Search engine optimization (SEO) is an integral part of your overall Internet marketing strategy. A successful SEO strategy is not just a one and done activity, it is a long-term process that requires constant attention. Below are high-level onsite SEO basics to make sure your site meets the minimum requirements to perform on the search engines.
1. Implement Google Analytics and ensure it is functioning properly.
If you are unsure how to implement Google Analytics on your site you can find detailed information here.
2. Each page needs a unique, keyword rich title and meta-description tag.
Sites built using a CMS (content management system), such as CitrusWeb, allow you to easily add unique title and description tags to each page. If your site does not have a CMS check out the SEO Tag Optimization post.
3. Write valuable, keyword rich content.
Content that provides value to your visitors will increase your search traffic and rankings tremendously. Write for the user by breaking content down into smaller paragraphs to make it more digestible. Ensure the content uses proper grammar and is free of misspellings. If you are concerned about keyword spamming or stuffing it is recommended to run your page through a keyword density tool.
4. Add anchor text when cross-linking to other site pages.
Anchor text is the text that appears when you are hyper-linking a page. When creating and adding anchor text make sure the link includes keyword phrases that are relevant to the page you are linking to. For addition information on how to properly format an anchor tag check visit the SEO Tag Optimization post.
5. Add ALT Tags to images.
These are designed to make the site accessible for screen-readers, but also give you the opportunity to add another SEO element to your site. ALT tags should be brief and descriptive about 5 to 10 words maximum. They should repeat any text that is in the image itself.
6. Fix errors and broken links.
Maintain site relevancy and integrity in the search engines and with users by making sure your site is free from errors and broken links.
7. Ensure the site loads quickly.
Site speed matters! If a user has to wait for your site to load they will spend less time on your site. This may also lead to poor performance in the search engines. Google offers a PageSpeed Insights tool that provides a site performance evaluation and offers solutions to performance related problems.
8. Add a robots.txt file.
This is designed to let search engine crawlers know what they can crawl and index on your site. It can range from a very generic file letting the spiders know they can crawl and index the entire site to a complex file disallowing certain spiders from crawling various directories and pages on your site. For a complete understanding of the Robots.txt file please visit Robotstxt.org.
9. Generate a XML sitemap and upload to the root directory of the server.
A sitemap.xml file is a simple list of the pages on your site that you submit to the search engines. There are several free Sitemap Generator tools that will create this file for you.
10. Include calls-to-action throughout the site.
Calls-to-action encourage users to take specific actions on your site. Proper use of calls-to-action will drastically improve your conversion rates, turning visitors into customers. A high volume of traffic is relatively unless you are able to convince those users to take action.
By implementing these basic onsite SEO activities your site will be better equipped to perform in the search engines. If you do not have the time or skill set to do this on your own we recommend contacting a SEO company, such as Atomic Design.