5 Website Improvements You Can Do Now
We're into the new year and I wanted to share just five website improvements with you that can be pretty easily be done fast by you.
In no particular order, they are:
- Set up a Google Analytics account and install the tracking code
- Set up Google Search Console
- Do keyword research
- Write (or rewrite!) page titles and meta descriptions
- Add keywords to your website's images
Let's dive in, shall we?
Set Up Google Analytics For Measuring Website Improvements
You have no idea how your website is performing if you don't collect data and measurements that show you the basic performance of your web pages.
Google Analytics is a free service. You set up an account and - if you're able - install some tracking code. If not, get a web developer to do this for you. It's a small, one time cost, but the payoff is priceless!
Start here by creating an account.
Set up your account and follow the screens and instructions. Here's your tracking code that must be inserted into the <HEAD> tag for every page you want to track. Pro tip: install the tracking code into your website template, so that every time you create a new page, this code gets installed automatically!
Notice there's a "UA" id. It's a 9-digit code that's unique to each website. It looks like this:
Google Search Console
It's really easy to set up Google Search Console, which is another free service from the Search Engine. Unlike Google Analytics, Search Console shows you if the search engine crawlers are having a hard time crawling, indexing and ranking your site's pages. Pro tip: use the same set of login credentials when you set up Search Console that you used for Analytics. Keep your life simple!
Here you can see search engine visibility information that will help you figure out keyword ranking strategy:
Notice the information you get showing you how well your pages are doing in search results.
NOTE: for those of you who are savvy enough to do a quick trend analysis on the screenshot above, this is a nature blog and the traffic is seasonal. The dip at the right is completely normal. The sharp drop/recovery on the left indicates a time period when the web hosting server was down.
Get Website Improvements With Keyword Research
I tell students all the time: if you don't know the words and phrases or topics your target audience is plugging into the search engines, how the hell do you think your pages are going to show up in their search results?
Short answer: you ain't.
Solution: do keyword research!
There are free services you can use:
Google Trends - shows you country/state/city keyword trends, as well as seasonal performance. You can compare performance of words and phrases.
It gives you a good idea if searchers are looking for what you offer.
Answer The Public - this one is fun to see what you can use for topics. It specializes in finding questions, which Google loves if you ask and answer one in depth. Take a look:
It's a little tough to see, but these are questions centering around who, what, why, where, when, how, etc. The image makes it easy to see questions you can use to create content.
Ubersuggest - finally, a high quality, completely free keyword research tool from Neil Patel gives you actionable intelligence and data to make informed decisions about which keyword phrases you can use!
Here are some numbers to give you an idea of the volume and other information:
And specific numbers to further help you decide what you want to use to write content that appeals to your target audience:
I could do an entire post just on this tool (heh; think I'll schedule that as a task, come to think of it) - it has that many features. All free.
Optimizing Page Titles & Meta Descriptions
Now that you have keyword phrases, you need to put them in places on each web page to help them show up higher in search results. Today, we're going to go over writing page titles and meta descriptions to improve your website.
Here are two examples:
Notice the top blue line. That's your page title. It's a critical ranking factor, so be sure you write a good one, using a keyword phrase that matches the content for that page title.
Below, the dark text is the meta description. It's not a ranking factor, but well written ones get more clicks to the page, so make sure you write them as best as you can, exactly describing the content on that page.
You're restricted to about 60 characters for the page title; about 155 characters for the meta description - so they both show up in full in search results.
Tagging Your Images With A Keyword To Improve Website Performance
Finally, you can edit all of your images, pictures, charts, etc., on each page by using a keyword phrase in the alt text tag and image alt attribute. This helps those images show up in Google image search results!
It varies from content platform to content platform, but generally you can edit your pictures in these data fields:
In WordPress, you have two fields to insert your keyword phrase, or a variation, so it shows up in image search results.
So, here are 5 things you can do to improve your website's performance. If you'd like to learn more, why not take an SEO training class with Invenio? We'll go over all of these in greater detail and more!
Until we meet again, stay safely between the ditches.
All the very best to you,
All screenshots courtesy of author, January 2020