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May 11, 2018 (Updated: March 2, 2020)
Updating websites is one of the most important tasks any company can do. Whether it’s adding a blog article, uploading photos from a company event, or creating a new page for a new product or service, all these website additions will help grow your business. Even though these website updates are made with the best of intentions, sometimes a small detail can be overlooked, which ends up being detrimental to SEO. More often than not, the damage isn’t seen until Google rankings start to drop, and in that case, recovery can be quite challenging. To prevent this from occurring, you must first understand the basics and perfect your SEO tactics.
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization, and it is the practice of increasing traffic (or visitors) to your website organically through different search engines, such as Google or Bing. From words on the page to backlinks on your site, many items contribute to good SEO. At the end of the day, it’s important to remember that SEO is centered on making your website better for the end-user, but this should also help your business.
Let’s dive into five specific SEO tactics that should never be overlooked:
The download size of images on websites can play a huge role in SEO. Furthermore, extraordinarily large image sizes can lead to slower load times for websites. Why is that a big deal? People aren’t likely to sit and wait for a website to load, especially if it doesn’t load within a few seconds. Instead of waiting, people will go back to their Google search results and select another website (in other words, one of your competitors) so they can get their information faster.
Google will notice this trend and start to rank your website lower. Even worse, your website might not even rank at all because website load time affects overall SEO ranking. By using Google’s PageSpeed Insights, you can easily test to see how long it takes your website to load.
This tool will tell you the exact image(s) that are too large, easily allowing you to upload a smaller image size of the same photo(s). Tiny PNG is a great tool that can help reduce image sizes to help them load faster.
Before uploading any image to a website, it’s important to pay attention to the file name. If an image isn’t properly named, you’re not giving Google any information, which means your website won’t rank for these images. Adding a descriptive file name that’s unique and has no numbers will help fix that.
In addition to file names, image alt text is just as important. This alternative text is used in HTML code to describe the image. This text will also be used in place of the image in case the image won’t load. The alt text needs to be different from the file name.
Why have appropriate alt text and file names? Google looks at both. Having both of these will confirm to Google what your website and images are about, thus allowing you to rank for relevant searches. For more information on this SEO tactic, take a look at Google’s image publishing guidelines.
Image via Flickr by Craig Key
While it might be tempting to use keywords as often as possible in written content, you’ll need to find the right balance. Keyword stuffing used to be a common practice but now is seen as a huge no-no in the eyes of Google. Why? Stuffing your content with keywords is seen as manipulating your ranking in search results.
For example when Google first launched, a website page highlighting a coffee mug could have had keywords that were both relevant and irrelevant to the page content. At that time, people wanted to be in search results just to get found, not for relevance of the search. Nowadays, Google is more sophisticated and can track a website to see if keyword stuffing is occurring. If caught doing this, Google will ban your website.
When writing content for specific keywords, make sure the writing flows and the keywords sound natural. If they sound awkward, that’s a good sign they are “stuffed.” Taking the time to craft great website content will allow your site to rank higher.
Duplicate content is defined as two website pages having the exact same content. This technique is typically used as a way for companies to rank higher for select keywords. Google will flag sites that have duplicate content.
You can still have website pages or blog posts on the same topic as long as they are written in a different way. For example, two approaches to tackling the topic of SEO are “5 SEO No-Nos” and “5 tactics to improve your SEO.” Even if these posts have the same underlying tone and objective, Google won’t consider them to be duplicates if the writing is different enough.
Another item to avoid using is stock images. While Google won’t punish your site for stock photo use, the chances of your site ranking for a photo that isn’t unique are slim.
Establishing an outbound linking strategy can help strengthen both the Google ranking of a website and the credibility of a brand. In developing this strategy, make sure you’re linking to websites that practice good SEO tactics and load quickly. Another item to be aware of is how many links to add. Linking every other word will dilute your brand and frustrate the reader.
Whether these outbound links are added on content pages or blog posts, it’s important to make sure they work and then you should routinely run a broken link checker. Doing this will help increase user experience because linking to a page that has a 404 error just looks bad for people who genuinely wanted to read the content in that link.
These are just some of the top SEO tactics that commonly get overlooked. SEO strategies are continuously changing. Be sure to keep up to date on the latest algorithm updates and SEO tactics that are best.
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