22 SEO Factors to Pay Attention to in 2022
When it comes to search engine optimization, website organization is a huge factor in creating a strong SEO foundation. This is important not only for search engine crawlers (AKA spiders), but also human users. In order for your content and your website to rank on a search engine like Google, it has to be accessible.
The most basic and important aspect of your website is navigation. based on the principle of “click depth”. Click depth refers to the number of clicks it takes to go from the homepage of your website to another page. The fewer the clicks, the easier it is for search engines to find, index, and recommend. So prioritize making important content easier to find from the homepage.
2. Page layout
Be strategic about how you organize the content on each webpage. Know that the most crucial information and call-to-action features should be above-the-fold (top half of the webpage) and encourage visitors to continue reading below-the-fold (bottom half).
3. Mobile responsive design
In today’s smartphone obsessed society your website MUST BE mobile responsive. A mobile responsive design is more crucial than ever with almost 56% of market share dominated by mobile devices in 2021 according to Oberlo.
So if your analytics is showing a steady decline or absence of mobile visitors, it is time to contact a professional web designer to bring you into the mobile first era.
4. Website security
In an effort to promote and protect users’ online safety and security, Google and other search engines have pushed time and again for the adoption of HTTPS over HTTP. An SSL certificate not only assures search engines that your server connection is secure, it also reassures visitors and online consumers that their sensitive information is safeguarded. Many modern hosts make this incredibly easy and free! If your host does not have this feature you should consider moving immediately.
Page speed and performance is ultimately affected by the length of time it takes for your webpage to load. The slower the load time, the worse the performance. A study by Google showed that user bounce rate increased 32% when a page load time went from one to three seconds, and by 90% when it went from one to five seconds. Thankfully there are several things you can do to improve page speed, some of which may need an expert touch.
5. Minify necessary CSS, JS, and HTML and remove unnecessary code
A good developer will know to minify (decrease the size of) essential code that affects how your website renders. This may be more difficult for businesses using build-your-own-website platforms like Squarespace, Shopify, or WordPress, but there are ways to implement minified code. Cloudflare is a quick way to do some of this automatically, but a developer will always be able to optimize most effectively at a code and build level.
6. Reduce page redirects
Anytime you’ve edited a webpage’s URL or slug you’ve created a redirect. Redirects affect how search engine robots navigate your website. If there are too many redirects, the robot will give up on accessing your content.
7. Improve server response time
A performant host is going to be one of the most critical pieces in ensuring a fast server response time. A fast TTFB or Time to First Byte is the initial time it takes for your browser to connect to the server. This is a critical piece in the loading process because until this connection occurs, nothing will display to the user. Your host will be one of the largest factors to improve this, but also making sure that your code is optimized when making connections to databases and doing database queries will be the second largest factor in this load time. If you are looking for new hosting for your WordPress website, we can help!
8. Optimize image file sizes
This may sound intuitive, but the larger the file size, the longer the load time to render that file. If your website has many large images, they will dramatically increase the loading time. Make use of compression software and image editing software’s “Save For Web” utility. Additionally, modern browsers now have the ability to “lazy load” images only when they are needed. Making sure your website allows for lazy loading images will greatly improve your loading times.
Content is king, especially when it comes to SEO. Thanks to algorithm updates Panda and Fred, Google penalizes websites with otherwise thin, scraped, or value-less content. So make sure when drafting copy for your website that it is not only interesting to read, but also provides value.
9. Define your page content focus
Each webpage on your website should have its own focus and serve a discernible purpose. Your content should have value, be credible, answer a question or search query, and be specific. If you follow these basic principles, writing content will be a breeze.
10. Search intent
In order to write meaningful content, you have to know why and how people find your content. For the most part, search queries can be divided into 3 basic types: Do, Know, Go. Once you figure out what your audience is searching for, it’s much easier to write content that answers their questions. A sign of a good content writer is one who will identify the questions your target audience is already asking, and answer them!
Headings are HTML structural elements that act as titles or subtitles on your webpage. There are 6 headings with <h1> being the most important and often largest and <h6> being the smallest and reserved for the least important. Heading tags help search engines like Google and users navigate and understand the content on your webpage. Having proper heading flow allows you to break up your content into more digestible components and also gives clear jumping points for accessibility. Both Google and your users will appreciate a proper heading structure.
First off, when we’re discussing content length, we’re not suggesting there’s a golden word count that boosts ranking factor. Really, what we’re discussing is whether the page fully satisfies the user’s search intent. Does your content answer their question? From there, it’s really a matter of writing enough to cover the subject, but keeping things short enough to stay interesting. No more 400 page novels preceding your grandmother’s sugar cookie recipe please (looking at you, every recipe site ever.)
The legibility or readability of your content plays a significant role in overall user experience. It is so much more important to write content that users understand than content designed to make you look or sound smarter. So pay attention to spelling, grammar, and the tone of your writing style. Make sure they match your target audience.
14. Title tags
Titles are another HTML element that acts as the title of the webpage. It is the text that appears in the web browser tab next to a chosen icon (favicon). In search engine results, page titles are the largest and most visible feature of a search snippet. Therefore, it’s important to write keyword-rich, optimized titles to trigger search engine indexes and engage searchers.
15. Meta description
While meta descriptions are not a specific search ranking signal, they are still an important aspect of any SEO strategy. They can engage searchers, improve CTR, and differentiate your content from your competitors.
16. Schema markup
Schema markup is a type of microdata that structures how search engines present your content in rich snippets. So while headings, title tags, and meta descriptions tell users how to navigate and understand your webpage, schema markup tells search engines how to understand your webpage and display it in a useful and relevant way.
17. Alt text for images
Alt text is an HTML attribute for images that allow you to create alternative text in the event that your image cannot load or there is an accessibility issue. Optimize your image alt text to make image search better understand your image.
18. Anchor Text
Anchor text refers to the words or phrases that act as a hyperlink (AKA the infamous “Click here”.) However, we now know that “Click Here” doesn’t quite cut it. Instead use keyword-rich text to provide context to users on where the link leads and what content they’ll find.
Be mindful to use this attribute only when necessary, and primarily on non-text links, otherwise screen readers may be doubling up the text each time they reach the link.
19. Internal linking
An internal link is a hyperlink from one page on your website to another page on the same website. Internal links help users and search engines navigate websites. The more links pointing to a specific page, the more important or relevant it becomes.
20. External linking
Unlike internal links, external links are hyperlinks pointing from one page on your website to an outside website. While external links do not play a major effect on search engine ranking itself, it does build credibility and authority. This in turn affects the quality of your content which does play a significant role in SEO ranking.
Backlinking, often referred to as inbound linking, refers to links that point to your website from another website. Both the quality and quantity of inbound links matter to your backlink profile. A blackhat tactic many poor SEO companies utilize is link schemes where they purchase links from low-profile websites to artificially inflate the number of links pointing to your website. While this tactic may work in the short term, it’s much more likely to backfire and blacklist your website in the long run. So make sure to ask about the quality of links that your SEO company targets and solicits. Google has continued to crack down on backlink spam, so your link building process should be built around organic link attribution.
22. Social media
Social media has plenty of indirect benefits to your SEO approach. Sharing to your social media boosts traffic and engagement. It also promotes brand awareness and strengthens your content branding. So be sure to share new content regularly to your followers to direct more traffic to your website.