When it comes to your organization’s website, it’s easy to get complacent about its performance and focus on other business goals. After all, having a digital presence in the form of a beautiful, dynamic website means the people you’re trying to find you when they need your products or services, right? Not necessarily. If you aren’t consistently implementing SEO best practices, you could be missing out on key opportunities. With this in mind, here’s a guide to assessing the health of your SEO and making it even better.
Gather the Low-Hanging Fruit First
There are a few items that are easy to check off your SEO to-do list right away. Addressing them can go a long way toward making sure your site shows up where and when it should.
- Page Titles: The title of a page should contain a keyword so that it shows up in a search engine results page (SERP) while being clear and concise so users know what they’ll be seeing.
- Meta Descriptions: A well-written and informative web page summary can influence whether users visit it or not. Again, it’s important to use relevant keywords for searchability.
- Alt-Text: Since search crawlers can’t technically see an image, you should include text that accurately describes what’s being shown.
- Information Architecture and Heading Structure: Keyword-rich header tags help provide structure and organize content for easier navigation.
- Google My Business Listing: This service, offered by Google, lets business owners create a listing for their organization and decide what information they’d like to show, like a description of the business, website URL, phone number and address. This listing will then show up in a search for the business in the form of a featured snippet and on Google Maps!
- Content Audit: Taking time to review how your site’s content is performing against your organization’s goals can help you see where you need to make changes.
“Google Food”—Structured Data and Position Zero
Google is becoming exponentially better at serving users relevant results to their searches. To help tailor SERP results, even more, Google has begun highlighting content that directly answers users’ questions in featured snippets—like product pages, knowledge graphs, “people also ask” questions and more. Implementing schema, or structured data, on pages with relevant or important information, helps Google understand what your page is about and how to pick up this information. Gaining a featured snippet through implementing these tactics can help your site rank above all other results on the SERPs, and this is called “position zero.” So, it’s the very first result users see.
The Power of Local SEO
For many brick-and-mortar businesses, like restaurants, florists, salons and doctors’ offices, the ability to rank well in a location-based search is extremely important. As mentioned earlier, managing and optimizing your Google My Business Listing helps your site in search results overall, but the listing also includes a Google Map to help potential customers easily locate you. It’s also important to consider voice search and how users may find and access your local business. Often, your customers will search for a business near them or in their city, so it’s important to have your listings and website optimized for those specific queries, keywords and locations!
Optimize for Mobile
You’ve probably heard this before, but it’s worth saying again: Your site needs to be optimized for mobile. And since Google has officially switched over to mobile-first indexing, meaning it uses mobile site versions to rank and index websites, yours needs to perform at the same level as a desktop website. This means focusing on ranking factors—navigability, load time, quality and relevance of content—so your site receives a favourable spot on SERPs. This is a bit different from mobile-first design, which is also a very important consideration of how mobile sites are designed to engage users.
It’s a Marathon, Not a Sprint
Algorithms are constantly changing, becoming more advanced to serve better content in new ways. To stay competitive and on top of the latest trends and technology, it’s important to address these SEO basics regularly. And, to make sure you’re always optimizing, ask yourself these questions about every piece of content you feature on your site:
- Is this what I want my business to be known for and how we want to be viewed and/or talked about?
- Is this providing value to whoever is consuming it?
- Can Google easily understand what this page is about?
Source: Rachel Burns, Ruth Rich, https://blueflamethinking.com/blog/seo-best-practices-steps-for-improving-your-websites-performance/, SEO Best Practices: Steps For Improving Your Website’s Performance, Blue Flame Thinking, November 5, 2019