Actionable SEO in 2023
SEO is still massively relevant in 2023, and you can make an immediate start on the simple bits! Just break it down into smaller actionable bits. It’s amazing how few businesses are taking the time to just do good, basic house-keeping on their websites.
If you don’t have the time and want some help, we’ll gladly lend a hand and do it for you but if you want to know more, don’t touch that dial.
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. We’ll assume for now that you’ve got some content (text, images, video, audio and PDFs!) on the page and you need to make sure the on-page SEO is good.
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. In WordPress, your title is used 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 really 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 will save off different size versions of images and use those where needed but it’s still worth taking some time to get proportional consistency going on 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.
Video is an important content type that is more engaging than text and pure imagery. It has its own SEO and should be relevant to the page it’s 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? Can they be moved to Vimeo or YouTube? For Vimeo and YT videos, check the video title and add a decent description.
A great takeaway content type. If you have useful or reusable information, consider adding a downloadable PDF or other format for visitors to take with them and keep.
Your task: review your site and look for opportunities to offer a 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.
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.