Has someone you know ever mentioned how SEO is important for driving an online business? Maybe you’ve heard others talk about a website getting organic traffic (and no I’m not talking about GMO’s).
SEO or Search Engine Optimization is the process of optimizing a website to boost its search result rankings on search engines like Google or Bing. What this means is that your website will show up more often to people that search online for the services you offer. What’s different about this compared to paid advertisements, is that this is organic traffic and that other than the time it takes to set a few things up, it is in a way free advertising. The process of optimizing your website however is a constantly changing game and there are professionals out there that enhance SEO for businesses constantly. However, with these simple tricks, your website can rank higher in search results and eventually draw in more visitors on a daily basis.
- Improved page titles and descriptions
An easy to understand page title with a great description that describes exactly what someone should expect when visiting your website can help not just with SEO, but for the overall user experience as well. Title tags and meta descriptions as they’re more commonly known, are what shows up, for example, when someone shares your website or page in a social media post, such as on Facebook or Twitter. In relation to SEO, search engines like Google and Bing also rank websites higher if the page content is described more closely to what shows up in the actual search results. Most website builders usually allow for these to easily be edited by the user, often through either the page settings or 3rd-party plugins/services. For example, WordPress has many plugins both free and paid that let you customize the description and title tags of each individual page, while also sometimes offering suggestions for SEO beginners. In general, you should aim for including keywords in your title and description that you’d expect a user to be searching for when trying to find a site like yours. Doing this simple edit may mean the difference between a first page result or the often never reached second page result.
- Better image resolutions
Ever go to a website and be instantly transported back to dial-up days when pictures are loaded in at the speed of what looks to be scanlines across your screen? Or when you see a horizontal scrollbar appear at the bottom of your phone or monitor because the background image is gigantic? A little irritating, no? Well not only does this irritate the user and make them leave the website, but also it shows search engines that you aren’t sizing your images on the page correctly in the days of responsive web design. When you include an image on a page or post, you should ensure you have determined the correct size needed for where it will be placed. Some website builders will take care of this for you and resize the image into multiple resolutions and load the most performant one based on the user’s viewing device. However, performing your own edits beforehand using some free or paid image editing software can also help. Typically you want to aim for around 2 times the actual image size needed as more devices follow the retina-ready approach to image sizing.
- Faster page loading speeds
Say you click on a website and see a blank screen for more than 3 seconds. At first you may walk over to a different part of the room thinking that will work but still no success. Well it could really be because of the website you’re visiting. They could be using a slow hosting provider for their site. Maybe they’re not utilizing a caching system to enable faster loading. Their site could also have some of those previously discussed large images that are trying to load before the page even shows. What this translates to is not only a poor user experience with possible unneeded extra usage of a data plan, but a lower rank in the eyes of a search engine. Back in July 2018, Google posted about page loading speeds as a ranking factor for SEO going forward. Some simple fixes are as follows:
- A speed-focused hosting provider that utilizes modern technology and hardware in their services offered (e.g. SiteGround).
- A caching system that will store page assets (like images) on the server and client devices temporarily to prevent the need to download them every time a page is reloaded.
- Better optimized images that are properly sized and possibly utilize a CDN (content delivery network) to speed up load times.
Using any one of these tips should enhance your search rank online but as previously mentioned, SEO is a constantly-changing game with new ranking factors used by search engines being introduced every year and even more tools being built to track the performance as sites progress.