SEO tactics change all the time.
One thing that doesn’t change: There’s more to search engine optimization than dropping keywords into text. Google and other search engines are continually tweaking their algorithms to deliver the search results that users want.
Here’s a refresher to make sure your SEO efforts align with the prevailing rules of the game.
Search engines analyze keywords to determine what your website is about, so it’s important to use them strategically. Use a tool to determine the terms people are most likely to type to find your website. Use keywords in navigation, titles, text and image alt tags to cover all the bases.
Don’t stuff your pages with keywords just to increase the number of times they are used. Google hates this, and your ranking could suffer. A page density of 1–3 percent will have an impact. (There are resources to help with keyword density. )
In addition to keywords, make sure your SEO strategy accounts for six factors:
- Optimize for mobile search. Google penalizes pages that aren’t optimized for mobile. The search engine also ranks mobile-friendly sites higher. Mobile traffic accounts for a big share of web traffic, so be sure to offer a seamless experience on smaller screens.
- Title tags and the page meta description. These two tags are not seen on your page, but they are used by search engines. The title tag should include at least one relevant keyword and be no more than 60 characters. Keep the meta description under 160 characters. Also make sure it says something that will attract visitors.
- Image tags. Image tags are used by search engines to index images, creating another path to your content.
- Link building. Make sure your site has plenty of relevant internal links. Take strides to get other reputable sites to link back to you, as well.
- Quick page loads. If your pages aren’t loading in four seconds or less, your ranking will take a hit. Poor coding, large images and web hosting restrictions can impede speed. Make sure your pages load like lightning; your SEO (and your visitors) depend on it.
A version of this post first appeared on Kurtz Digital Strategy.