December 20, 2017
“You can’t just ‘SEO’ your website and be done. It’s a forever moving goal post.” — Stoney deGeyter, founder and CEO of Pole Position Marketing
Search engine optimization, at its core, is the process of optimizing webpages and content offerings to make it easily accessible for search engines and its users, in accordance with predetermined ranking factors. To implement successful alterations, webmasters enact specific changes to individual pages or to content management systems.
These alterations target areas of the site like URL structures, headings, various tags, and keyword density. The goal is to improve the relevance of each page for a set of words or phrases.
The process of achieving successful, large-scale SEO changes for a sizable website isn’t that much different than working with smaller destinations. The idea is the same: Update the backend to reflect current best practices, create unique and relevant content, and engender a better overall user experience.
If you aren’t sure how to make large-scale SEO changes successfully, use these five tips as your guidelines.
1. Create More Value
Adding more value to your site may sound simple, but in practice it may prove a bit more challenging.
Creating more value does not simply mean pumping out more content. To add more worth to your site, it is imperative that you intimately understand your audience.
Through the greater understanding of your audience’s likes, wants and needs, additional, optimized content can be developed.
Here are some simple ways to establish how to add more value to your site:
- Analyze your content using tools like Buzzsumo to find the most popular topics.
- Survey your fans and followers to uncover questions they need answered.
- Expand your content offerings into peripheral categories that are still relevant to your audience’s needs.
2. Invest More Time in Your Content
As we have learned from algorithm changes like Penguin and Hummingbird, Google cares more about the effectiveness of your content and less about its optimization.
This means that you can do all the optimizing you want, but if your content is not appealing or doesn’t contain relevant answers to searched queries, your efforts will be in vain.
SEO has changed from targeting keywords to addressing user intent. Through this lens, webmasters must ensure their content is centered on what search engine users seek to uncover when searching your brand, or the terms that might be associated with it.
3. Optimize Your Site’s Visuals
Visual content, particularly video, is more popular than ever; which also means that it’s more important for brands to create or host than ever. Visual content is much more engaging for consumers and can serve to supplement or replace text in various places.
Visual content also can affect SEO in significant ways, assuming it is optimized properly. Many marketers and site owners forget or outright neglect optimizing visual content for search engines. Fortunately, however, the process is rather simple and only takes a few minutes.
The first thing you’ll want to do is add a relevant title that leverages an applicable keyword targeted for that page. Moreover, add applicable alt text, metadata, and other keywords.
It is important to pay attention to the file’s size as well because this can slow down your site’s load times and have an adverse impact on your rankings. If you are hosting videos on your website, add a transcript — it will likely be packed with keywords that can boost your site’s SEO.
4. Create a Stellar User Experience
Google is pretty much obsessed with creating the best user experience possible for its users and expects webmasters to do the same.
User experience (UX) is a critical component to SEO, thus continually testing various elements of your site’s experience should be a priority for your business; especially on large-scale sites where many things can go wrong.
When optimizing your website’s user experience be sure to:
- Test all of your site’s links and fix any that appear to be broken. The Screaming Frog SEO Spider tool is excellent for such tasks.
- Consider your content’s visual appeal and readability for users and search engine spiders.
- Verify that all navigational elements work properly and are intuitive.
- Test your site’s load times using Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool.
- Consider experimenting with Google’s Accelerated Mobile Pages to possibly receive a boost in speed and rankings. This is likely to become more important with the mobile-first index underway.
5. Ensure the Entirety of Your Web Presence is Current
Many marketers and business owners tend to overlook how far beyond a dedicated website a brand’s online existence goes. For instance, many businesses will opt to try out a new social platform, only to realize that it isn’t fruitful for its goals and abandon its profile.
While not sticking with social media sites that don’t work for your brand is fine, you do need to keep them up-to-date with your business’ current information.
This means making sure your brand’s website, address, phone number, and other pertinent details are all current so that users don’t have any trouble interacting with your brand or finding your site.
Even after you have implemented all of the above advice, your job is not done. The truth is, it will never be. SEO is an ever-changing process that is constantly in flux. Outside of its fickle nature, you can always find further improvements to make on your site.
Commit to continually learning and evolving alongside SEO best practices, and your rankings will reflect your efforts in the long-term.
What are your biggest hurdles with large-scale SEO changes?
Conscious online marketer, web executive, and multi-faceted writer Tina Courtney has been creating and fostering online innovations since 1996. Tina has assisted many clients in maximizing online production and marketing efforts, and is a staff writer for SiteProNews, one of the Web’s foremost webmaster and tech news blogs. She’s produced and marketed innovative content for major players like Disney and JDate, as well as boutique startups galore, with fortes including social media, SEO, influencer marketing, community management, lead generation, and project management. Tina is also a certified Reiki practitioner, herbalist, and accomplished life coach. Learn more on LinkedIn, Facebook and Google+.