As December winds down each year, I admit I consume a multitude of blog posts summing up the year in digital marketing along with insight into where we may be headed. I find these yearly posts about SEO, social media and digital marketing interesting and informative.
Today, I wanted to look back further into search engine optimization past and share my top three SEO tips that have always been around and aren’t going away anytime soon. Following are my three top SEO tips that will never go out of style.
Tip number 1: Cut the Clutter
Back in the 1990’s when we designed for 640×480 and site visitors were using dial-up to access web content, we knew every tiny bite could potentially add up and cost us visitors. We quickly learned we needed to optimize our content for site speed. The way we did this was by keeping our code lean and clean, optimizing images down to the exact viewable size and looking for anything else that might slow down our site. Back in the early days, it was simple to scan HTML and find what may be causing an issue.
In today’s world, site speed is taken into account for your search engine ranking, making it more important than ever to render your site. While we may no longer be concerned about optimizing a .jpg down to 20k, the concept of site speed still holds true today. User expect fast websites. As the world becomes increasingly mobile, and consumers expect on-demand content, poor site-speed can be detrimental to SEO.
- Here’s How the Google Speed Update Will Impact Your Site
- How to increase page speed to improve SEO results
Tip number 2: Keywords
It goes without saying that keywords are important. Keywords are the glue between people who are searching for content and the content you are providing. Your goal is to drive organic traffic to your site with the best SERPs (search engine result pages) possible.
Back in the day, the keyword meta tag was an important part of building a website. Webmasters would add in a list of keywords within the header tag, Yahoo would find them, and BOOM! Your site pulled up at the top. Well, no, it was never quite as simple as that, but we did try.
Developing a keyword strategy has always been, and always will be an important part of developing a successful digital content marketing strategy.
When I think of keyword strategy, a number of areas come to mind to implement a good SEO strategy. However, for simplicity sake, I am concentrating on these top three keyword tips.
- URL. When putting together your main site URL along with your sub-pages, implementing descriptive and straightforward web addresses is a must. The more readable the URL for visitors the better. Not only are you helping the reader navigate your site, but you are also helping the search engines crawl and index your content appropriately. Here’s a great resource for naming conventions and SEO.
- Metadata. The title tags are used to tell search engines and visitors what your page is about. I am amazed at how many web pages do not follow this rule. So the second tip for keyword strategy is to creatively and strategically write a unique title tag for each page implementing the keywords for that particular page. When writing your description tag, follow the same principle. It’s still debated as to whether a description tag has any weight at all. However, by concisely using the meta description tag to inform your reader what the page is about in an exciting, creative way, you draw in the reader and raise your click-through rate.
- Content. Your page content is why the reader is on your site. Your page content should be written for the reader, not for the search engines. It’s both a science and an art to developing great content for SEO. As long as you are aware of the keyword phrase you are targeting, you should end up with the right amount of keyword density.
I also want to mention, that when possible, it’s good practice for your URL, title tag and page header to match.
3. Consistency and Accuracy
- Links. Check for broken links and outdated information. A user who comes across inconsistency on your site won’t hang around long. When linking externally, more often than not the page you are linking to at some point may no longer be valid, causing a broken link from your page. Thus, leading your reader to the back button from your site. The rule applies to internal links as well. If you are part of a larger website, are you checking that all links work properly and content is still available?
- Content. Yes, again, content. Freshly-written content is loved by the search engines. By consistently bringing readers high-quality, well-researched content, readers learn that you are the go-to person for your niche. With the explosion of social media, it’s easier than ever to bring fresh content to your readers on a timely basis. If you are not taking advantage of social media such as blogging, tweeting, sharing, what are you waiting for?
Want more SEO? Below are a few of my favorite search engine optimization articles I’ve read over the past few weeks:
- New ways to approach SEO in 2019: Accountability and customer experiences
- 6 Tips to Strengthen Your Social Media Strategy for 2019
- Evolving Keyword Research to Match Your Buyer’s Journey
Robinette Kelly is in her 25th year as a web professional and digital marketer. She worked as Lead Web Designer for Ballistic ActionNet prior to her 17 years as Webmaster for The University of Texas at Tyler. Robin has a strong understanding of working with small businesses and is a highly skilled SEO marketer social media strategist and content writer.