The age-old question entrepreneurs and small business owners face when starting their new website: Should I hire an SEO expert / On-page SEO Services, or can I do it myself? The truth is, it’s not as difficult as you might think to get on page one of Google (or any other search engine). Many of the features are free to use, and they’re straightforward to implement! Here are 10 SEO requirements you need to know to get your site ranking higher.
1) Header Tags
While image-heavy websites like Buzzfeed and other viral-leaning sites use images for more than just visual appeal, users are now trained to expect more from search engines. Using header tags properly (the H1 tag) helps give users a better experience while simultaneously aiding in your SEO ranking. It’s an easy way to improve usability, functionality, and search engine ranking. Make sure you always have one top-level header tag on each website page. Even if that header tag is a hidden paragraph that contains a single sentence describing your site or brand—so long as it’s on every page, you should be okay with search engines.
2) URL Structure
SEO requirements for URL structure, does it matter? What’s so important about a domain name when you’re trying to rank? There are plenty of aspects to determine where your website ranks in search engines, but none is more important than domain structure. Whether you’re just getting started on your business site or have been around a while, you should know that URLs can be incredibly impactful for optimizing your website for search engines. Here’s why: The URL gives users context about what they will find when they click through. Depending on what page they land on after clicking, it also provides information about how relevant or significant that page is to other pages and helps search engines determine relevancy.
3) Keyword Density
Keyword density is when a keyword appears too many times in a given text. For example, your site may have an overall content focus on one particular keyword. In that case, you would likely want to use that word several times throughout your site’s content. On some other pages, though, you might be better off using different words or not using them. This will help prevent Google from penalizing your entire site because one page was written with too much emphasis on specific keywords. A few tests should tell you what works best for each page of your site, and then you can proceed accordingly for future posts.
4) Creating Quality Content
For your website or webpage to rank in search engines, you need to have enough content. This is a good rule of thumb: any site ranking on page one should provide at least 1,000 words of unique content per page and 3,000 words total. These are what Google calls density requirements—in other words; you want your site or page to contain that much text and no more. In terms of actual word count, aim for at least 350-500 words per post or 500-700 for a guest post or even less if your content consists primarily of quotes from outside sources.
5) Page Load Time Optimization
One of Google’s recent algorithm updates, Mobilegeddon, emphasizes page load time in its ranking algorithm. More and more searchers are accessing websites from mobile devices, so it makes sense that Google wants webmasters to create pages that load quickly for these users. You should ensure your most important pages load in under five seconds on a mobile device (Google also recommends < 1 second). Speed is increasingly important; research from Conductor indicates that 52% of consumers expect web pages to load in two seconds or less, and over 50% abandon sites that take longer than three seconds to load.
6) Mobile Optimization
Build a website optimized for mobile so that you can get even more traffic. Mobile users generally spend three times longer on your site than desktop users, but if your website isn’t optimized for mobile, they may leave as soon as they see how hard it is to browse and interact with content using their phones. One way to optimize is by reducing page load time: speed matters in everything from customer satisfaction to conversions and sales.
7) Meta Descriptions
The Meta description is an HTML attribute that helps search engines understand what your page is about and what users can expect when they click on your link. It’s imperative, but it’s also hard to get right. Too short, and Google will truncate it (losing valuable real estate). Too long, and Google won’t bother displaying it at all.
8) Meta Keywords Section
Search engines don’t index Meta keywords, but they serve an essential purpose: they let you tell search engines what your website is about. Though Meta keywords don’t impact rankings, making sure your keyword research for your site as a whole is taken into account will help with click-through rates and conversions in your organic listings. It gives potential customers more information about why they should buy from you.
9) Image Optimization
Using images on your site is crucial, including increasing time spent on the site and ranking higher in image search results. However, you need to keep your image size optimized, or else Google may not display them in search results. Ensure each image is under 2MB and resized appropriately so it doesn’t take up a ton of space on users’ screens or eat into their data plan.
10) Internal Linking
Internal linking is something most people never think about. They publish a piece of content and then don’t worry about links again. However, if you want your page to rank high in search engines, internal linking is a great way to achieve that goal. By including relevant keywords in links from your site, you help search engines understand what each piece of content is about and determine how important it is to compare with other content on your site or other sites.
Create content according to user behavior as search engine crawlers crawl content based on logic. Creating relevant and valuable content is essential, but it’s also essential to take other factors into account if you want your page to rank high in search results. It’s a common misconception that social shares are not taken into account by Google.