And to go with our best wishes, we’ve created an SEO Christmas tree with our top-10 natural search factors you need to think about in 2018. But remember, these are only quick summaries. If you need more detailed information, we’d be happy to provide it!
Thinking about how content works to improve your site’s natural search performance is important to SEO; it’s not just about writing and posting blogs. Google needs to find the content you want to be indexed and not find the pages you don’t. Your content must also be easy to understand, useful and relevant for the users it’s aimed at. Page structure too is important and the better the page is set-up the stronger it’s performance is likely to be.
Meta titles and descriptions provide the information that displays in the search results. They affect click-through-rate (CTR); the proportion of times people click through to your site compared to the number of times your site displays in the search results. CTR is an SEO ranking factor, and useful for optimised natural search performance. Meta descriptions and titles also help Google to understand what a page is all about, so it’s important to get these spot on!
Structured data mark-up
This is code that describes your content to search engines, and helps Google to display your content in different ways in search results. Time consuming? Yes. But definitely worthwhile.
Individual page URLs are a good way to indicate to both users and Google bots the specific subject of that page, and where they are on a site. Structure your URLs around your content to provide clear sign-posts for better page indexing and natural search results!
Designing your website so that people (and Google) can find the information they need quickly and easily is important. Good design can also sign-post the content that is most important on a site by using a logical navigation structure. Strong navigation will also help Google bots to index all the pages on a site every time they visit.
Links can be both internal and external. External back-links from other sites remain a key ranking factor but putting in place links that join internal pages is will also have a positive effect. Think about the text in your link as this should provide a clue to the page you are linking to: internal or external. However, avoid overdoing this and including too much text in a link.
The rules are pretty clear here. Make sure you provide a description of what the image is about by using ALT text. And ensure the image stays small so as not to affect site load time adversely. Also consider using an image site map.
Design and build your site so that it’s mobile-friendly. Remember that a big proportion of your site’s visitors arrive via smart-phones and Google, recognising this, rewards sites that provide a smooth and easy-to-navigate mobile user experience. You also need to prepare you’re mobile pages so they can be indexed accurately. Think ‘mobile-first’ when designing your site and you shouldn’t go too far wrong!
Promote your site
Promotion is important to most businesses and you can do this in numerous ways such as sharing content via social channels, email marketing, generating natural back-links and so on. Think also about how people are using your site. Get more visitors to spend longer on your pages and the site in general will improve your overall search results.
Constantly analyse the performance of your site, including visitor numbers and interactions, visitor sources, what content is working well, how often people are returning and so on. This will allow you to tweak your site to improve what’s working and potentially remove or reinvigorate what’s not working so well.
Getting your site to rank well in natural search is a competitive and time-consuming business. But it can be a great way to drive new leads for your business. Something that, after all, most businesses depend upon.
Happy Christmas 2017 and here’s to a successful 2018!