There are many things which can go into a successful SEO project – even in these days of content marketing and quality links. But overall, there are a few essential elements that I recommend for all sites in order for them to be search engine friendly.
The forgotten relation in SEO. Whilst description tags and the like are not as important as they were when I first started optimising sites – way back in the “dark ages” of the late 1990s – there are still benefits to be had from getting your metadata correct in terms of best practices for SEO. What this requires is:
– Title Tag
Still one of the most important elements in “on page” SEO – your title tag should reflect the keywords that are likely to be used to search for the content of the page. These words will be used as the heading for your listing in the Google search results pages.
– Description Tag
Not used for ranking purposes, but should appear underneath the heading in Google, as determined by the Title Tag mentioned above. The copy you use here can be very useful for convincing people to click through to your site, especially if it not only matches the keywords they might use, but also provides them a good reason to visit your site. For example, you can promote your USPs here to give people a compelling reason to click the listing.
2) Responsive Design
Google is very keen to see that your website will work well on any device (see this post on the Google Mobile Algorithm Update for more info). It may not be the case yet that your site will be penalised for not being responsive, but my bet is that this will start to happen before too long.
So you need to ensure that your site’s layout is adaptable to the device it is being viewed on – and not just from the point of view of it changing shape. You also need to ensure the site is navigable and user friendly, too, in order to keep people on the site.
A term that is not so much in favour nowadays compared to 10 years or so ago, stickiness refers to the capability of your site to keep people engaged whilst they’re visiting it. My recommendation is that you ensure each page has something of value on it that will keep people reading (or watching a video).
Google certainly doesn’t want to be sending its users to a site that only holds a visitor’s attention for a few seconds before they click back to try and find another, more suitable match for their search query. So you should populate your site with quality, useful content and keep those visitors (and Google) happy.
Whilst there are certainly lots of other things you can do – as previously mentioned – if you concentrate your efforts on the 3 issues listed above, you’ll already be doing pretty well in terms of SEO effectiveness.