When was the last time a web search took you deeper than the first page of Google results? Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is an important part of organically attracting visitors to your SERPs (search engine results pages) and to your site as a whole. But there’s a lot more to it than loading your site with keywords and search terms.
Google’s “helpful content update” will privilege “helpful” sites designed to help people rather than generate pageviews. Sites that are unhelpful—that is, they contain lots of keywords but little information—will be deemed “unhelpful” and will not be given priority in search results. Visitors to these kinds of pages leave unsatisfied. They don’t click around and explore the page. They leave quickly and do not come back.
So what kind of SEO does generate a high ranking for your SERPs? Search engines prefer websites that are fast-loading, engaging, frequently updated with fresh content, and are up-to-date technologically.
Faster-loading sites are given priority over heavy, clunky sites that can frustrate users by taking a few seconds to load. Not only that, but since the majority of searches originate from smartphones, Google results are based on the mobile versions of webpages.
In order to speed up load time, make sure that your videos and images are optimized for the web. This means choosing the right file format, compression, and image size. You’ll have to balance giving your customers large, high-resolution product images with the demands for fast loading times.
The same applies to video. While a full HD 1080p video might look great on a large television, you won’t really need anything more than 720p if your video is meant to be viewed on a phone or computer screen. Furthermore, as most people don’t like surprise noises, you might also consider uploading videos without an audio track to make the file even smaller.
Server speed can also affect loading times. If your web host can’t guarantee fast loading times, it might be worth it to find a new host for your website.
Aside from the size of the images, the images themselves should grip visitors with great headlines, beautiful imagery, and copy or calls to action that encourage the visitor to move through the site and not just exit the page they arrived on. Images and video go a long way to keeping visitors engaged. If users are engaged, staying on your site to watch a video or read an article and then clicking through to product pages or other pages, then your website is more likely to be labeled “helpful content” by Google, thus increasing its search ranking.
But it’s not enough to just upload a few images, videos, and blog posts and call it a day. SERPs must be regularly maintained and updated if they’re going to have good SEO. That’s because search engines only want to recommend results for pages that are still active.
To accomplish this, you don’t have to go back and update every old blog post. Just make sure that you are publishing new blogs or articles regularly so that the search engine knows that this is an active website regularly publishing new content.
It’s not just your content that needs to remain up-to-date, but the technology you use, as well. Using the latest technology will increase your page load speed. For example, including AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) code in your blogs and articles will help those pages load faster on mobile devices.
Having a secure website also increases your SEO. Search engines don’t want to lead their users into unsafe corners of the web, so unsecure or dangerous websites will not have high search rankings. And when they do appear in search results, they are often tagged as unsafe.
All this is a lot to consider when looking to improve SEO. SEO is more than keywords. Images, video, and the very infrastructure of your website all have a role to play. If you’re ignoring one of these categories, even if you excel in others, you could be harming your overall visibility.