Boost Your Search Engine Results And Blow Your Competitors Out Of The Water In 5 Easy Steps!
Last updated: June 2019
It’s important to any online business that you’re competitive and ahead of the curve. Having a website that is optimised for search engines is pivotal, but catering towards SEO guidelines can also prove difficult.
With search engine algorithms continuously evolving, you’ll need to adapt and refine your SEO strategy using proven practices, to provide the best results.
Here are some quick and helpful tips on how to rank your website higher in search results.
Use ALT Attributes
Despite the fact search engines are complex and inquisitive, they lack the ability to pull contextual information from images. Images are present on nearly every website, and they play an integral part in providing context to text however, unlike us, search engines don’t know what those images are. We need to tell them through attaching alt text to images.
These alt tags are also important for the vision impaired or blind who rely on text-to-speech programs, as proper alt tags will describe the image to them.
Alt tags are added to images in your HTML code however if you’re using a CMS, you often don’t have to touch the code to be able to add them. If you’re using WordPress, the alt tags on the images are created by default using the image filename, which might not be an accurate description of the image, so you should take the time to adjust and create proper alt tags for every image you upload.
If you haven’t, make sure you:
- Edit all alt tags on images you’ve uploaded.
- Be descriptive in your alt text to correspond with the actual image and what it represents.
- Do it. There is no reason not to other than laziness. These small details do go a long way.
Shorten And Standardise Your URL’s To Meet SEO Guidelines
Having a well-structured URL for each post helps search engines crawl your website faster and more efficiently. Crawlers are essentially Google’s spiders who crawl through your website, so having standardised URL’s allows them to crawl quicker and index all of that information back to their databases.
A good example of this follows below:
Descriptive URL’s are essential and allows people to familiarise themselves with your website. It’s especially important for marketing or social networking since customers can determine what they’re clicking on before they click on it.
If you haven’t already:
- Make sure you point the URL to the correct parent folder.
- If you have to redirect traffic, use 301 redirects as they are permanent, however, they still tend to lose 15% off all PageRanks, compared to a 302 which results in 100% loss. 302 redirects are temporary, so it makes sense for Google to treat them differently.
Improve Your Website Load Times
Having a poorly optimised website is not only bad for SEO overall, but it can lead to a nasty online reputation. Visitors want a fast loading experience; they don’t have time to wait around for content to load.
Websites that are hosted on outdated hardware, or are very poorly optimised, more often than not, have high bounce rates, and high bounce rates lead to poor rankings.
Where you host your website also has an impact on your SEO as this will affect your websites speed and performance. If you’re targeting people in Australia, it makes sense to host here in Australia. Another tip is to make sure your website is fully responsive to mobile visitors, as they can account for over 70% of your traffic.
- Identify slow pages, by pressing F12 (Chrome users) to display how many requests each page on your website is making, and minimise them.
- Optimise images for their minimum sizes. There is no point having giant images if you can’t load them quick enough to see them.
Search Engines Aren’t Smart – Tell Them What To Crawl
These pesky little crawlers will do what they’re told, but they cannot crawl your website without instructions. The robots.txt file is a text file that informs crawlers which directories and pages they can index. This is the first file read at the server level for crawlers, so it’s important to not only have this file – but include custom allow and disallow rules so search engines know what they can and can’t crawl.
A common robots.txt file looks like the below. However, you can set up custom files.
Block all web crawlers from all content on your website.
Allow all web crawlers to access all content on your website.
If you haven’t, make sure you:
- Create/update your robots.txt to tell crawlers exactly what to crawl.
- Audit the file every once a while to make sure your content can be crawled.
Last But Not Least – Content Is King
There are nifty tips and guides on how to make your website more SEO-friendly and compliant, but ultimately, your website is nothing without quality content.
Content that is original and reliably-sourced will attract more visitors and will put you ahead of your competition. Don’t neglect content, having an aesthetically pleasing website is nothing when your content is below average.
Your content should be rich in keywords, informative, well-written and with no punctuation or grammatical errors. You’ll want to leave your visitors with a pleasurable experience, and make them feel as though they have learned something. First-time visitors that learn something and enjoy your content, will be repeat visitors.
Quality will always be better than quantity, so stick true to this practice and you’ll reap the results. People won’t read uninteresting or boring articles, and will very quickly leave your site and provide higher bounce rates.
If you haven’t, make sure you:
- Write content that is well-sourced, interesting and engaging.
- Minimise spelling/grammatical errors
- Include keywords related to the content for better search results
SEO is a continuous process, and with anything in life, stick to it and you’ll see the results. It can be tedious, tiring and hard work, but eventually, it will be well worth it. Combine all of these strategies, and your effort will pay off – after all, this is your business, so make it the most rewarding it can be.