In this article, I will be revealing to you the tips that I’ve learned to improve website SEO. I’ve been a webmaster for almost 2 years, and I’ve learned a lot when it came to making & maintaining a website. But the most important factor for many webmasters is to actually get traffic to their website. A website is only as good as it’s traffic; if there is no traffic, then it is as if your website doesn’t exist. For successful SEO, you need fast loading Speed, good navigation to keep visitors on your website, etc.
Table of Contents
- 1 General SEO
- 2 Navigation GUI
- 3 Speed
- 4 Links
You want to rank for keywords that people are searching for to find the content on you website. So that means you should use common terms that people use to refer to something. For example, “computer peripheral typing device” should not be used in place of “keyboard” if “keyboards are more commonly searched for.
You also want to narrow down you keywords to be pin-point specific to narrow the competition for search results. You can do this by using long tail keyword titles that can rank for long tail keyword searches.
Title should be an accurate description of your articles content and should include your branding. Important keywords should be placed in the first part of the title. The length of the title shouldn’t be more than 65 characters, since search engines only display 65-75 characters before cutting off the rest with a “…”. The limit for many social media websites are generally in the same ballpark. Also, the title is a viewers first impression of your article and brand, so time should be given to perfecting your title.
The content of your website should be Index-able content or content that search engines can read, like HTML text. But content in the form of images, flash files java applications, and other non-text content the search engines typically cannot read.
But there are solutions around to have search engines index non-textual content. For images, you can provide the appropriate describing title and an alt text description of what is shown in the image. For videos or audios, you can add the audio transcript for the search engines to read.
Note that most Search Engines cannot read flash, so they will see a blank for anything in flash format. Such that if your whole webpage, including text, is in flash format; then the Search Engine sees the whole webpage as blank.
You have to make your webpages crawl-able for the search engine. For example, you want all the webpages linking back to the home page directly by hierarchy or through other web pages that connects back to the home page.
When you do a google search, the websites populate with their title on top, and a “meta” description underneath it. The Meta description gives the reader a preview of what’s written in the article, and helps them decide whether to choose/investigate that website link or not. So this is why it is important to carefully craft either the 1st paragraph of your article (which comes up as the default meta description) or separate Meta Description for the Search Engine users. Note that search engines will limit the snippets to the first 160 characters, and cut off the rest.
There are a few things you want to check when constructing URLs for your webpages.
- URL can be made sense out of by a human being
- Shorter URLs are better and easier to read, copy&paste, for full visibility on search engine results. Otherwise, longer URLs tend to be cut off from the search engine results.
To prevent scrappers from stealing your website content, there are a few tricks that you can employ to protect your website authority.
Note that many scrappers mass-copy content from various websites without editing the content. You can use this against them by linking your content back to your website while keeping with the context (ie. you are writing about SEO, also include related links that the reader may be interested in for bringing traffic to their website, like using social media). If the search engine sees those copied links, then the backlink authority goes to your website, not the scrapper’s.
For featured images & pictures used on your website, make sure to include a web url signature. In a way it’s a good thing if this image spreads throughout the internet, because now you’ll get passive traffic from people checking out the link form the picture.
Recommended Plugin: Redirection
So your sitemap gives the search engine crawler a way to connect all the pages on your website together. But say you change your page hierarchy or permalink structure. This will cause the previous url of that page become a dead 404 url not found link, such that all the backlinks to that page become “dead”. To fix this, you need to setup a URL redirect, which you can with this plugin.
*Note that 301 redirects are for permanent url changes, 302 for temporary url changes.
Recommended Plugin: Breadcrumb NavXT
Breadcrumbs are an invaluable navigational tool that is not only good for SEO but helps your visitors get their baring as to where they are on your website like a map and also help visitors understand how your website is structured.
Breadcrumbs show the level hierarchy of pages that lead to the current page that the visitor is on. Breadcrumbs are directory addresses you are familiar with on the top of a folder’s just about any computer; they show you the folder that you are in, and the folder that the folder before it is in, and so on. This is invaluable for helping your visitors navigate your website if you use a lot of page hierarchy.
I’ve also learned that the Breadcrumbs are an excellent linking structure that show the Google Search Engine crawlers how one page is connected to another as well the fact that other pages do exist on your blog.
Breadcrumbs help the visitor explore your blog by giving the visitors the choice to back up and see what other categories/subjects exist on your blog to explore.
One benefit of Breadcrumbs, and a good navigational setup in general, is that it keeps visitors from bouncing off of your page immediately. When they are done with reading your web paged, you want to offer the visitor more opportunities to explore your website and thus stay longer on your website.
Also, let’s say that the visitor isn’t interested in what your webpage offers. Instead of quickly bouncing off your webpage, you want to offer them navigation back to the broader categories so that the visitor can find a specific subject they want to browse about.
Category vs. Hierarchy vs. Historical
Note that breadcrumbs have 3 dichotomies or ways you can group them. By categories, by page level hierarchy and by history.
Categories are good reference for separating a broad number of pages into groups that share a common subject. So that the visitor can find what they are looking for by the subject they are interested in.
Whereas hierarchy is good if you want to puts emphasis on the separate pages instead of category. Setting your breadcrumbs to a page hierarchy is the best option to help your visitor become oriented by identifying the structure of the website itself.
History helps the visitor come back to pages they may want to see again. Note that history-based breadcrumbs do not provide any SEO benefit, since it does not help search engine crawlers map-out what is on your website.
Hierarchy breadcrumbs show the page relational hierarchy to other pages on your website, and are highly desirable. Historical breadcrumbs show the path that the user has taken exploring your website. If you ask me which one to choose, I will always recommend hierarchical breadcrumbs, because this tells your visitor that there is more to explore on your website. I absolutely do not recommend historical breadcrumbs because it does not promote the exploration of your website, which is needed to reduce bounce rate. Additionally, the “historical” breadcrumb functionality already exists in most browsers as the “back” button, and redundancy in this case does not benefit the visitor.
Tips for Using Breadcrumbs
- Always show the whole path of the breadcrumb so that the user sees the whole picture.
- Start with the homepage. The idea is that breadcrumbs should give the visitor orientation to where they are on your website.
- Use > as to show the levels between pages.
- The Breadcrumbs should be located at the top of the content. The Breadcrumbs should use a small font. The last item on the Breadcrumb, which is also the current location on the website, should be bolded to show the visitor that this is where he is right now. The last item should also not be hyperlinked, since it would be awkwardly redundant to lead the reader back to the same page.
- There should be no breadcrumbs at the home page; the breadcrumbs wouldn’t show anything useful at this stage.
- Also, it’s best to show the full title of the pages shown on the breadcrumbs. And lastly, the page urls should be consistent with the breadcrumb trails, with no missing levels.
If you want to add breadcrumbs to your website, I personally recommend installing the Breadcrumb NavXT plugin.
Table of Contents
Recommended plugin: Table of Contents Plus
This is an awesome little plugin that works with the headings in your Article. It leaves a Wikipedia like table of contents for the visitor to use for navigating any of larger articles that you may have.
Recommended plugin: Tabby Responsive Tabs
Do you need to organize your content into a set of horizontal tabs that a visitor can quickly flip through? Well then this is a good plugin you should look into! I personally use this plugin to organize multiple categories of information that is easy to access according to the chosen tab. You can see a good demonstration of it here.
Recommended plugin: Ajax Load More
This plugin allows you to have a feed of posts on almost any place you want on any particular webpage. You can customize whether new excerpts of articles load automatically or when the load more button is selected, and you can also customize the types of article excerpts that come up through the feed by tags, categories, etc. You can also customize the layout of the feed itself. This is a great plugin whether you want to add “blogroll” functionality to your website or have a separate blogroll that is customized to a particular category or tag.
Recommended plugin: Use Google Libraries
This plugin allows you to use the Google Libraries to load the AJAX Libraries API, taking the load of your own server and thus increasing your website speed.
Recommended plugin: W3 Total Cache
Note that to reap the full benefits of W3 Total Cache, you need to fully configure it. I previously installed it without any configuring; that wasn’t enough to reap the full benefit of this plugin.
After testing almost each option in the W3 Total Cache plugin, I found out that only enabling the Page & Browser cache improved my website speed. However Minify and the other options negatively affected my website load time. I recommend sticking with only the Page & Browser Cache options enabled, if you don’t know what options to enable.
Use a CDN
A CDN is a Content Delivery Network which takes the load off of your main hosting server. I personally use Jetpack’s free CDN for images, called “photon“.