Are you ready for the second part of our basic SEO fundamentals tutorial? If you missed the first part, be sure to check that out!
Step 5: Use clean URLs
The most important thing here is that you use “speaking” URLs. So-called speaking URLs consist of readable words or keywords instead of long ID numbers or cryptic characters. The advantage from an SEO point of view are higher click rates within the Google results, which describe quite exactly what awaits the searcher on the website. To successfully run search engine optimization, you should stick to the following rules in addition to speaking URLs:
- Keep your URLs as simple and short as possible
- Use keywords
- Do not use special characters
- Use the minus sign as separator
- Use lower case only
- Do not use filler words
If you want to learn more about SEO-friendly URLs, we recommend that you have a look around on the MOZ blog.
Step 6: Optimize Title Tags
Among the more than 200 different SEO ranking factors on Google, the HTML title tag still plays an extremely important role in the search engine optimization of your website. You can see the title tag of your website either in the browser, in the source code or in the Google search results.
Optimize the title tag of your website as follows:
- EACH URL should have an individual title
- The keyword should be as far forward as possible, ideally directly in the first position
- The title should not consist of more than 70 characters
- The title should encourage the user to click
If you would like to simulate how certain SEO snippets look in Google search results, we recommend you take a look at the SISTRIX Snippet Generator.
Step 7: Optimize Meta Descriptions
Unlike the title tags, meta descriptions are not visible to visitors to your website. The HTML meta description can only be seen in the source code or in the Google results. Although meta descriptions have no direct influence on your SEO ranking, they should be maintained individually for each page of your website. The reason for this is that search engines display the meta description within the search results lists. This way you can directly influence the click rate in the Google results via an optimized meta-description in order to direct more visitors to your website.
An indirect ranking factor, so to speak, when it comes to search engine optimization and the organic visibility of your website.
The following rules apply to meta descriptions
Minimum 80 characters, maximum 150 characters including spaces. If you exceed this value, Google simply cuts off the meta description and replaces the last characters with (…). There are many Google easter eggs, but this is not one of them, so make sure the length is correct.
Keyword at the beginning of the first 80 characters and ideally within the second 80 characters. The keywords are highlighted in bold in the search results.
Write promotional and informative. Also use a clear request for action to positively influence the click rate within Google results.
Use special characters to draw the searchers’ attention to your snippet. But as always, the same applies here: Don’t exaggerate, or we have spam!
Step 8: Optimize headings
After visitors clicked on your SEO snippets within the Google results, the user has finally reached your website. As with usability and speed, it is now a question of meeting their expectations. The first point of reference is the heading. It is important to adhere to the hierarchy of h1 – h6. Logically, h1 contains the most important heading, h6 the least important.
It is important to note here that you only use as many levels as make sense for the corresponding element. In practice, h3 is often sufficient as the last level. Stick to the following rules and it will work equally well with users and search engine optimization:
- Consistent with title tag and meta description
- Short and memorable
- Use keyword
We hope that our 10 SEO rules have shown you that search engine optimization is not rocket science. Good organic visibility on Google always involves a lot of hard work. One should always think first about the user who has the need to find something and links certain expectations with it.
Perhaps the term Search Engine Optimization is out of date nowadays and one should interpret SEO with the words Search Experience Optimization. However, if you meet the expectations of your users, search engines will reward this with extremely valuable traffic to your website.