Actionable SEO in 2024
SEO is still massively relevant in 2024, and you can make an immediate start on the simple bits with this actionable SEO guide! Just break the task down into smaller tasks and work your way through them. Alarmingly few businesses are taking the time to just do good, basic house-keeping on their websites.
If you lack the time and need help, we’ll gladly lend a hand and do it for you. Here’s our quick task list of things to look for and change.
We’ll look at each part of your web page and how you can improve them for a good start on your basic on-page SEO.
Search Engine Optimisation is a deep topic, and one that is evolving constantly but there are some stable aspects which are still in use:
- on-page SEO
- links (especially backlinks)
A great starting point is with good house-keeping or simple best practices for on-page SEO.
1. Page content
What constitutes good content is a whole subject on its own. Great content offers valuable information to your target audience – answering questions, offering solutions to problems or being generally useful. We’ll assume for now that you’ve got some content on the page (text, images, video, audio and PDFs!). Now you’ll need to make sure the SEO is good on each page.
2. On-page SEO
Let’s look at each of the key parts of the page, and the areas you can improve.
- Page title
- Snippet or meta description
- Intro text
- Main content
- Page Speed
Your page title should accurately describe what people will find on the page. Writing titles is a bit of an art form but you want to entice people to read but also be factual. WordPress uses your title to create the slug or URL for the page so describe your topic well.
Your task: Review all your page and post titles and improve them. You don’t want to be changing the web address of long-standing pages here – unless they are poor. If you do change the URL you’ll need to put in a 301 redirect.
Snippet or meta description
Your snippet or meta description describes what visitors will find on the destination page if they clicked the link.
The description makes a promise that your page must deliver or you’ll disappoint your visitor. Google is actually very good at making one up if you neglect to add one for your page but you really want to be deliberate about it. If you are using Yoast SEO or another mainstream there will be a field for adding this.
You’ll notice in the above example that the snippet is truncated or chopped off. You’ll need to describe your page a brief and compelling way that sells your page but does so accurately.
Your task: Review all your snippets or meta descriptions and make sure they are present and that they are good!
There is an art to writing great introductions to pages and a topic all on its own but you want give both visitors and search engines a good summary of the page content to come and be engaging about it. Include your keyword in the paragraph.
Your main content should be well formatted using headings, bullets, bold italics and arranged in shorter sentences and paragraphs. A well formatted page caters for those readers that scan content and those wanting more detail. A good heading hierarchy is more helpful for disabled or visually impaired visitors. It is also just plain easier to read.
Fresh content is more valuable than old content to take the time to update your posts and pages, particularly the ones that do well!
Google rewards high-quality content, regardless of whether it was created by humans or AI and recommneds that you produce people-first content that is helpful and demonstrates your expertise, experience, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness (E-E-A-T). That’s another topic so let’s crack on with looking at the page itself.
Your task: Review pages and posts – update text, add subheadings, improve layout, improve readability by using bullet points, bold and italics.
Images have a few elements that need to be looked at:
- Correct size
- Title text & Alt text
WordPress saves different sizes of images and uses them as needed, but it’s important to ensure consistent proportions for images. Make all your images the same orientation and ratio. This will help with lining up gallery and featured images when shown in a feed. Mixing portrait and landscape images in the same gallery is always a challenge so getting them consistently sized will result in smaller, more reliable images.
Your task: Review images – check that each image has alt text – describe what is represented by the pixels. Make sure they aren’t large file sizes. If they are, download and resave to the correct size. Use TinyPNG.com to compress your images thoroughly while keeping good quality. See our image sizes and formats guide >
Video is an important content type that is more engaging than text and pure imagery. It has its own SEO and it must be relevant to the page it is embedded on.
- Give it a good title and a meaningful description in YouTube or Vimeo before embedding it on the page.
- Add the page URL to the video description too so that people finding you on YouTube can click through to your website.
Your task: Check your embedded videos – are you hosting them on your server? Can they be moved to Vimeo or YouTube? For Vimeo and YT videos, check the video title and add a decent description. In YouTube, add the URL for the page that the video will be embedded on.
A great takeaway content type. If you have helpful info, add a downloadable PDF or other format for visitors to take and keep.
Your task: look for opportunities to offer a PDF download.
Part of a good user experience is a website that loads quickly on any device, particularly on mobile data.
If your site is a WordPress one, the more plugins you run, the slower the site will be. Overly large images, or a huge number of images on a page, can also slow the page down tremendously. If you are hosting your own videos and embedding them on the page, they will need to download before they can be played.
Your hosting also has a part to play in your website speed. If your hosting package is a cheap and cheerful, you may not be getting the performance you need. Consider upgrading.
Advanced – Schema structured data
Structured data is a standardized format for providing information about a page and classifying the page content; for example, on a recipe page, what are the ingredients, the cooking time and temperature, the calories, and so on.
Schema can be added to your website using a plugin or if you’re using Yoast SEO, it will do some for you. Speak to your developer for more information on this.
Linking is crucial. Add value to posts and pages by linking to related content. This way visitors can find more information surrounding the topic, or even a product to purchase that fulfils their needs.
- Internal – to other pages on your site. Ask: what other pages would help this visitor here?
- External – link to external sites. These potentially can take the visitor away from you so have external links open a new tab or window.
Analysis or measuring your progress is key. Without measurement, any progress goes unnoticed. Problems also go unnoticed too. With the new GA4 on offer, now is the time to get it up and running.
Analytics will give you stats on visitor flow, conversions, bounces, location and other useful information to help you improve your site and its content. It’s a deep topic and worthy of a closer look in another post.
Everyone is talking about AI these days (especially ChatGPT!), and Google is probably at the forefront of that. As the world’s leading search engine it is constantly improving how it views and understands web pages and how these pages are scored. Identify Ai-generated fluff pages is one of the many things it now has to tackle. If you use AI to write your articles, use them as a starting point and at least add some human experience to it.
This post is proudly all human!
Google’s Core Web Vitals
Web Vitals is an initiative by Google to provide unified guidance for quality signals that are essential to delivering a great user experience on the web. In another post we’ll look more closely at what these are and what they mean to you.