Keep your website in good standing with evergreen SEO tactics.
If you are having challenges keeping track of changing algorithms and don’t have the luxury of time for ongoing work on improving your website, here are some tips that could help keep your website up to date.
What makes Search Engine Optimization mysterious
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the process of making your website ‘readable’ by search engines so that it is searchable by your potential visitor/customer. The challenge faced by SEO practitioners like myself is the mystery surrounding the exact criteria by search engines for websites to rank.
Over the years, website owners have been using all sorts of strategies to ‘game’ the system. This has led the largest search engine, Google, to constantly improve its search engines to prevent this.
That is the reason why Google has never publicly published its search engine ranking factors. From what I’ve read, there are over 200 criteria with varying weightage – though it has never been officially confirmed. Google’s algorithm is also undergoing changes all the time. To get an idea of how these changes can affect websites, check SEMRush’s Volatility Sensor by category.
Do SEO once and you’re done?
I often get asked if I can SEO a website and make magic happen. A site audit is the first process before any SEO work can be done. Upon completion of a site audit, there will be suggestions on what needs to be done, estimated time frame, and deliverables.
There is no magic about SEO. It is important to make sure that the foundations are configured and set up properly. You can then work on technical SEO, backlinks, interlinks, content, conversion (CRO), etc.
Yes, it is possible to do it once. But it is also advisable to constantly review your website, improve on the technicalities, functionalities, and content and monitor the changes.
Evergreen SEO tactics
I approach SEO in a very simplistic manner. I focus on creating websites that help web visitors find answers that they want. I work on UI, UX, CRO, technical SEO, and content marketing in a holistic manner to create websites that visitors like and provide results that the website owner wants.
I’ve always believed in a few key principles in doing SEO. These are what I term “good website practices”. If you build a website focusing on your visitor’s needs, it is very hard to go wrong. If you are building a website for the sole purpose of ranking in search engines, that is when you will always get slapped with the slightest changes.
These evergreen SEO tactics remain relevant irrespective of algorithm changes:
Use of proper headers
I’ve seen one too many of using multiple H1 and H2 headers in a non-logical manner. Headers help search engines understand the relevance of your content, so keep your main topics in those headers. Only one H1 is the best practice and use H2 sparingly according to your content.
Don’t use headers on tags
It is so easy to use Headers as a way to resize and bold fonts for tags but that just makes it uber-difficult to create a proper focus for your content. An example will be using headers for navigation, footer text, headlines for forms, etc. You can easily style your fonts using other methods without using headers.
Specify the size of all your images
Make sure you have “width” and “height” specified for all your images. If you switch your WYSIWYG to HTML editor, you can see whether your images have the above specified. Get it coded in because it helps to minimize the loading time of your website. The faster your website loads, the better it is. If you want to learn more about Core Web Vitals and website speed, there are plenty of other readings on the internet.Resize & compress your images and use web efficient formats
It is easy (& lazy) to just put whatever image in high-resolution JPG and PNG. All images should be resized to be the smallest size possible. I use TinyPNG to compress my images and then I convert them into WEBP format. On this website, I use an image CDN to serve all images on my website. It is not a requirement if you have fast hosting with huge space. However, if you are using a slower hosting, it may be worth taking the effort to use image CDN to accelerate the loading of your images.
Choose a lean theme
Depending on what you are working on, you can choose a leaner theme. New WordPress theme developers focus on optimizing their codes so that the themes are light and fast. I highly recommend ThemeIsle’s themes as they are updated often, crafted with speed in mind, and are very modern and current in terms of look & feel. Start with a good theme, then the rest will be much easier.
Only use plugins when necessary. It is very tempting to add some flying stuff, pop-ups, sliders, slide-ins, and more. All these additional elements can significantly impact your website’s loading time. A slow website is not going to fare well, both for website visitors and search engines.
Use images strategically
Use images to support your content and not the other way round. It is tempting to add an entire gallery of images without thinking about the impact on your website visitors. I often ask myself – is this image needed? is this image useful in this entire content? what is the value of the image to the entire page? can I use a better image? can I use the image as a way to engage better with visitors? Spend a bit of time thinking about the use of images on your website. Instead of a photo, maybe you can use an icon instead? Icons are much smaller in size, load fast, and sometimes deliver your message better.
Website visitors’ behaviors are constantly evolving. Gone are the day when long articles are read word by word. Most of the time, your content will be skimmed through. The first sentence and first paragraph should ideally be a factor to entice someone to continue reading. Provide TLDR or Table of Contents for all your articles because it makes it so much easier for visitors to skip to the content.
Call To Action (CTA)
What action do you want people to take? Be 100% clear about it. Some people say forms on the top works best, right works wonders, bottom are perfect. I would say… it depends. Test it out and you’ll know what works best for you. What is more important is to make sure that you have clear CTAs on all your key pages and blog post. You need to guide your visitors to do what you want them to do.
Title Tag & Meta Description
It is said that title tag and meta description are not SEO ranking factor. However people still take great pains to craft these two pieces of content. I do the same. Title tag and meta description are mostly (not always the case) used by search engines in their SERPs (Search Engine Results Page). You want to influence the search engine to display the right info about your content. Though it doesn’t directly influence ranking, it helps your visitor understand what your page is about and hopefully get them to click.
Do not overoptimised
It is very easy to get carried away and accidentally over optimised your content, title, description, images etc. An example will be an over zealous use of keywords in your content. Using keywords naturally throughout your content.
Creating multiple content that is somewhat similar isn’t going to help your website rank better. You are basically cannibalising your own opportunity to rank. That’s why sometimes, it is worth deleting almost similar or duplicate content to allow your pages to rank. This however doesn’t work in all cases. Review your stats carefully and make a decision. Then monitor the progress. Diversify your content. Give value. Don’t try to trick the system.
Set up trackings
Make sure you set up Google Analytics (please use GA4) and Google Search Console for starters. Use Google Tag Manager to set up all your tracking codes. I realised that using GTM is way easier because you can add/remove/pause any tracking codes with much ease. You can also defer GA to when the page loads, to improve the initial load time of your website. Similarly if you have chat box, other tracking codes (eg. Facebook pixel, LinkedIn pixel etc), you can defer them to after the page loads to reduce the loading time.
Set up Google Business Profile
Formerly Google My Business, this is important for local SEO. Though not much hoo-haa in Asia, this tool helps people find you in Google Maps and (sometimes) search results. I would highly recommend all businesses to use this freely available tool to put your business out there, share updates, showcase your product, and let people reach out to you.
Even the most seasoned SEO professional can miss out key areas. I audit my sites regularly to make sure that I don’t accidentally leave things untouched. It can be simple things like forgetting to put a title, not having a H1, a broken page, an old page that is forgotten, etc. Keep your website lean. Help search engines to index your website properly by putting all the right signals in your website.
Focus on visitor
Build your website for your visitors, not for search engines. Your content, approach, layout, color and everything else should focus on your visitor’s needs. If you can give your visitors real value, you will have a longer dwell time and repeat visits which will give search engines a positive signal. A website with good content can sometimes surpass all the small SEO mistakes you make.
There are a lot of new platforms to market yourself. Don’t limit yourself. My advise is to follow the latest trends and diversify your exposure. Use YouTube videos, shorts, Instagram, IG reels, Pinterest, TikTok, etc where appropriate to your business. There are potential customers on all platforms. Hop in now than later.
Evergreen SEO tactics that stands the test of time
SEO is an on-going discipline. There is new things to keep up with all the time! If you do not have an SEO professional assisting you, use the above tactics to keep your website in good standing order. You can’t go wrong when you practice good website building habits.
As a full-time SEO professional, the above are SEO tactics that I use for the websites I manage. The full breadth of work that I do include:
- Reviewing trends in the industry/niche (understanding topics and demand)
- Understanding behaviours in website (use a tool to see how visitors behave), and making tweaks to help improve UIUX
- Review speed, core web vitals and suggestions to improve it (may involve technical tweaks)
- Reviewing the technology used (platform, add-ons/plugins, etc)
- Backlinks and internal links (disavow when needed, review backlinks, improve internal links)
- Review set up of Google Tag Manager, GA, GSC
- Understand goals & objectives of the organisation, then match with CTAs
- Understanding strategy & direction. This forms the foundation of the strategy & content of the website / online efforts (promos, email marketing, social media, etc)
- Check use of images, size, optimisation
- Review content, traffic to each content, identify improvements
- Create content that fits business goals/strategy, that can give results
Besides the above, I also use my skillsets in crafting campaigns, managing emailers, managing websites, running paid campaigns (SEM), reviewing CROs, writing content and creating web images to put everything together holistically. In short, I can be an entire agency myself… hahaha
Having said all that, the value of what I do depends on the results. Sometimes even with very little traffic, I get very high-quality leads that convert easily. This is precisely the reason I focus on generating high-quality traffic and visitors that matter. No point in generating traffic that doesn’t give you results/value/returns. It is also important to remember that SEO is not the magic pill for all businesses.
I hope the above evergreen SEO tactics help you. Feel free to reach out if you have any thoughts on the topic. Happy to learn from others as well. 🙂