Pankaj Shah

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The 12 most important SEO tips you need to know



Search engine optimisation is constantly changing and we need to understand the fundamental principles to ensure we can generate potential buyer traffic to our websites.

the 12 Most Important SEO Tips You Need to Know

One of our primary goals should be to help users find answers to questions. For example, this article helps to understand some of the key SEO tips you need to know for improving your business website organic rankings.

There are over 200 ranking factors to consider when creating content for your website, but the most important factor has to be the quality of your content. There is no point in ranking high in the search engines if the user experience is poor.

Organic search results tend to deliver a higher click-through ratio which is why many B2B and B2C marketers want to rank higher in search engines. It's like free internet marketing to a certain extent, but nothing comes for free in life, so this is why we need to create the best possible website content to help drive organic traffic to our websites.

With over 200 ranking factors, how can we possibly know what they all are? Well, sometimes we need to research and find people of knowledge to help us. Today you are in luck as I have done this for you, simply check out this awesome post showcasing the 200 Google Ranking Factors created by Brian Dean.

The goal of this article is to give you those 12 most important SEO tips to make sure your content has the potential to rank high in search engines. Focus on these primary SEO tips and you should see an improvement in the volume of traffic to your business website.

1. Improve your website speed

Page speed is one of the most important SEO ranking factors. I am sure you have been to a website that loads super slow and probably exit the website as it's simply taking too long to load.

Page speed is important to a user's experience.

Pages with a long loading time tend to have high bounce rates. A  bounce rate is the percentage of potential customers that leave your website without taking an action, such as clicking on a link, visiting another page, filling out a website form, or completing a purchase.

When your website is slow, your customers may be very frustrated. There are several disadvantages of a slow website: 

  • Your customers will have no good experience with your business. Because most companies will operate a website to complement their online marketing strategy, you must operate a fast and optimised website.
  • You may have valuable and relevant content on your website, but if your pages are too slow, Google and other search engines may not find the content on your website. The primary purpose of SEO is to achieve higher search engine rankings so you can reach your desired target audience
  • The quality of your content will go unnoticed. Slow websites will not be able to display the information very quickly.
  • Customers will not find your products and services, which affects your bottom line. Your profitability suffers when your website isn't optimised, which hinders the growth and success of your business.
  • If your web pages load too slowly, you'll not only receive customer complaints; you may also lose potential and current clients. Your reputation will be significantly affected when you do not invest in a professional website.
  • To fix the problem, you may need to hire professional help.

How do we improve page speed?

There are many ways to improve a website page loading speed. If you want to make a big impact, here are some of our favourite ways to do this:

Avoid videos in the header section of your website

Yes, I know those videos in the header of a website looks awesome, but video content is heavy in terms of file size which slows down your website. We need to think of a mobile phone user waking down the street visiting your website on a 3G connection which is slow, if that user visits your website with the video content in the header then it takes ages for your page to load which will result in a higher bounce rate.

Avoid image sides in the header section of your website

Again, image sliders look great but having five full-width images loading in the header of your website will add a lot of loading time to your website page. On my website, I used a simple vector SVG image which is super lightweight and loads extremely fast:

Compress images on all your website pages

Optimise your images. This is the single most effective SEO technique that helps a lot in page loading speed. It also has a huge impact on page ranking.  When you take a photo on your phone or download a stock image, the image file sizes tend to be very large. It is worth spending the time to re-size all images and use compression tools to reduce the file size. This will result in a faster loading website page. Often I use vector-based SVG files which are very small file sizes.

If you are using WordPress then there are many image compress plugins to help compress images on your website automatically. One of my favourite WordPress image compression plugins is Smush.

I also often host WordPress websites on Site Ground. I use Site Ground as the hosting solutions are super stable, you get daily backups, free CDN which helps with the page load speed and lots more.

View Site Ground hosting here: 

Note: Site Ground also offers a free WordPress optimisation plugin that can be used for automatic image compression and conversion to WebP format for faster loading images. Check out the SG Optimizer plugin for more information.

Disable and delete unused WordPress plugins

Often I see clients install every free WordPress plugin possible LoL. Well, in most cases these plugins never really get used and simply add extra code weight to a WordPress website which results in a slower loading website. I strongly suggest you try to disable and delete all plugins which are not being used. This should improve your website loading speed and also security!

Compress CSS, JavaScirpt and HTML files

When we write code for our websites we want it to look visually appealing with a clear structure which results in easier maintenance. But code that looks great does not mean it is optimised for loading faster.

For WordPress websites, you can use plugins like WP Rocket. WP Rocket will allow you to automatically compress your CSS, javascript and HTML files with a few simple mouse clicks. WP Rocket also has a caching system that helps to speed up the loading of website pages.

Site Ground also offers a similar feature on their SG Optimizer plugin and hosting solutions: 

By following some of the tips above I was also to improve my website home page loading speed as shown in the images below.

DCP Google Page Speed Test Results

DCP home page google page speed test

Here are some useful free tools you can use to test your website loading speed:

Every additional 0.5 seconds it takes to load your website page will drastically increase the number of visitors that will leave your site.

So, even a small improvement of 0.5 seconds will help to improve user engagement on your website.

2. Linking to other relevant websites

As you can see in the content above, I have external links to other websites which help you to understand more about specific aspects of search engine optimisation.

Often I hear my clients say that linking to other websites will result in visitors moving away from my website which is not good. I would say that linking to other website pages which help a visitor on your website must be a good thing right?

Think of it this way, your website article or page can not contain all the information about a specific service or subject, so why not link to other resources to help improve a visitors experience.

Linking to other relevant websites

Often in my blog posts, you will see links to other websites and in some cases are my direct competitors. For me, it does not matter, as I know that my web design services are exceptional and that is what matters the most. My business is 16 years old so I must be doing something right :)

Linking out to other websites with useful information also gives you an opportunity to contact the website owner and ask for a link back. Link building is an important factor for SEO, but not just any links. You want links from website pages that are relevant to the industry you work in, products you sell or the services you provide.

3. Find and fix errors on your website

There are many tools you can use to find errors on your website. Once you identify errors you can start an action plan to fix them.

One of the most common errors I see is a "404 error". This type of error often occurs when a web page and been disabled or deleted but no 301 re-direct was implemented. Fixing broken links should be a top priority for better SEO.

The easiest and FREE tool to check for website errors is Ahrefs Webmaster Tools.

I am constantly making improvements to my website and fixing legacy errors.

Below you can see my dashboard for my Ahrefs account. My goal is to get my site to 100%

Screen Capture Ahrefs Dashboard

Screen Capture Ahrefs Dashboard

Ahrefs not only scans your website for errors but also and most importantly gives you suggestions on how to fix them.

Fixing errors can greatly improve your website SEO as you will have a better user experience and potentially faster loading pages.

Also it also worth putting in the effort to fix spelling and grammar errors. Research shows that correct spelling can help improve your conversion rates and business credibility.

I understand that content writing is a time-consuming task, especially if you are writing 1500 to 5000 word articles. Proofreading large pieces of content and fixing errors is not the most fun task so to help you I have made a tutorial.

Simply watch the video below and install the free Grammarly plugin to help you fix those spelling and grammar errors with a few simple mouse clicks.

4. Write content for humans

Often I see blog posts that are still created for search engines first and not humans which is a strange SEO strategy. In the past, it was possible to create really bad content that still ranked high in the search engines for targeted keyword phrases, but Google got wise to this approach and now well written and useful content will always rank higher in SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages).

Long-tail keywords are some of the easiest to rank in search engines. Long-tail keywords are used to rank a page for a very specific search term. If done correctly you can get the position zero in Google Search Results.

Take a look at the article on Ahrefs website for more information about long-tail keywords.

You can check the density of your keywords on website pages by using SEO Quake free chrome plugin.

I recently created a blog post with a long tail keyword phrase: 30 essential tips for improving your web design in 2021

As you can see the title for the blog post is long (long-tail).

The blog post contains over 8000 words. Not just any words, meaningful content for human consumption.

You can view the blog post here:

Below you can see what the blog listing looks like on Google Search.

Google Rich Result for Long-Tail Keyword Blog Post

Example rich snippet for desktop view

By creating useful content I achieve a position zero in Google Rankings as shown in the above image. This is also known as a Google rich result. I also incorporated Schema Markup to improve SEO page rankings.

The key goal is not to prioritise search engines over your website visitors. Write content that is informative and you should see better engagement and conversion rates.

It should also be noted that we need to incorporate relevant keyword phrases into your blog posts and general website pages to achieve a better search engine ranking, but also understand that human readers are prioritised first when creating website content.

It is also worth optimising your URL for SEO by incorporating keyword into the URL. I have a free tool for creating optimised SEO URL slugs.

Tip: When I start a new blog post, I first research my targeted keyword phrases to make sure there is enough interest in the topic. Next, I create the titles for each piece of content. This allows me to break the article down into sections and helps to set goals for content completion.

5. Generate links from trustworthy sites

As mentioned above, backlinks to your website is an important SEO ranking factor. The quality of the backlink is also very important. A single backlink from an authoritative website is worth more than 100 backlinks from low-quality websites.

In theory, backlinks should happen without you having to do anything. If you have the best content possible then it makes sense that other website will link to your content just I have in the above content in this blog post.

The article I created for "30 essential tips for improving your web design in 2021" contained over 8000 words. I did not write this high-quality content article in a few hours, I invested 8 hours of my time to create the best article possible.

The point is that great content takes time to create, so be prepared to make your written content the best possible and this should result in external websites linking to your content.

It is worth noting that there is no harm in contacting other website owners and asking them to link to one of your relevant blog posts.

Often website owners are very busy and you may not get the link you wanted, but never give up, keep trying and remember to link out from your content as well as this will be noticed by other websites and in time they will see you as a useful resource.

Trustworthy links can also be created from our own website. Internal links are also important when creating content as you can direct a visitor to another piece of content on your website which answers a question in more detail.

6. Install Google Analytics And Google Search Console

Google Analytics and Google Search Console are essential tools for keeping track of your SEO progress.

Google Analytics is great for tracking how long visitors are spending on your website, which pages they are viewing, the source of the traffic to your website and much more.

Google Search Console help to keep track of your keyword rankings and report any technical issues found on your website.

You should aim to install both Google Analytics and Google Search Console from day 1 of launching your website, the sooner the better as you will be able to analyse more data from these applications and understand better what is working in terms of SEO and conversions. If you’re not familiar with any of these, a reliable professional SEO company can help you.

Google Search Console now also reports structured data implementation on your website. You can read more about how Schema Markup and Structured Data can help to improve your website SEO in my in-depth article.

7. Create unique and relevant metadata for all pages

Each page on your website should be unique. It is also important the metadata we add to pages is also relevant and unique.

The metadata of a page consists of the page title and meta description. Remember that this is the first piece of content a search engine user will see when viewing search results.

Google and other search engines prefer if page meta descriptions are informative and unique. For example, I have seen many times that a website home page will contain a page title like:

Home Page - Company Name

Now it would be much better if the text "Home Page" was replaced with the type of service or product the website offers.

Example: East London Cleaners - Clean Co

The same logic applies to the meta description used on pages.

If you have a list of service pages on your website when it would make sense that search service has a unique page title and meta description.

Here are some example page titles for services from my house website:

  • Website Design | Web Designers London | WordPress Website Designers | DCP
  • Ecommerce Web Design London | WooCommerce Web Design | DCP
  • Lead Generation | Website Design | Landing Page Design | DCP

You should aim to put the most important keyword phrases at the beginning of your page titles and your company name at the end.

Here is an example of a page meta description from a service page on my website:

DCP Lead Generation Website Design | Get a free web design quote! - DCP Web Designers, amazing lead generation landing page design solutions - 0203 539 4415 | 07838 678 770 - Learn from our 15 years of lead generation knowledge and experience.

In the above meta description, my goal is to incorporate the relevant keywords, call to action and experience in web development.

If your website is built using WordPress then you can install the Yoast SEO plugin which gives you the ability to add unique meta titles and descriptions for all pages and blog posts.

Tip: You can go to any competitor website page in Google Chrome and Press CTRL + U keys to view the source code.

You can then check the page code for the title and meta description.

This should be located close to the top of the page between the header tags. 

8. Make URLs that are human-readable

There are many different formats for web page URLs, but our goal should be to create URLs that can easily be read by a potential website visitor.

Here is an example of a blog post URL from my website:

The URL above is long but at the same time is ready to read.

I have created a free tool to help you optimise your URLs for SEO:

Online Slug Generator Demo

Online Slug Tool Generator Demo

If you are using WordPress then you can simply select the "Post name" permalinks option when starting a new WordPress project.

This option is located in the WordPress admin control panel.

  • Login into WordPress admin.
  • To go "Settings" / "Permalinks".
  • Select "Post name".

Creating user-friendly URLs is good for website visitors and can also help the search engines understand more about a website page.

Top tips for SEO optimising your website page URLs: If you can read and understand a URL, then so can your potential visitors.

Here is my quick tips summary for SEO URL Optimisation:

Add targeted keywords in URLs

Search engines use a URL to understand the content of a page, by incorporating keywords into the URL you improving your opportunity to rank higher in search engines and improving the readability of URLs when sharing via social media.

Use 301 redirects

Let the search engines know that a page has a changed URL by creating a 301 redirect. This is important because if you are sharing your content on social media with a link then you want to maintain the link to the page or the user will see a 404 error.

Upload a favicon 

A favicon is a small icon you see in the search results next to your search listings, the icon is also displayed in the browser tab and bookmarks. Adding a favicon to your website can help improve exposure to your business brand.

Avoid capital letters in URLs

It is better to separate words in your URLs with hyphens than using capital letters. URLs are case sensitive so having capital letters in the URL make them more difficult to type correctly for a user.

9. Create unique content to improve website SEO

Unique content is one of the most important SEO factors. Google likes fresh and new content, so you should plan a weekly schedule for creating new blog posts and posting to your social media.

I understand that we live busy lives and sometimes we don't get the time to create long-form blog posts like this article. I good tip is to re-use content from your YouTube channel.

You can simply embed a video into a blog post a write 400 to 750 words about the video content or create screen captures and document the content of the video.

Another great tip is when you upload a video to YouTube you can add chapters for the video in the YouTube description. I often take the video and the chapters and use the content a the basis of a blog post on my website.

Below I have listed some examples:

In the above examples, I have taken the YouTube video and created screen captures. I then create a step by step guide. I find this is a great way to create fresh new content with minimum effort.

It is also worth adding some internal links to your blog posts that point to other related blog posts. This can help users quickly navigate to the related content and also give your blog posts a boost in the search engine ranks.

In most cases when we create content for blog posts it should be impartial, the goal is to share knowledge and then incorporate marketing call to actions throughout our content. We should aim to showcase your knowledge. This helps to solidify our business expertise and create more potential customer leads.

Fresh new content tends to rank quicker in Google search results and generate more organic traffic. Google's primary goal is to serve users the best content for a given search query.

As noted above in point 1, we should also compress images we add to our blog posts to improve load times.

It is worth noting that we should aim to create content based on a theme, for example, I have recently created content for WoocCommerce. Creating content around a theme will help you to improve your internal linking. We can simply link different blog posts together to show we are an expert in a chosen subject area.

When creating unique content it is important that we incorporate target keywords. As mentioned above we should first write content for human consumption and then optimise with targeted keywords for search engines. Make sure you check search volumes for keyword phrases using SEO tools like Keyword Surfer or Uber Suggest.

Also, consider creating different types of content.

Here are a few examples of the type of content I publish on my blog: 

  • Video content
  • Infographics
  • Long form articles
  • Short form content

Remember to re-purpose your blog post content for social media posting, this can save huge amounts of time, resources and improve social engagement.

10. Optimise alt tag on images

Images on your website pages and blog posts can be optimised for search engines. Adding alt tags and title tags can help improve the rankings of images in Google Image search results.

It is important that the alt tag describes what the image represents. Do not keyword stuff alt tags as the alt tag is not only used by search engines. The alt tags are also used by screen readers for people with visual impairments. 

Alt tags can also be added to images on your eCommerce shop products. This helps the search engine to understand more about the products you are selling.

You can use tools like SEO Quake to check if any image alt tags are missing from your website pages.

11. Add schema markup to your pages

Schema markup has been around for a while, but often neglected as a part of an SEO strategy. Schema markup can be used to give search engines more accurate information about the content on a website page.

There are many types of schema markups, the type used depends on the content of a page. For example, there is a specific schema markup for products and a different schema markup for blog posts.

There are 3 types of code formats that can be used to implement structured data to your website:

Adding schema markup gives your website pages the opportunity to be listed as rich results. Rich results can appear on Google search as carousels, images, video content, company information, FAQs and other content types.

Rich results appear at the top of a Google search result page and often generate more clicks as they appear in a more detailed format.

Why not take a look at my Beginners Guide to Structured Data to see how schema markup can improve your website SEO.

12. Keep your content up to date

It is worth putting in the effort to keep your website content up to date. I write a lot of blog posts on my website, but I also understand that strategies may change over time. It is worth reviewing your blog and page content every month to make sure it is still relevant.

Set up an action plan to re-edit content in your blog posts that is no longer relevant. For example, if I create a blog post about SEO a few years ago, I can quickly skim over the content to check if the article still contains accurate information.

If I find that some of the content is no longer relevant then I can simply update the sections as required. After all, our goal should be to serve the most useful information when we are creating content for marketing.

If you find the content is obsolete then you can simply 301 re-direct the URL to a more relevant page rather than just disabling or deleting the content. By setting up a 301 re-direct you can divert visitors to more informative content and still retain the quality backlinks to worked hard to generate.

I hope you've found these SEO tips helpful. If you follow the tips above, you'll be on your way to higher rankings and more traffic.

Bonus Tip. Utilise social media platforms 

Social media platforms are excellent tools to help promote your content. We can easily re-purpose your content and share it on different social media platforms. For example, I create this blog post about 30 essential tips for improving your web design in 2021

In the above blog post, you will see a number list that contains a title for each section in the article. I simply created a unique graphic image for each of the titles and shared them on Instagram, Facebook, YouTube Community and many other social media platforms.

Below you can see a few samples of the graphics I created from the titles in the blog post.

1. Make an action plan

2. Clear branding

3. Selecting domain names

4. Get some decent website hosting

5. Use clear terminology and avoid too many acronyms

6. Build subpages for different services or products

We can also reverse this logic by creating content on social media and then converting it into a blog post. For example, here is a video tutorial I created for my YouTube channel: Word Cloud Generator - Make Word Clouds For FREE!

I screen captured various parts of the tutorial and then created a blog post and embed the youtube video here:

The blog post above has over 330 clicks so far from Google Search results and also many more visits from other social media platforms.

We should aim to re-purpose content as often as possible which helps us to save time.

I would recommend adding social sharing tools to your website. View this snippet for more information about adding social bookmarking tools to your website.

I would also recommend adding commenting tools to your blog post pages, this can help improve social sharing and user engagement. Click here to read more about implementing commenting tools on your website.

Article created by: Pankaj Shah | DCP SEO London Company

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