How do I optimise my website for SEO – Google SEO Optimisation
Google SEO Optimisation – Table of Contents
You want to improve your Google ranking and be found better in the search engines? Learn here in 12 easy steps how you can optimise your website for Google. These tips will help you and are easy to implement.
- URL structure
- SEO title
- Optimised headlines (H1-H6)
- Keyword saturation
- Length of page content
- Visual support tools
- Content of the landing page
- Usability of mobile devices
- Internal links
- External Links
1. Simple and well structured URLs are highly important for Google SEO optimisation
Simple and well structured URLs are preferred by search engines and visitors. Of course this is not a must, but should be kept in mind, as we primarily create pages for easy navigation for our visitors and potential customers.
Many assume that search terms in the URL no longer have any influence on the ranking. Even if this should be the case, it does not harm to include these search terms/keywords in the URL. We therefore recommend to include these keywords in the URLs of your landing page.
It is also worth mentioning that URLs and search results get a higher click-through rate when the search term is displayed. This can also increase the relevance of the search results if additional keywords are included:
Avoid using special characters
Special characters (&, %, $, @) are not prohibited, but they can make your URL more difficult to read.
Avoid using information that could change in the future. Suppose you publish an article entitled The Best Powerboats in 2020 and your URL ends with /motorboats-2020. A year passes, the article ranks very well, and you want to update it to Top 10 Powerboats in 2021. Only you can’t do that, because your URL will of course show old information. So you think that the URL could be changed and updated to 2021? That is possible, but you will lose the ranking of the old URL:
Make sure that all your URLs follow the same formatting rules. This way you avoid creating duplicate pages and confusion on your website. Popular URL formatting rules include sticking to lowercase letters, using slashes to separate folders, and using hyphens to separate words.
Is the length of the URL important?
Shorter URLs are generally preferable. You don’t have to take this to extremes – it’s usually okay if URLs are up to 50-60 characters long. However, if you have URLs longer than 100 characters, there is probably a way to rewrite them and make them more attractive.
If you create your URLs based on the title of your post, remember to reduce the stop words (and, but and others) to make them shorter and more readable. Also try to avoid an excessive number of folders – use your folder structure to represent the hierarchy of your content.
How can you check this?
We use Screamingfrog for this and look at the list of all URLs and their length. We can see which URLs are too long and edit them.
2. Create attractive SEO titles
From an SEO point of view, the title tag is one of the most important page elements. It is the largest part of your SERP snippet and tells the search engines what the main topic of your page is.
Start with the keyword
The closer your keyword is to the beginning of your title tag, the more relevant your page will be viewed by search engines. Try to always start your title with your keywords to emphasise their meaning.
Pay attention to the length of the SEO title
The title tag is one of the most important on-page factors influencing the ranking at Google. The search engine therefore rates an optimised page title designed according to Google standards positively. A title tag, which tells users in just a few words exactly what to expect on a website, generates a high click-through rate. Titles that are more than 50-60 characters long are truncated in SERP.
This is no big deal – often you will see a ranking of the truncated titles on the first page of the search results. Sometimes it can even give an advantage and encourage users to click through. However, it is essential that you include all the important words before the cut-off point:
Create interest with the buyer
A snippet is very similar to an ad for your site, and your title should be designed to click on the page. When writing a title, be sure to include your main selling point and competitive advantage.
The type of information you insert depends largely on the type of content you are promoting. Sometimes it is important to emphasise that the content is up-to-date:
In other cases it is important to emphasise how much valuable information the customer can find on the site:
If you are not sure which aspects of your content you should advertise, just google your topic and get inspired by high ranking search results.
How can you check this?
Go to Google.com and enter site:yourURL. There you will see all search results listed on Google and how they are displayed.
3. How do I create a meta description?
A meta description is a short section of text that appears in your search results. The approach to creating a perfect meta description is not so different from creating a good title. It must be a text that is suitable for advertising and shows what your site represents. It should include some keyword variants and fit into the character limit of 150-160 characters.
Some SEOs say that meta descriptions don’t matter anymore because Google often ignores them and uses another part of your copy as description instead. The truth is that Google does this for a small percentage of searches to make your snippet seem more relevant to some queries. However, for the majority of searches, your description remains unchanged.
How can you check your meta descriptions?
We use Screamingfrog for this and look at the list of all meta descriptions and their length. There we see which text excerpts are too long and should be improved.
The schema.org markup is used to structure websites to make them easier to read for search engines like Google, Bing or Yahoo – content can be analysed more easily and presented in the results, so that the user can find the information he is looking for more easily. A link preview in social networks, for example, directly “pulls” out the relevant information, such as preview image, title and description text – an important point, also when it comes to optimising the click rate.
Not all types of content can benefit from schema markup, but some sites will have a hard time getting rankings without it. However, it should not be forgotten that the correct use of schema markup requires some additional skills. The two main options we recommend if you are new to schema are
If your website is built on WordPress, you will find many plugins that offer structured data optimisation.
If you are ready to get your hands a little dirty, you can use the Schema Markup Generator. The tool helps you to apply your own markup in a user-friendly way. Simply select the type of page you are creating, highlight page elements and assign the type of markup. When you are done, download the HTML file and upload it to your website.
How can you check your Schema Markup?
Google offers a page where you can check the code you have created. Any errors or defects will be pointed out.
5. Optimisation of headlines (H1-H6)
HTML headline tags (H1-H6) are used to structure your content by dividing it into different sections. Headline tags are a strong signal to search engines, so it is a good idea to include your keywords in some of them.
Technically, each of your pages has two titles. The title tag, which is displayed in your search snippet, and then the H1 tag, which is displayed on the page itself. The advantage of the H1 tag is that, unlike the title tag, there are no character restrictions. So it means that by extending the title, you can include more keywords or different keyword variants.
H2 tags divide your page into high-level segments. They help users navigate your site, but also help search engines understand what the page is about. Think of them as mini-titles within your content – make them informative for users, but don’t forget to include secondary keywords.
These are used to mark further subsections within the content. It is doubtful that you will see a measurable effect of using keywords in these tags, so there is no need to worry about it – so do what feels natural and helps your visitors understand the text better.
One thing I would like to add is that it is very rare for a content to require headings beyond the H3 level. If you go to H4 and H5 level, you have probably missed an opportunity to optimise your content structure.
6. Keyword saturation
Google becomes quite good at processing natural language, so there is less need to fill your content with keywords. And yet keyword optimisation has not completely disappeared, it has simply evolved. Here are some keyword optimisation tips that still make sense:
Use keywords at the beginning of the text
This is something you probably do automatically. But many people start their posts with a long introduction and only later in the post they start using their most important keywords. It is better to insert your keyword in the first 100 words. This helps Google understand what your site is all about.
Use similar descriptions of your keywords
Remember the Hummingbird update? With this algorithm, Google has learned to recognise the meaning behind a search query and provide a common response to a number of “different” but “equivalent” search queries. This update changed the way SEOs optimise pages – now we no longer think of “single keyword optimisation” but try to make our pages relevant for a whole group of synonyms and related terms.
Adding all kinds of related keywords will help you improve the ranking of your pages and avoid problems with keyword stuffing.
7. How long should the content of my website be?
The exact number changes constantly and is currently around 2,000 words per page. In reality, there is no such thing as the ideal content length – what matters is that your page covers the topic completely.
Instead of using an arbitrary number for all your pages, we suggest that you determine the word count for each of your pages individually. One way to do this is to look at the pages of your main competitors and note their content length and content composition.
How do I check the length of the text on my website?
Again we use Screamingfrog and there we see how many words were used on each page:
Remember that the number of words is not the goal in itself, it is more of an indicator. If your content is significantly shorter than the standard, your competitors may have covered more points. In this case, explore their sites in more detail and borrow some of their content ideas. Do not simply feed your content with empty words.
8. Visual support for text optimisation
Enriching content with images and videos can have several SEO benefits. It binds users, it tells Google that you have higher quality content, it makes you suitable for image search and it can actually backlink to your website – if your images are unique enough to be borrowed by others.
Set the Alt attributes
Alt tags, or alt attributes are parts of the HTML code that describe your image. They are not visible on the page, but search engines can access them to better understand what the image is about. The best practice is to limit your alt tags to a few sentences and describe the image as literally as possible. Keyword stuffing and alt tags that are too long will be shown as a red flag by Google.
Compress your files
Use standard image formats and compress your images before you upload them. This will have a positive effect on page speed and overall usability. Our preferred tool is available online at ResizeImage.net. There you can also resize a larger number of images in one go.
How to check missing Alt attributes?
Screamingfrog shows images with missing alt tags, but there are other ways to check this. SEOptimer is very easy to use and you enter your URL and all images that have missing Alt tags are displayed:
9. Above-the-Fold content
In web design, the term Above the Fold refers to the area of a page that the user sees when they visit it without scrolling further down. This is what makes the first impression on your visitors, and Google pays special attention to this part of your page.
Google does not endorse excessive pop-ups, distracting ads and other barriers to viewing page content. So when designing your pages, make sure you keep these distractions to a minimum. Be extra vigilant on mobile devices because the screens are smaller and these things are more distracting.
Optimise Core Web Vitals
Google installed a new core update in May. Google introduced the so-called Core Web Vitals. These are key figures that evaluate the user experience of a website. More precisely, they measure how fast the page loads, how stable it is during loading and how fast it becomes interactive:
How do you check Core Web Vitals?
Core Web Vitals are tracked in your Google search console account, where you can view your optimisation progress over time as well as a report of any problems found on your pages:
10. Is your site user friendly on mobile devices?
Since a large proportion of Google’s search queries are made via mobile devices, Google is increasingly focusing on improving mobile search results. From a “nice-to-have”, mobile friendliness has become a must have – if your site is not optimised for mobile devices, it is likely to be completely removed from mobile search results.
How can you check if your website is mobile friendly?:
You can use Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test to check each of your pages individually:
11. Internal links
A properly structured website should have a well organised flow from one page to another. One goal of such a flow is to transfer authority from popular sites to less popular sites. Another goal is to encourage users to buy.
When you create a new page, you should consider where your visitors should go from there – don’t let them leave your website. Ideally, each of your pages should contain links to other relevant sites and eventually to products or other services.
An easy way to achieve this is to add a recommendation system that automatically suggests pages that relate to the page you are currently viewing – just like we do at the end of our blog entries. In addition, you can place internal links within your text through various “read more” suggestions. We also use this kind of internal links in our blog and they help us to keep between 5% and 10% of our users.
12. External links
In Google SEO optimisation we often speak of inbound links as the main source of authority of a website, but outbound links can also be useful. By linking your content to high quality websites, preferably those that are active in your niche, you can direct some of their authority to your own website.
So whenever you create content, always look to see if you can place a few links to other relevant websites. Don’t do more than a few – you don’t want Google to get suspicious, and you don’t want to lure users away from your website.
These are the most important things to consider when doing on-page Google SEO optimisation for your website. If you consider most of the points listed above, you can build a strong foundation for your future off-page SEO efforts. If you need any help with the above mentioned, then get in contact with us. We are happy to help you.
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