1. Titles and Meta descriptions
The title is the king of your content. It is the first thing web surfer looks at. It must be concise, informative, and eye catching. Google displays only up to 66 characters of a title. Therefore, it’s a good idea to keep your titles short. However, don’t restrict yourself to 66 characters only. Give include all the necessary information in your titles.
As far as Meta descriptions are concerned, Google no longer uses Meta Keywords in ranking criteria. However, Meta descriptions is still just as important. Whenever you share your posts on social media, the meta description appears next to the title. It should not be wordy. Keep it concise, and give a short description of our post in a few lines. Check out the following posts for more information about meta descriptions
Sitemaps are extremely important. And I can’t stress this enough. A sitemap is a list of all the pages present on your website. For search engines to index all of your pages, you need to create a sitemap of your website and submit it to all the major search engines. There are tools that generate sitemaps for you. But it is a long topic, which we have discussed in more detail in previous posts. In fact, these topics are covered in a SEO Series.
This series can further help you to optimize your website for search engines. We recommend you take a look at all the posts in the series for a better SEO understanding.
3. Focus on Keywords
Keywords are the foundation of any search engine. Every search is performed based upon keywords. Users enter keywords in search bars rather than whole sentences. For your blog niche, you need to find out what keywords people are looking for. It would be such a waste if you have a good content but few keywords to take your post into a search list. Therefore, concentrate on using the maximum number of keywords in your posts, especially in the introductory paragraphs.
4. Keep your focus dynamic
Blogging is all about changing trends. Keeping in accordance with the current trends is a good way to keep search engines happy. Search engines like to see latest content on your blog. So keep a look out on the latest happenings around you, and blog about them. Also keep changing your keyword focus. Readers might not always be entering the same search terms. Such things are dynamic, and subject to change. Change your perceptions accordingly, and anticipate what the readers might be looking for. Use keywords accordingly.
Interlinking is one of the most important part of SEO. Always link your new posts to the already existing relevant ones. If your webpages are adequately linked, the older pages that have stalled and are getting lesser and lesser traffic daily will get a new life boost. Secondly, when a search engine sees many links, it knows that the website has a lot of content to offer. But if your pages are standalone, and have no linking, then the search engine might skip the un-linked pages. Not linking pages is a bad practice and should be avoided.
6. Go where there is lesser competition
Putting your efforts in relatively newer markets can pay off if that market grows. Everyone is using popular networks like Facebook and Twitter to propagate their business. So chances are, you have a lot of competition in your niche. So why not try alternative sources as well? Sites like Pinterest are getting hot. And they are new, which gives you the perfect excuse to socialize on them!
7. Look at your content
All SEO tips apart, your content has to be good for it to survive through ages and stay on top of the rankings. SEO tips can only do so much. The rest has to come from the content itself. And writing good quality content is a form of Search Engine Optimization in itself, since it helps with rankings. Once you have written some content, ask yourself the following questions before publishing it
- Does the content make sense?
- Have I used good grimmer and punctuation and made little spelling mistakes?
- Is the content useful?
- It is unique/original?
- It it worth sharing and linking?
- Is it appropriately detailed?
- Does it have visual content, such as images or videos?
- Does it have examples, references, unique ideas?
- Is it interactive enough with the readers?
- Are there enough calls to action to invoke engagement?
- Does it ask readers questions about their own experiences?
If your answer to most of the above questions is yes, then you have got yourself a good content.
8. How to name your files?
This is a small, but very useful tip. Most people overlook it. Give your images and videos meaningful file names before uploading them to your website. For example, instead of using a name like image007 for the intro image, I have named it “top 20 SEO tips”. This helps in better search ranking and is a good SEO practice.
9. Help search engines index your page
To help search engines better index your webpages, you can add a file named robots.txt in your site’s root directory. In that file, add a command “User-agent: *” (without quotes). What this does is, it invites bots to freely crawl pages on your website.
10. Headings and sub headings
Headings are a good way of organizing your content. While writing an article, there are certain W3C guidelines that should be followed. In general, you should use only one h1 heading. This is for the title. Do not used h1 for any further sub heading. Use h2s for main headings. And if there are many main headings, then use h3 for all. If you want them to look bigger, just use CSS styling instead of changing heading levels. Also, number your headings if they have a list, such as this one
11. Social Bookmarking
Social media is a great way of increasing backlinks, and traffic to your blog. Backlinks give you a better search engine ranking. It is a good SEO practice to add bookmarking tools for your readers. Add options for liking on Facebook, or Tweeting on Twitter so that your readers can reshare your content and spread the word.
12. Anchor texts
Anchor texts can be as important as the links themselves. Use keywords instead of using statements like “click here” for links. It is a good SEO practice. Secondly, if you are linking to the same page multiple times, use different anchor text each time. Same anchor texts give the impression that the links have been automated. Search engines don’t like auto-bots. That is the main reason why purchasing backlinks is discouraged, because they use the same anchor texts for your website everywhere.
13. A word about “nofollow”
No follow is a good way of filtering lower quality websites that you are linking to so that it doesn’t look like you are giving away backlinks. It also helps in maintaining a good sites-linking-to-you / sites-to-which-you-are-linking ratio. This ratio can seriously effect your Page rankings. Generally, put a rel=”nofollow” attribute to links that go out to lower quality websites. Also, never add nofollow to any of your own pages.
14. Optimize Images
Image optimization is an essential part of SEO as well. People search for images almost as much as they search for text. Hence it is very important that you make the images on your site easier to find. Always add titles to your images. Search Engines look for titles. Add ALT tags as well. These help in user-accessibility. People who are visually impaired use special browsers to use the internet. These browsers spell out an image’s alt description for such people. Hence, add this attribute to help your disabled fellows.
15. Tags and categories
To make your site easily navigable, don’t use too much tags and categories. Set some categories in your niche at the start, and then stick to those categories. It is a good practice to only add one category to each post. Do not add more than one. That’s bad SEO. You can, however, use multiple tags. For more information, read the following article
16. Update frequently
Search engines love fresh content. But then again, who doesn’t? People are looking for new content every time they visit your website. Whenever I visit any site, the first thing I look for is the time stamp under the latest post. That gives a very good idea of how frequently a website is updated. Service websites don’t need to be updated so frequently. But content related sites and blogs must be updated frequently. For blogs, a post frequency of at least one post per day is very important. The more, the merrier. But try to write at least one post per day. It makes your site look fresh, and also improves your Alexa rank. And the more the topics you have written on, the more traffic you’ll get.
17. Look at your blog load time
A slow loading blog does not fare very well with readers. You’d think search robots would have no problem with this. But unfortunately, that isn’t true. And it’s logical too. Google has to return millions of search results in a split second. It does not like a site bogging down its search bot. Do not upload too many heavy files to your blogs. Rather, upload big files on sharing websites, and provide your readers with a direct download link. For more information about how to reduce blog load time, check out the article below.
18. Reduce your bounce rate
Reducing bounce rate is key to your blog’s success. Bounce rate is the amount of people who leave your website during the first few seconds of their visit. The lower, the better. Blog load time can effect this rate. But the most important factor is website design. An attractive and elegant design will retain visitors, while a website which is difficult to navigate, is cluttered up with ads, or has faulty design will lose visitors quickly. Of course, the content quality and frequency also play a part. So work on those areas and reduce your bounce rate.
Typography refers to your content styling. Who doesn’t appreciate good styling? Good includes things like italicizing or bolding text, proper line spacing, headings, padding etc. Work on these to make your content look good and easily readable.
20. Validation Checks
Once you are done with some basic SEO, you need to validate and check it for any errors. Start by checking any broken links. There are Blogger and WordPress plugins that help you do this. But you can do it manually as well by visiting the W3C Link Checker
Next, you need to visit the W3C HTML Validation Tool
and W3C CSS Validation Tool
for validating your HTML and CSS for any errors. After that, you can validate your SEO by using a good SEO plugin. Such plugins are available for both Blogger and WordPress.