Simplicity and ease of use. Simplicity and ease of use. It’s an SEO mantra that’s been echoed down the ages from Google itself, and a motto that needs to be applied to everything your site does to ensure it’s ranked in its rightful place according to the search engine big boys (we’re talking Google and Bing here, people). In my last post we had a look at how they sort sites as well as investigating some bad SEO practices. Let’s move on to the ones you should be using. They’re quick, simple, and quite honestly essential in the long journey to improving your page rank.
#1 Clean your act up: layout-wise, that is
For Google to understand the subtle nuances of your blog, you have to write in a way that a search engine can understand. To get a better idea of what you site looks like to Google, pop it (or any other website if you’re curious) in here: http://www.seo-browser.com/
For this reason, y’all need to get your layouts in shape. First off, anything you’re using in your title tag needs to have what your blog’s subject in it (say,‘poptarts’), and preferably near the start of it (like: ‘Poptarts! A History of Speckled Awesome’). Anything over 75 characters is going to be skipped over. Not ideal. The rest of your code needs to be clear too. Your blog platform will usually sort this for you but if you have a self-hosted thing on the go, you need to clean out those old plug-ins, bits of useless code and irrelevant titles so the search engine can sift through your site as easily as possible.
As well as that, all your navigation needs to be easy to follow. It’s not only ever so frustrating for your site’s visitors to meet dead ends when they’re trying to find what they’re looking for, it will also confuse the spider trying to index your site, leaving it high and dry. Make convenient, common sense links within your site to make it searchable and SEO-magical.
#2 Write for your audience: not for machines
At last, here comes the content bit. Hurrah! First off, it’s super important to identify the keywords that your audience are using to find what you’re sharing so that audience can find you. There are various ways of doing this, including Google and Bing’s own offerings as well as some cracking online tools. It’s like looking into your searching audience’s miii-iiind. Spooky, fun and cool (shut up, SEO is totally cool). You might also find that doing this focuses the intention of your post, which is always a good shout.
Don’t get crazy carried away though! Writing with SEO in mind is important, but content is absolutely king. Ask yourself what your audience is going to be looking for when they search for your site, of course- but also ask yourself if that content is going to offer valuable, compelling information to the people you’re writing for. What we’re going for is clear but entertaining, something that provides information but is also remarkable enough to be shareable and a start to growing your reader base. Which leads happily on to…
#3 Self-promotion: it’s not the same as having a big head
Social links are becoming more and more important in the pursuit of SEO brilliance. A strong social media following marks you out as a legitimate source for whatever you’re peddling, be it burritos or beauty advice, and Google takes notice when you’re linked to as a great reference.
So don’t be afraid to big yo’self up! Get tweeting, Facebooking and pinning that content. Confident, interesting feeds with a definite voice and something to offer will attract followers like ants to a picnic, and more people reading your stuff means it’s increasingly likely to be shared.
In a nutshell, these are the best basic guidelines to get your SEO in shape. Of course, there’s a plethora of research you can do into SEO that goes way deeper into the complexities (much like anything else on the internet), but following these guidelines will give you a fighting chance to be seen and heard by who counts.