Basic search engine optimization (SEO) tips

31 March 2022

As fantastic as your website may be, what is the point of it if nobody can find it? This is where Search Engine Optimization (SEO) comes into play. Like most businesses today, your website is probably your primary presentation and lead client acquisition tool. And unless you implement paid campaigns and ads, organic website traffic is what brings you the biggest share of potential customers. However, organic traffic won’t be possible unless your website is well-indexed in search engines. If this is not the case and your web doesn’t rank well in Google, it means you need to focus on SEO, or in other words – on improving your web’s ability to show up high in search results.

To help you boost your SEO, we summed up some of the key indicators that make your website more discoverable. We grouped them depending on whether they have to do with content, with technical aspects or anything in between.

Table of contents

Content

Optimize content with keywords and meta descriptions

Try to use plenty of quality keywords when writing content for your website. You can include them in generic pages such as About, Team and so on, and also in any blog posts, publications and articles.

In addition to keywords, meta descriptions can help a lot in pointing Google towards your content and connecting it with relevant searches. A meta description provides a brief summary of a given web page and is displayed as part of the search snippet in search engine results.

While being useful for Google’s algorithm, a meta description is also directly helpful for the user, as it can help them identify whether the content on a given web page is exactly the content they are looking for. In this sense, keep your meta descriptions short and to the point, as you only have a reduced number of characters to capture the user and make them click on your page.

Useful tools to consider: Ubersuggest, Google Search Console

Post relevant content regularly

Posting relevant content is a great way to include and promote keywords, which can contribute to driving more traffic to your website. Try to include keywords in titles and make sure to tag these titles as headlines (H1, H2, etc.). Additionally, producing content related to your sector or industry is a great way of adding value for potential customers.

Aim for at least 400 words per page

Although there is no consensus as to the exact number of words a page should have, 300-400 is arguably the minimum. The more words you have, the better the chances they will correspond to a given user search in Google. The presence of words also indicates to web crawlers the quality of the page. A page with text components is considered more helpful to users and therefore will be ranked better in search engine results.

Optimize images and other multimedia

Nobody wants to see pixelated images or videos and multimedia quality shouldn’t be compromised with. That said, large-sized photos are a no-go because they will inevitably slow down your website. The best thing to do is to find a balance between size and quality – resizing an image as much as possible while retaining the required quality.

Technical

Make sure Google can index and crawl your web

First things first, Google needs time to start indexing your website. This may take up to several days. So if you just launched it, don’t worry if it doesn’t immediately appear in targeted search results. If your website has been active for a while but you still don’t see it in results, you might want to check in with the Google Search Console. From there you can request that Google re-crawl your pages and test robots.txt blocking. Robots.txt or the robots exclusion standard, is used by websites to communicate with web crawlers and other web robots and indicate which areas of the website should not be crawled.

Assure good User Experience (UX)

User Experience (UX) has been coined as a term to describe how a user interacts with a product or service. In website design, UX encompasses all elements that determine how a user feels when interacting with a website and how easy it is for them to accomplish any given target. Picture someone trying to buy a mobile phone online, but not being able to easily find return policies or delivery fees – this would be an example of unsatisfactory UX.

But let’s get back to the basics and consider some of the pillars of a good UX – speed and optimized mobile version. Nobody will spend too much time on a website that won’t load fast and you might lose potential customers. Same goes for a sloppy mobile version. And as we know by now, Google uses crawlers to scan your website. Imagine they are like users – if they detect slow download speed and problems with your mobile version, they will signal that to Google, which can then affect your indexing in web results.

So make sure all your pages download fast (check those high-resolution images) and audit your mobile version for anything that doesn’t look quite all right (text that is too small to read, titles cut in half, etc.)

Link pages internally

Linking a page internally means putting links from one page on your website to another page on your website. This is useful on two levels: both users and search engines use links to navigate your website, so you will be facilitating both of them in engaging better and longer with your content.

Users follow internal links to find related content, which in itself gives more exposure to all your web pages and reaps more benefits from your content marketing efforts. Search engines also use links to explore content and determine its value. So if you want to indicate to Google that a page is important, aim for creating as many links to it as possible.

Besides links in your Menu (Team, Services and so on), you can include links within your content – for instance, a blog post can refer to a service page or to another related blog post, and a team member profile page can have links to blog posts.

Make sure you have an XML sitemap

An XML sitemap indicates to search engines which URLs on your website are available for crawling and indexing. XML sitemaps can help Google in finding essential web pages quickly even if they are not properly linked internally. A sitemap is also useful in giving search engines a better understanding of your website structure. There are a few ways to generate a sitemap: manually, automatically and via your CMS in case you use one (WordPress, Wix, Webflow or similar). Once the map is generated, it can be submitted to Google in the Google Search Console (Index→Sitemap menu), where you can check the discovered URLs and track the index coverage.

Other

Aim at quality backlinks

Backlinks are links from external websites that lead to your website. The SEO value of backlinks is two-dimensional. On one hand, your online presence expands thanks to the fact that other places on the web refer to your website. On the other hand, search engines treat backlinks as ‘votes’ for a specific page, which means a page with a high number of backlinks will have a better ranking in search engine results.

However, this doesn’t mean that anything goes. You wouldn’t want spammy websites or pages that are not in line with your values to link back to your website. Look for directory websites that are relevant to your industry, blogs that can mention you or influencers you can collaborate with.

Useful tools to consider: Backlink checker

Create a Google Business profile

A Google Business profile is a great way to boost your online presence and improve your visibility in search engine results. A Google Business profile enables you to personalize how your business appears to customers on Google Search and Maps. You can enlist your services, publish offers and articles, post images and videos, receive direct messages and more.

All of this can help you communicate your brand to potential customers and convert them into existing ones. You can even add a Google Business website (very basic, but still), which would automatically update itself with the information you post in your profile. All in all, maintaining an active and updated Google Business profile is a great way to improve SEO.

Be active on social media

Your company or brand is more likely to be discovered in a web search if you maintain company accounts on various social media platforms. To give the best impression to users who stumble upon your social accounts, keep these up to date and post your latest content regularly.

Also, not every social network is for every brand and there is no need to be present everywhere for the mere sake of presence. Instead, focus on where your target audience is most concentrated and invest your efforts and time there.

Foster engagement on your website

If users spend more time on your website, this means lower bounce rates – the percentage of people that land on a page and leave. Bounce rates are frequently overlooked when talking about successful SEO. While there are conflicting opinions on whether bounce rates directly affect search engine results, there are clear indications that there is a correlation between the two.

When Google tracks the behaviour of users on your website it can detect that they leave fast and don’t interact with any content besides the landing page. It is reasonable to expect that this can influence how Google ranks your website in search results. In addition, a high bounce rate may be a signal for deeper issues with your website – poor user experience, inappropriate copywriting and others.

When you make sure core factors are all running nice and smooth, some ideas to keep users on your website for longer include: contact forms, subscription boxes, comment section, call-to-action buttons. Options like these can redirect users to other pages and increase overall time spent on your website, which in turn means lower bounce rates and better chances of high search engine rankings.