Do you wish the number of page views your site gets was higher? Most people do. There are a lot of factors that contribute to a website’s following: social media popularity, inbound links, influencer connections, etc. But one of the biggest ways websites gain traction is through search engine optimization, or SEO.
The truth is that SEO is constantly changing, and there are a lot of factors involved. But these tips have stood the test of time (what limited time it may be) and will make your content far more visible to search engines and live users alike. Here are 8 SEO tips that will work every time:
1. Make sure your information is easy and clear to index.
Ugly things like broken links, Page Not Found messages, title tags and meta tags hurt your website’s search-ability. Clear these things out so that the spiders that crawl the Web and index sites (and determine their page rank) can more easily interpret your content.
2. Use a Content Managing System (CMS) to your advantage.
Try to focus on creating unique features instead of going for minor fixes. Content Managing Systems provide procedures to help systematize information, often used to run websites containing blogs, news or business marketing. The New York Times uses a CMS called Scoop. Another popular CMS is WordPress, which is both accessible to the public and easy to use.
3. Be ready to go before you publish.
You should have a checklist ready before you go live. The Huffington Post, for example, doesn’t allow bloggers to publish a post until the post has covered all the online bases: a searchable headline, tags, images, links, a tweet, and pre-composed Facebook post. That way your posts remain unchanged once published, making them more search-engine-friendly.
4. Archive well.
One of the greatest walls the New York Times hit in their Innovation Report was not having a clear, easy way to sort through their 15 million archived articles published since 1851. None of the content was tagged or organized, and it therefore became impossible for them to optimize any of the archive data. So keep tabs on articles as they are published, so that you can carefully and precisely categorize content with tags that will be easy to search for in the future.
5. Recirculate, regenerate, re-use…re-click.
You want your audience to leave wanting more. Really, you want your audience to be wanting more while reading. Make your content relatable to other relevant content on your website, so your readers stay on your website longer. The Guardian seems to have mastered this – almost all of their links within an article are to other/older Guardian articles.
6. Be conscious of the time you publish.
You want your audience to be online when you’re publishing. The most popular time for an audience (especially a news audience), is an early-morning website perusal with breakfast and coffee. Don’t be publishing your content in the wee hours of the morning or during dinnertime. Catch your audience when they’re looking. For news organizations specifically, Sundays are the most popular days for print readership, with mornings and early afternoons being the most popular time for online readership.
7. Comment bubbles…not so comment-able.
According to the New York Times report, a mere 1% of their readers write comments. 3% of readers (claim to) read them. Enough said.
8. Be flexible, fast and relevant.
Plan for next week’s content before you’ve published this week’s. Get ahead of the game and know your audience. This may not directly improve your SEO, but it will spare your sanity, giving you more mental capacity to devote to your SEO.
By implementing these basic SEO tips, you’ll make your site more discoverable by search engines and the robots they use to index the Web. And if search engines rank your site well, more and more of your target audience will be able to find it. Try these tips today to bring in more viewers for your website.