Optimize a Website’s Content for Search Engine Optimization

There are tips and tricks to search engine optimization, it really comes down to first creating great content. If the content is well-written, informative, and on topic, it will help satisfy the searcher’s query. This is an important aspect in implementing SEO, you should try to satisfy the searcher’s query better than the competition. So how to optimize your website’s content. These recommendations come directly from Google’s SEO documentation. While none of these guarantee that a webpage will rank high in a search engine, they’re great to consider when creating webpages.

Website optimization recommendations

Website optimization recommendations designed by Lylyna Heng
Make the website useful and interesting

Creating compelling and useful content will likely influence your website more than any other factor we discuss. Users find good content engaging. When users are engaged, they will likely want to share it and direct other users to it. Visitors sharing and talking about the website is what helps build the site’s reputation with both visitors and Google. The sharing rarely comes without quality content.

Know what visitors want and give it to them

This starts with keyword research. Once you have the right keywords and topics, then create great content. How to best create great content is often a matter of opinion. Google Search guidelines do provide some suggestions, such as making sure the content is well-written and easy to follow, and carefully checking your text for spelling errors and grammatical mistakes. Fresh, unique content also performs better in searches. Google tries hard to show pages with distinct information. If there are pages on a website that are duplicates or similar in content, those pages are likely to not be shown in search engine results.

Act in a way that cultivates user trust

Users feel comfortable visiting your website if they believe it’s trustworthy. A site with a good reputation is trustworthy. Cultivate a reputation for expertise in your industry or a certain area. Provide information about who publishes the site, provides the context, and the organization’s goals. If you have an e-commerce website, make sure you have clear and satisfying customer service information.

Make expertise and authoritativeness clear

Make sure that content on the site is created or edited by people with knowledge of the topic. You can either have the expertise to edit your content or you can provide expert or experienced sources. The source helps users understand the expertise you base the content on.

Provide an appropriate amount of content for your subject

Creating high-quality content takes a significant amount of at least one of the following: time, effort, expertise, and talent or skill. Make sure your content is factually accurate, clearly written, and comprehensive. For example, publishing a recipe, provide a complete recipe that is easy to follow by including, dish description, ingredients and clear instruction.

Best practices for links and promoting a website

There are two main types when it comes to website links: the links on your website, and the links that point to your website, internal and external links respectively.

Internal links – pointing to other pages on the site. For example, an internal link might take a visitor from a list of hotels on a travel planning website to another page on the same website that includes information about a specific hotel.

External links – lead to content on other sites. From the hotel example above, an external link might take the visitor from a list of hotels on the travel website to the hotel’s official website. External links are also commonly known as outbound links.

Backlinks or inbound links – links that point to a website from other sites. For example, if an online article about the best vacation packages includes a link to a travel planning website, that would be considered a back link.

Best practices for internal and external links

Anchor text – the visible text in a hyperlink. In the example below, “Learn more” is the anchor text. Good anchor text helps visitors navigate your site and helps Google understand what the page you’re linking to is about.

Example of anchor text: "Learn more"
Best practices for internal and external links designed by Lylyna Heng

Anchor text should be:

  • Descriptive: use anchor text that provides a basic idea of what the page linked to is about. Avoid using generic anchor text like “page,” “article,” or “click here.” In most cases, you’ll want to avoid using the URL itself as anchor text.
  • Concise: a few words or a short phrase is all you need for anchor text. Avoid linking an entire paragraph or long sentence.
  • Easy to spot: use formatting that makes your links stand out from the regular text on your website. If the link only becomes apparent when a visitor moves their mouse over it, they can easily miss the link – or even accidentally click on it.
  • Helpful: use anchor text only when it helps a visitor navigate your site to find the information they need. Avoid using lengthy anchor text just for search engines. Avoid stuffing the anchor text with keywords.
Use caution with external links

Linking to other websites can be beneficial, but you need to avoid linking to sites that may not be reputable or that may include information you don’t want to endorse. For example, external links in the comment sections or the live chat. You can use no follow links, which are links that feature HTML code that tells search engines to ignore that link.

Ways to promote your website

Here are some ideas to help you promote your website and attract backlinks:

  • Publish blog posts about new content or new services you offer.
  • Share quality content on social media.
  • Feature helpful articles, such as buying guides, in your email marketing.
  • Connect with online communities related to your sites, such as forums or message boards, social media groups, or related websites.
  • Only share content that will interest your users instead of sharing every update to your site’s content.
Paid links

Google warns against using paid links unless they are for advertising purposes and properly labeled. Buying and selling links in order to manipulate search results is not an acceptable practice and can negatively impact a site’s ranking. It can also lead to low-quality backlinks from sites with questionable reputation.

Check out Google Search Central for details.

Optimize images for a website

Search engines use images as a way to visually discover information on the internet. Images are also how customers can visually understand your products and services. When you satisfy your users, the search engines often recognize that satisfaction and display your website, images or, content. There are several factors to consider to make them friendly to both users and search engines.

Google images best practices designed by Lylyna Heng
Create a great user experience with images on the website

First, ensure that visual content is relevant to the page topic. Display images only where they add original value to the page. Place images prominently on the page and near relevant text. When it makes sense, consider placing the most important image near the top of the page. Ensure that images are device-friendly. It should load properly on the computer, tablet, and mobile.

Include descriptive titles, captions, and filenames

When pulling an image from a website to display in Google images, Google will automatically generate a title and snip it to describe the photo. You can assist in this by creating a descriptive page title. You should also consider including a caption with any photo. This helps Google understand what is going on in the photo. Likewise, the filename can give Google clues about the subject matter of the image.

Use descriptive alt text

Alt text is a text that describes an image. It improves accessibility for people who can’t see images on a webpage, including visitors who use screen readers or have low bandwidth connections. Google uses alt text along with computer vision algorithms and the content of the page to understand the subject matter of the image. When writing alt text, focus on creating useful, information-rich content that uses keywords appropriately. The alt text should also be in the context of the page content. You should also avoid keyword stuffing in the alt text. It results in a negative user experience and may cause Google Search to recognize your site as spam.

Optimized for speed

Images are often the largest contributor to overall page size, which can make pages slow to load. When uploading images to a website, you typically don’t upload the original image. Without losing the image’s quality, you should resize the images to a size more appropriate for a website. To determine if images are slowing the load speed of a website, use a free-of-charge tool provided by Google called Page Speed Insights. This tool analyzes a webpage and provides information about its load time. It also provides suggestions on how you can decrease the load time, such as what images are taking a long time to load.

Make your website mobile-friendly

Making a website mobile-friendly means making it functional on a smartphone. In many countries, the number of smartphones has surpassed the number of personal computers. In the US, 95% of people with smartphones search for local information on their phones. Having a mobile-friendly website has become a critical part of having an online presence.

If a website is not mobile-friendly, it can be difficult to view and use on a mobile device. A non-mobile-friendly site requires users to pinch or zoom to read the content. Users find this frustrating. When frustrated, users may abandon the website. When a website is mobile-friendly, it is readable and immediately usable on a smartphone. This ensures that visitors have a good experience on a site when they’re visiting from their mobile devices.

What to know when building a mobile-friendly website

  • Make it easy for customers to use – consider your customers’ objectives like knowledge gained, dining, buying new clothes, and so on. The best way to achieve it is again customer persona and journey map.
  • Measure the effectiveness of your website by how easy mobile customers can complete common tasks. You can put in the list and test it out across platforms. This is when the crowd testing comes to play.
  • Use a responsive web design that allows display adjusts according to the screen size. One benefit of using a responsive web design is that you only need to maintain one version of your site instead of two – one for mobile and one for desktop.

Top three mistakes beginners should avoid

  • Forgetting their mobile customer – while providing mobile friendly is important, don’t focus solely on creating a mobile-formatted site and forget about providing full functionality. The features and functionalities should be accessible both in desktop and mobile version.
  • Implementing the mobile site on a different domain – creating separate mobile URLs significantly increases the amount of work required to maintain and update your site. It also introduces possible sources of technical problems. Responsive web design will simplify website management, it serves a desktop and mobile website on the same URL.
  • Working in isolation rather than search for inspiration – review other sites in your industry, such as competitors for inspiration and best practices. Learn from features you find useful and not useful on their websites.

Mobile-Friendly Test

Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test uses a Google bot to fetch a website and determines if it is mobile-friendly. If it is not, the results will describe issues that can affect the page when accessed on a smartphone. It’s a best practice to resolve these issues on your websites so that it doesn’t negatively affect your customers.

Happy learning and good luck!

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