Our SEO tips for the new year relate to Google's new "Page Experience" algorithm that takes effect for desktop versions of websites in February 2022. This algorithm launch is based on the page experience metrics Google introduced for the mobile versions of websites in August of 2021.
On your Search Console (in Google Analytics) Google assesses each of the relevant signals and gives your website an overall ‘page experience’ score.
We all know Google's algorithms are always being updated: not to make our lives more difficult (though it might seem like it) but to make sure the folks who cheat using black hat techniques don't benefit in their search engine rankings.
So SEO tips #1 is: Don't use "black hat" tactics
What is "black hat" SEO? It's SEO techniques used to increase a website's search engine ranking which violate the search engines' terms of agreement. (You ever read Google's Terms of Agreement? Neither have we!) But getting caught not following them can result in your website being banned from Google and other search engines. Don't believe it can happen? Read how BMW, Toys R Us, Overstock.com and JC Penney we all blocked on Google for using black hat techniques.
How do you know if what is being done on your behalf is "black hat"? Simple: just ask yourself if what is being done is for the benefit of your audience, or for the sole reason of ranking higher. Granted, we all want to rank higher, but it shouldn't be at the expense of making our website better for our audiences. If you do, that runs tht risk of being penalized.
SEO Tips 2: Having a mobile-friendly site
If the mobile version of your website is the same as the desktop version of your website, that's not best SEO practice. Granted, most website's mobile and desktop versions are the same, but they shouldn't be. The mobile version of your site should be an abbreviated version of the desktop.
For years, Google has been scanning the mobile version or your website to determine how worthy it is of ranking well. So even if the majority of your audience is viewing your website on their laptop or desktop computers, Google is looking at your mobile version to determine how good your website is.
As an example, the desktop version of our website has a series of 12 "tiles:"
...but the mobile version of our website only has 3 "tiles." (See screenshot below.) Note: not all 3 of the "tiles" are visible on a phone's screen at once, just the first "tile." So the screen shot below is a Photoshop compilation of 2-3 screens of what is visible on a phone.
SEO Tips 4: How fast your homepage loads
This has been true for years: how fast your homepage loads is a Google ranking factor. Google has an online tool, called Google PageSpeed Tool, that shows you how well your homepage is built for mobile and desktop.
You should know what ranking Google gives your mobile and desktop homepages. If you don't know, talk to a Columbus website design company to find out. If that Columbus website design firm doesn't know what you're talking about, you should talk to a different website developer.
SEO Tips 5: Having fresh content that's optimized to your audience
We all know (or SHOULD know), that the more you update your website – usually through blogging –the more Google indexes your website. The more your site gets re-indexed, the more relevant it is for Google's search results.
However, writing about yourself (or your company) isn't good content. Why? Because your audience doesn't want to know about you (or us). They want to know:
- What you can do to help them with their business
- How you can help make their lives easier
- How you'll make them look better in their bosses or customer's eyes, and
- How knowledgeable you are about your field of expertise
Ths is what blogging is about: posting content your audience will benefit from.
SEO Tips 6: Make sure you content gets the "green light"
Writing for print is very different than writing for the web. When writing for your website, you want to achieve good SEO for every page. That's true for a blog like this, or any other page on your website.
How do you do that? Well, in the content management system of your website, there should be a module called "Yoast Real-time SEO" that analyses your copy as you're writing. It's sort of like a cheat sheet for SEO. Below is a screenshot of that section of the content management system for this blog. Making sure you get green dots for almost – if not every – line item is important.
You need to have a unique "focus keyword" for every page, and use it in the SEO Title (often called a Page Title) and Meta Description. To see how Google uses tha Page Title and Meta Description, watch the first 40 seconds of this video.
Here is a screenshot of the "Yoast Real-time SEO" section of this blog:
SEO Tips 7: Having your website be secure with https
You can tell if a website is secure if it has an "s" after the http by te domain name. The "s" stands for secure. You can see the URL in this blog (or any page in our website) and see it starts with "https."
We've talked about the importance of having a secure website in a previous post which you can see here. (And this was back in 2018.)
So that's a basic overview of things to think about going forward with your website in 2022. Not that it's changed significantly from 2021. These are basic tenets of good SEO. And good SEO will get your website showing up well in Google (and other search engine's) search results.