Crucial SEO considerations for your new website

By Alicja Gados

If you’re building a website for your new business, you probably already know that search engine optimization (SEO) continues to be a major consideration. Your website needs to be easy to find. Organic search continues to be the number one way users find websites. So this means that you need to concentrate on some important principles when building your website.  So what should you focus on to begin with? Consider these eight things.

1. Structure of the URL

Let’s start with the simplest: the URL. The URL needs to contain keywords that you would like to rank for.  Make sure that pages within your site follow a hierarchy that is easy to decipher. Keep the naming convention logical, using hyphens and not the underscore symbol to separate the words.  For example do something like this (note: these are made up links for illustrative purposes only):

www.travelalberta.com/things-to-do/winter/skiing-snowboarding/resort-list/resort-packages

and not something like this:

travelalberta.com/activities_1/winter_sport/short_list/price_list

By reading the first URL you pretty much know what you’re going to get: a list of ski resorts in Alberta offering special packages. 

The second URL is confusing, just by reading it you won’t know exactly what the site is pointing to.  Be clear: Google is smart, and will figure out what you are trying to say.

2. Use of keywords

Speaking of keywords, there is some confusion surrounding the use of keywords in your content. How important are they?  Should they be an exact, specific match or just a broad one, and what about keywords in your meta description? Generally, you should only use keywords when it makes sense with your content. Don’t force the keywords where it doesn’t make sense. Don’t disturb the quality of your writing just to force a keyword in the content. Natural language is recommended.  Again, Google is smart and will figure out your message.

The main takeaway is to write content for your audience, and the rest will take care of itself.   

3. Meta Data

You need to optimize two pieces of meta data: the title and meta description.  These not only help search understand what your content and web page is about, but also they appear in search engine results pages, so it’s important that your target audience very clearly understands your message.  You need to make your content as specific and clickable as possible to your target audience. 

Your title should be 60 characters or less, including spaces.  Avoid getting too wordy and be as specific as you can.  Wondering what that looks like?  This title has about 53 characters in it including spaces: 

“15 Spring Wildflower Hikes to Do in the United States”

Descriptions should be 140 characters or less, including spaces. If you use a site like Wordpress as your website editor, it will tell you this right in the description.  An example for the same blog as above:

This description is 132 characters and summarizes the content nicely.   

“The snow is melting and things are getting greener as spring emerges in the U.S. Check out these 15 trails for the perfect spring wildflower hikes this season!”

The meta data is a great place to compete for clicks. Use it to encourage clicks to your website from the search results page by making your description enticing and interesting. Make sure each page on your website has unique titles and descriptions. 

Optimize your content for search engines.

Optimize your content for search engines.

 

4. Blogging

These days, regular blogging is pretty much a standard requirement for most businesses, and doing a good job at it is critical for SEO.  There is really no good reason not to have a good blog and regular content. You need to ensure that your blog is an integrated part of your site: this will strengthen your brand.  By integrated, it should have consistent look and feel and use the same perspective, ‘voice’ or persona. 

5. Consistent styling

All your content should be styled consistently across your site.  Often, pieces of content on a website are styled individually, and this negatively impacts the consistency of the site.  This means the use of headings and subheadings that are the same across articles. Make it look as clean and tidy as possible, and changing styles in the future will be quick and easy, with less chance of things looking ‘off’.

6. Content

This has become one of the most important concepts in SEO. No longer can holders of parked pages with no value added be successful as before due to the Google algorithm punishing these sites and rewarding sites with good quality content.  Your content needs to be relevant and valuable. The blogging component is one of those important aspects, but you can use quality content in many other areas such as product descriptions and category pages.

Here are examples of where you can use good quality content:

·      Landing pages

·      Category pages

·      The home page

·      Product descriptions

7. Optimization for Mobile

We cannot stress this one enough. Responsive design is important as mobile is a huge component of the internet, and forecast only to get bigger. In fact, we’ve already passed this tipping point around 2014. The majority of media is consumed on mobile devices rather than desktops (source: Conscore.com).

Make sure your site is optimized for mobile.

8. Navigation

User experience is number one here.  Once users get to your site thanks to your great content, layout and descriptions, you need to make sure they can navigate the site effectively once they get there.  If your customers can’t navigate your site, and have trouble using your site effectively, you’ll never earn mentions or links.  It’s important to have an idea of how to link items within the site. Do this by listing the pages and categories that you need and identifying which are important, decide which pages need to be accessed from where. Think logically. If you are talking about how to pack for a hike, you’ll want to link to product pages where your customers can buy the actual products you’re talking about. 

Once you have that figured out, design your main navigation menu accordingly.  Then start to think about sub headings in the main navigation bar for categories, and so on.   Consider which components of navigation will be most important for your mobile layout.

Need some help? Get in touch with us.

Further Reading

Search Engine Journal.com searchenginejournal.com/seo-101-9-seo-considerations-building-new-website/115627/

The Digital Lion.com thedigitallion.com/5-crucial-seo-considerations-for-new-websites/

Comscore.com comscore.com/Insights/Presentations-and-Whitepapers/2014/The-US-Mobile-App-Report

Tech Crunch.com techcrunch.com/2014/08/21/majority-of-digital-media-consumption-now-takes-place-in-mobile-apps/

Images from Pixabay.com

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