Ever want a simple checklist you can incorporate to quickly boost your content’s SEO performance? If so, then I have the plan for you.
Since one of your goals is probably to increase your website traffic—or at least it should be—you’ll want to make sure you’re utilizing simple best practices to help your website content appear in organic search results. And sometimes, just sometimes, a simple checklist is a good way to knock out fixes to improve website organic performance.
This one’s easy. Assuming you’ve identified keywords that align to your page content, create a title tag for each page. This is a quick descriptor—no more than 50 to 60 characters long—of what is being discussed on that page. Make sure to integrate the prime keyword that you’re looking to rank for in that title. The title tag not only shows up in the browser title bar when a visitor views that page, but also becomes the title in search engine results and serves as the first identifier for your content.
Similar to the title tag, utilize your keywords again and create a description of what the reader expects to find on your page. Although the meta description will not actually appear on your web page itself, it will appear in search results beneath the title tag and will reinforce that title as the description of what users should expect to find when they visit that page. The best practice is to limit this message to no more than 155 characters so the message doesn’t get cut off in search results. The meta description is also a great place to insert calls-to-action for what visitors should do when coming to your content. For example, you could add “Read this” or “Download our Whitepaper” into the meta description.
Consider your page content and the different elements that will make up how you’re going to lay it out. I’m sure you plan to have a headline with body text below it. When coding the page, make sure that your headline is properly coded as an H1 tag, which will help search engine crawlers identify what your web page content discusses. Other heading tags, such as H2, H3 and so on, should be used for other bold subheadings or breakpoints in your content to call out important pieces of the message.
Yes, of course, you have pages and pages of excellent content on your website that everyone wants to read. What website doesn’t? But there’s a trick to having the right content in one place. If you run into a situation where you have the same page of content living underneath two different categories, those pages will begin to battle each other for search positions. Not knowing which page should take priority, a search engine will choose one over the other, which may not be what you want to happen.
Not to worry, this does happen from time to time and there is a solution. By utilizing a canonical URL to prioritize the page you’d like to rank for, you’re telling a crawler the page priority and not the other way around. Using a canonical URL will not only set the preferred web page, but it will also improve your SEO relevance.
For more on the proper use of canonical URLs, check out this explanation from Google Search Console.
“Look at the pretty pictures,” they say. But did you know that those images on your web pages enhance the story your written text is already telling? Remember that a search engine crawler cannot see pictures, but they can read. Adding descriptions for your images as alternative text (often called alt text), is a great place to continue to utilize your target keywords as well.
So when including images on your website, make sure to include a real description for the actual image filename being uploaded and not simply random letters and numbers. For example, if the page is all about how to choose landscaping, and you have a photo of shrubbery, you might want to name your photo “landscape-shrubbery.jpg” instead of “M34117.jpg.”
If you make connections between the relevant and complementary content or topics found on your various web pages, using hyperlinked text and page links, you will be rewarded with better search engine performance. This is because search engines assign higher rankings to sites with content pages that relate to and complement each other. So if you have high-level pages that include actual text about articles or products on your site, make sure you’re including links to those article pages on the higher-level pages. Similarly, if you create blogs with common content, or that relate to other pieces of content on your site, make sure you’re adding that text with hyperlinks to those pages. Search engines will find that you are offering relevant content to readers, which does have an effect on your overall SEO performance. Your readers also will appreciate the quick links to more content, too!
Now this is just a start as there are many other factors and steps to achieving optimal website SEO performance. But don’t become overwhelmed; optimizing your website content takes time and effort and should be viewed as a long-term program, not a one-and-done project.