Business or website owners all want to have their websites displayed in the top ten search results. In an effort to achieve that, plenty of website developers and designers have been perusing the algorithms search engines use and coming up with ways or even “tricks” to move up their sites in the ranking. Some of these tactics do work well, in a short period. In the long run, however, you can’t improve your SEO results solely by gearing your design towards search engines or even making use of loopholes to fool the search engine. Instead, optimizing your design for both search engines and viewers in a healthy way can help you achieve and keep the effect you dream of long term.
The reason lies in how search engine companies operate in the first place. Search engine companies such as Google develop and update algorithms to make users happy by prioritizing the most useful and relevant information to users in the ranking list. As a result, to achieve better SEO results, you want to design your website in a way that visitors can find what they need and that search engines can access and understand what’s on your sites.
Firstly, designing a user-friendly website requires an understanding of viewers’ expectations when they search and click on your site. Here are several things you can do to make viewers happy:
- Choose the right keywords. Using tools such as Google AdWords to research which words or phrases related to your business most web users are typing into the search box. Don’t optimize for the keywords you think people will use to find you. Neither should you optimize for the words that have nothing to do with your website or business. People will get frustrated if they find your site totally irrelevant to what they are looking for and leave immediately, which damages SEO efforts.
- Provide meaningful content. Too many website designers are stuffing their sites with keywords and making the content meaningless to visitors. If you want your visitors to leave your site satisfied and come back again, provide content they need. That also increases the chance of your website being linked, which is crucial for better ranking.
- Make the structure and format appealing to users. If you have relevant content more than two clicks away from your homepage, viewers won’t find it easily. The result is that viewers can’t see the content you are actually offering. Also, make sure the writing on your page is brief, easy to understand and well-structured, just making people’s reading experience pleasant.
Aside from making your website appealing to users, you should make search engines easily access, understand and love your sites. Based on algorithms search engines use, here are things you should do:
- Structure your site for SEO. Linking related pages with each other and linking them to a hub page within two clicks away from your homepage make search engines attach more importance and relevance to the whole content cluster you create. However, be sure to have something meaningful on that hub page instead of merely stuffing it with links.
- Optimize your on-page structure and content. Build a semantic outline conforming to HTML because that is what search engines can understand. Put relevant keywords in alt attribute and filenames for images because search engines don’t read what’s on the picture. Also, take time writing good and relevant title tags, meta description tags, headlines and first paragraphs. Include the keywords but do not overuse them if it doesn’t make sense. Search engines don’t like abuse of keywords. Don’t forget to make title tags and linking text unique and relevant. Repeating title tags on every page and using “Click Here” everytime you make a link to a page within your site do not help or even hurt your SEO efforts. It’s also smart to create meaningful and relevant URLs and include the keywords if feasible.
- Increase trust level and authority. It is wise to put your physical address and contact information on every page of your site to optimize for trust. Do not link sites with low trust ranks. In addition, you want to improve the authority of your site by being linked. Make sure to include social media icons displayed on your pages so that people can share your content through Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. You can even add functions such as “forward this to friend” to increase the chance of being linked.
- Make use of blended search. That means you could make your site displayed on the first page of search results with images, videos, press releases, products you sell or physical locations. By making use of the blended search opportunities provided by Google and Bing, you give your site a second way to make it into top search results.
- Make content scannable to search engines. Breaking content into bullet points or short paragraphs not only improves readers’ experience but also makes it easy for search engines to find relevant points. Again, write for both readers and search engines.
Seeing your website moving up in the search result requires time, constant good-faith efforts and more importantly, patience. Your work may not boost your site ranking within a week or a month, but by following the right and appropriate SEO practices mentioned above, you are sure to see your site ranking gradually improve.