently a page may change and whether the page should be given priority over others. Specific sitemaps can be created for each type of content. For example, one sitemaps for blog posts, another for videos, etc.

The importance of Sitemaps should never be downplayed. Sitemaps help search engines navigate your website more easily, which helps search engines index your content better. If you think of your website as a building, the sitemap is a blueprint that informs search engines exactly where everything is located.

Every website and blog should have a sitemap. If you aren’t as tech-savvy as you’d like to be, don’t worry. One of the best, and easiest to use, tools for building a quality sitemap is the Yoast SEO plugin for WordPress

 

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