SEO stands for search engine optimization. The goal of SEO is to expand a company’s visibility in organic search results. As a result, these efforts drive more visitors to the company’s website, increasing their chances for more conversions which leads to more customers and more revenue. As of June 2021, 92% of internet searches happen on a Google property.
You need to secure your site with an SSL certificate. This ensures the site visitor personal information is protected. You also can set up a firewall at the DNS level to keep your site from getting hacked.
- Keep your site backups stored in a different location than your website.
- Have site monitoring turned on so you receive alerts if your site goes down or if there is any kind of security threat.
- Be sure you are compliant with credit card regulations if you have purchase transactions taking place on your site. Shopify has some great info here.
Site health is all related to the platform your site is built on and how many plugins etc. In order for search engines to serve your site as a result of a search, you want to have your site in top shape. This means making sure all your meta information is in tact and written well. You will also want to avoid using large images as that will slow your site speed. Plugins are not recommended unless absolutely necessary.
Mobile-first indexing means Google predominantly uses the mobile version of the content for indexing and ranking. Ensure you have a mobile friendly website. Back in July 1, 2019, mobile-first indexing was enabled by default for all new websites (new to the web or previously unknown to Google Search).
- Use Google Search Console to find out everything you need to know about the mobile experience of your site.
- Check your website mobile speed here.
META TITLES, DESCRIPTIONS AND ALT TAGS
A meta description is an HTML tag used to describe the content of a web page. This description will show up below the title and URL of your page as it appears in the search engine results. In order to remain visible within Google, your meta description should be kept somewhere between 140-160 characters.
Google gives room for about a 1-2 sentence (160-character) summary below every search result. So, in one to two sentences, your descriptions should offer a compelling reason to visit the webpage. Add a clear call to action, address an emotional pain point, or offer a specific benefit to visitors.
- If it is too long, it won’t fit, Google will truncate it, and people will not understand what your site can provide.
- If it is too vague, people just won’t care. There are always other results to click on.
Title tags tell people and search engines the topic of the webpage. They also tell search engines an estimate of how relevant a page is to a searcher’s query. Title tags are also often called Page Titles. You might also hear them referred to as Website Titles or HTML titles.
The title tag is the clickable title of a webpage that appears with the result on the SERP (search engine page results page). To set a page title, use the <title> tag in the HTML around your text. Most content management systems like WordPress have forms to automatically set <title> tags around the page titles on your website when creating new pages.
Titles show on the browser tab and also on the SERP (Search Engine Results Page).
Image Alt Tags
Google’s vision for the future is to make search more visual. You’ll notice when you type in a search, sometimes images show up on the SERP. When you upload an image to your site, be sure it’s been optimized for size (images are big culprits for slowing site speed). And be sure to give the image an Alt tag. Alt tags provide a text alternative for an image for search engines and those using screen readers to access a web page.
CORE WEB VITALS
This year (2022), Google will be launching its benchmarks for the core web vitals.
Here are the main core web vitals:
- LCP (largest contentful paint) – This is an important, user-centric metric for measuring perceived load speed because it marks the point in the page load timeline when the page’s main content has likely loaded—a fast LCP helps reassure the user that the page is useful. To provide a good user experience, sites should strive to have Largest Contentful Paint of 2.5 seconds or less.
- FID (first input delay) – The time from when a user first interacts with your page (when they clicked a link, tapped on a button, and so on) to the time when the browser responds to that interaction.
- CLS (cumulative layout shift) – CLS measures the sum total of all individual layout shift scores for every unexpected layout shift that occurs during the entire lifespan of the page.
Prioritize your issues: We recommend fixing everything labeled “Poor” first, then prioritize your work either by issues that affect the most URLs, or by issues that affect your most important URLs. URLs labeled “Needs improvement” could be improved, but are less important to fix than Poor URLs.
When you’ve fixed a specific issue in all of your URLs, you can confirm whether you fixed the issue for all URLs. Click Start Tracking Google Search Console to start a 28-day monitoring session to check for instances of this issue in your site.
Google now categorizes user searches by user intent. “User intent” refers to what a user was thinking when they types their search into Google (or any other search engine). Create content based on the intent–vs “ranking for keywords”. You want people looking for general info to find your site.
Types of Intent:
- Navigational intent: Trying to find something
- Informational intent: Trying to learn more about something
- Transactional intent: Trying to complete a specific action
- Commercial intent: Trying to learn more before making a purchase decision
COMPETITOR GAP ANALYSIS
Review your competitor sites to learn what their site is known for–this tells you where you have opportunity. Gap analysis is the process of analyzing competitor sites against yours to determine the gaps–which areas is your site strong and which ones are weak. Once you are able to pin down the weak areas you can focus on building better content for those areas.
GOOGLE BUSINESS PAGE
Make sure you set up your Google Business Page. Get it verified. Set up all the information – the more details, the better. Once verified, you will show up on Google Search. (If you have an address you will show up on Google Maps, too.)
Don’t rushyour content for your website pages and blogs. The content needs to engage your audience (not just attempt to drop in keywords to gain rank–it won’t work). If you have videos brochures or infographics, add those to the site.
ORIGINAL IMAGES & VIDEO
Use your own content to differentiate your brand from others. Stock imagery can be used in some instances to build out concepts, but always try to use your own custom content. We live in a world where authentic, less “markety” type of content resonates while “stock” and over polished marketing turns people off.
If you are not measuring the results, you will not be able to drive success. SEO requires a strong connection with the brand and the SEO service provider. Meet to review results monthly.