Hey all, we’re continuing our SEO series today, with this important post, which is designed to be a great overview for all you beginners in digital marketing.
As you know, we’ve already covered why it’s so important to have a blog section on your website, as well as how to craft the perfect blog post (which are 2 key components of good SEO) but today we thought it was time to move into other aspects of your website that you should consider as part of your SEO strategy.
For those not in the know, SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation – the aim of which is to get your website ranking well under search engine results.
When it comes to getting views and click throughs to your website (CTR), as well as attracting new clients and driving sales, this is an absolutely crucial area in any digital marketing strategy.
Not having a website that ranks well with search engines could literally be the making or breaking of your business, so here at Social Puffin, we strongly suggest you start paying attention to SEO now!
The thing with SEO however, is that it’s a complex and broad issue which is constantly changing and updating.
We don’t actually know the exact details of how search engine algorithms’ rank content (no one does!) but there is a level of knowledge out there which gives us a lot of good info to get started with.
So get started with it we will, care of this simple SEO checklist.
Designed for beginners, this is a top-level post that will outline the 10 major areas we consider most critical when it comes to your website ranking well under search engine enquiries (SERPs).
We’re always here to answer any questions you might have, so don’t be shy!
Now it’s time to get stuck in!
- The Complete Beginner Guide to Using Keywords
- How to Easily Ensure Your Website is Legally Compliant
- Social Puffin: Who Are We?
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#1 Site Speed
First up on this SEO checklist is site speed.
Quite simply this refers to how fast your website loads.
Slow websites that take a long time to load tend to perform worse in search engine results. They are not good for your SEO.
They can also put readers off.
If a website takes too long to bring up the information, many users will simply click off your site and look for the information or product elsewhere.
Not only have you then lost some powerful new customers or clients, but the fact that these users entered, and then quickly exited, your site will also be fed back to search engines, further impacting you’re standing with them.
Quite simply, the message being relayed here is that your site did not provide the user with the answer, product or solution they were looking for, so they left.
Now that we know website speed is an important factor in ranking well under search engine results, the sad news is however, that this isn’t always easy to fix.
Website speed can be quite a technical area, but they are a few simple tools and tricks you can use to check your site speed and improve it.
Lots of images, the heavy use of video, display ads and hefty plugins are the most common culprits when it comes to poor website speeds.
Slow and clunky themes, as well as poor hosting packages, can also be to blame.
Learn all about this in the post we wrote specifically about how to better the speed of your website.
#2 Layout & Navigation
The next point on our SEO checklist is another one that affects your whole website.
Yes if you weren’t in the know already, the design and look of your website is incredibly important for SEO purposes.
This is not so much to do with aesthetic preferences, although that can play a role we’ll cover later on, but is also to do with how your website design is structured – how it is laid out and how it flows.
To put it in the most basic terms, a simply website layout is better!
You want your website to be easy to navigate and to ensure that all sections and pages of your website are accessible from your homepage in just a few clicks.
However, please do not take this as a green light to crowd your homepage with a million different options and menu!
Instead your homepage should have a maximum of around 5 clickable options in a simple menu format that should take you to most of the different sections of your site.
Keeping things as clean and slick as possible really is the key here.
#3 User Friendly
And the main reason for this is that your website should be user-friendly.
Making your website design simple and easy to navigate means users are more likely to find what they need on your site and also are more likely to click around.
This sends good signals back to search engine, as each user is staying on your website for a longer period of time.
It also helps search engines note that you can offer users a pleasant and valuable experience.
The more straight-forward your site navigation, and the more user-friendly it is, the stronger those signals will be.
The temptation when it comes to website design, is often to make them all-singing and all-dancing, but the irony is that simple, clean and clean websites often perform best, both for users and in terms of your SEO strategy.
#4 Mobile Optimised
And a key part of the user-friendly experience is ensuring that your website is optimised for mobile.
With more and more of us living off our phones now, it’s likely that a significant amount of traffic to your website (if not the majority of it) now comes from a mobile device.
Making sure your theme is optimised for mobile users therefore i.e. that all the design elements are correctly translated onto the smaller sized screen, is absolutely crucial.
And a key design element that you need to ensure translates when your website is viewed on mobile devices is font, in particular font size.
Fonts need to be big enough and well-spaced enough to read when your website is viewed on a mobile device, but they also need to be small enough to fit on the screen.
Choosing the correct font for the desktop version of your website is also very important, as you need to bear how they will look on mobile too.
The key points about font size and spacing remain the most important but also please, oh please, do not choose a curly, intricate or snazzy font that you think looks cool!
Once again, sticking to simple really is the best here, so trust us when we say typical fonts such as Mont, Helvetica, Sands, Ariel etc work much better for websites.
What looks cool to you in terms of a funky font, is quite likely to annoy a lot of readers and put off them reading more than a few lines!
So don’t let your font get in the way of some good SEO – keep it simple, keep it well-sized and spaced, and keep those readers and search engines happy!
And point number 6 on our SEO checklist is about cross-linking.
Put in the most straightforward terms, this simply means making sure different parts of your site are linked to each other.
In what is known as your internal-link structure, you want to make ensure there are many different connections between different parts of your site.
Not only does this help readers find their way around your website easily, as we’ve discussed earlier in this article, but it also helps those search engine spiders swiftly crawl your website as they follow the various links you’ve set up to different parts of the site.
A good internal linking structure also helps transfer SEO juice (basically good SEO standing) from prominent pages of your website, such as your homepage, around to different parts of your site.
This can help boost the overall SEO health of your website which, in turn, will propel you higher up those search engine rankings for many different keywords.
#7 Blog Posts
And a key way to get a great internal link structure going within in your website is via blog posts.
We’ve already covered why it’s so crucial to have a blog section on your website in this post, but safe to say this can really pay off in a lot of different ways when it comes to SEO.
With a blog section, not only do you get the chance to include more keywords, but you can also showcase your authority to a greater degree, internally link across your site, regular update your online presence and many more advantages.
So yes, get a blog section on your website asap and start putting some great content out there!
#8 External Link Building
But the importance of links when it comes to your SEO strategy doesn’t just stop with internal links; nope external links are every bit, if not more, crucial in getting those search engines to recognise they should be serving your content to their users.
External links aren’t as complicated as they sounds, so don’t be put off by the term, they simply refer to other sites linking to various pages of your website.
Link building is a highly complex issues, with certain regulations (at least where Google is concerned) and you can learn a bit more in this post we wrote.
In essence however, search engines give you greater SEO points if other good standing websites link to yours.
Therefore trying to get links to your site is absolutely critical in your SEO mission.
However, buying links, link swapping and other strategies are frowned upon, so we suggest you avoid these sort of tactics, instead building relationships and offering lots of value, as well as positioning yourself as an authority in your field, to ensure safe, secure and white-hat methods to getting others to link to your site.
#9 Syndicated Social
And now we’re nearing the end of this list and tackling a very simply, but often overlooked part of SEO strategy, and that is ensuring all your social media platforms are up to scratch.
That’s because the success of your social media platforms, including how often your content is shared from your website to these channels, is an increasingly important SEO component.
You also want to sure that your social media platforms are connected to your website – often via clickable icons in your website header or footer.
This way, those search engine spiders can tie up everything nicely and give you all those great SEO points you deserve.
Again, it’s worth pointing out here that a blog section is also likely to increase the rates in which your content is shared to and around social media… just saying!
#10 Link GA & GSC
This can be quite a technical issue, so if you don’t feel confident then we suggest getting your developer to help with this.
Once set up, making sure you undertake regular (we advise monthly) audits about how your website is performing across both these key analytical platforms, is the best practice for SEO growth and success.
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So there we have it, our top 10 SEO pointers you need to elevate your website up those search engine results.
A great overview for those of you just getting started, and to give you some wider info about how broad an area SEO can be, don’t forget to give us a shout over email if you have any questions or need any advice.