SEO continues to evolve, and it’s hard to know what or whom to believe, but something you can believe is that Google’s latest algorithm change is placing an increased importance on content—and that means quality content. As one expert recently said: “SEOs can no longer game the system. Creating extraordinary content has become nonnegotiable.”
Here are 5 more tactics for good SEO:
- Forget keyword stuffing. I see this all the time. People think they’ve got to be blogging, so they whip up a blog that’s are poorly conceived, then load it with keywords. The result: awkward phrasing, and ultimately a product that won’t do them any good. A blog should be informative, based on a subject people want to hear about. The idea is to build a following and to position yourself as an expert. Use a natural search phrase 2-3 times, naturally fitting it into the narrative. If it’s awkward, lose it. Create quality content. Google will understand it through the quality of writing.
- Start paying attention to metadescriptions. Love this one—I’m obsessive about metadescriptions. They’ve fallen from favor because apparently they don’t rank in algorithms. Where do they make a difference? Metadescriptions influence click-through rates and these contribute to rankings.
- Optimize images. Image alt (alternate) text is the text that appears if a user has images disabled. It also helps to tell search engines exactly what an image is. Search engines don’t read images directly; rather they recognize a file name, the description, and the alt text. People often forget this, assuming everyone will already see the images so they don’t need to worry. Not true. Give the search engines a helping hand, a basic phrase that defines the image. An example? If you have a picture of an attorney in court, the image would say ‘attorney in court image’.
- Keep urls short and descriptive. Everything has character limits these days. We should be used to thinking about how to get the most response from crisp subject lines or social media posts. URL is one of the first things a search crawler will see, make sure it is easy to crawl and categorize. Keep your URL to roughly five words or fewer.
- Use header tags correctly. Header tags range from <H1>, <H2>, <H3> to <H6>. They determine the order of importance of each header. Crawlers will look at these tags before anything else. It’s the way headers are identified and sites are categorized. Using header tags appropriately will enhance your SEO. There’s something else going on here. Do break up long paragraphs with subheads, assigning these subheads a header tag. It makes your content more visually accessible, scannable and easier to read.
- Boost site speed. It’s 2015 and everyone’s in a hurry. You won’t wait for someone else’s site to load, what makes you think he/she’s going to wait for yours? If it takes more than 5 seconds, Google will penalize you. Site speed is a marker of quality, and the new algorithm standards are raising the standards. If it’s taking too long, it may be that you need a server upgrade. You might also inventory the images on your site. If you’ve got a lot of huge files, you could try eliminating some of these or reducing the size to cut down on load time.