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What is SEO and why do you need it?

Search Engine Optimization

July 17, 2020
  1. Be BFFs with Google. The search engine uses algorithms to aide in ranking web pages. If you don't take the time to learn how to meet and exceed their ranking standards, don't expect your website to be ranked which translates to less visibility. Not only do you have to educate yourself about Google's algorithms, but you have to KEEP doing it. Why? The search engine's algorithms are estimated to be changed or tweaked several hundred times each year. This means that you must be able to switch gears often to keep your website ranked by Google.
  2. Make your keywords count. Although consistent and innovative content for a web page is important, keywords are even more so. Think of it this way. If your website is dedicated to real estate, but a fair amount of your content focuses on the economy without properly referencing how it affects real estate, it is not likely to be a ranked search result for you. Know your audience and what kind of information and services they are looking for and how it relates specifically to your products and services. This is one of the best places to start keyword research.
  3. Help users read between the lines. It is estimated that seventy-five percent of adults utilize glasses or contact lenses. That could potentially be three-quarters of all of your website visitors. So a priority for your website becomes making it clearly readable for the vast majority of users. Simple ways to make website content easier on the eyes can include incorporating larger font sizes, smaller paragraphs, and the inclusion of a fair amount of white space. Google is looking for the inclusion of certain signals that demonstrate you are doing this. Bulleted lists or numbered lists, not only helps your user but also signals to Google you have added elements that make the page easier to read, scan and digest. All of these techniques lend themselves to a web page appearing cleaner, less cluttered, and more attractive to the eye.
  4. Ensure a good site speed. It won't matter what amazing things are on your website if it takes more than ten seconds to download. We live in a culture of immediate gratification, so by five to ten seconds in, if your page has not loaded your web page visitor has moved on and probably to a site that loads faster. One easy way to decrease page load time is to ensure the size of images are not too large for the page to properly handle. Make sure you compress images before posting them and don't go so overboard with a web design that it adds critical seconds to a page's overall load time.
  5. Have accessible content. Google typically defines a website setup that is accessible amongst multiple devices a responsive web design. Why is this important? A website that looks fantastic on a desktop but crashes if you try to access it by smartphone does next to nothing. The goal is to have your website be user friendly and consistent in appearance and function whether someone is visiting it on a desktop, tablet, or smart phone. And yes, your website must be accessible to all devices because different demographics use different technology. If you choose to shortchange one demographic, you are just standing in your own way.
  6. Stay up to date on technology. There is a ton of website technology out there, but that doesn't mean you should use them all. It will slow the loading time of pages and not only that, but some of them do not work the same across desktops, smart phones, and tablets. Video embedding is something that can be particularly tricky. If you use technology to embed a video that will not play properly, Google knows it and it won't help your website's Google ranking. Additionally, make sure your website is up today and free from hacks. A hacked website is often marked as such in the SERPS. This is a bad signal to the end-user about how you do business.
  1. Avoid giving your users a "fat-finger-complex." You know what it's like if you've ever tried to type out a text before and your finger keeps hitting everything but the letter you mean to. Be careful not to shrink down graphics, links, and interactive buttons on your web pages so that they are difficult to engage with. It is irritating to users and Google, and no one likes to think they have fat fingers. Google has become so aware of this problem they have newly added Google Core Web Vitals to help address this and other end-user issue that they perceive is an impediment to end-user experience (ux).
  2. Incorporate SEO into the entire website. Google ranks pages, not websites. It is an important distinction. If you have perfect SEO on only one page of your website, it is the only page that will be ranked. It is like trying to water your lawn with a squirt bottle. Technically it works, but not very well. Make SEO best practices a part of every page of your website to work your way up to the top of Google's search rankings for the time you are actively pursuing SEO strategy and well after.
  3. The Title Tag. The title tag on pages of your website tells search engines what the page is about. It should be 70 characters or less and include your business or brand name and keywords that relate to that specific page only. This tag is placed between the <HEAD> </HEAD> tags near the top of the HTML code for the page.
  4. The Meta Description.  The meta description on pages of your website gives search engines a little more insight into what your page is about. There is still debate about whether meta descriptions can help with keyword rankings. Regardless, you want to write your meta description with a human audience in mind that includes the page's main keywords, as the meta description does show up in search results.
  5. Image Name & ALT Tags - If you use images on your website, you should think of good keywords for both the image name and the alt tag. On the first image within the post, we use <img src="on-site-search-optimization-seo-title-tag.png" alt="On-Site Search Optimization SEO Title Tag" /> as the goal is to optimize it for the keywords on-site search optimization. This helps search engines find good images for their image search based on the keywords specified.
  6. Use WEBP images - WebP is a method of lossy and lossless compression that can be used on a large variety of photographic, translucent and graphical images found on the web. The degree of lossy compression is adjustable so a user can choose the trade-off between file size and image quality. WebP typically achieves an average of 30% more compression than JPEG and JPEG 2000, without loss of image quality. (A new image format for the Web)

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Revised: 08/26/20