SEO Guide, Indexing and Ranking – Technical SEO can often be brushed aside a bit too easily in favour of things like content creation, social media and link building. However I’ve always believed that there are many opportunities for increasing traffic by looking inwards rather than outwards. One of the biggest areas of this for me is to make sure that your website is as accessible as possible to the search engines.
It’s quite simple really – if the search engines can’t crawl your website efficiently, you’re unlikely to rank. Even links and social shares won’t solve severe accessibility issues so the knock on impact is that your link building will look inaffective. This is the last thing you want because link building can be hard anyway, you don’t want to cripple yourself before you’ve even started.
So in this post I’m going to talk through some of the key areas you need to think about when it comes to making your website accessible. An accessible website means that all target pages will be indexed and have the opportunity to rank for your target keywords.
Title tags SEO Guide
Keywords in Title – The title tag is considered one of the most important on-page SEO elements, so remember to use keywords in it. For higher rankings, place important keywords towards the beginning of your title. Because the title text is usually the most prominent part of your page displayed in search results, make it click-enticing and appealing to human searchers.
Title Length – The title tag is one of the most important on-page elements, so give it particular attention. Not only do search engines consider the title to understand what your page is about, but they also show it to users in search results.
Hence, it’s important that your title is both keyword-rich and appealing to human searchers. For higher rankings, place your keyword(s) towards the beginning of the title. Also try to keep title tags relatively short, as titles that exceed 70 characters may get truncated by search engines.
Besides, titles that are too long, too short (e.g., SEO Guide, Indexing and Ranking) or unrelated to the page’s content may get overwritten by search engines.
Multiple tags – According to HTML coding best practices, each webpage should have just onetag. If multiple title tags are found on a page, search engines may be confused as to which title text to show in search results or may overwrite both your titles altogether.
Meta Tags SEO Guide
Keywords in meta description tag – The meta description is an important on-page element, so pay particular attention to it. Not only do search engines consider it to understand what your page is about, but they also display your meta description in search results. Hence, make your meta description both keyword-rich and appealing to human searchers.
Note: Meta descriptions that are not in line with the page’s content (or are overly long/short) may be ignored by search engines, and the latter may pick a random text snippet to show in search results instead of your description.
Meta Description length – The meta description is an important on-page element, so give it particular attention. Not only do search engines consider it to understand what your page is about, but they also show it to users in search results.
Hence, it’s important that your meta description is both keyword-rich and appealing to human searchers. For higher rankings, place keyword(s) towards the beginning of your meta description. Also try to keep meta descriptions relatively short, because descriptions that exceed 160 characters may get truncated by search engines.
Note: meta descriptions that are unrelated to the page’s content or contain irrelevant keywords may get overwritten by search engines
Multiple Meta Descriptions Tags – According to HTML coding best practices, each page should have just one meta description tag. If multiple meta descriptions are found on a page, search engines may be confused as to which one to display in search results or may overwrite both your meta descriptions altogether.
Keywords in Meta Keywords Tag – The meta keywords tag used to play a big role at the dawn of the Internet, but is largely ignored by search engines today. Besides, if it has your keywords, you run a risk of handing your keyword strategy over to the competitors.
However, if you still choose to use the meta keywords tag (e.g., if you target search engines like Baidu that are believed to still rely on meta keywords), make sure it’s relevant to the page’s content and contains a moderate number or keywords. Also, use comma (,) to separate keywords within the tag.
Body content SEO Guide
Keywords in Body – If your target keywords are present in the webpage’s body, the page stands a better chance of high rankings. For greater impact, place keywords towards the beginning of your page. You can use keywords without any additional tags on the page, or put your target search terms in tags like H1, H2-H6, Bold, Italic or Link anchor.
Such tags are also part of your page’s body and should be attended to during its optimization. Also try to make the page’s content not only keyword-rich, but also appealing to human visitors: maintain a logical structure, use headings and bullet points, add visuals and other multi-media content.
Be sure to refrain from black-hat page optimization SEO practices (such as keyword stuffing, making your text the same color as the background, etc.), while these could incur a search engine penalty.