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11 SEO Tips for Every Website

When managing a website, you want to ensure that you’re doing everything possible to improve how search engines index the content of the site. Here are eleven things that should be included on your website to improve the overall SEO performance.

Title Tag

The title tag is included in the header meta of a web page. It is used to describe the page’s content and should include one or two keywords about the page. It appears in the tab of the browser and as the title in search results. Common formatting for the title tag is page title followed by a separator and then the website name. An optimal character length for page titles is approximately 65 characters or less.

<title>The Page Title — Website Name</title>

Meta Description

The meta description is included in the header meta of a web page, often following the title tag. It describes the page’s content in more detail than the title and should include plenty of keywords regarding the content. Make sure the wording is actionable because it will appear as the description in search results. An optimal character length for page descriptions should be between 130 to 160 characters.

<meta name="description" content="The page’s description."/>

Heading Tags

Six levels of heading tags are used to provide structure to the web page’s content from <h1> to <h6>. Heading level 1 or <h1> is used for the main headings on the page, typically reserved for the page title or article title. This is followed by the heading level 2 or <h2>, then the <h3>, and so on by importance. It is good practice to include keywords and variations of keywords within these section headings.

<h1>Main Heading</h1>

Page Title & URL Keywords

A web page title and URL should describe the page’s content and is a good place to include keywords relating to the page’s content. The URL for a web page should be directly based upon the page title. It should not include any spaces, punctuation or special character but instead use dashes to separate the words (i.e. dietary-concerns-for-your-cats-special-needs).

Content Keywords

A keyword is a word or short phrase that clearly identifies the subject matter for that web page. Use specific terminology and alternate wording to increase the types of keywords used. The more descriptive the keywords, the greater the chance that the website will rank higher in the long tail of search results. Check out our article on using keywords on websites for more information.

Image Keywords

When including an image within the page’s content it should have the a title and alt attribute which is a great location to include keywords. Both the image title and alt attributes are not directly visible to the end user. The image title attribute is used as the title for the image and only appears as a popup when the user hovers the mouse over the image. The alt attribute or alternate text should provide a detailed description of the image’s content which is used by screen readers, providing accessibility for people with disabilities.

<img scr="image.jpg" title="image title" alt="image description">

Schemas

Schema data or structured data provide search engines with more information about certain pieces of content on a web page. A great place to include schema data on a website is in the company contact information often located at the bottom of the homepage.

The schema data needs to be wrapped inside a container tag, often a <div>, with an itemscope and itemtype attribute. The itemscope attribute declares the schema item while the itemtype attribute declares the type of item (person, place or thing) the subsequent information will be related too. For our example, the itemtype would be the business but more specifically, the type of business. The tags within the container will contain the itemprop attribute for specifying properties about the itemtype. In our example, this will be the company name and contact information. For more information on structured data, visit the schema.org website.

<div itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/TypeOfBusiness">
	<span itemprop="name">Company name</span>
	<span itemprop="address">Company address</span>
	<span itemprop="telephone">(503) 555-5555</span>
	<span itemprop="email">email@website.com</span>
</div>

Hyperlinks

A hyperlink is a word or phrase that connects related web pages across a site or from one website to another. Links between internal pages on a website that contain related content is a great strategy to increase page relevance and views. Another link strategy is to connect to external websites that contain similar content. When creating hyperlinks, be sure the link text uses descriptive keywords about the content on the destination page. Read our post about utilizing links to improve SEO for more information.

Fix Broken Links

A broken link or dead link is a hyperlink that does not work due to an improperly entered URL or the web page having been removed. Check your site periodically for broken links by using an online tool such as brokenlinkcheck.com and deadlinkchecker.com or a third-party plugin like Broken Link Checker which is available for WordPress sites.

Redirects

A redirect is when a specific URL for a visited website or web page is automatically changed to a different URL. The .htaccess file found in the root directory of a website allows web server configuration for declaring website and web page redirects. Common use cases include redirecting a www.website.com to a http://website.com URL and redirecting non existent pages to a new page URL.

RewriteEngine on
RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} ^www.website.com [NC]
RewriteRule ^(.*)$ http://website.com/$1 [L,R=301,NC]
Redirect 301 /oldpage.html /newpage.html

Sitemap

A sitemap is an XML file that contains a hierarchical list of pages on a website to improve search engine crawler performance. Sitemaps provide web crawlers with information about the organization of web pages on a site and metadata about the pages themselves, such as when they were last updated.

By implementing the tips listed in this article, you can improve your website’s overall SEO performance.

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Ted is a graphic designer and front-end developer who specializes in branding, marketing, and website development.