Search engines see websites very differently than humans do. For them, a website is practically a wall of code.
Search engines send bots to the network every day, which “dive” in the ocean of Internet searching for new content and checking existing ones. If our content is understandable for them, they are able to categorize it, it is original and not duplicated, then our website will be indexed, and thus will appear in searches after entering a keyword.
What should our website contain to befriend the bots, which in return will rank us high in the rankings?
Proper coding will ensure that your pages will be accessible on a variety of browsers, in multiple screen sizes, on all mobile devices, and with disability accommodations.
The rules for proper coding have been established by the W3C, the World Wide Web Consortium. Their standards don’t have the force of law, but they are worth looking into because the W3C offers free HTML and CSS validators so we can check if our site will be accessible to all users
Every sub-page on your site should have a title, as these are often the ones that are displayed in search results. Of course, remember to tag them. A good title should accurately describe the topic of your site and contain keywords if possible.
The HTML code contains specific heading tags. You can, of course, achieve the same visual effect by bolding or enlarging the font, but then the search engine will not be informed that a given phrase is more important.
This is actually the most important sub-item. Valuable, carefully written content will attract users, which will translate into referrals. Websites with a lot of quality content are useful for visitors, therefore search engines favor them. No matter what the topic of your site is, always try to write comprehensively and in a clear, transparent manner.
As search engine bots traverse your pages from link to link, dead links can delay the process and prevent all pages from being indexed. If your site contains such dead links as “404” pages, don’t let them be indexed by search engines, and make sure they redirect the user to the correct page or link to the homepage.
You can check if your website contains dead links e.g. with Google Search Console tool.
Meta tags and description tag
Meta tags and description tag are displayed on the search results page as a short description of what the user will find on the website. Some search engines ignore this type of tag, but since some still use it, every site should have it. It is a great advertisement and the first content a user encounters on the way to our site.
Every image can have an alt tag, which is the text that appears when you hover your mouse over it.
Alt tags are very useful for several reasons. Users with a slow connection or offline can rely on them, plus we can place keywords in them, which are clues for search engines.
URLs are also very important for optimizing our site and cooperating with search engine bots. If a URL has a lot of “?”, “=” or “&” characters, it is a dynamic address, i.e. one that is created when the user browses the website.
Such addresses are not only difficult to remember, but also, due to their lack of keywords and length, are not beneficial for SEO.
Therefore, it is best if you convert dynamic URLs into static ones that are shorter, easier to read and without excessive numbers and symbols. Even a single dynamic URL on your site can lower your site’s ranking.
Make sure your URL is as simple as possible so the user can easily remember it.
Neither people nor search engines favor websites that are slow to load. Fast-loading sites are SEO-friendly (meaning they have an advantage in ranking algorithms over slower sites) and generate more user interaction.
It’s worth checking this parameter and compressing the size of your images, for example, if necessary.
main photo: NordWood Themes/unsplash.com