Optimizing for Both Search Engines and Users
Optimizing your site for search engines should be synonymous with optimizing your site for users. This doesn’t mean that UX (User Experience) equals SEO, just that UX is an integral part of successful SEO strategy. But keep in mind the way users see your website is significantly different to the way search engines see it. Great SEO work keeps both humans and search engine robots in mind, optimizing your content and your website so it can rank highly in the eyes of all.
The following is a selection of on- page elements Seperia can customize and optimize to increase organic traffic to your site.
- Title Tags: Your page title should include your main keyword, and can contain variations of the keyword, but most importantly should read well. It is crucial to target only one keyword per page.
- Meta Description: The meta description needs to be inviting, it is an opportunity to provide users with a type of ‘sales pitch’ about the landing page and therefore increase CTR (click through rate).
- Headlines: Offering relevant and compelling (keyword optimized) headlines increases the chance of users reading your text, which also positively affects time on page and bounce rate, two important SEO factors. It is important H tags are used appropriately, with only one H1 tag per page and the following H2 and H3 tags spread appropriately down the page.
- Open graph tags: Allows Facebook to generate an optimized listing when your page is being shared on Facebook.
- Site Speed: Fast page load times can give your website a little boost in its search engine rankings. Enhanced site speed can also improve the user’s experience (better engagement) and may also lead to an increase in conversions.
- Canonical Tags: Particularly in the areas of content management and ecommerce, it is common practice for the same content to be accessible via multiple URLs. Inserting canonical URLs can lead to an improvement of link and ranking signals in these cases.
- Crawlability: Along with readability, your website’s pages must be crawlable in order to be indexed by search engines. A crawlable link structure is crucial and can be achieved through the use of sitemaps and through careful design of your website hierarchy and navigation.
- Your hierarchy should be used to organize your site in a logical way that best presents your site content and the importance of each page to both your users as well as Search Engines.
- Seamless website navigation and a good URL structure can improve your hierarchy.
- An example of how your page hierarchy can be reflected in your URL structure:
or mysuperstore.com /running-shoes/nike/this-is-the-shoe-i-want/
- Keep in mind that you will have to make proper use of canonical tags if you want to present the best hierarchy to your users.
- When navigation is designed correctly, the user will enjoy a smooth journey through your site, likely increasing their time on site, reducing bounce rates, and increasing conversions.
- Your navigation should be at least partially based on your hierarchy. In other words, if you have a site about shoes and “Running Shoes” is a core category then “Running Shoes” should be included in your main menu.
- Here at Seperia, we like to think of Social Media Marketing as “the new link building.” Whereas link building was once only about creating text links between sites, today’s social link building signals, including Facebook likes, Twitter shares etc., can have a significant impact on your organic rankings, directly and by facilitating additional links and brand signals.
- Content promotion should involve elements of social sharing and/or commenting to engage your users and increase traffic to your site.
- There is no doubt that mobile sites receive a great proportion of traffic. It is for this reason that all SEO signals need to be optimized for mobile sites as well as desktop sites.
- Having a responsive, or full mobile website is crucial.
- You can also release apps through Google Play and the App Store to increase your site’s overall online footprint.
- Loading time is important as a page should generally load in half the time of a desktop page to meet the user’s on-the-go needs.
User Experience Metrics
- As user experience metrics are evaluated by search engines to determine the quality of your site, they have an indirect influence on your organic rankings.
- These metrics include average time on site, bounce rates, pageviews, social sharing and rich media.
- Navigation again comes into play, as does the relevance and uniqueness of your content.
- The trick here is to write your content for your users, and then go back and optimize for specific keywords (without overusing them).
- Remember that Google (thanks to the Panda algorithm update) looks at the text of your pages to analyze synonyms and context; avoid unnecessary repetitiveness and keep your content natural, relevant and unique.
Brand & Authority
- Branding (images, messages etc.) should be consistent across your website, social networks, blogs and so on.
- Just as your brand must earn the trust of its customers, your website (both on the domain and page levels) should be optimized to earn the trust of search engines.
- Google bases its trust in a website on a number of factors, including page authority, domain history and brand identity. For example, a site that has a history of receiving penalties may have trouble ranking well in Google even if it performs well on other factors.
- On-page trust can be achieved when your pages link to other trusted and ‘Authority Sites’, maintain high user engagement and are optimized according to Google’s guidelines.
- Sub-domains/sub-websites and blogs- that link to your website- can be developed to provide added value that can’t be delivered through your website (such as additional knowledge/services).