SEO, short for Search Engine Optimization, is the marketing action you take to improve your site. In turn, actions are defined by the many metrics used by Google to evaluate sites indexed in this search engine. Specifically, based on their (non) compliance, Google evaluates the relevance of a site and decides on which position to display it in organic searches.
Having a website is like owning a home. Whether you bought it recently or have lived in it for a long time, you need to make sure that it is well cared for. You also make the necessary improvements over time to take advantage of all its features.
A similar situation is if you have your own website or plan to make one in the near future. In previous discussions, I discussed at length how to build a site that sells in just 10 steps. Given that a functional site that brings you the desired results depends on many aspects, it’s time to discuss a number of performance indicators for SEO/organic optimization.
Before continuing the discussion, we recommend that you be careful not to confuse SEO with SEM. They are two of the most important concepts in marketing and, although they sound similar, there are features that differentiate them.
You can read more details about the parallel between Search Engine Optimization and Search Engine Marketing in the article SEO vs SEM – similarities and differences.
Returning to the initial debate, it is good to know that Google representatives announced that there are over 200 SEO factors. Being a considerable number, we decided to make a list of the most important elements to keep in mind.
I invite you to further discover the top SEO indicators.
What SEO performance indicators should I follow?
#1 Meta titles and content
The first indicator to which you have full access are the titles, meta titles, and meta descriptions. They are of major importance both in the way Google decides the positioning of your site and in increasing the interest among people who find your website after searches.
Titles are the first elements that users come in contact with, so if they are attracted to what they read, they will be curious to know more details and, consequently, will click on that link. Here are some helpful tips on how to optimize your titles, meta titles, and meta descriptions:
- includes page-specific keywords in both title, meta title, and meta description; the more often they are found in the beginning area of the titles, the higher the chances that the site will be indexed as high as possible;
- write for people and not for the search engine: although it is advisable to include keywords in the 3 main areas that define a page (title, meta title, meta description), the expression must be correct and consistent, not a string of keywords;
- Avoid having duplicate titles on the pages of your site, as it means copied content, which causes Google to penalize you and rank you lower in searches.
They are a basic element for both the pages of the site and for the blog articles. When we talk about organic searches, the keywords are those phrases or phrases that people usually use to find specific information, certain products, or services.
And in this case, there are some features that we advise you to pay attention to:
- use keywords relevant to the content of each page and avoid using them excessively; they should appear in the first 100 words of the page if you have not included them in the first sentence;
- make sure the phrases and keywords you use are close to the way people type on Google. we advise you to keep in mind that the synonyms of the words are just as useful;
The Google Analytics tool helps you compile a list of key phrases that fit your business. You can create an account for free, and then you can access the Keyword Planner section where you can check the number of word searches and get suggestions on the synonyms that users use when performing searches.
- avoid over-repeating keywords or using phrases that are irrelevant to the content of the page, as well as duplicating them, as Google penalizes such actions;
- adds the keyword to the page and its URL.
#3 Content quality has a major impact on SEO
The actual text that appears on each page of the site is equally important. It needs to be relevant to your business as well as the target audience. Here are some indicators that determine whether the written content is qualitative or not:
- writes correctly grammatically and orthographically;
- avoid saturating the text with key phrases;
- writes for the target audience, in a human way, and not for Google;
- keep sentences and paragraphs short to increase the readability of the text;
- use subtitles and numbered lists (where appropriate) to make the text easier to read.
#4 Topical content
Obviously, the date of publication of the site is the first aspect that indicates how current the content is. However, there are a number of steps you can take to ensure that your website complies with the SEO indicator:
- constantly updates the content of the site; for example, in the case of blog articles that are also relevant for 2021, but which were written 2 years ago, their publication date may change;
- adds external links to certain snippets of content to indicate relevance and timeliness;
- make sure web pages are about 2,000 characters long, as the length of the content itself is an indicator for Google;
#5 Site security
A site that has integrated into its URL the abbreviation HTTPS (Hypertext Transfer Protocol Security) is much more efficient than those that still have the version with HTTP. That “s” at the end of the URL indicates that your website has an SSL certificate, and therefore Google will display the message Secured before the URL. This information assures the user that the connection is secure and that their data is protected.
Otherwise, Google informs the user that the site is not secure, suggesting that it is better to abandon the navigation.
Also, the websites that have the SSL certificate are the ones that load faster, an aspect that in turn influences the organic optimization.
In case you haven’t migrated to the secure version yet, I wrote in a previous article about the ways in which a dedicated IP address and an SSL certificate affect organic traffic.
#6 Site upload speed
Nowadays, speed makes the difference. People are in a hurry and do not have time to wait. Therefore, the optimal site load speed must be less than 2 seconds.
Otherwise, users may leave the site before it is fully loaded. Of course, he has little chance of returning, as he has a multitude of options. And last but not least, we have to admit that in the online environment, the competition is fierce.
If you are wondering what are the reasons that affect the charging time, among the most common are the following:
- too many site redirects;
- server response time. This problem can be solved by hosting the website on a fast and secure server;
- too many site resources;
- images that are not optimized;
- non-optimized CSS language;
- too many plugins;
- visible content that is not prioritized, etc.
To identify any problems with your site, we recommend that you use the free test from Google, Page Speed Insights. You will find out a load score for both mobile and desktop devices, and in case of difficulties, you will be shown the problems, as well as the solutions to solve them.
#7 Adaptability to mobile devices helps your SEO
It is well known that nowadays, most searches are performed on mobile phones, laptops, and computers remaining in the background. Therefore, it is crucial that your site adapts to any mobile phone and provides a relevant user experience.
What does this experience mean? It involves easy navigation on the mobile, in which the person can access any page on the site without having to zoom or move the screen to the left or right to be able to read the entire text.
Consequently, if you are about to create your site, make sure that its design adapts to mobile devices. Therefore, its appearance will automatically adjust to the device from which it is accessed, without the need for two versions of the site, one for mobile and one for desktop.
If you already have a website and want to test if this indicator is checked, you can take the Google Mobile-Friendly Test for free.
#8 Social media buttons
Social networks are also a key aspect of today’s digital environment. They help you improve your online visibility, drive more traffic to your site, strengthen your brand, easily distribute content, thus contributing to its long lifespan, and improve your site’s position in Google locally.
As a result, if you get a significant number of conversions from organic searches, Google may also display the Facebook and LinkedIn pages of your business. Also in this regard, the positive reviews and the evaluation number listed on the Facebook page also contribute to the improvement of the site in terms of SEO.
#9 Optimized images
Images are the key elements that make content more attractive and illustrate the ideas of a text. Imagine what a blog would look like if it contained only information – it would be difficult to do, wouldn’t it?
That is why it is important to pay more attention to the visual part. It’s not enough to just use a picture, but you have to be careful to:
- reduce the size of the picture so as not to affect the loading of the site;
- choose a descriptive name that includes keywords;
- add relevant descriptions and titles;
- insert title and other tags.
Details on how to optimize images I wrote extensively in the article How to optimize pictures in your blog.
#10 Duplicate content affects your SEO
Plagiarism is taxed even in the digital environment. So if you have thought about taking certain ad literam phrases from sites that are in the same field as your field of activity, we recommend that you change your strategy.
Google identifies any content that has been copied and penalizes the site in question by placing it below in organic impressions. The same principle applies if identical paragraphs are found on different pages of your site. Whatever information you want to convey, it must be written in other words.
I hope that all this information about SEO optimization indicators is useful to you and will help you make the necessary changes to have a successful website. Remember that all 10 factors we discussed are really important.
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