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10 Simple Steps to Optimize Your Web Pages for Search

by Jeremy Page

We’re nearing the mid-year mark. Are you satisfied with your website’s performance?

If not, it’s not too late. You only need to make a few simple fixes to improve your website’s rank in search and increase traffic and conversions.

Sound good? Review and implement the 10 factors listed below, and you’ll set a strong foundation for more search traffic in 2014.

web traffic

1. Keyword Research

While it might be a dream come true, it’s not realistic to think that your site is going to rank for every keyword you could ever want. Many are simply too competitive, and a new website must do proper keyword research in order to find the right keywords. The ones you select should bring in traffic but also have an appropriate amount of competition.

Ever since Google released the new Hummingbird update, SEOs have started the shift from individual keyword phrases to topics. Hummingbird focuses more on the intent of the phrase with a better understanding of what the context means. This allows search engines like Google to answer questions with web pages even if that page is not optimized for that phrase.

That said, doing keyword research with the Google Adwords tool can still give you some good ideas for keywords. You want keywords that have low to medium competition in an area.

2. Great content (the longer, the better)

Great content is now a requirement to rank well. Search engines rank pages with bad grammar and spelling lower. This means that sites with well-written content are finally starting to get the ranking they deserve.

“How long should my content be?” is a question many people ask. While there really isn’t an exact answer, most people agree that 500 words is a good minimum length for your normal blog post.

It’s also a good idea to mix in longer authority posts. Research has shown that longer posts (over 1,000 words) tend to rank better—keep in mind, Google really likes authoritative posts with 2,000+ words.

Starting in August 2013, Google introduced in-depth articles as a new type of search result. Google separates these articles by placing them in a special box on the right side of the search results with other highly authoritative articles on the subject.

To improve your chances of getting an in-depth article status in the future, it must have the highest quality content, be over 2000 words, and not be promotional in any way.

One final tip: Length isn’t the only thing that matters. Make your posts fun to read. Avoid boring, stuffy content that looks like a legal document. Instead, opt for more conversational, amusing content when writing reviews, essays and guides.

3. Natural keyword usage

The primary rule for mixing your keywords into your content is to make sure they sound natural to the reader. When you write for your reader (not to game search engines) and use natural keyword placement, you can actually rank better with search engines.

4. Page titles

Your page titles should have the keyword phrase you’re targeting but also be descriptive for the reader. For example, if your article is about “Labrador training,” then a good title might be “Labrador Training in Six Easy Steps.”

The page title should not exceed 70 characters. Although search engines will index longer titles, they will be truncated in the search results.

5. Header tags

It’s generally a good idea to include the keyword phrase in an occasional header tag, but don’t overdo it. If you’re going to include a keyword phrase in a header tag, it is best to use the first heading on the page (H1) because Google will pay more attention to it.

6. Optimized URLs

You can put keywords in your URLs, but don’t overdo it. (e.g., www.labrador-training-strategies.com/labrador-training.html)

This looks suspect, with an exact match domain and a keyword-optimized url. However, a branded root domain with an optimized url is fair game, like such: http://seoproleague.com/utah-seo. The root domain still has “SEO” in it, but it’s also a branded company.

7. Page load time

According to WebProNews, when Google added page speed into their algorithm, sites that had slow load times saw a drop in traffic from Google. Page load speed is a ranking factor for Google.

In order to fix page load speed problems:

  • Measure how long a page takes to load.
  • Optimize your website to improve performance.
  • If you are using a shared hosting server, you can try switching to a different hosting provider to see if it makes a positive difference.
  • After making changes, measure performance again.

If you use WordPress, make sure you keep plugins to a minimum, as they will only bog down your site if there are too many. Also, stick with a lean code (such as Thesis and Genesis) or a website builder (here is a good list for those) that allows you to customize and tweak the code. This doesn’t necessarily help page speed, but it keeps your blog from looking cookie-cutter and generic.

It’s a good idea to periodically check your page load on a few random pages to make sure changes to your site have not affected performance.

8. Internal linking

Make sure you link your content with other internal pages that would be beneficial to your readers. This will help improve your site’s SEO and will make it easier for your readers to navigate and find more of your useful content.

9. Google authorship

Google authorship is easy to set up in your content and your Google+ profile. It allows you to establish yourself as an authority in your niche and as a result, Google will rank pages higher for your site.

10. Responsive (mobile) design

I recently read that roughly 56% of American adults are now buying smart phones and browsing the Internet with them. This is why it is critical that you use a responsive (i.e. mobile) design for your website so that pages easily show up on the small screen.

Google also recommends a responsive design because it makes it easier for visitors to have a single URL. Your web pages will load faster because your website doesn’t need to be redirected to another page for a mobile device.

Conclusion

Finding the right keywords first can save you a lot of wasted effort in the future. After you pick your keywords, create the kind of outstanding content that Google wants to see. Internal linking can help improve your visitor’s experience on your site as well as allow Google to find your content more easily.

Periodically checking and improving web page load times will also help your site rankings. Having a responsive design is now more of a requirement than an option. Expect users to access your site from mobile devices, so make sure your site is ready to accommodate them for success. Last, make sure you use Google authorship as it will help improve ranking over time and show Google that you are an authority in your field.

Now you: What are your best strategies for website optimization?

38 Comments

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Jeremy Page

Jeremy Page is a digital nomad and internet entrepreneur that teaches passive income lifestyle at http://multiplestreams.org.

38 COMMENTS

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  1. Nimish Ramoliya says:
    October 13, 2016 at 12:33 am

    hey! thanks for your great Effort. It helped me a lot for improving my website. please help me to understand that how internal linking increase my website traffic?

  2. Richard says:
    August 11, 2016 at 10:02 pm

    Nice post. Page load time is very important to Google. There are a lot of sites that low slow on entry. Also, creating content and promoting it on social media sites will help your site move up in the rankings. I try to focus on creating internal links and keywords.

  3. Jeramy says:
    May 28, 2016 at 2:58 pm

    Would you recommend hiring a pro to do the link exchanges,
    or do you do it ourselves?
    Bookmarked your website, I have to keep up to date with your posts!

  4. Salman says:
    May 25, 2016 at 2:47 pm

    Very nice post.Really helps me in optimizing a mobile website.

  5. Limon khan says:
    May 16, 2016 at 11:04 am

    Valuable information. Many are simply too competitive, and a new website must do proper keyword research in order to find the right keywords. Great content is now a requirement to rank well. Thanks for this explanation.

  6. Corianne says:
    February 15, 2016 at 12:42 pm

    I love this post – timeless recommendations for a solid SEO foundation. A great post to come back to.

  7. Anonymous says:
    January 25, 2016 at 5:15 am

    Thanks you for the tips. I’m new to the blogging world, and these tips matters a lot. 🙂

  8. Anuj Kumar Mishra says:
    December 22, 2015 at 12:30 am

    I really impress your last point “Responsive (mobile) design”. Your post is very simple and useful for the newly user of the blog posting or website developer. Thanks for sharing this kind of information. I am mostly following your blog post.

  9. Emily says:
    November 10, 2015 at 1:13 pm

    Very good article, I especially agree with #10. Nowadays when mobile devices are used so much and with google stating that more than half of its searches are from mobile platforms, it sure is a good idea to put some effort in the mobile site.

  10. Rishi Asthana says:
    August 12, 2015 at 12:32 pm

    Does description meta tag help in ranking in any way? What if we don’t use this tag? What are other useful meta tags that must be used. Please help on this.

    • Sean work says:
      August 12, 2015 at 12:48 pm

      It doesn’t help with rankings, but it’s incredibly important. It’s free ad copy on Google. So take advantage of it. Carefully craft a description that will compel people to click on your result. And that doesn’t mean be salesy – think about the purpose of the page and what important information should be known about that page to people browsing a Google search result…

  11. Suniel says:
    July 25, 2015 at 11:26 am

    I have done all the techniques which u have specified. But no result.what to do now. All blog are on 5 to 10 page.I want on 1st page.

  12. July 24, 2015 at 8:08 am

    Hi there, I enjoy reading througgh your post.
    I wanted to write a little comment to support you.

  13. Nikesh upadhyay says:
    July 16, 2015 at 11:39 pm

    The information shared is really useful and to the point, really knowledgeable.

  14. Preeti says:
    June 26, 2015 at 2:29 am

    Thanks for Sharing Great Information , There is no doubt that all of business sites need to think about mobile design and that’s also responsive.

  15. ravigupta says:
    June 13, 2015 at 2:03 am

    Thank you for sharing a great article. I heads of you.Your article is really beneficial for me. Thanks ones again for Sharing best article. I always take your advices very seriously Can you give me more information for how to Optimized my URLs

  16. luseoji says:
    June 12, 2015 at 5:04 am

    That’s great article how to optimize our new site and i think these tips still use in this year. I’ve been made an article about 300-500 words to get better seo on my site, but it’s not search about keywords also, just make original content and informative for audience.

    • June 12, 2015 at 9:28 am

      Absolutely, Luseoji. Sounds like you’re on the right track.

  17. David Urmann says:
    May 21, 2015 at 12:33 am

    I question having longer content just for the sake of it. “Google really likes authoritative posts with 2,000+ words.” How can we be sure of this? I have seen studies suggesting longer posts rank better but is it because they are longer or because the content tends to be higher quality and attract more inbound links? Keep in mind that correlation does not equal causation.

    • May 21, 2015 at 9:20 am

      David, I couldn’t agree more. I’ve seen 2000-word posts that were mostly fluff and 1000-word posts that answered all my questions. Quality, not length, gets the job done.

  18. May 7, 2015 at 4:29 am

    All in one seo blog 🙂 . . . . I love your blog

  19. Ava Kipper says:
    March 22, 2015 at 2:34 am

    What a useful post, all these usefull information in one place – bookmarked! Thanks!

  20. Kishor Bankar says:
    February 5, 2015 at 4:33 pm

    Thanks,
    very good this articel….

  21. James says:
    December 8, 2014 at 1:28 am

    Really good tips covered here. There is no doubt that all of business sites need to think about mobile design and that’s also responsive. Will be sharing with my other team members.

    • December 8, 2014 at 9:12 am

      Thanks, James. Really appreciate that.

    • Neil Patel says:
      December 8, 2014 at 2:03 pm

      James, awesome! Let us know what they think.

  22. magesh says:
    August 7, 2014 at 1:52 am

    your article is too good. it’s helpfull for me. thanks for your posting. please keep on.

    • Neil Patel says:
      August 7, 2014 at 3:39 pm

      Magesh, glad you liked it 🙂

  23. Fernandes says:
    July 24, 2014 at 7:46 am

    I have followed your instructions and read alot about seo I hope this will help me, to get more Traffic on my Website.

    • Neil Patel says:
      July 24, 2014 at 4:05 pm

      Fernandes, glad we could help 🙂

  24. Adam says:
    July 3, 2014 at 8:07 am

    Thank you for the 10 great steps to optimizing my web site. I will be using this information and auditing my current sites to make sure they fit the standards.

    • Neil Patel says:
      July 3, 2014 at 2:00 pm

      Adam, glad we could help. Thanks for the feedback 🙂

  25. amad abe says:
    June 6, 2014 at 7:02 pm

    thanks for this articel. this articel very good

    • neil says:
      June 7, 2014 at 4:11 pm

      Amad, glad you liked it 🙂 Thanks for the great feedback!

      • Dan says:
        November 10, 2015 at 3:59 pm

        Holly cow Neil, you are everywhere man. Anywhere that you are there is tips about optimizing a website!

        Also, thanks Jeremy for the tips. I think that most armature website owners expect their website builder to do this automatically. When the reality is optimization is need every time you create a new page, or post.

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