How to Boost Your Site's SEO and Rank Higher in Search Results ( + free checklist! )
Raise your hand if you’ve been personally victimized by Google and struggle with getting your website on the first page of search results! 🙋🏼♀️
Don’t worry, help is on the way and it’s called SEO. As in Search Engine Optimization.
Now, good SEO depends on many things and here are some of them: how fast your site loads, how user-friendly it is, how many backlinks there are to it, the quality and consistency of content, whether you are using the right keywords or no… the list is long!
I’ve done my best to collate the best tips for optimizing your website in this post, which can be applied no matter what platform your website is built on. If you’ve ever wondered how to rank higher in search results - keep reading and when you’re done, go ahead and apply all tips! Even though SEO is not an overnight miracle and it takes time to get some traction, in the long run it absolutely pays off.
Let’s dive in.
START NAMING ALL YOUR IMAGES
Have you ever Googled for something in the Images result? Say you were booking a vacation and wanted to see what the Canary Islands looked like or perhaps you wanted to see before/after of someone using a product? The images that pop-up highest in those results are images that contain those keywords you’re searching for in their title. I used to be one of those people that would upload my images without giving it a second thought and because I use stock images that are titled after the shop I purchased them from, if people search for that, they will find my site! Imagine their disappointment if they were looking for stock photography shop and they landed on a Squarespace web designer!
What you need to start doing is get in the habit of renaming your images before uploading. If you are using them on a specific page as part of your site design, try to include keywords in the title that relate to what your site is about. If you’re using them for your blog posts - use the same title as your blog post.
RESIZE YOUR IMAGES BEFORE UPLOADING
Google likes websites that load fast. If people come to your site and it takes forever to load, they will likely close it, go back to the search results and choose the next site. This tells Google your site is not liked by visitors and it starts ranking it lower. The biggest culprit to slow-loading pages are images. If your site has a lot of images and graphics and all of them are quite big in size, it will take a while for them load properly. A good rule of thumb is to keep your images under 500 KB in size. Now, this may be a bit tricky if you want to use banner images, which usually need to have dimensions between 1500px to 2500px width in order to look good on bigger displays. What you can do is use an image compressing software like JPEG Mini that will compress images down to smaller size, while keeping their dimensions.
(Pssst…Choose the Free Trial option and you can compress up to 200 images for free!)
LINKS, TITLES & DESCRIPTIONS
ADD A SITE TITLE
Chances are, if you’re using a logo, you've probably skipped on adding a site title. That’s a big no-no. Go back and add a title now, because the text you put there gets indexed by search engines. It’s best to keep it under 60 characters and try to plug in one or more keywords tat are relevant to the type of site you are running and that people would search for.
WRITE A SITE DESCRIPTION
For people to be able to find your awesome photography site or recipes blog, first you need to tell search engines you have one! To do that, you need to add a short site description, aka meta description. It’s the snapshot that appears in search results under your site title.
Keep the description between 50 - 3000 words and - you guessed it - add keywords!
CHECK URL SLUGS
URL … what? Slugs. As in the short keyword at the end of a link in your browser, right after the forward slash:
So what do you do with those little guys? It’s best to edit URLs so that they reflect the content of the page. If you happen to save a blog post or create a product, before adding a title, the URL slug you will end up with will be a random string of characters. Get in the habit to do a regular audit of your site and if you happen to change a page’s purpose and title, always remember to change the slug so that it reflects that. I recently went to open someone’s Contact Me page and noticed that the URL slug was: “….com/new-page”. It’s a small thing but it will pay off big time in ranking you higher in results.
LINKING TO YOUR CONTENT
Sites that get links from other high ranking websites pointing to them tend to also rank higher in results. In SEO vocabulary this is called ‘backlinking’. To work on your backlinking, it’s a good idea to establish relationships with other bloggers or brands and collaborate or offer to write guest blog posts and ask that they link back to your website. This tells Google that you are offering high quality content that is recommended by other high-quality websites.
While it’s important to get linked by high-authority sites, don’t forget to also link to your own content. If you’re blogging, try to include relevant links to other blog posts you’ve written. This is called ‘interlinking’ and helps search engine bots to crawl and index your articles effectively. It also helps with the bounce rate on your site - meaning people will be spending more time on your site, because while reading one blog post, they’ll be tempted to read another. For this to work well - only link relevant content e.g. if you’re posting about how to switch to a vegetarian diet, link a post to a yummy vegetarian recipe.
Almost everyone has a smartphone these days, so it’a good idea to design your site with that in mind. Always test how it looks on mobile and how fast it loads and if it loads.
If you use Squarespace - turn on the AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) setting - this creates a stripped down version of your website, for faster loading on mobile devices. You can find it under Settings > Blogging > Accelerated Mobile Pages
CONNECT A CUSTOM DOMAIN
If your website has been around for a while, chances are you got this step done already, but if you haven’t - go ahead and do it now. Purchasing a custom domain can cost you as little as $0.99 with hosting companies like GoDaddy!
For more SEO tips - download the full checklist below: