Always be Optimizing for SEO
In the current environment, search engines are an essential audience.
While it’s widely understood that attracting the attention of the major search engines, is key to a website’s overall effectiveness, too often, Search Engine Optimization is viewed as a task that can be checked off of a list once completed.
SEO needs to be viewed as an ongoing activity, with a consistent monitoring of metrics, along with a focus on learning and adjustments to strategy based on the intelligence hidden in the data.
Sharpening the Focus on SEO
Volumes of readily available information from thousands of different websites is available online. Thousands of organizations compete for attention, which means that effective Search Engine Optimization (SEO) strategies need to constantly stay ahead of what the competition is doing and aligned with search engines’ most up-to-date methods of crawling websites for relevant information. While the early days of SEO amounted to efforts to game the search engines, the search algorithms have become quite intelligent and now favor relevant content and well structured sites.
SEO strategies are designed to improve organizations’ rank on the Search Engine Results Pages (SERP), which follow the search for specific keywords or queries. Appearing near the top of a Google or Bing SERP is essential for driving website traffic and conversions. A recent article in Search Engine Journal reported that sites which appear on the first page of a Google search receive, on average, 91.5 percent of the traffic share.
Great SEO is also aligned with great UX and web accessibility. The search engines favor websites that are streamlined for user accessibility and enabled for mobile.
How to Perform Continuous SEO on a Drupal or WordPress Website
1. Monitor and Collect Data
The first step in the SEO process is to monitor and gather key performance indicators (KPIs). KPIs indicate how a website is performing relative to specific metrics, and help to gauge a site’s status relative to competitors and past performance.
Search Engines such as Google and Microsoft Bing provide free and easy-to-use tools to help gather and collect important data and generate reports on the following website KPIs.
Key Performance Indicators
- Number of Users: This metric is defined as the number of visitors who have initiated one session on a website. A session is a group of user interactions within a given timeframe. A single user can generate multiple sessions if they return to the website at a later time and a single session can also involve multiple views on pages and interactions, depending on the behavior of the user.
- Number of Views: The number of views or page views refers to the total number of times a website is viewed. One user session can generate multiple views and this metric indicates which pages are the most popular.
- Organic Sessions: Organic Sessions refer to visits generated by users that are coming from an actual search engine query, vs.visitors that found your site via paid advertisements. This metric helps gauge SEO performance by indicting the amount of traffic is generated by SERP results.
- Bounce Rate: Bounce Rate refers to the percentage of visitors who exit the site after viewing only one page. Of course, sometimes visitors leave because they find exactly what they need on the one page, but the goal is to maximize interaction and the value of the website, and that’s indicated by a low bounce rate. Bounce rate is an important metric that reflects the quality of your website and individual web pages.
- Pages Per Session: The pages per session metric indicates the average number of pages a user visits for each session. This metric is a great indicator of the ease of navigation.
- Average Session Duration: The average session duration is an important indicator of the quality of content. The longer a visitor spends on the website the greater chances of the visit being converted into a lead.
2. Keep the Sitemap Updated
A sitemap is an important file that provides critical information about the pages, videos, images, assets, and other files that are on a website. Sitemaps help search engines to crawl the website. They also provides an indication of which web pages and files are most important. This is a key factor in prioritization on the SERP. Having a sitemap that is continuously updated helps search engines quickly detect and crawl new pages. The sooner that search engines can find your webpage the sooner that page can generate more organic traffic.
Free tools such as Google Search Console or Bing Webmaster help to monitor websites for website indexing issues, coverage, or sitemap crawl issues. There are plenty of modules available for Drupal websites to build and automatically update sitemaps that can be submitted to Google Search Console and Bing Webmaster tool. Similarly, WordPress websites also have the option to install plug-ins that can also create and automatically update sitemaps.
3. Design for Web Accessibility
Continuously designing and updating a website for accessibility can also have a significant impact on SEO. Here are three quick facts concerning the SEO and web accessibility connection:
- Search engines also scan the alt text designed for the screen readers that visually impaired users rely upon.
- Both screen readers and search engines scan title tags.
- Both screen readers and search engines rely on meaningful html header hierarchies.
Attention to SEO principles and guidelines not only results in higher search engine rankings, it also ensures that your site is accessible to a broader audience of users with disabilities.
4. Keep Track of Keywords
Identifying and tracking relevant keywords on a website can help to gauge the performance of the content relative to search page rankings. Tracking keywords will also reveal opportunities that can be targeted with new content, as well as help in building content strategy and that is relevant to the target audience.
5. Pay Attention to Site Speed
Site speed is a factor is search page rankings, and continually monitoring for site speed will help detect problems before they can negatively impact rankings.
Best Practices for Optimizing Site Speed
- Reduce Image Size: Reducing Image sizes can help improve page loading times and performance.
- Minimize Redirects: Minimize the number of unnecessary redirects that are needed to reach a page.
- Enable Compression: GZIP Compression can greatly reduce page loading times.
A Constant Focus on SEO
As search engines are becoming increasingly intelligent and the competition for high page rankings intensifies, a sharpened focus on SEO is an essential exercise for staying in the game, with a competitive edge and meaningful insight into audience behavior.
At Promet Source, SEO is integrated into our multi-faceted approach for developing great websites. Looking for tips and techniques to improve SEO and build in continuous monitoring for optimal impact? Contact us today.