We all know that Google has made many changes in 2013. From completely blocking keyword data, to dealing with the Google zoo (Hummingbird, Penguin, and Panda) of algorithm updates and changes we know one thing for certain in SEO. We know that things will change. Matt Cutts of Google recently shared that Google changes search about two times a day (665 times in 2012). So with all of this change how do we know what elements are essential to SEO? That’s what I want to focus on today, SEO essentials. Before we dig into all of these essentials I want to point out that there are two essentials that will never change. Content will always be the most important SEO element followed closely by the user experience your site provides. If those two things are not in order everything else listed here will not matter.
The SEO Classics
As we said before, change is the only thing we can be sure of, but some things never get old. Think about popular music. No matter how produced and electronic it gets there will always be an appeal to cranking up a guitar and banging on some drums. The SEO equivalent to drums and guitars (although arguably not as cool) would be the Title Tag and the Meta Description. No matter how much things change these two elements remain important. The Title Tag and Meta Description may have less impact today than it did 10 years ago but I would still say you don’t want to publish a blog without them.
- Title Tag- The Title Tag is the lead guitar player of the SEO classics. The title tag may not have the hardest job but it may be the most glamorous. The title tag appears in three major places. Search engine results pages, browser tabs, and when you site is shared on social media your title tag will appear as the link to your site.
- Title tags should be 70 characters or less
- Title tags should provide a good introduction to your content
- Title tags are a great opportunity to brand your content
- For example the title tag for this post will be- SEO Essentials: Don’t Publish a Blog Without Them | Vivid Image Blog
- Title Tags should be unique for every page on your site. Never duplicate them.
- Meta Descriptions- The Meta Description is easily the drummer of the SEO classics. Meta Descriptions don’t receive the high profile love that the Title Tag does. However Meta Descriptions do some pretty heavy lifting when it comes to getting traffic to your site. Meta Descriptions can sometimes appear in the search results as the summary of your content, they can also appear as the summary of your content on social media.
- Meta Descriptions should be 160 characters or less (some say 150 characters or less).
- They should provide the reader with a good summary of your content and give the reader a reason to click and read the rest
- Meta Descriptions should be unique for every page on your site. Never duplicate them
Follow the Leader
There are many other SEO essentials to be aware of. If you have not gotten to know Authorship yet I would recommend you get to know that today. It is also important to identify your brand as a verified publisher (something we can discuss later) and finally get to know about structure data (also for another post). When all else fails I turn to Google Webmaster Tools and Bing Webmaster Tools. Those two tools provide valuable insight on how to make your site more search engine friendly.
Feel free to share your comments below. I would love to hear what your predictions are for the new SEO essentials of 2014.