We know you’ve been anxiously waiting for the next five of our ten steps to better SEO, and why the hell not? So without further delay…
6. Make social activity a priority and encourage sharing
We touched on the increased importance of social media at the close of last year.
With a recently announced partnership between Google and Twitter, it just cannot be ignored with regard to SEO for any longer.
Thanks to the enormous reach of social media, by sharing your content on your social accounts you’ve got a far greater chance of someone discovering it and linking back to it, or sharing in turn.
Though Google has been contradictory about social signals as a ranking factor, it’s hard to argue against a strong correlation between social shares and high rankings. So make sure to have obvious social sharing buttons on your site.
There’s no need to go crazy and have every possible platform on there, but include those you think are relevant to your readers and visitors.
It’s reported that social share buttons can increase social sharing by up to 700%. Which leads onto our next point…
7. Make your URLs short and descriptive
There are still plenty of Luddites out there who like to share with an old-fashioned copy and paste rather than a click. Make their lives easier by providing neat and tidy URLs.
Additionally, where possible, get keywords in your URLs to act as a further relevancy signal and help with user experience by making your Google listing clearer and the content obvious.
If your URL is descriptive, use dashes to separate words rather than underscores. This helps show Google they are separate words.
Keep your URL as close to the surface as possible. Avoid too many slashes (/) as the further away it is from the root domain, the less it benefits from its authority.
It has also been suggested that Google shows preference to sites with https, and we’d recommend using this, especially if yours is an e-commerce site.
8. Make sure your site is easy for Google to crawl
When it comes to crawling your site, our first piece of advice would be to set up Google Webmaster Tools and submit a sitemap.
A sitemap will make the crawling process easier for the Google bot. Keep an eye on it though – if you’re regularly updating your site the map will need updating too or you may see errors occurring.
Next, use a tool such as Screaming Frog to perform your own crawl of your site. This will reveal any broken links as well as duplication issues. Be sure to clear them up!
Also watch out for excessive redirects (301s, 302s). Too many and your site will be harder to crawl.
Try to keep links on any given page below 100. If you need more, consider pagination.
It’s important that robots.txt is switched off. This can be accessed in your CMS. If it’s on, Google won’t be crawling your site at all.
It’s one thing to look after your website, but what about other sites that could be impacting yours?
If you are on a shared server, do a blacklist check to be sure you’re not on a proxy with a spammer or banned site. Their negative notoriety could affect your own rankings.
9. Get your site speed as fast as possible
Site speed has been recognised as a Google ranking factor since 2010 and its significance is now greater than ever.
Google are looking closer than ever at user experience. Slow sites get high bounce rates, and that in turn can further hinder your rankings.
It can impact on conversions too, with a one-second delay in page-loading time reducing number of page views by 11% and conversions by 7%.
If you needed any more proof, 40% of searchers will abandon a web page if it takes more than three seconds to load. There – you’ve been told!
A few quick tips for getting your site speed up:
- Check videos and image sizes. Unnecessarily big file sizes take longer to load
- Remove any plugins that aren’t essential
- Avoid too much Java script or Flash – not only is it harder for Google to crawl but it will slow a page down
- Make sure key content is above the fold. Even if the page loads slowly, the user will see the essential info first
10. Make your site mobile friendly – NOW
The last of our ten steps to better SEO is a big one…
We’ve already touched on this earlier in the year when Google was on the brink of rolling out its mobile-friendly algorithm.
The update is out now and we’re seeing “mobile friendly” tags all over page one of mobile searches.
In short, if your website doesn’t pass this test it will not rank where you want it to on mobile search.
By launching this update, Google is trying to improve the overall standard of mobile websites, and provide only the best sites on page one to its users.
Get smart. Get mobile optimised. If you’re not sure how, get in touch with our design team today.
Summary: Ten steps to better SEO
Follow these ten steps to better SEO and your site will be a hell of a lot more shipshape in Google’s eyes. Here’s the first five for you if you missed them first time around.
While you might not leap to page one on the back of these steps alone, we’ve seen big ranking shifts for clients after implementing them.
If you’d like us to take a look at your website and highlight some areas to improve your optimisation, don’t hesitate to give us a call. We’d love to help.