There are many factors that are taken into account for websites to appear in web search results, including:
- The number of sites linking to your site;
- Site content;
- The number of updates made to the site index;
- Algorithm changes; and
- Site updates to current platform technology.
What SEO steps do you need to take to positively influence your site’s ranking?
Here are several.
- Include relevant keywords within the text on the page. Relevant keywords are terms people use to search for the content you’re providing. Unsure what those terms might be? Use applications like Google AdWords Keyword tool, or simply search for the content in a browser and look to the bottom of the page for additional search terms and phrases. There are more advanced methods and tools , such as Moz.com and SEOTools.com.
- Create a clear hierarchy within the site structure. Many SEO professionals talk about a four-step process, where no page if more than four levels from the top level. For example, if you have a Services page, it should be one level from Home. The sub services pages, such as Tax, Audit, Part-Time CEO, etc. would be two levels from the home page, e.g., Home >> Services >> Tax or Home >> Services >> Audit.
- Link to relevant and respected websites. It makes sense that search engines give better ranking to sites that link to those with established rankings. For example, rather than connecting to BobsAccountingFirm blog article, you’d want to link to respected sites that have good rankings, such as JournalOfAccountancy.com, IRS.gov, AICPA.org, etc.
- Information-rich sites that use the proper “title,” “meta,” and “alt” attributes help to increase rankings. Let’s say you create a blog titled “5 Ways to Avoid Getting Audited.” When the page is being created, be sure the “title” tag for the blog includes the term “audit” or phrase “avoid getting audited.” Also, in the description for the blog, include a sentence (not a series of keywords) about the page’s content, e.g., “This blog post includes five tips to help you avoid an audit.” Note, the keyword “audit” is used again. Lastly, if an image is used on this page, the file name for the image should include the word audit, e.g., “AvoidGettingAudited.png”.
- Page load speed also impacts search rankings. If your website has a slow load speed, search engines may downgrade it in the search rakings. Slower sites rank lower on the search scale. To test your site, use a tool like Page Speed Tools, tools.pingdom.com/, or www.webpagetest.org/.
- Mobile sites are increasing in rankings. If your firm’s website is not ready for mobile prime time, now is the time to include this in your strategy. Mobile sites are ranking higher than non-mobile-friendly sites on smart devices, such as tablets and mobile phones. If you audience is primary users of this technology, a mobile site should be a priority.
- Page URLs also play a great role in search engine optimization and ranking. So, if your firm’s site pages look something like this “firmname.com/pageid=1857” consider changing it to reflected the page title, such as “www.firmname.com/5-ways-to-avoid-getting-audited” to help increase rankings. Keep in mind that shorter URLs are better than longer ones. Also, remember to use hyphens (-) instead of spaces (%20) in page URLs.
- URL length is important. Most search engines recommend a 70-character URL maximum. When a search is conducted, the results will display URLs up to 70 characters. Anything beyond that will display with an ellipse (…). This can be tricky and sometimes embarrassing if the last word in the character limited is truncated to form another unsavory term.
Best Practice – On Page Optimization
Including one or several of these elements on each of your web pages is considered a best practice for many SEO professionals. Include the keyword or keyword phrase:
- At least once in the title tag;
- In a header (H1, H2, H3…) tag on the page;
- At least once in bold, using a <strong> or <b> tag to define it as bold text;
- In the image “alt” tag, which is the description of the image when hovered by a cursor;
- In the page URL; and/or
- In the meta description for the page;
It’s more important than ever to pay attention to search engine optimization as mobile and tablet devices begin to increase in use within the profession and among clients.
How are you optimizing your site for the future?