What I've learned about SEO
SEO or search engine optimization is an important step in creating a website. If a site is built but cannot be found does it even exist? We all know what happens when we search something online. We go to our favorite search engine (Google, Yahoo!, Bing etc.) and type in what it is we are looking for. If what we're looking for isn't on the front page - or even on the top few choices - there's a good chance it's going to be overlooked.
How to improve your SEO?
Working our way from the top down, let's start with meta tags. The role of meta tags in the browser is to provide information to search engines and website visitors. These little guys can be found in the <head> section of your website. Basically they are the key thing that search engines are going to look at to see what your site is all about. A few crucial tags that are being used in 2019 by the major players:
Title Tag - Provides the title of your site. This title tag is then used on the top of your browser window and it is what is shown when you search for your site. Ideally you would like to keep this between 55-60 characters long to keep Google happy.
Meta Description - This meta tag does what you assume it would do, provide a description of what type of website this is. There isn't a recommended length to this but here are a few rules to live by: Don't duplicate descriptions on each page. Make sure each page description is unique. Add a clear Call-To-Action in your description.
Canonical Tag - This HTML tag will provide search engines with the main page address to avoid indexing at the wrong location
Robots Meta Tag - Provides web crawlers with instructions to either follow/index or not follow/index pages
Social Media Meta - Also known as open graph promotes integration between your site and popular social sites like Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, etc. This is where they get information to display when your site is shared on their platform. Make sure you have a title, description, and photo that will be available to make your link more attractive to get more clicks.
Responsive Design Meta - Let the web crawlers know that your site is responsive! Old outdated sites that look poorly on multiple clients will be dropped in favor of mobile responsive sites.
Wheww that's it, right?
Nope! There is a lot of information that gets considered when search engines rank sites. Besides having all the proper tags in the <head> it also helps to have the following:
No extra unnecessary bulk. All those extra unnecessary plugins, css libraries, fonts you aren't using, etc. are slowing down your site. By removing these the internet Gods will thank you
Link out to other sites. Believe it or not that's what the original idea was behind websites. The early websites were basically a way of organizing different pages by linking relevant content to each other.
Alt text - Provide images with an alt text (alternative text that displays if the image is broken, wont load or user is using a screen reader)
Proper heading level fonts - Make sure your page is using the correct HTML tags for headings. Having multiple <h1> on the same page is confusing for search crawlers as they are having a hard time finding out the main purpose of that page.
Theres a zillion other things you can do, too. Check out 101 Quick & Actionable SEO Tips That Are HUGE for a few more ideas