7 SEO Tips That Will Help Your Website Rankings, Yet Are Not Often Talked About
Every website owner is concerned about top ranking in Search Engine Result Pages (SERPs). This task is a huge one and requires careful approach to avoid a penalty from the search engines and also to achieve high performance in the Search Engine Result Pages. The most popular among the search engines is Google and much of our points made in this post are based on experience with Google, though not exclusive.
1. Avoid Frequent Changes to Website Meta Tags
We have tested these changes to the website metadata and just the title tags and found that it has some profound effect on rankings. Google has noted the importance of site title as a search ranking signal but making frequent changes to get the most out of it could hurt ranking. We found consistently that too many changes to site title led to a major demotion in at least five cases. We could not draw a definite conclusion given the changes to Google algorithm which took place during the period. One site was demoted from top 10 to position 53 and took 5 years before it started regaining ranking to 27 for a specific keyword. The title changes were made at least 20 times. Changes occurred at least once in 2 weeks.
While changing titles could be helpful, it should not be done so frequently so that you can see how best each title is performing. Initially, making the changes helped Google to re-assess the website and adding more relevant and specific keywords into the title boosted the rankings. After a period of about eight months, rankings started dropping and continued to drop as changes were made to the title.
Way back in 2011, it was possible to make frequent changes to the website title, adding more keywords and gaining positions in SERPs eventually. Today, it is no longer so. You need to be careful with website titles in 2017, making sure you have crafted the best possible title rich in keywords and descriptive of your business. You can read more on how to craft your website title as recommended by Google guidelines in this post covering op-page website optimization.
Learning from Google's John Mieller''s comment in an answer to a question posed by a user, we can understand that changes need time to reflect on Google's search engine result pages.
Mueller had said:
“You’ve made considerable changes with the collection of sites, some of the domains redirect, not all of them do though. This kind of site-merging will always take time, but you make it significantly harder by not doing the merge consistently or cleanly. Redirect them all, set canonicals, crawl all of your old domain URLs to check, etc. A clean migration takes time, a hacky migration with an attempt to get short-term advantages will just take much longer. Aim for the final result.
The more changes you make to some key sections of your website, the more task it is for the search engine to assess your website and give it a rank. We recommend that you carefully set up your website and allow some time for you to make judgements about its performance before you consider changes. Changes are not bad, it is good to make the right changes to get better performance but you also need to be patient and not too frequent changes to such key elements like title and description.
So, do not be in a hurry to get ranking gains and make changes too frequently.
Website titles play a key role in boosting page ranks. While the role of keywords has recently been downplayed, some experiences we have had with websites we manage point to the fact that Google still uses keywords, especially when present in page title, to understand a website content and ranking placement.
2. Focus on Less Competitive Niches and Keywords
If your business is targeted at large groups with competitive keywords, a country for instance, you could face real competition with others offering similar services or products providers within the country. You can create pages within your website which focuses on smaller niches, that could give you good ranking placements for those searches. Since organic searches and clicks have been linked to affecting search engine ranking, you could make marginal gains from those clicks and your website could get an overall benefit from those clicks.
For instance, if you provide professional accounting services nationwide, this will be a huge task optimizing for nationwide searches. You could focus on Port Harcourt, Lagos, Abuja, Owerri and Enugu. If you can gain top ranking for these major cities, it will be rewarding and earn you a lot of clicks which will also help ranking for your website even for the nationwide search.
You will have to take keyword research very seriously. In other words, find low competition keywords that your website has a chance of ranking for. Cumulatively, these will help your website gain popularity and usability. Your popularity will be rewarded by Google with greater ranking especially if your bounce rate is low, suggesting that your content addresses the needs of your users. Finding the best keywords for your website is the foundation of a strong SEO strategy. Without a solid keyword strategy as a strong base, everything you do to optimize for search will be unstable.
3. Use Short, Readable URLs
Most content management systems like Joomla and WordPress have an option for Search Engine Optimization (SEO) within their admin area. You will simply need to enable this option to shorten your URL. In most cases, this option will require that you also enable Apache Mod_rewrite and rename your htaccess.txt file to .htaccess
You may follow some guidelines for your specific Content Management System to fully optimize your website with short and clean URL structure.
4. Be Patient
This point is supported by the explanation given under frequent title changes above. Be patient to observe how your changes and settings impact on your site ranking in Search Engines. Do not be in a hurry to see the impact of your changes. Just continue to do the normal website updates and observe how your site performs overtime.
5. Take Website Auditing Seriously
Before you make SEO changes to your site, be guided by at least a basic SEO auditing. These can be done with Semrush, iwebchk.com, seositecheckup.com pingdom.com and woorank.com These are some of the basic tools that will guide you to make changes but they in no way judged to be the best or exhaustive.
6. Never Fail to Maintain Regular Updates
Updates are like food to the search engines. If you provide this food regularly, the search engines will always visit your site to see if food is available. So, apart from having a sitemap which actually tells the search engines how often you update, the search engines will always visit once your website dishes out quality food for them.
The other consideration should be how often to update. It is a good idea to fix a specific period or day Most webmasters update thrice a week and that is usually Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. We prefer those less busy days and go for Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays.
7. Do Not Ignore a Sitemap
It is recommended by Google that you have a functional sitemap for your site. Make sure your sitemap is submitted to Google and always check for any reported errors so you can take appropriate action. Most Content Management Systems have plugins that can help you generate a sitemap - both xml and html sitemaps. You can also use sitemap.org to generate your sitemap. upload to your website and submit to Google and other search engines.Every website owner is concerned about top ranking in Search Engine Result Pages (SERPs). This task is a huge one and requires careful approach to avoid a penalty from the search engines and also to achieve high performance in the Search Engine Result Pages. The most popular among the search engines is Google and much of our points made in this post are based on experience with Google, though not exclusive.
Fortunately, creating sitemaps had been made much simpler with the most commonly used website building tools. We will again focus on sitemap generators for WordPress and Joomla, the top two most popular website building tools.
Creating a Sitemap in WordPress
The easy way to generate a sitemap in WordPress is to use WordPress sitemap plugins. Also read How A Plugin Installation Can Crash Your Wordpress Website
Yoast SEO plugin is one very widely used plugin for sitemap generation. The plugin has over one million active installs and an overall 4.5 star satisfaction rating, this plugin continues to be one of the most popular SEO plugins for WordPress and was listed among the 14 best WordPress plugins for 2015.
The All in OneSEO plugin is another very popular option for general SEO purposes, This plugin also has over one million installs with a solid overall 4.4 star satisfaction rating.
The Premium SEO Pack is a relatively new entrant to the SEO plugin market but is already maintaining a solid average satisfaction rating of 4.25 stars. The Premium SEO Pack offers a wide range of features to help optimize your overall SEO, of which XML Sitemaps are one.
With over 100,000 active installs, Better WordPress Google XML Sitemaps is a popular alternative to the Google Sitemap plugin but includes more advanced functionality. Its basic settings enable you to select which sitemaps you want to generate, including date archives, author archives and external pages.
The plugin also has built-in functionality for creating sitemaps to submit to Google News. You can choose to include or exclude posts in certain categories in this sitemap, assign specific categories to predefined genres from Google News guidelines, and map categories to Google News’ suggested keywords.
This is a free sitemap. XML Sitemaps is a lightweight but powerful option for automatically generating sitemaps and notifying search engines when they’re updated.
It is quite easy to configure. One feature of this plugin that is interesting is its ability to provide cached sitemaps (in the wp-content/sitemaps folder) and uses a rewrite rule to direct search engines.
Creating a Sitemap in Joomla
This is an award winning sitemap generator extension and a complete SEO solution for Joomla!. This sitemap prides itself of being able to offer an innovative and revolutionary way to manage all types of sitemap contents without the need for additional plugins! It guarantees up to 400% more site visibility, boosts your indexing and is well integrated with Google Webmasters Tools/Search Console to submit, resubmit, delete sitemaps, monitor indexing status, monitor and fix crawl errors directly inside your Joomla! backend using a user friendly interface!
OSMap is easy to install and configure. Here at Todhost, it is our favorite sitemap extension for Joomla. easiest way to add a sitemap to your Joomla site. All you need to do is install OSMap and it will do the rest. OSMap automatically creates a Google-friendly sitemap for all your content.
Here are some of the key features of OSMap:
You can generate an XML sitemap for search engines
You can generate an Image sitemap for search engines, especially Google
You can generate an HTML sitemap for your visitors
You can create a Google News sitemap
OSMap supports all old Xmap plugins and has an easy import feature for Xmap users
OSMap allows multilingual sitemaps
OSMap provides a powerful cache for large sitemaps
The EKS sitemap is another highly rated sitemap getting a rating of 100 percent from 13 reviews. This sitemap is essentially a semantic sitemap controlled by the meta keywords or tags. The articles are categorized and grouped based on matching keywords. The plugin can be limited to specific categories. Each article may show a teaser-text which is composed using the existing meta description. The plugin complies with the actual article restrictions, like access level, state or language settings. You may create various lists. For each sitemap you may display an alpha index for quick navigation. EKS displays only items with at least one existing keyword. Articles using multiple keywords, separated by comma, are as well listed several times at the matching keywords.
Like this it is a breeze to create sitemaps that not only lists all the articles but as well groups them semantically.
Creates semantic sitemaps of all articles
Articles are grouped by the meta keywords or tags and are displayed in a list
Plugin is triggered by a simple syntax (see tab "Installation")
Plugin is completely controlled by the syntax
The sitemap can be restricted to any category
A teaser text can be displayed for each entry. The text is generated from the meta description
It is possible to display an alphabet bar (Alpha Index). The Alpha Index allows a quick selection of the desired articles.
It is possible to create as many sitemaps as you need, also in one single article.
Include or exclude keywords
Languages: English and German.