As a website auditor, I see a lot of websites that are in need of some SEO TLC. That being said, it always seems to be the same issues that are overlooked. We all know that updating your site with regular and relevant content goes a mile in helping search engines crawl your site, but it is also the little things that, when combined, have a huge impact on your site’s page ranking. Here are 5 of the most overlooked best practices:

1. Page Titles

I have put this at number one because it should be the first thing that anyone developing a website should look at. If I had a nickel for every time a company put “Company Name | Contact Us” as its page title, chances are I would be sitting on the beach drinking cocktails and would not be writing this blog. The fact of the matter is that unless your company name is what people search for, i.e. google, apple, Microsoft etc. then it’s pretty pointless. Try and include content that effectively communicates the topic of the page’s content. For example “Contact your Nearest Banana Hammock Supplier – BananaHammocksRUs”.

Remember: While it is good practice to keep your page titles descriptive and unique, remember also to keep them short as search engines will only show a portion of it in search results. This is why I suggest putting the company name last.

2. Description Meta Tag

While Page Titles summarise the page’s content, a Description Meta Tag may be a short paragraph and is important in providing search engines and visitors with an idea of what your page is about. It’s ideal that each page has its own unique description as search engines tend to use these descriptions as snippets (the text displayed beneath the title of a web page on a search result). That being said, don’t copy and paste content directly from the site nor should you use generic phrases like “This page is about…”. Be creative yet succinct. “Find the latest range of male swimwear in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colours at BananaHammocksRUs”

3. Image Alt Tags

Have you ever been to a website only to find that the image won’t load? This is where Alt Tags come in. The Alt Tag allows images’ alternative text to be displayed should the image not be able to load. As with Page Titles, it is best that these Alt Tags are short and sweet. Avoid using generic titles such as “Image1″ as well as using too many keywords; something simple like ” BananaHammocksRUs’ New Streamline Swing Pro 2000″ would be just the ticket.

Note: Depending on the number of images on your site, you may want to consider an image sitemap This will help increase results when it comes to image searches.

4. Use Social Media Effectively

As I mentioned in my “4 Easy Ways to Improve Facebook Page Performance” post, linking to landing pages from your social media posts can go a long way in improving your site’s authoritative ranking. Not only does this improve your page ranking, but, by effectively promoting your content, it will also lead to faster discovery by those who are interested in the same subject.

5. Videos

If you have a video that is relevant to the content of the page, don’t just put a link to a YouTube video, embed it. Having relevant videos embedded on a page has shown to improve SEO rankings by up to 60%, assuming of course that the video has been optimised effectively as well.

For more information on Search Engine Optimisation, check out Google’s Search Engine Optimization Starter Guide. Or for the more advanced, have a look at Hubspot’s Free E-Book.

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