Search Engine Optimization, known commonly as SEO, is vital to your website, and with criteria constantly changing, can be a grey area to all other than the specialists. Google, as the main search engine, regularly updates its algorithms, and over the past few years it has been difficult to keep up with them all.
Many online real estate owners are too busy to research new criteria and implement changes to their sites, yet budgetary constraints often dictate the limits you can go to in terms of engaging an SEO specialist.
However, there are a few SEO basics that remain vital to the health of your site visibility. These elements can be implemented relatively easily on most of today’s host platforms, and have remained unchanged in terms of importance for more than a decade.
Meta Data is the term given to the titles, descriptions and URLs that appear in Google (and other search engines) search results for your posts and site pages.
Creating optimized titles and descriptions is not difficult. Think before you write these elements, and try to see them as if you were the enquirer. What would make you click to see more? Ensure that the Meta Data is relevant to the page or post so that you deliver accurate information to the enquirer.
Include your page or post focus keyword in both the title and description in a natural way, and pay close attention to the character count. The number of characters that Google will typically display varies, but as a guide, try to keep the title character limit under 55 and description characters under 155. Longer Meta Data is often truncated and this results in an untidy search result, which can reduce the likelihood of a click through to the site.
Ideally, the URL extension will also include a primary or secondary keyword.
Image optimization is also one of the oldest SEO basics to survive Google algorithm updates. There are three types of optimization you can apply to your images:
- Filename – when uploading an image, give it a filename that is relevant to the image. Keep it simple, using keyword-rich text to describe the image. Search algorithms do not understand the image filenames given to images by the camera.
- Title and alt tag – alt tags, or alt attributes, add additional SEO weight to the images on your pages. The association of a focus keyword with an image can help the page to rank well and is particularly effective when used within an ecommerce environment, when clients are searching for an individual product. The title and alt tags can be the same for a single image, but duplicated alt tags and titles for several images is not good SEO basics practice.
- Image size – images can occupy a considerable amount of space on your site and this can significantly slow down a user experience. There are plugins and widgets that can help to test and compress images to a more reasonable size and quality for rendering.
Create relevant content
It is no longer acceptable practice to produce poor quality content on your site or in your posts. Google is smart, and can recognize the difference between good and bad content, so one of today’s biggest SEO basics is to ensure that your content delivers what it promises in the search results.
Not only will your site be rewarded for good, relevant content, if it has poorly-constructed, useless content it can now receive difficult-to-remove penalties from the search engines.
With social media playing a major role in effective online marketing, the production of shareable content can be a major contributor to the health of a site.
There are specialist SEO copywriters who can be employed to produce high-quality content that meets the criteria for reasonable rates, but if you are confident in your writing ability, ensure that your copy is worthy of the reader’s time and is free from grammatical and spelling errors.
By employing these SEO basics, your site can stand a better chance of being discovered in today’s crowded online marketplace. In an information-driven world, it is critical to ensure you can be heard above the din created by hundreds of thousands of your competitors, and these elements can be added without any expert or specialist knowledge.