Everyone claim to be SEO friendly these days, but is that just tech speak, or is there something to it? (and what is it?)
The short answer – yes, being SEO friendly is important, as it’s the foundation for all your other efforts.
Before we go any further…
What is the difference between SEO friendly and SEO Optimized.
- Being SEO friendly is a measure of readiness. It’s like being in your car, with your seatbelt on, your bags are packed in the trunk, there’s a full tank of gas and you’re in park. You aren’t going anywhere, but you’re ready for an adventure.
- Being SEO optimized is a measure of direction. It’s like taking a trip to Lake Tahoe for your adventure. You have your tire chains ready, and the seat warmers are turned on.
If you’re SEO friendly, you’ll be ready to optimize for any direction you want.
But if you aren’t SEO friendly, and you start your adventure – you’ll end up having to stop for gas, you might get pulled over and penalized for not wearing a seatbelt, you’ll get stuck on the side of the snowy mountain without your tire chains. You’ll make it eventually… but it won’t be an easy trip.
That’s why it’s important for your website to be SEO friendly.
It makes optimization much easier.
I’ve found that there are roughy 6 ingredients that contribute to how SEO friendly your website is. If you don’t have all 6 of these ingredients, then you’re limiting your Google rankings and shouldn’t spend any money on SEO until these things get taken care of.
It’s like thinking you can go compete in a weightlifting meet without warming up, wearing a full suit, and slippery dress shoes. You might do okay, but nowhere near how well you would have done had you properly warmed up, work the right clothing, and put on your weightlifting shoes.
Not having the right seo foundation will limit your seo performance.
What are the 6 ingredients for being SEO friendly?
Do these in order, and you’ll save yourself some trouble. 🙂 Nothing is more frustrating than having to repeat a step.
- HTTPS traffic (SSL cert installed):
Serving your traffic over HTTPS keeps your visitors information safer, which is important toGoogle first indicated that SSL would be used as a ranking signal in 2014, but when you read their blog post you can see that even then they wanted more priority given to sites that use HTTPS. More recently, SEO expert Neil Patel has weighed in with a data-driven analysis that shows that sites that use HTTPS do see an increase in traffic.If you’re hosting with a company like WPEngine, you can get a Free SSL cert installed quickly and easily.
With more than half of your traffic coming from mobile devices, having a responsive website helps make sure the layout modified to fit your device. This helps ensure that the users’ mobile experience is positive.Because who wants to look at a tiny website that was shrunk down to fit your cellphone screen?Most of the time, this is a foundational feature of your website theme – so if your site isn’t mobile-friendly, then it’s time for a website redesign.
- Page Speed Optimized:
It takes roughly 3 seconds for the average website visitor to decide whether they’ll stay on a site or not. If your site is taking longer than 2 seconds to load, then a lot of people will hit the back button and keep searching. Google sees that “bounce” and uses it as a ranking factor.Sites that take a long time to load tend to have high bounce rates.Sites that have high bounce rates tend to rank lower.
You can test your page speed at Pingdom.com. Pay attention to the “Load time”, the “Page size”, and the “Requests”.
You’l want to aim for a Page size of under 2mb, a load time of under 2 seconds, and keeping requests low (50-90 is reasonable).
- Google Analytics Setup:
If you aren’t tracking what’s going on, you won’t know what to measure for success.It’s generally best to make sure Google Analytics are setup before you do any real search engine optimization, as it will help give you a baseline of website performance. Then, you’ll be able to see how traffic increases as you work on SEO.You can setup Google Analytics here.
- Google Search Console Setup:
One of the best Free tools out there to make sure you’re working well with Google’s search is the Google Search Console.Within the search console you can find out what pages on your site have been indexed in Google, see any indexing problems, and even see what search queries any of your pages are getting ranked for (and where in the rankings you show up).It’s like getting a peek inside of the Google black box.
- XML Sitemap submitted:
Now that you’ve got the Google Search Console setup, it’s time to make sure that Google knows what pages you want indexed. Most of the time, Google will take a guess – but isn’t it always a better idea to be more direct?An XML sitemap is something your WordPress website should create on it’s own, and it includes a formatted list of all the pages, blog post and other content types that you’ve created. If you’re using an seo plugin like Yoast, your sitemap URL will be your website address plus “/sitemap_index.xml” at the end.You’ll want to submit this sitemap within the Google Search Console to start the indexing process.
You’re done! Your website is now SEO friendly.
You’re now playing by the rules with Google.
You’re ready to start optimizing your gym website for specific keywords.
You’re ready to start seeing more traffic.