When most people – even seasoned marketers and online business owners – hear the term SEO, it immediately invokes the concept of keywords. Even with how far SEO has come in the past twenty years, too many of us remain fixated on keywords as the be-all, end-all of their optimization efforts.
Keywords still play an important role in the process of improving rankings today, but they are far from the only thing that matters. Major search platforms examine a variety of details when determining how your site (and its individual pages) should rank. They want to provide their users with consistently relevant and meaningful results, and they want the content to reflect a level of quality that far too many pages lack.
Below are four areas in which you can improve optimization and get the attention of some of the power players in search:
#1 – Page Meta Descriptions
Meta descriptions are small strings of text written into the HTML of a web page to provide a concise summary of the content on that page. Usually between one and three sentences, ideal meta descriptions use only 155 characters maximum. They appear underneath the clickable links on SERPs (search engine results) pages.
Without a meta description, the search engine will look for other relevant descriptors that may or may not offer the best summary of the page’s content. This is why defining a keyword-rich meta description is so important. It helps the search engines better determine the theme of a given page.
#2 – Responsive Design
It goes without saying that mobile is taking over in the realm of content delivery. For this reason, your site needs to be optimized for responsiveness if you want to maximize your rankings. That means that every page on your website displays correctly on any size screen (desktop, laptop, tablet, phone, etc.), loads quickly, and is easy to navigate.
If you have any questions about the responsiveness of your site, consult with your web developer or IT department and ask them to run an audit.
#3 – Page Optimization
There are so many elements to this one that it would be impossible to list them all here. For now, let’s look at a few areas that are commonly neglected and build out from there.
Mobile Optimization – This is different than responsive design in that responsiveness deals only with how the pages display. Sites that are optimized for mobile provide a mobile-friendly user interface that is free of annoyances like buttons or links that are too small to click or text that is too small to read.
Text Formatting – Short, concise paragraphs are key to page optimization. This, once again, goes back to appealing to mobile users primarily. Since smaller screens truncate lines, paragraphs seem longer and require more scrolling to view in their entirety if they are too wordy. Entire paragraphs that are visible above the fold (without having to scroll) typically result in better rankings.
File Sizes – Images and videos should be optimized to load quickly. This usually means using the maximum compression settings possible in the rendering process without sacrificing quality. You might also consider cloud storage of larger files to lessen the load on your local server and decrease page load times.
#4 – Social Media Optimization
All social platforms have their own internal SEO rules but the real benefit here is in off-page SEO. Anything that links back to your site will increase your rankings, as will optimizing and promoting the content you post on social media.
Implementing Facebook, Twitter, Pintrest, and even YouTube Channel SEO best practices will result in more people finding your content on those platforms, and the links back to your site will boost your rankings considerably over time.
If you want to get a leg up on your competitors, it is time to look beyond just optimizing keywords. The above areas are great places to start looking for ways to comprehensively optimize your site for better rankings.