Trust. Search engines like Google, Bing, etc., are looking for signals that signify trust. Search engines want to give searchers the best possible result. That’s why you need to work on your trustworthiness on all levels, both technical as well as in content.
Use up-to-date software, have your SSL in order, make strong passwords, use tools such as Cloudflare to protect your site from DDoS attacks. An SSL Certificate (Secure Sockets Layer) is a set of data files that you can add to your server to achieve this encrypted connection between a browser and your server. Besides securing your website by way of encryption, it also helps with SEO (Google Rankings). Google has confirmed that HTTPS is a ranking signal. An unsecured website risks users’ online safety and could be hurting your SEO efforts. Google confirmed way back in 2014 that HTTPS is now a ranking signal. So, if your site doesn’t have SSL certificates and is on HTTPS, then now would a good time to update.
A SSL certificate increases customers trust and confidence in your website. Customer confidence is essential to increasing conversion rates.
SEO is especially important in the inbound marketing world, which relies on potential customers finding you through their own research process — a process that often involves organic search. Social platforms have built-in search functions, and search engines like Google + Bing are starting to take your social presence (use of “social signals”) into account when delivering results
Adding a social media presence to your SEO / traffic strategy is key now. However, the relationship between Social Media and SEO is complicated. As a general rule, the more social media signals you generate, the “better” your prospects of ranking higher. Make sure your business has a Facebook page, Twitter account, and a LinkedIn page. Be consistent with all of them when posting content. Use the same announcements, content, pictures, branding, description, etc. Also, make sure your website is more shareable. Rock-on!
Create a XML sitemap! This tactic should start when you create a site. A site map should be linked to from every page on the site. This will help the search engine robots find give the search engines a clear path to your content. Make sure you Submit the sitemap to Google using the Search Console Sitemaps tool. “Submitting” a sitemap means telling Google where to find it on your site.
Build inbound, one way links to the page or pages, preferably from topical sites that have a high page rank. Do not overdo links though, Google only crawls so many links per page. If you do have a lot of links, place your important ones in the body of text. These carry more weight, and search engines may devalue links found in the header, sidebar and footer.
Find the “key phrases” that potential customers are using to find your products or services on your and competitors’ pages.
Build link popularity (backlinks) = which means that other sites contain links to your site.
Update the pages (blog posts) on your website often. Content is KING.
Brand your website so that visitors always know they are on your site. Use consistent colors, logos and slogans and always provide a ‘Contact Us’ link on each page.
Put a blog on your website and update it every day.
Make sure your website or blog is FAST (load time). Optimize your site for speed. This helps PageRank now with Google.
Get on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn. Build a following. Even though Google turned off the realtime search utilizing Twitter, you can still tweet out good information about your company and provide a link back to your website. Build up a solid “influencer” following and get your tweets “retweeted”. The more retweets a link receives, the better it seems to drive solid traffic.
If you or an out-sourced SEO “agency” ever crawled your website for an SEO audit, the following terms will eventually come up. Get to know them and how they relate to your website. Its crucial as all of them affect SEO rankings.
Title Tag: Title tags—technically called title elements define the title of a document. Title tags are often used on search engine results pages (SERPs) to display preview snippets for a given page, and are important both for SEO and social sharing. Keep your titles under 55 characters, and you can expect at least 95% of your titles to display properly. Keep in mind that search engines may choose to display a different title than what you provide in your HTML. Titles in search results may be rewritten to match your brand, the user query, or other considerations.
Meta description: Meta descriptions are HTML attributes that provide concise explanations of the contents of web pages. Meta descriptions are commonly used on search engine result pages (SERPs) to display preview snippets for a given page. Optimal Length for Search Engines ~ Roughly 155 Characters. These short paragraphs is your opportunity to advertise content to searchers and to let them know exactly whether the given page contains the information they’re looking for. Tailor the Meta description to each webpage instead of a generic description.
HTTP Status Code: HyperText Transfer Protocol (or HTTP) response status codes are returned whenever search engines or website visitors make a request to a web server. These three-digit codes indicate the response and status of HTTP requests.
Referrer: The HTTP referrer is an HTTP header field that identifies the address of the webpage that linked to the resource being requested. By checking the referrer, the new webpage can see where the request originated.
Link Count: High link count is good. Make sure some of the links go outside your website to other resources.
Content-Type Header: text/html; charset=UTF-8 is good! Choose UTF-8 for all content and consider converting any content in legacy encodings to UTF-8. A Unicode-based encoding such as UTF-8 can support many languages and can accommodate pages and forms in any mixture of those languages, etc.
4XX (Client Error): If you get one of these errors, the description says that this is either bad or a broken link on your page. Find the URLs that cause the error.
5XX (Server Error): This group of HTTP status codes indicates that the server is aware that it is on error or is incapable of performing the request. The server response usually includes an explanation of the error situation and if it is a temporary or permanent condition.
Title Missing or Empty: This is a no-brainer. You need to have Titles for each webpage on the website.
URLs with Duplicate Page Content: Duplicate page content is bad. Never have duplicate page content or Google will penalize!
Duplicate Page Title: Same with Duplicate Page Titles. No duplicate page titles Google will penalize.
URLs with Duplicate Title Tags: No duplicate URLs or Title Tags. Google will penalize.
Long URL: Keep them short. Never long URLs.
Overly-Dynamic URL: A URL that results from the search of a database-driven Web site or the URL of a Web site that runs a script. In contrast to static URLs, in which the contents of the Web page do not change unless the changes are coded into the HTML, dynamic URLs are generated from specific queries to a site’s database.
301 (Permanent Redirect): Redirection is the process of forwarding one URL to a different URL.
302 (Temporary Redirect): Redirection is the process of forwarding one URL to a different URL.
Meta Refresh: Generally it’s not good for SEO, as in it doesn’t really pass link equity. So, if the crawl test says you don’t have any, then that’s a good thing.
Title Element Too Short: Don’t have them too short (just like the rapper!).
Title Element Too Long: Don’t have them too long <insert funny joke here>.
Too Many On-Page Links: Keep them low as to not look like spam.
Missing Meta Description Tag: Basic thing. Need them on every page. The description should optimally be between 150-160 characters.
Search Engine blocked by robots.txt: All pages are open (indexed) to Google, Yahoo, Bing, etc., to search your webpages. You MAY want certain webpages blocked due and not crawled by search engines, but that’s up to you and the content you choose to block.
Blocked by meta-robots: Some might blocked and some might not be blocked. Sometimes a meta robots block comes from your CMS or something in your header. Always check on the pages that show as blocked to see if there’s any noindex sort of code in those pages.
Meta Robots Tag: The robots exclusion protocol (REP), or robots.txt is a text file webmasters create to instruct robots (typically search engine robots) how to crawl and index pages on their website. In most cases, meta robots with parameters “noindex, follow” should be employed as a way to to restrict crawling or indexation.
Blocking Google: If all are No then its good! You do not want to block Google as its good for content to be seen.
Blocking Yahoo: If all are No then its good! You do not want to block Yahoo as its good for content to be seen.
Blocking Bing: If all are No then its good! You do not want to block Bling as its good for content to be seen.
Concentrate on the upper 300 pixels of the page. Half of your visitors will not scroll “below the fold.” Put your most critical landing page elements on that upper half. Keep it simple. Make sure your page loads quickly. Lead the eye and provide conversion exits! Call to Action copy matters.
Make sure there is white space. This improves the user experience and makes your call to action stand out. Your call to action button (link) should be 20% larger than your logo (depending on the size of your logo). Place button at top of page (left). Web readers tend to track through content in a rough “F-shaped” pattern. So format important images flush left. Display the secondary action below the primary action. Make it obvious which button to click to complete an action.
With Google + getting more relevant in Google’s search traffic ranking, its crucial that you share your posts via Google+ (in addition to Twitter and Facebook). Don’t miss this easy opportunity to leverage additional traffic or just increase brand awareness. LinkedIn also has this feature (status updates) that you can easily link your blog posts. These content sharing platforms also increase your chances of going viral as well as interacting with your own community. Don’t forget to exploit #hashtags in your status updates! Consistently using this strategy every time you post to your blog will increase your followers and drive traffic back to your site.
Its all about search engines and their use of “social signals” that help better rank your business. Google, and Bing are using “social signals” to help them rank. Google, of course, uses plus ones (Google+). Bing uses stuff people share on Facebook. Adding a social media presence to your SEO / traffic strategy is key now. Make sure your business has a Facebook page, Twitter account, LinkedIn page, and of course Google+. Be consitstent with all of them. Use the same annoucements, content, pictures, branding, description, etc. Rock-on!