Search engines use the meta title tags to determine the topic of your webpage content. These title tags are the text that the search engine users see as the title of your webpages.
Meta title tags are usually the first thing that search engine users see in the search engine results. The users often decide in a fraction of a second whether to click on your link or not. Therefore, it is of utmost importance that a good meta title tag captures the essence of your webpage content. A good title tag, with the right keywords, can increase the relevance of your content to different search queries and hence, improve your page ranking.
However, the title tags should not be misleading in nature. Otherwise, it will seriously bring down your click-through rates, which negatively affects your page ranking.
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Meta Descriptions provide a concise summary of your webpage content to the search engine users. Meta descriptions appear right below the clickable links in the search engine results, which are meta title tags, by the way.
Search engines have stopped directly using meta descriptions in their rankings. But, most of the search engine users glance at the meta description content before they click on the links. Therefore, they continue to be relevant and useful. A good description is not too long, because search engines only display meta descriptions up to a certain word limit on the results page. Also, the text in them should be designed for the readers and not for the search engines.
If your readers find relevant content in meta descriptions, more of them will click on your link in the results page, which improves your relevance for the respective search keywords. Also, if your meta descriptions are on point, then your click-through rate will also improve. Therefore, meta descriptions continue to be relevant indirectly for your search engine rankings.
Headings are meta tags that give structure to your webpage. The headings range from H1 to H6. H1 is the main heading of your webpage, which is usually the title. Then, H2 is the subheading, H3 is sub-subheading, and so it goes.
Headings help the search engines easily understand the main topics of your post, which is essential when you have posts longer than 1000 words. In the age of HTML5, the headings have relatively lost their earlier dominance, but they still continue to be important for page rankings. Optimal use of relevant keywords in the headings is known to improve search engine rankings significantly.
Heading type <H1> is considered the most important part of the web page.
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This Art of the MOOC wiki complements the free online courses produced by artist Pedro Lasch and Duke University in collaboration with Creative Time in New York and UdK in Berlin.Looks Good!
Heading type <H2> is second most significant part in SEO header tags. You can use it to add visual weight to sub-headings.
Heading type <H3> is a good choice for "Quick Links", "Useful Links" or other relevant resources of text.
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Heading type <H4> is the fourth pillar in Heading Hierarchy and can be used for detailing and making bullet points.Not found, need to improve!
Heading type <H5> can also be used to mark bullet points, lists or checklists.Not found, need to improve!
Heading type <H6> is the tiny of all heading tags. It is used for text that is granule in appearance. Like a little note or p.s at the end of content.Not found, need to improve!
This section helps you discover what your visitors are looking for when they found your website. It lists the keywords used by your visitors on search engines when they found your website. The significance of this is that Google thinks that these are the keywords that are most relevant to the content on your website.
Google’s algorithms are smart enough to eventually improve the relevance of different keywords for your website. But, it is a slow process. To save precious time, you can get rid of or minimize the usage of such irrelevant keywords on your webpages. Also, use more relevant keywords, which your visitors can use to find you. As your keyword relevance increases, so does your page ranking.
Your website may contain a few pages, a few hundred pages, or thousands of them. It is important that all the customer-facing pages are indexed by the major search engines. Search engine users will be able to find your webpages only if they are indexed. After going through all the efforts of creating webpages, and performing on-page optimizations, if the search engine users cannot find your webpages, what’s the point of it?
The Indexed Pages section gives you a legend of the total number of webpages indexed by the major search engines. To ensure that you reach maximum audience, make sure that the search engines have indexed all the webpages that you want your audience to see. This has other benefits as well. Search engines think that as the wealth of content on any subject increases on your website, you are a good authority on the respective topic. With more pages indexed, you are perceived to be a stronger authority on the topic by search engines. Your website’s subject authority is one of the most important metrics used by search engines to decide your page rankings.
Sitemap, as the name indicates, is a map of your website. You create a single XML file, which captures the complete structure of your website – lists URLs to all of your website’s pages, displays the links between them, and even shares meta data of your webpages with the search engines. This makes it extremely easy for the search engines to crawl your website entirely.
Sitemap is one of the most useful and powerful tools for your website. Its benefits are many. For instance, search engines may not be able to find some of your webpages, because they are not linked to other pages on your website. A sitemap helps the search engines index such pages too. Sitemap shares meta data such as the type of content located at some links (video, audio, etc.), the age appropriateness of such content, and a lot more. Also, if you make any changes to your website like add new pages, delete some pages, and so on, search engines can easily discover this using sitemaps, which makes the indexing process faster.
The importance of sitemaps is utmost for large websites with many webpages, new websites that have few backlinks, websites that feature lots of rich content like media, and websites that are not structured properly. In all of these cases, properly designed sitemaps make sure that search engines can index your pages as easily as possible. After all, your webpages will appear in the search results and be ranked by the search engines only if they are indexed.
The Robots section is for the exact opposite purpose of the Sitemap section. Your Robots.txt file is a text file that tells the search engines which webpages should not be indexed. It should be noted that this file does not force the search engines from indexing your webpages, but merely inform them. Search engines can simply dismiss the instructions from Robots.txt. In other words, although most search engines listen to the instructions from Robots.txt, they are not bound by it.
Robots.txt is one way of ensuring that your website’s sensitive content does not appear in the search engine results. However, the only effective way of ensuring complete security of your sensitive content is to avoid putting it on the website.
That being said, there are times when you may need to use Robots.txt. One such instance is when you have created new pages for an upcoming event or a product launch and those webpages need to go live only after a specific date. You can use Robots.txt in such cases to prevent search engines from indexing your pages until that date arrives. Another instance is when your server bandwidth is low, and you do not wish to choke it with crawling. In such cases, you can use Robots.txt to prevent the search engines from indexing heavy images, videos, and other huge files for the time being.
In the Blocking Factor section, you can see different factors that are adding overhead on your website loading. In other words, you can check what is affecting the loading speed of your website in the Blocking Factor section. Typically, the use of flash, frames or some plugins is the cause of overhead on your website.
Loading speed is a powerful factor that affects the user experience of your visitors. Loading speed is the amount of time it takes for your website to load on the user’s device. That could be your home page, sales page, landing page, or any other page. The longer it takes for your webpage to load, the more restless the users get. Mind you, most of them simply don’t bother to wait, when the entire internet is waiting for them. They’ll simply quit your website and go to another site. So, you lose precious visitors. More visitors leaving your website after clicking on your link means lower click-through rate, which directly affects your search engine ranking.
You can improve the loading speed by making your web page heavy. Apart from getting rid of flash, frames, and heavy plugins, you can also remove high-resolution images, or at least compress them to decrease their size.
The Blog section lists direct links to all the blog articles you have created on your website. In today’s digital era, blogs form an important component of audience-outreach system viz. the social media. Blogs offer value to your audience and give them a strong reason to visit your website regularly.
For consumer-oriented businesses, it is crucial that they have a strong social media presence. It is not enough to just create a social media page and spend thousands of dollars on social media ads. In order to engage your audience with your business or website, you need to offer them value. Whatever you offer should be valuable enough to check your social media pages, follow them, and even visit your website. Blog articles are a powerful tool to achieve all of this without spending anything. These blog articles can be shared on social media to expand their reach. The more your audience reads your blog articles, engages with your brand, and visits your website, the more trust you develop in the market.
The Blog section helps you track and manage all your blog posts to ensure that you are reaching the maximum audience with your social media strategy.
Page Speed is another impressive tool to help you improve your visitor’s user experience on your website. It will display the time taken for your webpages to load, and also the size of the web pages.
If the Page Load Time (as displayed under the Page Speed section) of the web pages is high, then it means that the users are being made to wait for longer durations until their pages load. The other metric, ‘Page Size,' denotes the size of the page. The lower the Page Size, the faster will increase your web page load. Together, the two metrics give you a good idea of how slow or fast your webpage is loading.
The metrics are also accompanied by average page load time and average page size. These averages offer a lot more information than what is immediately obvious. If your page load time is well below the world average, and your page size is also well below the global average, then the problem could be the server where your website is hosted. Perhaps, your website is receiving more traffic that what its server is capable of handling efficiently. Thus, this section is crucial for analyzing and improving the user experience of your website visitors.
In this section, you can check the percentage of file requests received by various types of files. If your web page has some files listed on it, then every time you load that web page, the browser sends a separate request for those individual files to load. The more files of a specific type are listed on the web page, the more is the number of requests received by the file type. As the number of files to be loaded on a web page increases, the size of the web page increases, which in turn increases your page load time, and leads to a bad user experience.
Missing Alts provides a list of all the images on your web pages, along with the information about whether or not they have ALT texts associated with them. ALT text is the text description for each of your images, which makes it possible for the search engine crawlers to identify the content in the images.
Search engine crawlers are amazing at recognizing, understanding, and indexing text content from your website. But, they are not capable of recognizing your images. While they can index them, they sure will not know what those images are. In the event that search engine users are looking for images related to your website topic, then the search engine will not know to give them your image, no matter how perfectly your image matches their search query.
ALT texts prevent all of this from happening. Your ALT text for each image should accurately describe what is in the image in as few words as possible. ALT text is not to be confused with a caption. The caption is what you use to recognize internally on your WordPress platform or your servers. Better ALT text means better crawling by search engines, which means better page rankings. So, if you see any links to images in the Missing ALTs section, then add ALT text to them immediately.
Here, you can check a variety of information regarding the web server where your website is hosted. It provides you with general server information like Nameserver, server status, the server’s IP address, and even the geographical location of the server, down to the city.
You can regularly check whether your server is up and running smoothly or not. If your customers or visitors are having a problem accessing your website, then this is the first place you check for more information. If the Server Status is showing as Up/Running, and your website users are still finding it hard to access it, then it could be because of many factors such as slow internet speed of the user, low bandwidth of the server and high website traffic, and so on.
Your server’s location and its speed are also crucial for the search engines. For any reason, if your website users are having a bad experience on your site, then Google is smart enough to recognize that and lower your search engine rankings. Therefore, your web server should always be up and running, have good bandwidth, and hosted on a trustworthy server.
This section offers you all the basic information you need about your domain name. Domain name is the human-readable address of your website, which the users can use to visit your website. It has very little effect on your website’s Google rankings, but try to purchase a second-hand domain as it drives more traffic than a fresh domain.
Once the domain is registered, you check the registrar name, which is basically the agency with which your domain name is currently parked. You can also check out the contact details you have shared with the registrar, including your or your company’s name, address, and phone number. You will even find the information on when your particular domain was first created under the Domain Created heading. If you purchased your domain from a previous owner, then the Domain Created head will display the time when the domain was created for the first time. Further, a Domain Expiry head will provide you information on when the domain will expire.
Domain Privacy is another important feature in the Domain Registration section. It displays whether your domain privacy has been enabled or disabled. If you wish to keep the contact details that you shared with the domain registrar private, then you should enable domain privacy.
Alexa is a website popularity tracking service that was acquired by Amazon. It offers a variety of metrics and statistics to understand the popularity of a website. Its most popular metric being “Alexa Rank”, which ranks the sites according to the number of visitors they attract. It might not be possible for most users to plow through a multitude of these metrics and numbers. Therefore, the Alexa section here simplifies everything and presents to the user in an easily understandable format.
The Alexa section simply displays the popularity of your website as low, medium or high. This saves you precious time that you would instead have spent on understanding a multitude of Alexa metrics. The Alexa ranking is useful because it helps you track the SEO performance of your website on a global scale.
Good SEO practices require a variety of tools and technologies to implement. Whether you have a custom-built website from the ground up or have built one on WordPress or similar platforms, you make use of multiple technologies, whether you know it or not. The Technology section gives you a comprehensive list of the various tools and technologies that you have integrated with your website. Sometimes, they even go beyond SEO.
One of the tools that you could be using is Google Analytics. To integrate the tool, you would be required to enter the unique code from your Google Analytics account into your website code. Another technology that websites, especially those involved in eCommerce, make use of is an SSL certification. An SSL certificate encrypts all the sensitive information shared by your website users so that their data is not accessible to hackers or middlemen (like payment gateways for instance) on the internet.
The Technology section gives you an insight into what other tools and technologies your website could be using.
Usability refers to the ease of use of your website by your visitors.
SEO is a powerful tool which, when used correctly, can generate massive amounts of traffic to your website. However, converting visitors into paying customers, subscribers, contributors, and other such active users is a different ballgame altogether. Your conversion rate (the ratio of visitors converted to total visitors) will be largely dependent on other factors such as usability of your website, usefulness of your website, relevance, and so on.
Usability of your website can be improved by following simple guidelines released by many experts in the field. For instance, it is far easier for your visitors to remember links to your website if the URLs are shorter. If they are coming to your website directly by typing your domain address in the address bar of a browser, then your job is to make their work easier. The shorter the URL, the easier it is for them. Then there is the Favicon. Many internet users have the habit of opening dozens of tabs in their browsers. The easiest way to recognize where the tab for your website is located among all those tabs is through Favicons.
There are many things like these that have a very small impact individually, but they are a powerful force when combined. Together, they improve the usability of your website significantly.
The URLs are an important factor used by search engines to rank your website. A descriptive URL that concisely gives an idea of what is in its web page is likely to be ranked higher by search engines. Google’s webmaster guidelines also specify the harm that parameters in URLs can do to your website. Parameters in URLs generate an endless number of clone web pages, which make it difficult for search engine crawlers to index them. They may even completely prevent your web pages from indexing. In the URL section, you can check whether the effectiveness of your URLs is being compromised by any such factor.
Search engines consider http://seojuicer.com and http://www.seojuicer.com as two different domains. This can potentially lead to many problems, especially with your search engine rankings. If you are using both formats to create backlinks to your website from other websites, then the recommendation benefit you are getting from those websites gets split between these two versions of the websites. This costs your website immensely, in terms of search engine rankings. To avoid such confusion, you need to redirect all the links of one domain format, say non-www, to the other domain format. WWW format domains are preferred for many reasons, and therefore it is standard practice to redirect all non-www links to their www format links.
This section informs you whether the links from your non-preferred domain have been redirected or not.
Mobile internet users are in the majority now. Roughly 60% of all internet searches now originate from mobile devices. So, if you only optimize your website for laptops and desktops, you will be ignoring approximately 60% of your potential visitors. You can ensure that your website is user-friendly to mobile phone users by following some standard guidelines.
The Mobile Preview section gives you an idea of how your website looks when accessed on a smartphone or a tablet. Things that you take for granted with desktop users do not apply to mobile users. For instance, pop-ups can become exceptionally frustrating to close on mobile devices. The user’s device may not have a flash plugin to run your flash content. What if your buttons are so close together that the user’s finger is clicking on multiple buttons simultaneously? You can avoid this issue by designing your website for fat fingers. Make use of the industry’s best practices to ensure that your website is mobile friendly.
Once you have implemented all the mobile friendly design elements, use the Mobile Preview option to check whether your website looks and works well on mobile devices.
Social Media is an indispensable element of SEO. Social media platforms offer both organic and inorganic options for driving up your website traffic. But, that is only just a small part of what they do. They offer a platform where brands and companies have open conversations with their audience regarding what are their needs and wants. They give businesses an opportunity to engage their audience, learn from them and then streamline their business strategy – everything from marketing and sales to product development – based on the insights gathered from their audience on social media.
Engagement with the audience on social media drives traffic to your website and with that, your website’s search engine ranking. In addition, good SEO practices will lead your website users to your social pages, where you can interact with them more honestly. Together, this creates a virtuous cycle that leads to more sales, subscriptions, signups, and so on.
You can get a glimpse of the status and performance of all your social media pages in the Social Media section with one quick look.
Art of the MOOC
A free massive open online course and art project by Pedro Lasch, co-taught by Nato Thompson. Co-produced by Duke University and Creative Time.