One of the most important, but often overlooked, parts of any website is quality technical search engine optimization (SEO).
Writing quality content is a great SEO strategy for any website, but without a good backbone, that content won’t get the credit it deserves. The solution: make your website indexable by ensuring search engines can read and analyze the structure of your site. Follow these steps to ensure your site meets the standards for great technical SEO.
Necessary Elements for an Optimized Page
Create Quality Page Titles and Meta Descriptions
It’s important to craft a good page title and meta description to help with page ranking and ensure an optimal click through ratio. A page title is the blue link text that appears in search engine results pages (SERPs) and is immediately followed by a paragraph of text known as the meta description.
Page titles and meta descriptions should be a relevant, concise description of the page’s content. It’s recommended that page titles be approximately 50–60 characters long, and should close with the name of your brand / business. Your title can be longer, but be sure to keep the important, page-defining content near the beginning. You can read more on page titles here.
For meta descriptions, you have more room to breathe, with 150–320 characters to work with. Google recently changed the length of their snippets, so going a bit longer is now considered best practice. You can read more on meta descriptions here.
Proper Use of Heading Tags
More commonly known as H1, H2, H3, and so on, these tags help search engines understand the structure of your page. The H1 tag should generally only be used once per page to outline the title of that page and/or blog article. While H2, H3, and beyond can be freely used throughout to break up and narrate the content. However, there is an exception. With the HTML5 spec and the advent of “sections,” you are now able to separate a single page into multiple sections, each with their own heading structure. This means that you could use a single H1 for each section. This is more commonly used on the index page of a blog where there are multiple articles listed, each with their own heading. Find out more information on using multiple H1 tags here.
Don’t Forget the Alt Tags on Your Images
While images can help make or break the look of a site, search engines are unable to read or understand the content of images. The solution is the alt tag. Every image that contains any sort of information that could be relevant to a search engine should have an alt tag populated with content describing that image. If this isn’t done, then the search engines will miss out on indexing this content. The other benefit is accessibility of blind or visually impaired people who otherwise wouldn’t know what the image is for. Find out more information on alt tags here.
Sitemaps are a Necessity for Search Engines Indexing Your Site
If you don’t have a sitemap on your website, you are doing yourself a disservice. Without a sitemap present on your site, search engines are burdened to catalog your site based on the links it finds within its pages. A sitemap simplifies the indexing process by providing the search engine with a definitive structure for how your site is arranged, and ultimately, how you want visitors to move through it. Using a plugin like Yoast for WordPress can help you manage your sitemap and ensure it’s properly created and populated. Learn more on XML sitemaps and why you should have one.
Make HTTPS a Priority for Your Site
Google has long stated that all sites should be secured by default behind Secure HyperText Transfer Protocol (HTTPS) as opposed to Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP). They’ve even recently started flagging any page that contains form elements as “insecure by default” if they aren’t secured behind HTTPS. This, along with a small bump in ranking received from using HTTPS, are the best reasons to secure your site. Discover more information on why securing your site with HTTPS is the way to go.
A Slow Loading Site can Affect Your Ranking
Faster sites are not only pleasant to use, but also equate to better rankings. Ensuring your site is properly optimized on both desktop and mobile devices will get you a boost in rankings. By following some best practices for site optimization, you can help ensure your site will be delivered at maximum speed. These include the following:
- Enable Compression
- Minimize Redirects
- Optimize Images
- Leverage Browser Caching
- Use a Content Distribution Network
- Improve Server Response Time
If you are using WordPress, we recommend using the caching plugin WP Rocket to help implement these optimizations. You can find out more information on each of these steps and how to implement page speed optimizations here.
Mobile Friendly Site Design is a Must
The latest reports from Google and other search engines state that more than 60% of traffic is from some form of mobile device. This number will only continue to increase and Google has taken that into account when returning results with it’s ranking algorithm. Making your site responsive and mobile friendly is the best way to ensure you get this rankings boost. Learn more on SEO mobile optimizations here.
Let Kishmish Help You
We know all of this can be complicated, which is why we are here to help you maximize your SEO potential.
Give us a call and we’ll accomplish great things together.