Starting down the path to improving your website’s search engine visibility can be daunting. Staying up to speed Google’s changing rules and recommendations can be a full time job. Luckily, there are a few basic steps that every website owner can take to get started.
1. Ensure that your website is mobile friendly
Google recently announced that websites optimized to work on mobile would receive a boost in their rankings. Are you getting this boost? Google has created a simple tool to tell you if your site is mobile friendly, in their opinion.
Mobile friendly can mean a lot of things, to Google it means having a fast loading site, sized appropriately, with the same content was your desktop site. Our recommended approach is to build a site that will resize, not change the content based on how large the device screen is. This technique is commonly called responsive design.
In order to ensure that your website is loading quickly, you can use Google’s Page Speed Insights tool to look for bottlenecks and simple wins, such as optimizing your images. A fast site will improve your rankings, let your page load faster on both desktop and mobile, and potentially save you on bandwidth costs.
Still not convinced that you need to make your website mobile friendly? Consider that in 2015 more people completed their taxes online using a phone than a desktop computer.
2. Cover the basics
As you create your website, you need to ensure that each page has a unique title. Just as important as the title is the url. Choose a url naming scheme that is easy to read, easy to share, and future proof. Each page should also have a header (<h1>) tag. Bonus points if your header tag matches your title tag, which matches your url.
You should also include a description meta tag, and make double sure that you do not have a tag that says <meta name=”robots” content=”noindex,nofollow”/>, this tells Google to exclude the page from its results.
3. Use the Google Search Console
If you are a site owner concerned about your Google ranking, you need to be using the Google Search Console. This tool, provided by Google, will help you see your site through the eyes of the Googlebot.
You can see what pages around the internet link to your site, see what average position your page shows up for a given search term, and see how many pages of yours Google has in its index.
In addition to metrics, the search console will alert you if your site becomes unreachable, gets hacked, or if certain pages are disappearing.
4. Quality is king
There are no magic bullets to “get your site to be #1 in Google.” Google spends most of its time figuring out where people want to go and showing those results to them. When you have content users want living inside of a usable website, Google will value this higher than any robot keyword backlink strategy out there. High quality content will lead to more people organically sharing and linking to your site, which will in turn drive higher organic search rankings.
We’re just getting started
This is just the tip of the SEO iceberg.
If you run a brick and mortar store, you can use Google My Business to make sure that Google has your business’ details correct.
In 2015, having a social media strategy is extremely important, and so is making your content easy to share on these networks. Just like you can add special tags to help Google crawl and display your page, Twitter and Facebook have special tags that will make shared content even more engaging. This topic deserves it’s own blog post, and you can read more about this topic at Google’s Developer Resources.
If this is the kind of topic that makes you totally want to nerd out, check out the Moz.com blog, they have long been the industry experts when it comes to SEO. This SEO guide from QueryClick is another excellent resource.