It might seem you’ve finally discovered that pot of gold at the end of your SEO rainbow. You’ve made Page #1. Google’s no longer playing the leprechaun. This St. Patrick’s Day you’re lucky.
However, Google’s algorithms might play tricks on you with the next release. Your SEO is far more like an Irish whiskey at the pub. It’s likely to make your feel mighty cheerful before it wears off—then leave you staggering as you try to figure out what to do next.
SEO ISNT'T LUCK!
SEO is a long-term, ongoing commitment to a set of wise principles. Interestingly, the people who have been very successful at SEO have used these guidelines from the beginning. At the same time, they’ve become smarter and better at implementing them. You can, too. Are you ready to erase the fickleness of ‘luck?’
1. Review What’s Working and What Isn’t
SEO is something you’ll never stop doing—not if you want to keep your coveted position on Page #1. Pay attention to “the content that makes up your SERPs snippets.” Make sure your site loads quickly. Pare down how many plugins you’re using if your site is built on WordPress. Routinely test your website to eliminate any code errors, so it’s easy to index.
Check “the generated waterfall of your site using Webpagetest and Tmetrix by using the network tab of browsers such as Chrome and Firefox. If Webpagetest shows any red lines on the waterfall, then you should immediately troubleshoot and fix those 404 errors,” says Stavros Papdakis of Income: How Pros Make Money Online. “This kind of error can really ruin the loading time of your website especially if you serve your site via a shared hosting plan.”
2. Produce Relevant Materials
Needs change. New problems arise that require fresh solutions. The quality of your content—video, white papers, eBooks, articles, FAQs, and support—must be relevant to your audience. If that audience changes, so should your materials. If their interests shift tune into it with your materials.
3. Update Content
Look for opportunities to revisit a discussion. Blog about the things that have changed and remained the same. Contrast and compare.
Add video. Improve video. Add pictures. Improve pictures. Add infographics. Update infographics to reflect new data or style trends.
4. Revisit Metadata
Revise titles and meta-descriptions if page content has changed. Ensure they match the content on the page. What a meta-description promises in the search page results should be what you deliver.
5. Review Your Social Media Activities
“It’s no secret that Google is watching social signals carefully. Facebook likes, shares, Twitter tweets, and even Pinterest pins are showing up on its radar. But, another finding from the not-so-surprising department shows that Google +1’s are given the most ranking recognition, followed closely by Facebook,” says Sherice Jacob on the Kissmetrics blog. “If you don’t yet have a Google+ account (or don’t use it often), it may be time to take the plunge: links shared on Google+ pass PageRank.”
6. Check Your Speed
Google prefers sites that load quickly. Don’t assume your site’s up to speed. As your website grows, it can slow down! The more pictures you add the slower pages load. Including video on the page could reduce page load speed if you host your video on your website. (More on how to avoid that coming up.)
7. Nix the Picture Loading Crawl
Make sure all your pictures are optimized for the front end. If a 90KB PNG file will do the job, why have a 460KB picture uploading to the page? Also ensure you’ve sized your pictures in pixels. If you want a picture to appear as a 400px x 200px picture on the page it should be that size. If the actual picture size is 1200px by 600px, that’s a larger file to upload from your server. Larger than necessary equals slower than desired.
Another consideration with pictures is whether you need transparency or not. PNG files are larger than JPGs. If the picture has a background, use JPG. GIFs tend to be the worst file type, so keep their use minimal.
8. Prevent Advertising Sluggishness
If you’ve partnered with Google AdSense, make sure you limit the number of locations those ads appear on the page. Google’s the one slowing you down, yet you’re the one they punish when it happens. It’s better to have one well-place ad. Choose the header or side-bar, or one inline ad. You’ll keep both Google and your visitors happier.
9. Keep Your Hosting Swift
Your hosting is another important consideration. Shared hosting may have been a good fit when you started. However, as your business grows, it’s vital your hosting keeps up. Upgrading to a VPS is worth the investment.
10. Tame Social Media
Evaluate the impact of social media scripts on your page load time. For example, the ‘counts’ you see have to link back to the social media site. That’s extra information that’s not essential to your user’s experience. Inviting action through social media icons is important—counts aren’t.
11. Distribute Hosting Responsibilities
Stop painful upload times by letting someone else host your videos. YouTube, Wistia, and Vimeo all cut load times because your server isn’t involved. If your site handles high comment volume, use Disqus, IntenseDebate or Discourse. If you’re using WordPress, take advantage of Jetpack.
12. Cache Your Site
Content management systems (CMS) such as WordPress, Joomla, Drupal and Magento make website management easy—though without a caching plugin or a managed server that caches your pages for you, an expanding database could decelerate your website. Be sure you’re caching your pages, so they load faster.
There’s no luck involved when it comes to SEO. It’s as planned as a successful Patty’s Day parade. You have considerable control over your SEO outcomes when you follow best practices. If you're looking to improve your SEO download our free eBook: Learning SEO From The Experts below.