6 Things Search Engines Want from Your Content

6 Things Search Engines Want from Your Content image SEO checklistSEO checklistIf you want to rank high with search engines, you have to understand what they want. So with that in mind, here’s a roundup of qualities that search engines look for in websites and your content. When you make sure your site includes these features, you make it as easy as possible for search engines—and, by extension, visitors—to find you.

1. Relevant Keywords

Think about this way: When someone goes to a search engine looking for the services you offer or products you sell, what will he or she search for? Whatever the answer is, those are the terms you need to work into your website. Some of the best places to use keywords are headlines, headings, subheadings, and the first and the last paragraphs of posts. Don’t overdo keyword placement either. Your writing should sound natural, not like it’s being written to trick a computer program.

2. Images They Can Understand

Search engines use complex algorithms to determine which content most closely aligns with a user’s search query—but even with their formulas, search engines can’t see pictures the way people do. That’s why all your images should have relevant ALT and TITLE attributes defined, to let search engines know what users are seeing. To make this process simple, download an app like SEO Friendly Images or All in One SEO Pack. Then, be sure to name your files with descriptive terms that relate to what users might search for to find them.

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3. Speed

Search engines like websites that load quickly. When someone comes to your site, how quickly does the text load? Are there any stalls before images appear? One good way to test your site is through Google’s Page Insights. This tool will evaluate your URL and then provide suggestions for improving speed.

RELATED CLASS: Tomorrow’s SEO: 9 Critical SEO Skills You Need to Succeed

4. Meta Descriptions

Meta descriptions are less about being picked up by search engines and more about being noticed by Web users once you are. When someone searches for terms related to your industry and your site comes up, the meta description is what will appear below your link. It gives users a clue as to what they’ll find by clicking through to your site.

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5. Internal Links

Internal links are links on your site pointing to other content on your site. They build relevance for search, but also they help your readers find additional, valuable content throughout your pages. These are most helpful when they use keywords (rather than words like “this link” or “here”).

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6. External Links

External links are links on your site pointing to content off your site. For the best SEO power, you must use these sparingly—don’t link to any and everything. Your ThoughtsWhat do you think about these qualities as compared to your website? Do they describe your content? If not, what needs to change?

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