The world of SEO is forever changing.
Google, Bing, Yandex— every year, they all add new features and functionalities to their indexing algorithms and their guidelines.
And alas, much of what used to work in the past is now surefire way to get your website in pretty poor conditions in the search index.
However, most of what worked on-page is there to stay— it only changed a bit, in the better.
In this post is a list of these old (but upgraded for 2015) on-site SEO techniques and my advice on how to implement them.
Your Page Title
Google reduced word count for titles to 70 characters.
Bing supports up to 58-60 characters.
That means you have to play it smart with your headlines— at least for search engines (your users may appreciate longer titles).
Keywords Matter… Always
Keyword research is an evergreen SEO practice.
Keep proximity in mind, don’t use keywords verbatim— they won’t make sense for the reader and search engines don’t like them either.
Neil Patel from QuickSprout wrote an interesting post on 5 keyword research methods to uncover hidden gems for your content. I recommend you read it and put it to use right away.
Long Content is Better than Short Content
It’s proven that the longer the content, the more time users will spend on your website, which will not just lower your bounce rate, but also help your readers create a relationship with you and your website.
There is not much room to convey who you are and give others a reason to interact with you when you only post short write-ups, right?
And longer content is link bait, too! Nothing attracts good backlinks like detailed, helpful guides and tutorials.
Don’t Ignore Your Images Alt Text
Your images alt tags is not just helpful for SEO, but especially for UX, as visually impaired users rely on alt text to know what the image contains (through their text-to-speech readers).
So don’t stop to keywords in the alt tags, describe your images for users!
Mind your site speed and design
Use PingDom’s Site Speed Test to find out about your site loading speed.
Ideally, your website should load within 3 seconds or it means there are scripts and images slowing down the loading process.
The tool will show you a grid of your site elements and their loading speeds, so you wil know exactly where to put your hands to optimize your site speed.
Also, keep your website design clean and uncluttered. Of all search engines, Google is the most sensitive to the quality of your design for its manual reviews.
In addition to that, users love websites where they know how to move around and not websites where they wind up feeling more confused than when they clicked on your link.
The number of mobile users has grown considerably in 2015, so optimizing your website for mobile is almost a must (I say ‘almost’ because, as always, there are exceptions and your user experience should always come before SEO).
HREF Lang Helps
If you run a multi-language website, the HREF Lang tag will come to your rescue and help with indexing the correct language in each country-specific version of Google.
I wrote about this tag in detail recently here at Bosmol, so refer to that post for tag implementation details.
Link Out to Trusted Webmasters
Linking out is what websites are made for— you link to others, others link back to you. It’s the one action that gets fruitful relationships started.
And your traffic flowing, as well as giving signals that you are an active element of the Web community.
From a SEO point of view, linking out to trusted webmasters is a sign that you make optimal editorial decisions and search engines will trust both you and your neighborhood.
Keep Your Homepage OBL Low
While linking out is good, to clutter your homepage with links to other website is a bad idea.
It’s bad for the users, who should be able to focus only on navigating your website and not to undergo continuous visual stimulus that will distract them from their goal.
It’s bad for your SEO because it makes search engines suspicious that you might be selling links or run a spammy, low quality website.
Controversial: HTTPS or Not?
The truth is: it’s your choice, even though Google pushes for it. Use it of you have at least a shopping cart on your site, don’t use it if you run a simple blog or forum-based website.
The ranking boost from Google for HTTPS websites is not relevant enough to justify the time and money switching to HTTPS requires, but you can still switch if you believe it will benefit you and your users in the long run.
There is an interesting post at SEO-Theory.com about this controversy.