Want to rank well in search results today?
Then you need to optimize your website.
But what really matters today?
In the good old days (circa 2009), Google reportedly used about 200 ranking factors to determine the SERPs.
A lot has changed in the past 10+ years.
But one thing that hasn’t?
You don’t need to sweat every ranking factor.
Some variables carry much more weight than others.
If you just focus on the SEO essentials, you can still crush it.
This post will delve into what those factors are and what is involved to optimize for each.
Google officially began rolling out the mobile-first index in March 2018.
Smart marketers were taking a mobile-first approach long before the official rollout.
According to Google’s Danny Sullivan:
“Neither mobile-friendliness nor a mobile-responsive layout is requirements for mobile-first indexing. Pages without mobile versions still work on mobile and are usable for indexing. That said, it’s about time to move from desktop-only and embrace mobile :)”
Here are some basics for making your site mobile-friendly:
Make your site adaptive to any device – be it desktop, mobile, or tablet.
Always scale your images when using a responsive design, especially for mobile users.
Use short meta titles. They are easier to read on mobile devices.
Avoid pop-ups that cover your content and prevent visitors from getting a glimpse of what your content is all about.
Less can be more on mobile. In a mobile-first world, long-form content doesn’t necessarily equate to more traffic and better rankings.
Don’t use mobile as an excuse for cloaking. Users and search engines need to see the same content.
Top 8 Essential Website Optimization Strategies
Some find the idea of performing technical SEO to be intimidating.
Thanks to the many SEO tools available, an SEO audit is no longer a daunting task.
The key, however, is to know how to interpret the data provided and what to do with it.
For starters, you should check the following:
Make certain your site qualifies as being mobile-friendly.
Check for status code errors and correct them.
Check the robot.txt for errors. Optimize if needed.
Check your site indexing via Google Search Console. Examine and fix any issues discovered.
Fix duplicate title tags and duplicate meta descriptions.
Audit your website content. Check the traffic stats in Google Analytics. Consider improving or pruning underperforming content.
Fix broken links. These are an enemy of the user experience – and potentially rankings.
Submit your XML sitemap to Google via Google Search Console.
3. Core Web Vitals