When it comes to ranking well in search results it is necessary that your website is as SEO-friendly as possible. What does SEO-friendly mean exactly? In general, it means that your website has the right features and configurations so search engines can crawl it quickly and know exactly what your site is about. There are multiple reasons why it is important to have an SEO-friendly website. Aside from receiving more organic search traffic, SEO-friendly websites also help build brand credibility. Users searching the web typically trust websites that land on the first page of Google. So, if your website can land on the first page or in the top 5 listings it will right away make your business seem more credible than your competitor’s.
There are many characteristics of having an SEO-friendly website, but if you are new to SEO knowing where to begin can be difficult. Here are 8 of the main things you should check to see if your website is SEO-friendly, and if not, what you can do to fix it.
Unique Page Titles and Meta Descriptions
Each page within your website should have a unique page title and meta description. Page titles should be no longer than 60-70 characters and meta descriptions are approximately 150-160 characters. Once you have done your keyword research for each page you plan to optimize on your website, you will want to include at least one of those keywords related to that page in your page title and meta description. If you are looking for more information regarding keyword research click here. It is also important to include your company branding the end of each page title and to separate each keyword phrase with separation of some type such as a hyphen or pipe.
Proper Formatted URL Structure
SEO-optimized URL’s can also help search engines quickly identify what an exact page is about. By making sure that your URL’s include keywords that the landing page is going to and using hyphens to separate each word, then this will already help increase search engine visibility. URL’s are displayed in search results, so you will want to make sure your URL’s are not just a bunch of random letters and numbers. Not only will this help with your search rankings, but it also aides in user-friendly experience. Here is an example of a well-optimized SEO URL: http://netvantagemarketing.com/blog/writing-seo-friendly-content/.
Search engines crawl millions of pages on the web to see which pages are the most relevant to a user’s search. Therefore, you want to make sure that each page you want to optimize on your website contains keyword rich content and quality content. Each page should have enough content to explain what you are trying to sell or offer to your customers, but not be overstuffed with keywords. Adding the keyword at least two or three times in different variations within the body copy is typically enough. You can also lead into your body copy with an H1 tag (Heading) to add another keyword variation on the page. However, probably the most important tip is to avoid duplicate content. Make sure your content is unique and that it is not being copied from elsewhere on the web. Search engines penalize sites with duplicate content, which will hurt your rankings.
Going along with duplicate content, double check your site for any canonical errors. Canonical errors happen when two or more versions of a web page appear in different versions of a URL. This is very typical with home pages of a website. For example, www.thisisyourwebsite.com and www.thisisyourwebsite.com/home is a canonical error if it has the exact same content. In this case, you will want to use a redirection tool to redirect the /home version to the domain.
How fast your website loads is also an important SEO-friendly factor. Web pages that are too slow to load typically have higher bounce rates and search engines penalize websites because of this. Find out your website’s page speed by using the Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool or the Pingdom Website Speed Test. Large images, embedded media, and widgets are typical factors that contribute to slow site speed.
Having a mobile-friendly website has become a big factor when it comes ranking in search results. A majority of people use their mobile devices to search the internet, so if they come across a site that isn’t mobile-friendly it affects user experience and your site’s bounce rate. Use Google’s Mobile-Friendly test to see if your site is mobile-friendly.
There are many website platforms available, however, some are more SEO-friendly than others. If you are finding that your website platform isn’t allowing you to implement any SEO features or the usability of the platform is difficult, then it might be time to consider changing content management systems. WordPress, Drupal, and BigCommerce are all excellent SEO-friendly website platforms depending on what your website needs are. Learn more about these platforms here and how they can assist you with your website’s SEO.
While these are only a few of the characteristics to look for when seeing if your site is SEO-friendly there are many more that come into play. All of these factors and more SEO strategies you use within your website can only help improve your SEO and rankings in the SERPs.