Want to optimize your website yourself? Here you will find 5 simplest methods of improving your website Google Search ranking that you can start with right away!
For starters, let’s clarify what is page optimization for search engines and why do it in the first place. Curiously enough, a few years ago, such activities weren’t necessary at all. Back then only few companies saw the value of the Internet and at that time it was enough to be merely present online, so that people looking for our products or services would find us. However, things have changed since then. According to Qmee, every 1 minute brings 70 new domains, almost 600 new websites and about 350 blogs on WordPress.
Search engine optimization is therefore necessary so that the Internet users can even stumble upon our content at all.
Search engine optimization consists in adjusting the website (all of it) and its content (including the images) so that the page can achieve the best possible ranking position in search results. For this to happen, playing by the rules imposed by a search engine is necessary.
Are there things we can do ourselves, as the website’s owners or managers, to increase the search engine visibility? Sure there are. We’re going to walk you through a couple of them.
DIY website SEO optimizations
1. On-site content
Nowadays word going around is how content is king and all. In other words, how crucial it is for your website. Internet users are basically always looking for information. They also generally like it to be unique and useful. And since users are Google’s precious, the websites with most valuable content tailored to the user’s needs are displayed first. The Google search engine algorithms determine the most unique, up-to-date and query-relevant content on the web.
Writing a business blog is a perfect first step in your DIY page optimization process. To have a successful blog, firstly you have to think about your potential customers’ topics of interest. It may be that before Google appreciates our blog writing efforts, we will have to put a lot of work into it. On the other hand, if we do, the positive impact on our site is a matter of time.
Also, remember that Google likes its top ranking sites to be up-to-date. Working up a routine of frequent posting fresh, unique content on our blog is a way to go. Consistent process of providing up-to-date pieces of content will attract happily recurrent users, willing to take their time on your website.
Not only duplication of longer text passages online is a no-no. So is copy-pasting shorter ones, such as product descriptions. E-commerce businesses (online stores) should pay particular attention to this issue. Each and every product offered in the store should have a unique description. Going over in detail about product’s features will make your potential customers satisfied. So it will do for the search engine algorithms, which will claim your content valuable.
SEO-wise, neither can the category descriptions be downplayed. They are for one thing an extra space for placing keywords – especially those of high SEO value for a given page. However, a balance is necessary. Remember not to commit the sin of so-called keyword stuffing! Also, if the product category descriptions are unique and fresh, readers and customers will love them. To conclude, making a time investment in quality product category descriptions will pay off both in terms of SEO and the satisfaction of our clients.
2. Keywords – use wisely!
Content alone, be it of the highest quality, is not sufficient to get your page to rank first in the search results. Key phrases, also known as keywords, are crucial here. Keywords are the very words users enter into the search engine in order to get results about specific products, services or pieces of information. Stay keyword-oriented when optimizing the page and creating the content. According to various sources, the correct keyword density in a block of text is approximately 5%. However, this depends on the particular key phrases. How?
Keywords frequently used by our search results competitors should appear in our content more often. On the other hand, the less competitive ones can be used less frequently. Text volume needs to be taken into account. Best practice is creating longer texts – they are determined by Google algorithms as more valuable, allowing us also for a more dense use of particular keywords. Dedicated keyword planning tools are a good choice for making lists of key phrases for your texts. For instance – a free Google Adwords keyword planner tool is worth your attention. This tool allows us to determine which are the top keywords in our business. Using it (or other similar tools) will also reveal which phrases are most valuable for our competitors.
For the best results in keyword selection, read also the following post: The Essentials of SEO Keyword Research
3. Meta tags: title / description / headers
Page title <title>
Page title – an often overlooked, very important element of our site. On its basis a search engine determines the main subject of our website. The page title is also displayed directly in the search results. You can find it just above the page URL. The title is also what is displayed after hovering the cursor over the page tab in a browser. When optimizing, the best way to go is to place one keyword per title. Also, always keep the title unique. It should be different from both your competitors’ titles, and other titles on your own page.
Meta description is also displayed in the search results. You can find it below the title and the page URL. The description should attract the users’ attention. It may significantly increase the number of clicks on our site, which in turn leads to an increased position of the page in the search results.
We must not forget that creating the valuable content is not enough – proper text formatting needs to be applied too. The text should be transparent and as reader-friendly as possible. These are the features that Google algorithm seeks. Each piece of content should be divided into paragraphs. For longer blocks of text use headers H1, H2, H3… etc. (HTML markers defining the structure of the text).
H1 header (main) with keywords (preferably unaltered) is fit for the text title.
Consequently, H2 header works well as a subtitle. It is also good to include page-relevant focus keywords in it. However, going too far is never worth it! You always need to put the reader first. Any unnaturally placed keywords or unnatural phrasing in the text will only discourage from further reading.
4. Images on the site
File size and image size (resolution)
Do not underestimate SEO significance of images on your site. Especially if it’s a site with large number of photos. Photographers’ portfolios can serve as an excellent example. Too “heavy” images (resolution too high and incorrect compression) will negatively affect the speed of page loading, which is also an important evaluation factor for search engine robots, not to mention the impatient users. A good practice is keeping the illustrations / photos size under does 200KB.
Website loading speed (both desktop and mobile) can be monitored with Page Speed Insights tool. Apart from the data about loading speed, the tool provides tips on how to speed the site up. A result below 60/100 is a warning for us, indicated also with red color. For quality lossless images optimization, you can use TinyJpg tool.
Image file name
Generally, automatically generated file names should be avoided. File names are read by search engine crawlers and the users see them too. It’s good to keep them natural then, inserting some keywords there too. The words in the file name should be separated with “-” character. Also, keep away all characters specific to a particular language. The name should be kept rather short. For instance, an appropriate image file name can be: hanging-lamp.jpg
Image descriptions (alt HTML attribute)
Another important thing are the alternative descriptions of images posted. They allow the users to find out what’s in the pictures, charts, etc. During page loading alternative descriptions are displayed instead of images. Also, they are read for the users who are blind. The alt descriptions should therefore contain a concise description of what’s in the picture. But are they relevant SEO-wise? But of course. The alt descriptions are also relevant for Google’s crawlers. For us alt descriptions are a way to emphasize the type of content on a home page or a page.
5. Internal linking
The main purpose of internal links is to make it easier for search robots to crawl the site smoothly. The number of internal links positively influences the site’s search results ranking. Therefore referring users to other valuable pieces of content on our website should be done as often as possible. A perfect space for it is at the bottom of each blog post – a phrase “read also” followed by internal links to other sub-pages on similar topics is for this reason common. And it’s the way it should be. Internal linking allows reusing pieces of content written, for instance, a year earlier. It’s also a way to bring the updated versions of old blog posts to the users’ attention. Another internal linking solution is a menu redirecting users to particular content categories. We must keep in mind that the only menu correct SEO-wise is text-based. If you create a menu with images, it will perform much worse in terms of SEO.
Correct URLs should provide information about site content, so that the user knows where he or she will be redirected after clicking the link. Including keywords is a definitely good idea, provided any special characters etc. are kept away. For instance, characters like “?”, “$” or language-specific characters can cause Google indexation errors. Nor can the URL be too long too. Optimally, it should have around 100 characters. Instead of using underscores, use dashes to separate individual words. Only they will be properly read by both users and crawlers.
There are plenty of ways to optimize a website. The ones presented here can be carried out by each and any of us. Equally easy to use are the optimization tools that we’ve shown.
However, before we’re done with this topic, let’s highlight the most important thing once again. Readers and customers always come first. It’s first and foremost their satisfaction what should matter while creating content on our homepage, pages or blogs. All in all, it’s what matters to us too. And even hypothetically, if we had secured the first places all over the search results, a satisfactory conversion is not guaranteed if we don’t do our best to gain sympathy and trust of the users.