There are two categories of SEO techniques which are direct and indirect ranking factors. All your seo techniques will fall under two major categories: on-page seo and off-page seo. Understanding the difference can give you more confidence in how your data will be displayed, why it’s being displayed and how to control it.
On-page seo includes ranking factors which you have control over on your website. These can include optimising your page content, titles/alt tags, structured data and website layout. There are many specific areas for keyword placements.
Off-page seo involves how your website is perceived, how much authority your domain has and what kind of social media signals it’s giving off. Search engines are more likely to display your content if it’s from a source they can trust. High quality back-links are a big factor here.
Lets look at some factors from each category in more detail:
Content should be indexable and filled with a good amount of your keywords, 50-100 per page. Top websites on google have content which provide educational or useful purpose to the user. Your content should be of high quality and be aligned with your consumer’s interests.
The layout of your website can have a big impact on your ROI. Your ‘above the fold‘ (everything the user see’s before scrolling) should be full of useful eye catching information and include your call to action. Don’t make it top-heavy full of ads or irrelevant content. A responsive design is a plus as google prefers websites which are mobile friendly.
More for the consumer’s benefit, user experience is key here. Your layout should be fluid and easy to navigate; how will users find your products or information if they can’t get from page a to b? Your title link names will directly become the links search engines will pull.
Titles are your most important tag. By using relevant keywords appropriately you can improve your SEO by explaining clearly what your content is about. Meta descriptions don’t affect rankings directly but you can increase your click-through rate with compelling descriptions. Many experts consider this a heavily weighted factor whilst others disagree completely. Either way its a good frontier for improving your user experience.
Schema can be used to give search engines more information about an event or product. This includes things such as rich snippets, star ratings, thumbnail images, author names and all that extra information you see under the title in SERPs. See here for my more detailed explanation of what structured data is.
Google have already been blacklisting websites which have an unnaturally high amount of links connected to them through the penquin update (april 24th 2002). You should regularly check which websites are linking to you using google webmaster tools. If you believe another website is negatively impacting your rankings, there are tools such as disavow.
Social Media Signals
A healthy social media presence can add authority and weight to your website as well as provide a more direct user experience for the consumer. With over 50% of users now using mobile devices to access websites, it’s a no brainer that an informative, high quality social media page can bolster the presence of your brand threefold.
If you own a domain name, or even if you’re using a free service domain, the amount of time it’s existed can have an impact on whether search engines see your website as important or not. A website with a domain which is 2 years old or more will hold more authority in SERPs than a domain which was created a month ago.