Getting one of your webpages to the 1st page of a Google search result isn’t something you can do instantly. There is no magic trick, secret hack, or special code that will guarantee that position. If you are a beginner at SEO, this is the first thing you should keep in mind.
Search engines like Google are made up of complex algorithms, and it will take a lot of time and effort to convince them that your content deserves to be in one of those coveted top spots. However, don’t worry – there are some straightforward tips you can follow to help optimize your site and send the search engine bots the necessary signals.
Just remember — surprisingly helpful, quality content that helps customers is the most important thing to create first. Optimizing and tweaking for SEO comes after you’ve created great content.
In this article, I’ll share with you a list of tips straight from Google themselves that you can follow to help improve your SEO strategy.
What is SEO?
Just in case you’re new to the subject, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a method that aims to improve your organic search engine rankings. The goal of SEO is to gain more organic search engine traffic by improving the quality of your content.
However, improving the quality of your content isn’t as simple as just tweaking some text. There are some technical tasks involved in SEO that will help you boost your site visibility and improve your chances of ranking high on search engines.
Google even suggests that hiring a Search Engine Optimization professional could be helpful for improving your search results.
7 SEO Tips for Higher Search Engine Rankings
Tip # 1: Optimize your page titles and meta descriptions
Page titles are a vital component of your SEO efforts, especially on Google. To make this easier for yourself, use a tool like Yoast SEO or Webtexttool to help you with writing both your page content and your page’s metadata.
Here are the essential traits of an optimized title:
- The title of your page should accurately describe the content
- Each title should be unique. This will help Google determine that your page is distinct from the others on your site
- Titles should be short but informative. Avoid extremely long titles and don’t overstuff it with unneeded keywords
Metadata is information about your page, and it’s visible from search engine result pages (SERPs.) Think of this like an advertisement about your page, as people will see your title and meta description on Google and make a decision about whether or not they want to click on your link.
Your page’s meta description is an important part of your SEO, as it provides a summary of what your page is about. The Meta Description can also be significantly longer (up to a single paragraph) than your page title. You should aim to keep your Meta Title to 50-55 characters to avoid it getting ‘cut off’ in search engine results.
Here are the essential traits of an optimized description meta description:
- Your meta description should be both informative and interesting as it will show as a snippet in a search result. It should also accurately summarize the content of your page
- Use a unique description meta tag for each of your pages
- Avoid using too many keywords and keep your description meta tag between 140-150 characters
Tip # 2: Use headings and formatting to make your pages easier to read.
Never publish text on your site without doing some basic formatting. Using heading tags (h1, h2, h3) and smart formatting (like bullet points and images) can significantly enhance user experience and will improve the readability of your content.
Here are the basic guidelines for formatting a post or page on your website:
- Use the h1 tag for the title of your post
- Use the h2 tag for the main headings of your post
- Use the h3 tag to break up your h2 content into sections
- Use BOLD and Italic formats to draw users attention
- Write short paragraphs
- Select a font size that is easy to read
Tip # 3: Use SEO friendly URLs
Search engines need unique Uniform Source Locator (URL) to be able to crawl and index a piece of content and to refer other users to it. URLs follow a format which is called a permanent link structure that is used for pages (categories/tags) or individual posts of a web site.
You can make SEO friendly URLs by following these guidelines:
- Make your URL simple and easily understandable by users and search engines
- Use hyphens ‘-‘ to separate words in your URL
- Use words that describe what your page is about
- Don’t make your URL too long
Example of a Good URL structure:
Example of a Bad URL structure:
Tip # 4: Optimize your images
Adding images to your page can also enhance user experience. However, you need to be careful not to let these images become a root of other problems like slow response and loading speed.
Here are some points you should keep in mind when using images.
- Use the ‘alt’ attribute to describe your images. This attribute will allow you to specify alternative text in case the image cannot be displayed
- Use a single dedicated folder for all your image files. This will allow search engines to find your images easier.
- Use descriptive filenames for your images and separate texts using hyphens. Do not use generic filenames such as man1.jpg, man2.jpg, etc.
- Optimize the size of your image and stick to standard formats like JPEG, GIF, PNG, BMP, and WebP image formats.
- When possible, use SVG vector images instead of ‘raster’ images. Vector assets are much smaller than raster images like JPEG and PNG.
Tip # 5: Make your website mobile friendly
Most people now use mobile devices nowadays instead of computers. A huge amount of searches are now done through smartphones, and it’s steadily increasing over the years. With that being said, it’s time to talk about some mobile SEO.
Here are some guidelines on how to ensure that your website is mobile-friendly:
- First is to understand the difference between mobile devices and what they support. You may think that WEBM video file would be great instead of an animated GIF, but guess what? It’s not supported on Apple mobile devices.
- Make sure that your website has either a responsive or adaptive design so the layout looks right on users’ devices. Responsive design provides a lot of advantages in terms of SEO and usability.
- If possible, consider using Google’s Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) format for your articles on mobile. This format decreases the number of assets loaded on a user’s device, and serves up the content much more quickly.
Links are a must-have component of your page. There are two kinds of links: internal and external, and they are both critical to proper SEO.
Internal links are links in a page that directs to other pages within a website.
External links, on the other hand, are links that direct to other pages outside of your site. Most SEO people focus heavily on trying to earn external links from authoritative websites, as this will have a positive effect on your website.
Here are some guidelines you can follow when working with links:
- Choose good anchor text. Anchor text is the clickable hyperlink text, and it provides Google with context about the content. Make sure that your anchor text is descriptive and gives a clear idea of what the page linked to is about
- Use short, concise texts as your anchor text. For more info on Anchor Text, see this great, deep-dive article from Ahrefs.
- Format your links so they can be easily seen
Tip # 7: Optimize your content
Last but not least, you should always have great content on your website. Just like what they say, content is king. Creating original, compelling, and useful content for your site is the most important thing. Focus on making surprisingly helpful content on your website. Users who see great content are much more likely to recommend it to others.
Here are some tips on how to create great content for your site:
- Know what your readers want and answer the questions they may have. A great way to do this is to use Google’s suggested results at the bottom of the page
- Stop focusing on keyword research tools! Focus on writing for your reader, not on roughly-accurate historical data
- Make sure that your content delivers on every promise made in the headline
- Organize your topics clearly
- Make your content easy to read through clean formatting (See Tip # 2 above)
- Always create timely, unique, and fresh content
- Always think about your users and optimize your content for them, not for search engines
That’s it! You now know 7 amazing tips that could upgrade your SEO and give you a boost to your Google search engine rankings. Following these tips will surely provide you with a significant improvement to the user experience of your website, and give you a much better chance of climbing the search rankings!