As you may know, SEO is a constant changing formula that determines where websites ultimately rank in search engines. As a marketer or small business, it’s important to pay close attention to changes in SEO to ensure that your website can rank highly on Google.
To give you a strong start, we’ll discuss the key factors to address for your website so that you can crush SEO in 2019 and outrank your competitors.
What we know is that there are currently over 200 ranking factors that go into SEO. However, there are really just a handful of those factors that you should definitely consider as you focus on your SEO in 2019 to have the biggest impact.
The factors you’ll want to pay particularity close attention to are:
Structure Your Website Properly for SEO
When we talk about structure, we’re talking about the technical aspects of SEO. One of the main ingredients to a website ranking well is having solid architecture. So what do we mean by this? It means that you want to focus on the structural checklist that Google says is important for websites to have including:
Mobile responsive design
Hopefully by now this one is a no-brainier, but it’s still important. You want your website to be responsive on any device that it is being viewed on. So whether your website is being viewed from a computer screen or a smartphone, it still looks great. Most websites now are responsive, so you’ll want to be sure that yours is too.
Another key factor is how quickly your site loads. If your site takes too long to load (more than a few seconds), it will deter visitors and search engine crawlers.
A couple of ways you can speed up your site is by using a caching plugin on your website as well as minimizing CSS and java script on your site. When your site has more styles or data to load, it will inevitably slow down the load time of your website.
Use of HTTPS
If you’re serious about your SEO in 2019, you should be serious about having an SSL certificate on your website. Not only does this make your website more secure by encrypting information on contact forms and offer a slight SEO boost, but it’s also pretty much mandatory by Google now.
Websites that don’t use HTTPS on their websites will show that the website is not secure in the browser URL bar. If making people feel uncomfortable by seeing that little message isn’t enough, it’s best to just add it since Google prefers sites that have an SSL certificate installed on them.
Proper use of headings and tags
When it comes to using headings on your page, the title should always be an H1 tag. And that should be the only H1 on your page. If you need to add subsections, be sure to use subheadings such as H2 or H3 tags.
The reason for this is that you want Google to understand what each page on your website is about. And since the H1 tag carries the most weight on a page, it will confuse search engine crawlers if there is more than one H1 per page. You will leave it up to a guess about what the focus of a page is. So be sure you’re using those heading tags correctly.
Focus on Link Building
Of all of the ranking factors, this is definitely one of the top 3. Links from other websites tell Google that your website has some level of popularity. So the more you are able to get other websites to link to your own, the more popular your site will be in the eyes of Google. But not just any links. You want to be sure that the links are of quality from other reputable websites. A few links from high quality websites will go much further than hundreds of links from less reputable websites.
For instance, getting a link to your website from a national brand such as CNN carries much more value than getting 50 links from a website no on has ever heard of. Make sense?
So how can I get quality links pointing to my site?
Take advantage of online directories such as Yelp or the Yellow pages. Many times online directories allow you to set up a profile for free for your business and include a link to your website.
While online directories are great, and you should take advantage of them, they aren’t the only way to build links. Getting quality links is going to take a little more work, however. Take a look at other blogs or websites in your industry and become a part of the community by commenting something of value on their posts. You can also reach out to popular sites and ask them if you can write a guest blog post for them. They may say yes, and this would allow you to include a link back to your own website.
Focus on Content Creation
Content creation and SEO go together like peas in a pod. Earlier we wrote about how content helps with SEO. And as far as we know, this is also one of the top 3 ranking factors when it comes to your SEO in 2019.
Keeping your website up to date with new blog articles or new pages let’s Google know that your site is alive and well. Adding new content to your site regularly is also a great way to keep visitors coming back to your site to check out your new content.
When writing your blog posts, be sure to focus on one keyword you’re trying to rank for. Just don’t overuse that keyword in your copy or else it will look like you are keyword stuffing. This is a definite red flag when it comes to SEO writing. Instead, write your content naturally and add in your keywords where they make sense. Writing your content for people rather than robots is much more beneficial in terms of SEO in the long run.
Remember HTML Basics
In addition to all these tips, also remember to adhere to HTML basics for. Sometimes the little things can be just enough to help give you the edge over your competitors in search results. These include items such as:
The title tag is what shows in the tab or browser window as well as the blue text in search results. So you’ll want to write something enticing enough for someone searching to click through to your website. As a bonus, be sure to include your keywords for each title tag on your website so that people know exactly what that page is about.
Similarly, the meta description is the text underneath the blue title that people see in search results. Also write this to be enticing for someone to understand what your page is about so that they want to read on. It’s also a good practice to include the keyword for each page within your meta descriptions. If you don’t include a meta description, Google will simply show text within search results from your page that it believes to be relevant to the person who performed a search.
Good alt attributes for images can help you get you more traffic from Google image searches. The reason is that when you give your images on your page alt descriptions, they can then show up if people are looking for images similar to the keywords you include in your description.
Page text length
You’ll want to write enough copy for each page or post on your website so that Google knows that the content is substantial. If it’s substantial, the likelihood that the page is more informative and a stronger resource for visitors is much higher. And Google likes that. So it pays to make your pages rich in copy.
How many words, you ask? The rule of thumb we always say is at least 350 words per page. You can certainly write more than this, but it’s recommended to write at least this many words for each page.
Need help with your SEO in 2019?
Whew! That’s plenty of info, but if you adhere to these SEO best practices, we believe you will set yourself up for strong SEO in 2019.
If you are interested in learning more about how SEO can benefit your business or would like help with your SEO, we encourage you to get in touch. We have worked with a number of companies to help improve their company website’s SEO, ultimately growing their business. Perhaps our San Antonio SEO company can do the same for your business!