Developing a successful digital experience requires an effective strategy and good design and development. But it’s equally important to know your audience to drive strategic website goals. Today, we’re sharing some lesser-known, but equally-important SEO tactics that can help push your website’s organic presence to the next level.
SEO in 2019 goes well beyond adding optimized metadata to a website or making sure you have great incoming links to help with domain authority. With the push towards delivering fast, unique content, and mobile-first indexation by providers like Google, properly configuring your pages is very important to future-proof your website for evergreen, organic success. However, you shouldn’t sacrifice the user experience to please search engine crawlers. To that end, everything outlined in this article should be implemented in a balanced way.
Tip #1: Optimize Your Website for Navigation Weight
Imagine the navigational elements of your website as tabs in your filing cabinet. Search engines open the drawer, peek in, and view the contents of the various folders. For searchability and indexation of your site’s crown jewels – content – it’s important to label anchor text links to be relevant to the content inside the folders. In addition, anchor text links help boost your specific topical authority and relevance for certain keywords, giving you more weight on a subject or area than your competitors.
Search engine crawlers make many requests to your website when traversing your content and see these labels (anchor text links) each time they go into these folders. So, a taxonomy that matches a thoughtful keyword strategy is what will garner a better topical page score from search engines. Here are a few things to consider when constructing your navigation:
- Use relevant keywords where appropriate, but don’t engage in keyword stuffing.
- Include your website’s most important landing pages in your navigation if you can.
- Use your footer as an alternative navigation bar to help entice visitors to continue browsing the site. This is usually a place where you can get a little more liberal with your keyword insertions, while enhancing the user experience.
Tip #2: Make it Easy for Readers to Share Your Content
Making your content easily shareable sets your site up for future success. Consider adding social buttons, open graph schema, and sharable links to all the pages of your site that you would like a visitor to tell a friend or colleague about. This also helps ensure that your content can be accessed by search engine crawlers.
The main reasons why you should make your content promotable is to:
- Prove that you are a thought leader and gain trust for your organization.
- Make it easier to gain backlinks, enhancing your website’s domain authority on certain topics.
- Help people share relevant content about ideas, products, or services with their friends or colleagues.
Tip #3: Optimize Content Placement for Better Ranking
When a search crawler traverses a webpage, it starts with elements towards the top of the page’s code in the header, then moves to the body, and then down the page. When a website visitor enters a page, they have a specific intention that led them there – either through the navigation, a paid ad, organic search, or possibly through email. Both behaviors are similar in function. The higher the content is on the page, the sooner relevant content will be registered by the visitor, or search engine crawler. For that reason, tailoring the experience to the visitor is important.
Visitors expect to be presented with relevant content instantly upon arrival to a website.
The top of a webpage is usually a battle for attention, between calls-to-action, a hero image, text, or even content to cater to search engines. Keeping important content towards the top of the page will always be a priority, and generally shouldn’t be sacrificed at the expense of SEO.
What you can do, however, is place content in areas where you can provide a good user experience for humans and search engine crawlers. Here are a few ways to do so:
- Use HTML5/CSS when you can, as it's easy for crawlers to read. However, you should avoid in-line CSS because it bloats the pages code. In tabbed content areas, use <divs> to hide content that might not be important on initial viewing but would be valuable to the topic of the page and allow users to interact, for example, by expanding an answer to an FAQ.
- Treat “above the fold” content (loaded and displayed at the top of the page and can be seen without scrolling down the page) as the most important area of a page. As you scroll down, the subject matter should get deeper and richer with supporting content to the page’s topic.
- Mix up page content with different elements including video, interactive media, user-generated content, and pictures. Avoid displaying a wall of text.
- Content placement in code is important too. On larger sites, not all pages are crawled frequently, since some pages are likely to be static for longer periods of time. Content being placed visibly (not behind divs) and that lives higher in the source code helps ensure that pages are read and acknowledged by search engines.
In Part 2, we will share 2 more tips to optimize your website for SEO. Are you happy with the organic ranking of your site’s pages? We’re happy to share what has worked well for us and our clients. Feel free to reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org or Tweet Us @Velir.