The first step of any SEO campaign should focus on website optimization. This is the process of making your website as appealing as possible to both the search engines and your visitors. A properly optimized website will eventually rank better in the SERPs and attract more targeted visitors.
Here are ten components of website optimization:
1. Meta description and Meta keywords
Even though Meta descriptions are no longer an important ranking factor, that doesn’t mean they don’t have their place in website optimization. Think of your Meta description like ad copy. Those 150 characters have to convince a searcher to choose your listing over another. The search spiders can still read and highlight related keywords, making your description stand out even more.
2. Title tag
The title tag should be a unique description of the content on that page. In addition to targeting related keywords, the title tag lets your visitor know exactly what that page is about so they know if it will have the information they are looking for. Your title tag should be no more than 70 characters (best practice tip).
3. Page content
Content is the most important factor of a website’s long term SEO success. Not only do the search spiders read your page content to determine if you site matches a user’s search query, your content is ultimately what is going to convert your traffic. You should always write content that is human-friendly first, then go back and properly optimize it.
4. Headlines (H1 tags)
Headlines break up page content and help visitors find exactly what they are looking for. H1 tags are a great place to target relevant keywords.
5. URL structure
The URL should describe the page and (preferably) contain a few relevant keywords. A short URL is easy to remember and looks better to the user. Which URL would you prefer: mysite.com/12sgNSok4H9df/ or mysite.com/aboutus/?
6. Internal linking structure
It’s important that you lay out a predetermine path of conversion for your visitor once they arrive on your site. A well-developed internal linking structure is going to make it easy for them to navigate your site, find the information they are looking for and eventually convert. Linking related pages helps keep your visitor engaged longer and makes for a much more pleasant user-experience.
8. Image tags
Since the search spiders can’t see images, an image tag lets them know what the picture is of. Try to limit the amount of alt text on you have on page as it can clutter your website and detract from the overall user-experience.
9. Page load time
Google has freely admitted that page load time is one of the factors they look at when determining how well a site will rank. A good rule of thumb is to keep your page load time under 5 seconds. Exceptions to the rule might include an e-commerce sites that relies on a lot of graphics or videos. Just keep in mind that most of your visitors aren’t willing to sit around and wait for your site to load.
10. XML Sitemap
When you are completely done with your website optimization, create an XML sitemap and submit it to the search engines. This will ensure that all the pages of your site are properly indexed.