Optimizing your website doesn’t have to be hard.
With a little discipline and adherence to ongoing maintenance procedures, you can create an overarching strategy that will help increase your web traffic.
- Build an internal linking strategy. Creating links among related topics and pages encourages users to stay on your site and drill down.
- Keyword research. Research helps you identify the keywords that appeal to your target audience. There is a number of tools from which to choose. Ubersuggest is very easy to use, and there are third-party applications that come with a pricetag. I like Google’s Keyword Planner because it’s free, comprehensive, and it aligns with Google products. You’ll need to create an AdWords account and a gmail address.
- Improve loading speed. We’re an impatient group. Go to Google PageSpeed, key in your website’s url and check your load time. The violators may be your images. They should be in the 1500-2500 pixel range. I generally go for the lower end of this range. I often see people with beasty images that are 5000 pixels. Put these on a diet and your load speed will dramatically increase.
- Page titles. Keep them short and concise. Google truncates anything more than 70 characters. Big tip: Populate your page title with those keywords for which you want to rank.
- Identify keyword focus and write metadescriptions for each page. A metadescription should accurately summarize the page’s content. Use keywords and think about the value visitors are getting from your site.
- Use alt tags. Alt tags are text fields that you see when you upload images to your site. If an image doesn’t load, the viewer will see the description and understand what the image is contributing to the story.
- Check for broken links. It’s frustrating to click on a link and get a 404 error. If the page is no longer available, remove the link.
- Identify duplicate content. Bots look for content and index it. When there is duplication, they get confused and can’t identify the best result. The result is a stalemate. If you want to repeat something—which we often do—identify one home, then link to that content.
- Optimizing for mobile is no longer optional. More than 70% of users are now accessing everything on their phones. Your site should be built in responsive design so that everything adapts. Implications for mobile users:
- Small screens call for larger text.
- All content should auto-adapt to the device on which it’s being viewed. No scrolling or manipulating the screen to see the website.
- A navigation menu with lots of drilldown can be annoying on a mobile device. It takes time for new screens to load, so scrolling can be more efficient. It may require your rethinking your navigation. A simpler schematic with more scrolling may be appropriate.