Last week in Part I we introduced you to SEO (Search Engine Optimization), why it matters, and offered a few non-technical steps you can take to improve your visibility online. This week we’re looking closer at more steps that will increase your rank in search results. If you are not technically inclined, these steps may be more difficult, but are very important. If you hired someone to create your website ask them if they could help perform some of these steps. It will help search engine crawlers understand your site and improve your search rankings. If you have an OfferingTree website, there is nothing else you need to do! We’ve taken care of the hard work so all of the listed optimizations and best practices are in place and ready to use.
Technical steps to improve your SEO
Make sure your website is mobile responsive
More and more people are searching the web on their mobile devices. In 2015 Google announced that in the US more searches were coming from a mobile device than on a desktop . Accordingly, Google has increased the importance of having a mobile responsive website in their ranking algorithm. In fact, if you have both a mobile version and a desktop version of your website, Google will default to the mobile version for indexing purposes. Thus, it is very important that your website works and looks good on all mobile devices.
Make sure your website is optimized for fast loading
This is an often overlooked SEO factor, but one that Google has admitted has a positive effect on rankings. Not only is this important for SEO, but the longer it takes for your site to load, the more abandonment you’ll get from some users. You worked hard to get them to click on your site URL, try not to lose them before they take a look. Web site optimization is beyond the scope of this article, but you can use free online tools like Pigdom which will analyze your site and provide recommendations on how to improve loading speed.
Become search crawler friendly
This falls into the category of on-page SEO and simply means making it as easy as possible for a search engine to find and understand your web site’s content. One of the first things you should do is fill in the html ‘<meta>’ description tag. Accurately describe the content of each site. Use important keywords that you think others might use to find this page. For example, if you offer Hatha Yoga, make sure those words are in your description. Another way to make it easier for your site to be fully indexed is to provide a sitemap.xml file. This file lists all the pages on your site. You can use free online tools like XML Sitemaps to build your sitemap.
Use structured data
Another way to improve your SEO is to use structured data. Structured data is coding real word things in a way that the search engine crawler can recognize and understand. Google and the other popular search engines adhere to a structured standard called JSON-LD. Using this standard you can, for example, code your events (classes, retreats) and provide date, time, location in a way that is understandable and that shows up really nicely in search results. When people are searching for events of the type your offer, your event is much more likely to be shown. If you use OfferingTree, we automatically translate your scheduled offerings into structured data that Google and other search engines can understand.
Using the same JSON-LD format described in the previous section, you should use “Person” structured data on your home page so that when you share your site URL you are displayed as a person and in a way you can control. You can provide an image that you want to display as well as text describing yourself. Otherwise, the search engine will grab info from your site and construct this information itself. It not always does so in an accurate and flattering way. Again, if you’re an OfferingTree user, we have you covered!
There is much more to SEO than what I’ve gotten into here, but fortunately there are many resources and guides on the web. There are also some more concrete non-technical steps you can take to greatly improve your search engine rankings. They take effort, but it’s worth it in the long run. There are also other technical coding tactics that help search engines understand your site. Don’t be afraid to seek help if you need it because these steps are important. If you don’t want to hire someone or deal with the more technical aspects of SEO, using OfferingTree is a quick and easy way to create a beautiful mobile responsive website that is SEO optimized out of the box. We also offer great features that provide simple ways to create content such as blogging and adding unlimited custom pages so you can tailor your website to suit your offerings and expertise. If you have any questions, drop us a note at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.offeringtree.com to get started with your website.
- Search Engine Land. 2015. It’s Official: Google Says More Searches Now On Mobile Than On Desktop. [ONLINE] Available at: https://searchengineland.com/its-official-google-says-more-searches-now-on-mobile-than-on-desktop-220369. [Accessed 29 July 2018].