Search engine optimisation (SEO) is a huge priority for a lot of businesses. In a lot of ways, a good SEO strategy is like a path towards the promised land, if the promised land in question is made up of:
- High search result ranking;
- Steady organic traffic;
- Lots of new website visitors;
- Conversions, conversions, and some more conversions.
But a lot of the times, businesses will go into quite complex SEO strategies that won’t prove to be very successful for one key reason; they don’t have the right foundation, which in this context is the website. So you could very well be adopting advanced SEO tips and tricks on a website that’s simply not accommodating to your needs.
Here are some great ways of creating an SEO-friendly website!
1. Focus on Mobile
Your website and content must be optimised for all types of devices a person may use to access it – this much is non-negotiable in 2020. Many studies show that a lot of people actually routinely use mobile devices to surf the web, and if these users end up on a web page that doesn’t look great or work on a mobile device, they will likely move on and leave your site.
Search engines also push for websites to have a mobile-friendly design. Google even created a tool where you can test a website to see if it is mobile-friendly or not. Just type in the URL and the tool will provide an analysis and point out issues you should address.
2. Create an SEO-friendly URL Structure
The URL is often one of the first things users and search engines will see from your website, so having a good URL structure is very important. A typical URL structure should look something like this:
The URL structure here contains 4 different pieces of information the users and search engines can use to figure out at least partially the website structure without needing to navigate anywhere.
3. Target Valuable Keywords
No website would be complete without content, preferably high-quality content that helps drive traffic to your site and engages users. Search engines also love content, especially if it is targeting keywords that can help them quickly determine if the blog post or web pages match what the user is looking for.
But of course, not all keywords are created equal, and to identify those that can bring value to your website you need to conduct keyword research. Through this process, you can find important words or phrases that people use to look for the information you already have.
The keyword research should be the drive behind the content. If you write an article about the best smartphones in 2020 and do the research after, you may discover the content does not contain any keywords of value, or not enough. Then, you need to re-write the content to leverage the keywords that can actually bring something to the table.
4. Build Internal Links
Internal linking is essential both for users and search engines. It’s the type of hyperlink that takes a user from one page to other web pages found on the same website. But web crawlers use them too to scan your website much faster.
There are two main types of internal links, and you should incorporate both:
Navigational internal links are usually found in a web site’s menu bar. It contains links to the major sections or web page categories, and helps the user navigate the site with ease.
Contextual links are the one you can see inside the content, attached to an anchor text. They help you link multiple relevant pages to each other. When a user sees an anchor text in the middle of the blog post or article they are reading, they know that should they click on it, they will continue to read another article, but connected in some way with the first.
But it’s not just users that need internal links – web crawlers use them to jump from one page to the next. In fact, if you have one page that is not connected in any way to the rest of your web pages, it’s likely that page has the worst traffic. People likely can’t access it unless they specifically know and type the URL, and for web crawlers, the page is practically non-existent.
5. Optimise Meta Descriptions
When a user searches for something on Google or another search engine, the page will show each link paired with a description, which is known as the meta description. This short paragraph isn’t necessarily a piece of the actual content (though it can be), but it is the description of it.
In a way, you should think of the meta description as an extra opportunity to convince the user to click on your link. You can provide them with a short sneak into what to expect from your website, so that they can make a better decision regarding whether they should click on it or not.
To ensure your meta descriptions are optimised for SEO, they should generally meet these requirements:
- Be relevant for the content and not misleading
- Be no longer than 150 characters. Beyond 150 characters, the previews will cut the text off, so users won’t be able to read all the information you want to provide them. Plus, the cut off can even happen in weird places that leave the sentence ending abruptly;
- Use your value keywords again to reinforce relevancy.
6. Have a Pleasant Design
Web design is an art form in its own sense, and although you may want to experiment with colours, graphics, and other design elements, you should always make sure the end result is easy to use and readable.
An SEO-friendly website design results in a website where people can easily navigate and read your content. If you have a bright green background and red text, few users will be able to follow the content, and they won’t put any extra effort to do so just because the website technically looks stunning.
Website readability is an important aspect of the overall user experience, so you should check if:
- Your text is the right size for your page. Too big or too small makes it difficult for users to follow along;
- The font is the right color. Ideally, you’ll want a bright background and dark text on top to ensure maximum readability, especially if you have a lot of text. Headlines, for example, don’t necessarily have to follow this rule;
- The format makes it easy for people to follow the content. Headings, bullet points, or small paragraphs are great ways to break the text into sections that are easy to follow. Blocks of text can be intimidating, and users will generally not bother with them.
7. Improve Load Times
As the last item in your SEO strategy checklist, you should analyse your page load time and likely optimise it to perfection.
Slow-loading pages put a damper on your SEO efforts, as search engines don’t want to give their users links to websites that take forever to load. And in terms of load time, forever means just 1-2 seconds extra.
The first thing to fix when it comes to the load time is the size of the images. Pictures can drag on the speed of a page quite a lot, but you likely don’t want to get rid of them. Instead, you should compress them so that while they visibly look the same in terms of quality, they load much faster.
Other things you can do include:
- Reduce your redirects
- Use browser caching
- Improve server response time.
8. Remove Broken Links
Broken links are those hyperlinks that lead to the internet void – or a 404 error, to be exact. Both users and search engines look down upon these broken links, so it’s a very good idea to remove them from your site.
These types of links can quickly add up over time, especially if you have a more complex website. For instance, if you change the title of one page, you also change the URL, but that same page may have been linked on other parts of your website with the old URL.
There are a lot of tools that track broken links on a website, such as the Google Webmaster Tools. If you identify broken links, you have two options:
- Remove them if they are not necessary
- Place a redirect to the web page you want
Creating an SEO-friendly website isn’t impossible, but it does take a lot of preparation. Australian Internet Advertising can help you do that. Book a strategy session with our Search Engine Optimisation specialists now!