8 Powerful Ways to Optimize Your SEO in 2017
Author: Aimee Albro - Account Director
Here at Hark, we’re kicking off 2017 with gusto, with a plan to keep building upon the successes of 2016. One of the most impactful marketing strategies we’ve been having huge success with is of course Search Engine Optimization (SEO). When it comes to websites and optimizing your ranking, keywords are dead and SEO is king.
SEO In A Nutshell:
SEO is the process of utilizing relevant search engine words and phrases to increase website visibility and traffic via the algorithmic search results on the big search engines like Yahoo, Bing, and Google. Simply put, the higher your website appears in a search, the more visitors your pages will receive. It’s the algorithmic way of keeping high quality content on the web.
Sound overwhelming? We don’t want to blind you with SEO science, the 8 tips below are proven ways to get results and create thoughtful SEO-friendly content without sacrificing your voice and style. At the end of the day, strong, good writing and authentic, relevant content is the gold standard. Poorly written content, crafted solely to drive SEO may get clicks, but, in the long run, chase off existing or future visitors and confuse search engine spiders resulting in a drop in ranking
These tips are not in any order of priority, but a useful checklist to keep in mind when you draft a post or review your existing content.
1. Your Writing. Your Voice.
Duplicating content from another site will weigh down your site’s search ranking like cement blocks. It’s not worth the possibility of copyright infringement and frankly, visitors want a personalized experience. If you lack the time or skill, hire a ghost blogger (we have one available at Hark!) to jumpstart a consistent schedule of postings. Doing it on your own? Use tools like CopyScape that helps create and remove identical content.
2. Playing Tag: Alt tagging photos and video media
Nothing adds more meat to a blog post or website than great images and videos. This all goes to waste if you’re not utilizing the power of the Alt tag, which is basically a text description for images and videos. The key to hiking up your ranking is applying rich descriptive words to your photos, videos and text throughout the site. Not only does it locate your page (a plus for text-only browsers), but these tags tell search engine crawlers what the photo or video is about.
3. Load Speed Matters…A lot
In this age, faster means better and equates to potential dollars. To put in numbers, we’ve all heard about the Fast Company article where Amazon reported that a one second downloading delay could cost them $1.6 billion in sales. Another stat to consider: The average user will wait roughly 3 seconds for a page to load before leaving the page. Polishing your usability is essential, yet often times goes overlooked.
4. Sitemap Architecture
At Hark, we craft websites that recognize the crawling habits of search engines spiders. For our clients’ website visitors, we provide a clean, well considered navigation system to help them quickly find want. If you’re noticing your websites’ pages have a low number of views and a high bounce rate, it may be time to examine your sitemaps architecture.
5. Meaningful Links
Nothing draws the eyes more than a posting lit up with highlighted underlined links. When it comes to attaching links, think quality over quantity. You’ll see your view rates rise by choosing relevant links from well-respected sources. Also, avoid “click here” buttons, which holds no search engine value.
6. Mobile Site
In 2016, it became official: mobile internet usage exceeds desktop. We can go on and on about this, but all it comes down to is, going mobile friendly will heighten your ranks. Period. This has been on our radar for years. Mobile first is the way to start thinking about your site.
7. Fix Those Broken Links
Broken links and irrelevant outbound links are an indication that your post is outdated or not being looked after. This can slow down search engines and make a negative impression on site visitors. Rather than check every single page for dud links, there are tools and apps to remedy this.
8. Ongoing Content Viewing
In our fast, technology filled lives, it’s easy to get the out-of-sight-out-of-mind perspective when it comes to websites. A thriving website requires nurturing and cultivating. Like weeding a garden, this means regularly scheduled updating and reviewing with SEO-focused directives in place.
Basic SEO principles begin with making quality control for both your users and your search engines a priority. Incorporate these best practices will be a great first step toward increasing your site’s relevance in 2017.
Want to learn more about how Hark can help?