Search Engine Optimization (or SEO) is a way to improve a website’s visibility so that it appears in results on search engines like Google, Yahoo, and Bing. Getting found in search results is a crucial part of driving visitors to your website and it is worth considering hiring a SEO expert to evaluate your site and optimize it for the best search ranking possible. But, if that isn’t in your budget, all is not lost! Here is a list of 10 free SEO tips you can implement on your site today to help improve its search engine ranking.
1. Use Descriptive and Accurate Titles
Search engines like Google like page and content titles that are descriptive and help users understand what the website or page is about. Take a look at this blog entry for instance. The title is “10 Easy-to-Implement SEO Tips” and the content of the article contains… 10 easy-to-implement SEO tips! Now, imagine I had instead chosen the title “SEO.” Which title is more descriptive? What gives you more information about what you’re about to read? Make sure your titles are similarly descriptive and accurate.
2. Use Keywords Organically in Your Content
When search engines crawl websites, they look for certain keywords and phrases so be sure to include relevant terms throughout your content. For instance, in this blog entry, I have the words “SEO,” “search engine,” “”SEO Tips,” “Google,” and other relevant terms scattered about the text. However, the trick here is to do this organically and naturally. Don’t cram keywords onto your page in attempt to woo Google. The rule of thumb is: Write for humans, not for search engines.
3. Include Data about your Photos
People also use search engines to search photos, for instance via Google image search. You have the opportunity to drive people to your website via its images by including image descriptions. Make sure you write out descriptive information in the ALT tags for each of your photos and that your image filenames are descriptive, too.
Good for SEO: <img src=”bulldog-puppy.jpg” width=”100″ height=”100″ alt=”Old English Bulldog Puppy”>
Bad for SEO: <img src=”img-3568.jpg” width=”100″ height=”100″ alt=”Photo”>
4. But, Don’t Place Important Text IN Photos
Providing descriptive information for your photos is a good SEO best practice, but search engines cannot crawl, index, or otherwise “read” the content of images, so be sure to put all writing in text on your site. For instance, on my blog, note that each blog entry has a large featured image but the blog entry titles are written out in text.
5. Make Your Page URLs Readable and Relevant
Like descriptive page and post titles, image file names, and ALT tags, search engines favor readable and descriptive URLs. For instance:
Good for SEO: www.lauriakosi.com/blog/
Bad for SEO: www.lauriakosi.com/ab678/
If your site is on WordPress, make sure you have selected a readable URL format under SETTINGS > PERMALINKS. Choose either the “Day and Name,” “Month and Name,” or “Post Name” link formats to make sure your URLs are descriptive and readable.
6. Update Your Website Often
Search engines favor websites with content that publishes or updates regularly. Therefore, make a plan to update your site often. Starting a blog – and sticking to a blog schedule – is a great way to ensure that you are constantly adding new content to your website.
7. Use Headings Properly
As we’ve discussed, search engines prefer content that is readable and descriptive. That includes using <H> tags in the proper order on a page. The <H> (or heading) tags are, from largest to smallest:
These headings operate in this order, meaning that the <H1> tag would be used for page titles, <h2> for secondary content, <H3> for tertiary content under <h2>, and so forth. Try your best to use these headings in the right order.
8. Research Keywords
Take some time to research common keywords people are actually searching for in relation to your subject area using an online keyword tool. There are quite a few of these tools available, including: Keywordtool.io, Soolve, Jaaxy, and the Google Search Console.
9. Use SEO Tools
If your site is on WordPress, there are several plugins available to help with SEO. Some of these include Yoast SEO, All in One SEO, and The SEO Framework. These plugins prompt you to enter information about your pages and posts to improve search engine readability. These plugins also generate XML sitemaps for your website, which helps search engines crawl and index your site.
The Genesis Framework and other WordPress frameworks and themes come with built-in SEO tools.
10. Make Sure Your Website is Mobile-Responsive
Last, but most certainly not least, make sure your website is mobile-responsive. Not only do Google and other search engines privilege mobile-responsive sites over non-responsive ones in search result rankings, but an ever growing number of website visitors browse the web on mobile devices and will quickly bounce from sites that are unreadable on those devices.