If your struggling to with Search Engine results and the SEO topic seems allusive or overwhelming then please continue reading. In our topic today we will outline several practical things that you can do to help rank your pages higher in search engines.
First let’s start with the big no-no; which is, don’t try to game the system by key word stuffing.
“Keyword stuffing” refers to the practice of loading a webpage with keywords or numbers in an attempt to manipulate a site’s ranking in Google search results. Often these keywords appear in a list or group, or out of context (not as natural prose).
Google hates this practice and employs algorithms that will actually rank your site lower instead of higher. Make your site read like a human wrote it and you shouldn’t have a problem.
THINGS YOU NEED TO DO:
Fix the major problems that will cause Google to penalize your site and reduce it’s ranking.
- Make sure your pages are not duplicated. The primary way website administrators create this mistake is by not optimizing the way the site URL redirects to one location. In other words; your site should not redirect to both http://[yoursitename.com] and http://www.[yoursitename.com] because Google sees this as a duplicate page and it effects your ranking. Configure your website to redirect all www request to http://[yoursitename.com]; and for best practices use encryption HTTPS://[yoursitename.com]. Google now gives websites a small ranking boost when it uses HTTPS encryption.
- Always use a title tag. Leaving the title tag blank will penalize your site.
- Always use a meta description on your pages. Meta descriptions don’t help with key word searches but Google does use them to return information from your page to it’s users.
- Make sure any 404 “File Not Found” errors are corrected with redirects. If not resolved, 404 errors can have a negative impact on SEO. However, this type of error can easily be corrected with WordPress plugins such as Pretty Link.
There are many great tools that will analyze your site for major and minor issues which can save you a lot of work when optimizing your site. We use MOZ.com for our clients.
Make sure that your keywords are located in 4 places on your page.
- The title tag of your page
- The file name associated with your permalink.
TIP: Never name your page Title or permalink HOME. It should always include keywords.
- The header <H1> section of your page.
- The body of your page. Only place the keywords once or twice in your body and when you do try to set them as bold.
Boost your website speed
Poor hosting partners and page load speed will cost you in the long run. A recent article on High Scalability noted that anytime Amazon has a 100 millisecond delay sales decrease by 1%. Akamai has reported that 75% of online shoppers who experience slowness from a site will not purchase from that site.
Here are some easy tips to get speed up your site and to analyze it’s performance:
- Optimize your images – images are the #1 culprit for web page slowness and usually consumes around 65% of the bandwidth needed to load the page.
- Reduce the size of your images so that the dimensions are the same as the space they display on your site. In other words, don’t upload a 1000px width image and position it into a 100px frame; resize or crop the image to 100px width.
- Compress your images, especially those under 60K. The user will not see the difference and your page will load much faster. You can use a plugin like Kraken.io to compress images in WordPress. *
- Test your page speed at Google Page Speed Insights.
- Pingdom is also a great tool for analyzing how long an element actually takes to load on your page.
- Use a caching plugin or host *
- Use a CDN such as CloudFlare *
- Minify your CSS and combine them into one file
Optimize your website
Yoast SEO plugin is a great tool for optimizing your website. It’s features and functionality checks simple things you’re bound to forget.
- Setup the Yoast default settings in WordPress
- Use Yoast when editing a page by taking advantage of the ‘Focus keyword’ analyzer.
Use Google’s Google Search Console (formally know as Webmaster Tools)
- Use the Google Search Console >> Data Highlighter to setup structured data for categorization on Google Search results.
- Correct errors in Sitemaps and Crawls and check your errors report once a week.
If you have any additional ideas or tips on how help with search engine optimization I would be grateful for your comments.