What’s most important to the search engines when it comes to getting the most bang for your buck in Search Engine Optimization?
We’re a local Akron area Web Design and SEO agency and we constantly hear this question from our clients. Only a year or two ago, it was most important to have quality links coming from multiple sites, and your most important keywords aligned across your title tags, H1, H2, alt tags, etc. While strategically written title tags, H1, H2, alt tags, etc are still important for helping the search engines organize and identify your page, The emphasis now is on overall Quality and Relevancy of your Content. The basics such as not having duplicate content, not keyword stuffing, and having a proper 301 redirect in place are more important than ever. Since the Google Penguin update, the general consensus in the SEO industry and what we’ve experienced with our clients has turned back to the basic fundamentals:
- Quality & Relevant Content for the search- If you are selling a product that is a commodity, are you simply regurgitating the spec sheet? If so, get in line with everyone else. Search engines like to see unique content.
- Overall look and feel of your website- Does it look professional and legitimately represent your brand? Does it look the same as hundreds of other websites?
- The usability of your website- How easy is it for people to find your most important information? How is it organized? Is it easy to navigate?
- Do you have a mobile site? (relevant for mobile search)- Most local searches for smartphone users now begin on their phones. Is your website mobile-ready?
Update 2016: Today, this doesn’t necessarily mean running a separate mobile website with separate hosting and maintenance. It means making sure your website design is responsive so that it displays the optimal user experience across all devices. Building a true responsive website is not just slapping some pictures and text into a template and hoping it looks great on your iPhone, but forgetting about all the other devices. It means testing across multiple browsers and tweaking a few things under the hood such as CSS for optimal font sizes, resizing and optimizing images so they load faster. As of the Google Mobile-Friendly Update I wrote about in an earlier blog post, Google now gives considerable credit to responsive or mobile websites vs. static websites.
- Your Social Media footprint- Google+, Facebook, and Twitter are being factored heavily in searches. 10% of all Google searches are now done by people logged into a Google product such as Gmail and Google is now showing personal search results to those people.
- How often do you update your website? A website or blog that provides fresh content on a regular basis is weighted more heavily than a website that has only evergreen content from years ago.
- Constantly research to keep up with latest Google Algorithm updates to keep up your rankings. Never rest on your laurels. What worked a few years ago changes.
Update 2017: The Google Penguin Update significantly penalized websites with unnatural links from poor quality websites and/or had links with “spammy” or “unnatural” anchor text.
- Add a properly configured Secure Socket Layer (SSL) to your website for greater trust from your customers and respect from Google.
Update 2017: An SSL is now factored into the latest Google’s Algorithm for search rankings. It’s not just for eCommerce anymore. Websites with an SSL rank higher and Chrome is starting to show non-SSL websites as insecure.
We’ve helped several Akron and Cleveland area businesses adapt to and reap results from improving these SEO factors over the last few years and we’d love to help you. If you are a local Akron or Cleveland area business struggling with these Web Design and SEO Questions, we’d love to talk to you.