Search Engine Optimization (SEO) can be a hard subject for businesses and organizations to grasp, but there are some definite dos and don’ts that can be applied in your everyday work on your website.
SEO is a method of strategically structuring the content of your website to make it as easy as possible for search engines like Google to read and index your site. This used to rely heavily on coded tags in your site’s HTML that defined keywords, but that’s no longer the case. Google’s system scans the actual content of your site to determine your keywords, among many other details about it. The better your formatting and the more valuable your content to users, the higher your pages will appear in search rankings. And as anyone who has ever used Google knows, the higher the ranking the better.
Here are five key things to keep in mind when working on your site’s SEO and creating content that will help ensure a better spot in search rankings:
- Make sure page titles and description META tags fit within Google’s recommended character count. If your titles are more than 55 characters and your descriptions more than 160, they will likely get cut off in search results! By editing these for each of your pages and ensuring they fit, search users will get a nicely formatted result that they will be more likely to click on.
- Use headings in your content to divide up sections appropriately. These are the text formats that look like <h1> and <h2> in the HTML of your site, but if you’re using a Content Management System, these will probably be much easier to set up. Google sees this organization of content as a sign of a well-built page, and these defined headings are a key part of how your pages keywords are determined.
- Make sure your website has a sitemap. If your site doesn’t have a sitemap in place, it’s likely not being indexed appropriately! Try typing in your site’s url followed by /sitemap.xml (for example, uptownstudios.net/sitemap.xml). If a page that shows a lot of code comes up, congratulations! You have a working sitemap. If not, this is something you should definitely have in place. You can use free tools like xml-sitemap.com to generate a sitemap file that you can simply upload to your site’s root directory.
- Get your site on Google’s Search Console! This is a free tool that’s relatively easy to set up that you can use to see a wealth of search information on your site. Using this tool, you can see how many times your pages have been seen in search results, what keywords were used to find your pages, submit your sitemap for better indexing, and catch any issues Google has with your site. Head to https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/ and get set up!
- Check the images on your site to make sure they have ALT tags in place. Google looks at these images for more keywords for your page, and uses this tag to share these images in Google’s Image Search tool. As long as you have descriptive ALT tags on your images, you should be in good shape.
If you keep the items above in mind as you create content on your site, your website will be following some key best practices for ensuring Google can index and present your site properly in search results.
If you need help with your SEO or your search rankings are falling, we’re here to help! Just give Uptown Studios a call at (916) 446-1082 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.