Providing quality content is the key to success with Web users and search engines alike. But understanding the way content is structured and how a search engine might crawl it is also important to consider. Let’s explore some important tips on site architecture and SEO.
Organize Your Content in the Planning Stage
Sometimes the aesthetics of a new website can be intoxicating. But ultimately it’s the content that will attract, retain, and convert visitors. In the early stages of planning for a new website, plan what pages, landing pages, and specific content you’ll want to highlight. By starting this off early, you’ll find that the answering questions about your content strategy may help make design decisions a little easier. Consider how similar pages should be grouped, and how navigation will allow users to drill down into sub-pages.
Utilize Bolding for Emphasis
Bolding certain words within content can help emphasis certain parts of text as users skim through a page. Additionally, bolding can be helpful for SEO as it alerts search engines to important topics and keywords. However, avoid bolding too much – if everything is bold, then nothing is important!
Isolate Flash Whenever Possible
Although Flash is not generally “SEO-friendly,” that’s not to say it has to be avoided at all costs if you intended to be successful in the SERPs. Many high-ranking automotive websites use ample Flash. The key to succeed with heavy use of Flash, scripts, and/or images is to balance it out with rich text content that can be easily read by browsers, users, and search engine crawlers. Additionally, using alt attributes to describe Flash and image content can still be helpful in telling search engines what the content is all about.
Avoid Duplicate Content Like the Plague
Duplicate content has never and will never be a good thing when it comes to SEO. Stay away from providing duplicated, repeating, or redundant content across multiple pages. Duplicate content is typically identified when search engines index a given page, and redundancies are eliminated from the index at some point or another. Just don’t do it!
Embrace Header Tags
Once you have a nice page of text to put on your site, you’re not quite done. Organizing your content is also important for a couple reasons. Breaking up a page with H1 or H2 header tags can make the content more readable, since more readers on the Web are likely to skim.These tags can also help search engines understand the main themes of the page, thus helping in terms of SEO if keywords are present.
Unique Pages With a Call to Action
Each page should satisfy some purpose. Of course avoiding duplicate content is one way to have each page satisfy a specific objective. But pages should also educate or motivate readers.
Maintain Transparency at All Times
Hidden text or links on your website is always an SEO no-no. Sometimes the decisions to hide text or links may not be malicious, but trying to hide content from users in an attempt to appease the search engines will get you nowhere fast!
Organic search engine optimization is often seen as complicated, confusing, and complex. While SEO overall can be a complicated process, basic on-page SEO tactics have remained fairly simple and straightforward. Since our goal is to make SEO as simple as possible, without being convoluted, we outlined the top 7 basic on page SEO tactics below.
Keyword Research – Don’t begin anything without beginning with the basic keyword research. Understand who will be looking for your business, where they will be coming from, what keywords they will likely be using, and what profit centers will be most important to them.
Keywords in Title Tags – Title tags have continued to be an important ranking variable for Google and other search engines. As such, featuring keywords prominently in the title should not be ignored. Keywords can also help describe the page since they are visible from the SERPs themselves, as well as visible to users on your website.
Keyword-Rich URLs – The URL of a webpage is all too often ignored. Like the title tag, a URL is a heavily weighted on-page SEO component as it helps Google understand the content of the Web page. On a page for a Used Car Dealer Chicago, the page includes the term ‘used cars’ in the URL, helping to describe the content of the page.
H1 Header Keyword – An important area used for keywords is in a H1 header. This tag usually makes the text bold and is helpful when it features a keyword or phrase prominently. It also helps breakup content and makes it easier to read. The H1 can be an important area for keyword targeting.
Keywords Within Page Content – The expression that ‘content is king’ holds true today when it comes to SEO. Without content, search engines struggle to understand what your webpage is really about. Without content, users will likewise struggle to find value from your site.
Meta Description – OK, so meta descriptions are generally regarded by most SEOs as having little effect on rankings, especially when it comes to Google’s algorithm. That being said, the meta description should still play an important role in your content strategy. After all, it is the description that users can see and read from the SERPs, helping to influence click-through from a search result page to your website.
Inner page linking – Just as inbound links have an effect on SEO, the way in which your Web pages link to one another internally is also important.
URLs are crucial building blocks within any website. The URLs that your website uses enables users to move from one page to another, and helps to organize your site’s content into organized sections. URLs also remain important for on-site search engine optimization. Changes to URL structure can significantly impact your SEO performance, and URL content should not only mesh with information architecture and website organization, but they should also include important keywords that relate to specific pages. Whether you’re considering changing URL structure or considering a redesign, here are several areas to consider.
Generally speaking, the shorter the URL the better. Not only does it become easier for the user if the URL remains somewhat memorable and understandable, but it also should feature helpful keywords that provide a relevant description of what’s on the page without extraneous syntax or words. Keeping URL structures shorter also prevents them from being cut off if a user tries to copy and paste the URL, for example if they want to email it to a friend.
The URL structure should include descriptive keywords for several reasons. First, if the page is present in search engine result pages (SERPs) search engines often bold keywords that match a user’s query, thereby accentuating the search result and improving click-through. Additionally, concise keyword-rich URLs are also easier to work with since you can find specific pages easier, as opposed to pages that have URLs filled with unhelpful, irrelevant numbers or letters that don’t correlate to the content.
URLs may include uppercase letters, lowercase letters, or both. As a result, mixing these elements together can create unnecessary confusion. The general good practice is to use lowercase letters throughout the URLs and stick with them. If old pages are discovered that use uppercase letters apply a 301 redirect to point old pages to the appropriate new page with lowercase letters.
While debate may continue, search engines do not officially have preferences for hyphens versus underscores when it comes to separating words in URLs. Generally speaking a hyphen is considered more user-friendly, and therefore seem to be preferred by most SEOs. Stick with either of these and avoid other characters that may hinder SEO.
One of the most important factors is also one of the easiest to diverge from. Consistency in your naming conversions will help to eliminate confusion between those working on the website, but most importantly consistency will help users understand how content on your website is organized.