Search engine optimization, more commonly referred to as SEO, has a ton of moving parts. Last week we covered three main components of a solid SEO strategy. This week we’ll dive into three more components you should be optimizing your websites for to rank well in Google.
Just in case you didn’t read part one, we covered:
- page titles
- page URLs
- meta descriptions
This week we’ll cover:
- proper use of headings
Why Am I Not Showing Up in Google?
Look no further than right above this sentence for an example of a heading. An example of an H3 heading is directly above this sentence, and above the H3 you’ll find an H2. The title of this post is an H1. So what does all this mean? More than you think...let's take a look.
Google loves clean code. One component of clean code is using headings instead of just changing the font size and bolding something. Also, it keeps things consistent across your site. If you’re using Wordpress you’ve probably heard of Yoast SEO. It’s an SEO plugin that tells you whether or not your content is optimized using SEO best practices.
Yoast does a great job of describing what headings are all about and why they’re important. For example, your H1 should be your page title. So, take this post as an example. The only H1 you see here is the title of the post. Then your H2 should be subheadings of you H2, so in this post an H2 would be “Let’s Get Started.” Then if you choose to branch out even further you have an H3, which is a subhead of the H2, or in this case the term “Headings” in the beginning of this section of the post. You can go all the way up to H6.
As for why they’re important? Headings allow Google, or any search engine for that matter, to go through and scan your post and to find out what it’s about. The more efficiently and strategically you use your headings, the better off you’ll be.
Another great thing about headings, unrelated to SEO, is they help make an intimidating block of text easier to read. The reader will know what the sentences below are about without having to read through the entire paragraph first. It saves time and looks cleaner.
Adding images to your post can be quick and easy. It’s fun to go through and find photos you feel resonate within your post. However, if you’re not optimizing your images you’re just wasting time. There a few ways to use your images to boost your SEO.
The first thing you should do is change the file name. If you’re showing a picture of a baseball bat and your image file is named 4569032828.jpg that’s not going to help you. Take the extra few seconds and name it something relevant.
Another easy thing to look past is the alt text box. Google can’t read images, but it can read text. Search Engine Journal says your alt text box can be as may as 16 words long. You should use this space to explain what the image is about.
Building links is essential to a solid SEO strategy. By earning inbound links, or links from someone else’s content to your page, you’re showing Google you are a trusted resource. The more quality your links are, the more authority you’ll have. Higher authority means you’ll rank higher for your primary keywords.
There are many ways to build links, both good and bad. In fact, a few weeks ago I wrote a whole post on Black Hat SEO and White Hat SEO. One tactic to earn links through Black Hat SEO is by purchasing them. We don’t recommend doing this. Links should be built naturally, by practicing White Hat SEO.
The easiest way to build quality inbound links is by writing valuable content and promoting it as best you can through email or social. The more people that find your content relevant, the better chance you have of them linking to you when writing their own content.
As mentioned earlier links are not created equal. If a site with low authority links to you it won’t do much, if anything for your site. However, if a high authority site such as NPR or any .edu links to you that will be super helpful when Google goes to determine your authority.
Just Keep Swimming
SEO is tough. It’s constantly changing and it can be overwhelming to keep up with the best practices. There are many resources out there such as Moz, Search Engine Journal and HubSpot just to name a few. It’s important to stay current with best practices, so you’re not wasting your time on something that doesn’t matter anymore.
It may be tough, but remember, you can have the best looking website in the world but what good is it if people can’t find it?