You probably hear SEO tips all the time, especially if you're a website owner trying to market through search engines. But here are a few you might not have heard before. Let's get started!
#6: Image Tagging
Ok, this one's pretty common, but I'm putting it here anyway!
Images can spice up any web page. It's a visual medium, after all, so splashing in meaningful image content can really help you stand out. There's just one problem: what if the person viewing your page can't see? They might be using a screen reader to help them browse the internet. You want them to know what's on the page, so you NEED to use ALT tags! I'm putting this at #10 because, like I said, this one's pretty much standard.
Take an image tag like this:
In order to let a screen reader know what the image is about, change it to this:
<img src="some_cool_image.png" alt="something cool that's happening, wow!"/>
Describing what's in the image helps accessibility, and accessibility helps SEO! So make sure to use your ALT tags! And also remember: Google is blind, too. But we're not done yet.
What wha- I thought we were done with image tags!You, maybe
Not quite! This is a much less commonly talked about practice, but there's something else you can do other than ALT tags. Let's get out that image tag again:
<img src="some_cool_image.png" alt="something cool that's happening, wow!"/>
You can help this tag even more by adding a title tag. To be sure, it doesn't carry as much weight as an ALT tag, but it's a way to explain an image further. Often you'll see the alt text duplicated for the title text, and that's fine, but having that little bit of extra verbiage can help your page squeeze just a tiny little bit more SEO power out of your image content. Try making your images look like this:
<img src="some_cool_image.png" alt="something cool that's happening, wow!" title="cool image about something provided by cool corp 2019 or something"/>
#5: Take Inventory of that CMS of Yours
Alright, look, working here at Blue Fish, I'm 100% biased in this regard, but hear me out. We're proud supporters of Craft CMS, and we use it on just about every website we build. That's for many reasons, but one important reason is its capability to have great on-site SEO.
If you're confused about what a CMS is, check out my article on that. Anyway, I'm not asking you to make the move to Craft (though maybe consider it?), but I am asking you to do some research and take a real hard look at your website's CMS and see if it's hurting you rather than helping. Plenty of CMS's work great for SEO if you - yes, you - put in the time and effort in using their SEO tools. Some CMS's lack those tools, and some actively hinder your SEO by the way the website's code is generated. The reason we like Craft so much is because of how much control it gives us as an agency to optimize. How much control does your CMS give you?
#4: Write More, But Write Better
So you're a blog writer, and you've just finished an article on... something. I don't know. But you look back on it and - what's this - it's only 2 paragraphs long? In all likelihood: you. need. more.
Ok, ok, so word count ITSELF isn't the primary issue here, believe it or not. I'm sure you've seen article after article telling you to up your word count to help your SEO. But that might be misleading. Google isn't interested in long articles, they're interested in meaningful content. Their goal is always to skew the algorithm towards showing content that people would want to look at - not content that's long simply because it's "what Google wants."
So, that's all to say that what I mean by "you need more" is that it's unlikely you covered a point you wanted to make in that small of a word count. Here's the thing: if you did, awesome! But if not, consider writing more. You might be doing yourself - and your SEO - a favor.
#3: Don't Kill it with Keywords
Optimizing articles and pages for keyword content is a vital part of getting Google to rank you for those keywords. But that's not the tip I want to impart. I want to tell you the other side of the coin: DON'T OVERDO IT.
It's entirely possible and even easy to get Google upset with your page from overusing keywords. It's something you might find around the internet called keyword stuffing - packing a page too densely with words you want to rank for. So what do you do instead? Well, like many things in life, it's all about moderation. 2-5% keyword density is often enough, so besides spamming those words over and over, what can you do? Well, Google loves meaningful content and context. Try varying up the keywords and using synonyms. You can also try using related keywords that help provide context to what you're saying. For more information on that practice, check out my last post discussing LSI.
#2: You Seriously Don't Have SSL, yet?
An oldie but a goodie, and one I feel isn't talked about enough anymore.
You know how you go on some websites and they have an HTTPS on the left side of it? (You know... like our website). But other sites only have an HTTP? Well, that S is pretty significant. It means that site is secured with an SSL certificate. Basically, it makes sure your information stays between your browser and the server giving you the website. At this point, it's a vital part of making a website, as not having an SSL certificate can make Google give you the side-eye as far as security goes. Do yourself a favor and make sure you have one, or your SEO will suffer. Especially if you handle sensitive information like logins, or worse, credit card numbers. Oof.
SSL can look expensive, especially if you're buying from certain domain name providers, but it's actually 100% free if you know where to look. Whoops, did I make that a link? There's no excuse. Get your site modernized with an SSL certificate.
#1: It's Called the Web for a Reason
Excuse the snarky section title. What I mean to say is, you need to integrate your content into the wider... ahem, world-wide-web. In more technical terms: You need yourself some backlinks.
Let's say we have two websites. Ours, and another one called cool zone.website. If cool zone wanted to promote our page, they might put a link in an article that points to https://bluefishds.com. For them, that's an external link pointing out to an existing website, and for us? That's a backlink.
Backlinks give your pages some SEO leverage. It's telling Google that you exist and that people are visiting and talking about you. Big points. It's just a fact that some SEO practices boil down to popularity. If tons upon tons of people are linking back and visiting you, you'll rank. And backlinks are a big way that's measured.
But a big note is that not all backlinks are created equal. A backlink is effectively a vote of confidence. It's one site telling Google that another site is legit. But, if that site linking back to you is crap, it won't mean much. Google scores sites on how meaningful their external links are - how much leverage they give to the sites in those links - so don't think you can run off and start pushing links to a whole bunch of link farms. Google knows what's up, and they'll ding you for it. Hard. Instead, focus your efforts on social media marketing, getting reviews, and getting influencers to link to you and advocate for your business. That's marketing.
There's a lot more I could talk about. But in conclusion, focus your SEO efforts on making engaging content for humans, that's properly accessible and meaningful to its audience. Don't game the system. Don't play with robots. But if all this sounds like a lot, we here at Blue Fish are experts in getting sites like yours up to the SEO standard it needs to be at. If you need a hand, let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org, and let's get the ball rolling. Thanks for reading!