7 Website SEO Essentials

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website SEO essentialsHere are the top seven website SEO essentials…

The practice of search engine optimization or SEO, is steadily evolving. This is due in-part to search engines becoming more sophisticated than ever, and, mostly due to consumer trends. (Consumer behavior is what drives search innovation and Google software engineers are busy trying to keep-up.) 

However, there are still certain basic requirements needed to optimize a website. These elements are vital to search engines to accurately interpreting what is being crawled in order to place the content into the right index and assign the site an appropriate organic search result rank. The bottom line is, your site can work for you as an active marketing tool, if it has just seven website SEO essentials.

7 Website SEO Essentials

The seven website SEO essentials critical for search engines to read are: keywords, meta data, load time, user experience, social media links, responsive design, and active, high quality content. The good news is that you don’t necessarily have to be a designer or code writer to employ most of these elements. The key is to understand some very basic principles about search engine optimization. 

Basic search engine optimization (SEO) is fundamental. And essential. SEO will help you position your website properly to be found at the most critical points in the buying process or when people need your site. Your website is like a cake. Your links, paid search, and social media acts as the icing, but your content, information architecture, content management system, and infrastructure act as the sugar and makes the cake. Without it, your cake is tasteless, boring, and gets thrown in the trash. —Search Engine Watch

The underlying purposes of SEO are to: provide a great user experience, and, effectively communicate to search engines the intentions of a site. Since Google recently made its top three ranking factors public, we know that one of these seven website SEO essentials is great content. Content remains the most important ranking factor because it cannot be manipulated. If it provides useful information, is easy to read and share, it will do much to promote a site in organic search results. In addition, other website SEO essentials must be present: 

  1. Keywords. Although it’s known that content tops keywords and backlinks, these remain necessary components. But, it’s very important to understand what type of key phrases are most useful. In the past, it was enough to rely on two or three word phrases like “puppy training” or “personal injury lawyer.” Now, long tail keywords are preferred because these are more specific. For instance, “Clearwater beach puppy training” and  “downtown St. Pete personal injury lawyer,” are more specific, long tail keywords.
  2. Meta data. These are meta descriptions, title tags, heading tags, and image alt tags. The meta description is usually limited to 160 characters, should contain some keywords and a brief description of the page. Title and heading tags are just that: the title of the page and the subtitles or headings found on the page. Image alt tags are descriptions of pictures because search engines cannot “see” images; so, these must be explained. For instance, a picture depicting “kitchen cabinets remodeled with fresh paint and hardware,” should have this same image alt tag.
  3. Load time. Studies have found that it should only take between 2 and 3 seconds for a site to load, otherwise, it’s likely to be abandoned, which increases bounce rate and lowers time on site metrics. The faster a webpage loads, the better, as technology delivers options for quicker access points to digital content.
  4. User experience. One of the key components to SEO is user experience. With a great UI, visitors are apt to stay on a site longer and click-through various pages. This behavior increases time on page, time on site, and lowers bounce rate. Ultimately, it serves as an effective SEO factor because the content will be shared more and site visits will increase as a result.
  5. Social media links. Though the link graph and social graph are not completely intertwined, they share more than a tangential relationship. Your site should have social media links for visitors to readily share content; as well as links to your own social profiles. Each of your social profiles should mimic one another, so there is no confusion all are part of the same entity.
  6. Responsive design. Today, it is imperative users be able to access a website from a number of devices. Your site must have responsive design to meet the needs of your target audience. Your website must automatically adapt to incorporate its key ingredients on desktop, tablet, or smartphone. If it isn’t mobile friendly, it will take a serious hit in its ability to rank high in organic search results.

The last website SEO essential is content. As the nearby quote explains, content is critical because the search engines promote sites with great content. Search engines require holistic, high quality website pages and blogs to perform well in organic search rank. Publishing useful content on a regular basis updates your sitemap, which pings the search engines to crawl the new content. This shows search engines a site is active and is more relevant than other sites which do not provide new content.

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Owen E. Richason IV

Covers social media, apps, search and like news. History buff, movie and theme park lover. Blessed dad and husband. Owen is also a musician and is the founder of Groove Modes.