Fully understanding website SEO for freelance writers
September 28, 2019
If you have a crappy website — poor layout, slow loading, hard to maneuver and read and gawd forbid, not responsive — visitors are going to take one click and leave you with a very high bounce rate. Not only should visitors leaving be a concern, the reaction of search engines like Google, Bing and Yandex should also matter.
At that point, there’s no amount of kick-ass content that will save your soul, or your website from search engine demotion. It is imperative that you, as a freelance writer, as a content provider, as a website owner, understand the full concept of SEO, Search Engine Optimization.
I have yet to meet anyone (in person) that fully understands the SEO concept. I still see it on freelance writing job boards. Clients posting their job description that highlights over and over again the importance of word-SEO, but never do they take into consideration that while the SEO of content is important, the technical SEO of their website, where that content will be posted, is even more important.
How do I start SEO for my website?
As search engines modernize and Internet users become more and more portable, you will be left behind if your website is not only up to par, but exceeding it. The structure and functionality of a website is the blood, the life of the site that matters most.
For example, websites that are now AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) get search engine result preferences. Athough AMP is not currently “mandatory” like other website features, it is a good idea to implement AMP on your site before it does become mandatory, this way, you can grow along with the changes instead running a bit behind in a bid to try and keep up.
Less than two years ago, websites that passed the Page Speed Test were given that same preference. Now, passing that test really doesn’t mean much with highly modernized, lightening speed page loading websites leading the way through AMP.
While speed is definitely a technical SEO factor to consider, there are several other factors you need to implement, not consider, but implement if you want to have a site worthy of search engine recognition.
Here are three extremely important technical SEO factors for your website today:
HTTPS: About two years ago, search engines gave everyone a heads up about https becoming mandatory. In case you don’t know, https stands for Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure, which is an extension of the Hypertext Transfer Protocol, the regular http: you saw before a website address.
Https is used for secure communication over a computer network, which has become one of most important “basic” requirements for a website due to privacy concerns. If you have not converted your old http: into https:, you need to do it today. Websites that still use http: come up with a warning to the user that the site is not secure, something that is not exactly inviting for your Internet guests.
Robots.txt is another overlooked SEO factor for websites. Robots.txt is a text file created to tell search engine robots how to crawl the posts and pages of your website. Not having a properly working robots.txt file means search engines cannot find your website, which means no indexing for you.
If you are a user of webmaster tools such as Google Console and you’ve ever received an indexing error, which to me is the equivalent as the “white screen of death” (a dead site is dead site whether it’s non-indexable or it just disappears), it is usually in your robots.txt file. Having this properly coded is a major part of your site’s SEO.
Mobility: One additional mandatory website feature you must have to be considered for search engine returns is mobility, or responsiveness. Having a non-mobile or non-responsive website is like having a new MP3 song and an old eight-track player to play it on (if you’re old enough to remember eight-tracks).
Not only do they not go together, the eight-track does not work with today’s modern technology. You must have a website that is CSS written to accommodate all mobile devices including phones and tablets, while still functioning perfectly on desktops and laptops.
These are the three most basic technical SEO must-haves to ensure your website exists and your content is found, indexed and returned in search engine results.