The Best Practices for a Google-friendly Website: Search Engine Optimization (SEO) 101

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Google’s desire for the internet to have authentic, relevant content that’s easy to find and consume makes my heart happy.

SEO seems like this complicated formula… but it’s actually very simple.

For myself and my clients, we’ve repeatedly shown up on the first page of our targeted keywords by simply being authentic, having an easy navigate website and publishing relevant content.

But if you’re wondering about all the other tasks you could be focusing on to further optimize your site, you might want to check out Google’s Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Starter Guide here.

It’s a pretty comprehensive guide and as they mention right from the getgo it won’t provide any secrets that’ll automatically rank your site first in Google, but following the best practices outlined will hopefully make it easier for search engines to crawl, index and understand your content.

Remember that’s the end-game, make your site is simple + user-friendly for your users (+ of course, Google).

I’ve pulled out a shortlist of action items you can begin focusing on today.

Don’t forget, SEO is a marathon, not a sprint.

As a web designer, the main tasks I tend to focus on first to lay the foundation for all of my websites are:

  • Using heading tags to emphasize important text
  • Making the content easy to scan for users
  • Organizing the site hierarchy
  • Planning the navigation based on the homepage
  • Creating a simple navigation page for users
  • Using simple yet descriptive page titles
  • Using simple URLs that convey the content information
  • Making the content easy to follow
  • Organizing topics clearly
  • Optimizing content for the users, not search engines
  • Formatting links so they’re easy to spot
  • Describing links appropriately
  • Using simple yet descriptive file names for images
  • Using standard image formats (JPEG, PNG, etc)
  • Optimizing the file size of all images
  • Creating simple yet description alt text for images
  • Making the site mobile-friendly (meaning it’s fully responsive, legible and easy to navigate on a smartphone, tablet, etc.)

Then, to take things up a notch I configure the Yoast SEO plugin. This plugin will allow you to add in custom page titles as well as meta descriptions and focus keyword phrases for each of your pages and posts. It’s important to understand that optimizing your site’s SEO is much more than the copy we put behind the scenes and using fancy SEO plugins.

So let’s say you’ve crossed off every task above and you’re good to go.

Not quite.

SEO is not a one-and-done kinda job.

As Google states in their starter guide, “Organic or word-of-mouth buzz is what helps build your site’s reputation with both users and Google, and it rarely comes without quality content.”

The best way to have a high-ranking site is to be regularly publishing relevant content to your site, most commonly done via a blog.

Once all of the above is completed, you’ll then want to keep your focus on:

  • Creating fresh unique content
  • Promoting your website
  • Linking to your social media profiles
  • Sharing relevant content on social media
  • Analyzing your search performance
  • Analyzing user behavior

Questions on any of the above? Shoot me a note below.

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  1. ArchieSearles on July 2, 2020 at 6:02 AM

    Thanks for publishing such an excellent article. Something called INK for All was recommended to me by a writer friend. It does SEO. It’s also a complete text editor that has a wp plug-in. Have you ever written in INK? Considering downloading it here:

    • Katie O'Brien on July 2, 2020 at 10:11 AM

      I just popped over to their website. Looks like a great tool. I’ll have to carve out some time to explore it in more detail. Thanks for the recommendation!

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