There are some basic SEO steps that all website owners should undertake to improve their Google ranking. There are also some issues to be avoided, as they will damage a site’s ranking. Below is a checklist covering 10 important dos and don’ts of website SEO.
1. Do make sure your page title does the hard work
The title tag tells Google’s spiders what the page is about but Google only displays the first 50 to 60 characters in search results. Therefore keep your title tag within that number and ensure your chosen keyword and page topics are at the front for maximum impact.
2. Do choose and use keywords carefully
Use a good Keyword planner to choose your keyword for each page. Improve your chances of success by choosing less competitive keywords and long-tail keywords that searchers may use. Use your keyword a number of times on each page but do not over-use it. Overuse is seen as ‘keyword stuffing’, a behavior that can lead to Google demoting a site’s ranking.
3. Do make your website mobile-friendly
Over half of searches are carried out on mobile devices but Google won’t display sites in search results unless they are mobile-optimised. Mobile-friendly means fast page-load speeds, large buttons on screens for thumb pressing, and a different screen layout compared to that on desktop PCs.
4. Do optimise images and videos
Use a suitable software package to optimise image sizes to reduce page-load times. Also, use a video hosting site for any website videos. Hosting videos or large images on a website slows page-load times and is detrimental to ranking well.
Do add alt-text descriptions for each image and video. Google spiders are unable to crawl images and rely on the alt-text to explain the content which helps SEO.
5. Do regularly add fresh content
Search engines won’t send searchers to websites that have stagnated. Continually updating a website and adding fresh content tells Google it is active and boosts its ranking. Regular blogs are a great way to freshen up the content of a website.
6. Do not use Flash
Due to linking difficulties, Google ranks sites using Flash lower than those using alternative platforms.
7. Do not copy content from other sources
Google dislikes duplicate content. Ensure all website content is unique. Also, ensure content is well-written with good grammar, correct spelling, and proper punctuation. Google punishes badly written websites.
8. The do’s and don’ts of linking
Internal website links are helpful provided it is not overdone. Inbound links, especially those from high-ranking sites, are gold dust for SEO and should be encouraged. Conversely, do not link to a multitude of external websites, as this adversely affects the Google ranking.
9. If appropriate, do optimise for local searches
Local businesses can’t compete for ranking with the multi-nationals but Google and Bing’s local search initiatives provide a fantastic opportunity for local businesses to rank well in their area. Adding local place names to longtail keywords is essential for local SEO.
10. Do not cheat!
Every website owner will be approached by businesses offering a Google page 1 ranking. If only it were that easy! Buying backlinks and having hidden links rarely works in the long term and usually has an adverse effect on ranking.
Applying the above 10 tips covering the basic do’s and don’ts of SEO will help new websites climb the rankings for all the main search engines.