Optimization of organic search ranking

There are several ways to improve optimization of a web page:

  • technical optimization: all the SEO activities on the site which are designed to improve SEO but are not related to the content. Consists of: activities, ranking factors, technical help, time investment and tools.Technical SEO ranking factors are: site speed, mobile friendliness, HTTPsThe verification tool for the technical optimization is Google Search Console – a free tool which helps to monitor and maintain site’s presence in Google search results. Diagnostics can be also done with Bing. Basically the improvement can be done in the area of crawlability:
    • minimization of site errors
    • wise use of redirections (301: moved permanently, 302: found, moved temporarily)
    • creation and submission of a correct site map (check for indexability percentage)
    • minimization of duplicated content: only unique content is indexed
    • check of indexed pages
  • on-page optimization: consists ensuring that the content is relevant and provides excellent user experience. It DOESN’T consists of keyword stuffing. Typical tools for page optimization are: SEO Optimer, SEO SiteCheckup, Mozbar (Chrome extension) or free tools allowing to scan the page and identify in-page important elements and check if the page has been optimized or not. The re are two categories of on-page optimization:
  • pre-click: all what is visible to the user before the user decides to click on the results page in search engine: title tag, URL, meta description. This part encourages the user to click, so it better be good.


    Importance of title tags:

     

      • heavy weight: they are the single the most important place where keywords should go
      • higher rankings: having a title tag pushes the page in rankings
      • first view: it is blue and clickable in the search engine results, it is the first thing the searcher seesTitle tags should have well thought keywords, as they prioritize research. Only primary and secondary keywords should be included in the title tag, keyword should be at the beginning, avoiding keyword stuffing.

Importance of meta description:

 

Meta descriptions are only visible in search results and inform the searcher about the nature of the content. They are short snippets of descriptive text under the URL in SERPs. They are less important than the title tags, having a medium weight: they do not have a direct impact on higher rankings. But they promote click-through. If the search term is mentioned in the meta description, it gets bolded and more visible for the searcher. Meta tags should be short and concise (max 156 haracters for desktop, 115 for mobile).

 

Importance of URLs:

 

URLs build trust and authority for the page. They are visible in SERPs. Their importance is light weight: do not contribute much to SEO signals. They attract click-throughs as they are seen in search. They serve for indexing. URLs are often generated from the main heading of the page; but they can be modified and shortened, to avoid duplication. The golden rule of URL:

      • include always a main keyword or a close variation
      • maximally 70 characters
      • use dashes instead of underscores and lower case characters
  • post-click on page optimization: it includes headings, main body copy and images

Headings

 

Users scan visually the page headings before they commit to read. Headings are medium-weight SEO signals and add relevancy  to the page. There are 6 heading tags; they outline the hierarchy of content. H1 should always be used as a main heading. Secondary headings should be used as H2 tags. The remaining tags can be used in the text. Headings should be optimized in the way that they put the user on the first place – the way they are meaningful for users, not for SEO. They should contain two of the most relevant keywords from the targeted list.

 

Main copy

 

This is the place where users should find what they are looking for. The main content has a heavy weight among SEO signals. It is also known as a body text and can contain hyperlinks. Comes after the main heading. For the main content there is no optimal keyword density, but it is good to follow recommendation of Yoast. The content shouldn’t be over-optimized and over-stuffed. Only keywords which should rank for should be included in the content and they should be inserted in a natural way to enhance readability. There is no recommended length, the length should meet user’s expectations and allow search engines to understand what the content is about. According to Google recommendation a piece of body content should be not shorter than 600 words.

Hyperlinks in the main copy are important: First, they add relevance – linking to a page with a descriptive and easy to understand anchor passes more relevancy to the receiving page. It also adds reputation – linking pages internally raises importance and increases chances for better ranking.

 

Images

 

It is a light weight SEO signal, but adds relevancy to the page. Alt text helps visually impaired people to get idea about the image through screen readers. Alt text should contain an accurate description of the image, including keywords and should not exceed 5 words. The file name should also include keywords.

  • off-page optimization  – includes all the actions of optimization outside the site. There are several tools which can be used for that purpose: Link Explorer, Majestic SEO, Ahrefs analyze backlinks of the page and backlinks of competitors. Some of them are a freemium models.

    Backlinks: increasing the number of backlinks to the page is one of the SEO goals. A backlink is an incoming hyperlink from one web page to another web page. Once a page receives a link from external website, its reputation is passed to that site. It is as if the page voted for another page and said that is credible. There are 3 types of backlinks: topical (they are relevant to the industry, and likely will bring relevant referral traffic), high authority and authentic.

    PageRank: it is an algorithm being used by Google Search to rank websites in the search engine results. It counts the number and quality of links to a page and determines the importance of a website. More important websites receive more links from other websites. PageRank of an URL is measured by:

    • page authority: a page rank has a score between 1 and 100 and predicts how well a page will rank on SERPs
    • domain authority: a ranking score of a search engine  ranking from 1 to 100 predicting how well a website will rank on SERPs

Role of social media as backlinks

Links in social media are known as social signals. They usually do not pass reputation or page rank (in that matter they are different to backlinks). The more view social link receives, the more likely the viewing person will link to the proper website in a form of a backlink.

 

Link Explorer

It is a tool provided by Moz allowing to research where the website got backlinks from. It might be the site of a competitor, or another site targeted. Backlinks are ordered by page authority, so the most important should be listed first.

 

SEO action plan

Always a site should be taken into consideration and its main URL should be analyzed and verified if indexed. Next, the URL should pass the mobile-friendly test and the 2 second load page test (use https://tools.pingdom.com and select the location which is closest to your location). Review the site in Google Search Console for errors. Design the site optimization planner. Pick a website of a competitor and check its Moz backlink metrics. Pick top 3 backlinks from your competitor and try to get the same.