No matter what application or platform a website is built in or what product or service a business sells, driving high quality traffic to a website is still the main goal.
The best way to drive quality visitors to your website is by being found in search engines for relevant key terms that potential customers are searching. As you may have noticed from your own behavior on search engines, users rarely go past the first page of search results to find an answer to their question. To even further the challenge of driving traffic to your site via search engines, searchers most frequently only visit the top five results.
So how do you achieve one of these coveted positions in search results? It is through a process known as search engine optimization or SEO. SEO is a process of optimizing your website for target keywords that your customers are searching for so that search engines (such as Google and Bing) will rank you higher in search results.
In this article, I will discuss the importance of content on your SharePoint site and the basic structure of your site pages in regards to SEO. In my next blog, I will discuss the importance of the structure of your SharePoint site and the how social signals impact SEO.
Content is King
Above all, content is king and it will continue to reign over all aspects of SEO. While there are several other steps that you can take to make it easier for search engines to find, crawl, and understand your website, content is still the most critical and important factor for achieving high rankings in search results.
Now, not all content is created equal – new and unique content is preferred by search engines because it signals that you are consistently updating your website and providing valuable information. The best way to begin adding content to your SharePoint site on a regular basis is to add a blog. A blog allows you to display your expertise in your field in a casual, easy to consume and share way.
Basic SEO for Every SharePoint Site
When adding new content to your SharePoint site, it is important to make sure that each page is properly set up for search engines to crawl and understand. For each page on your SharePoint site, make sure you have and optimize the following three items:
- Page Title – Based on a recent study by Searchmetrics, the page title is now a more heavily weighted factor for determining rankings in search results. Each page title should be unique and include the target keywords for which you would like to rank. In addition, page titles should not be longer than 70 characters, so try to put the most important keywords at the beginning.
- Meta Description – While Meta Descriptions no longer have a direct impact on search rankings, they are still largely contribute to the number of users who click on a listing in search results. Google frequently uses a page’s Meta Description as the page snippet displayed in search results. The Meta Description should be used to accurately advertise what information is on the page and attract users to click on the search listing.
- Alt Tags – When Google is crawling pages of a website, it reads only the HTML code. So, when it arrives at an image, it does not read it the same way that you and I do. For example, instead of seeing a picture Cloud, Google sees the following code:
When adding images to your SharePoint site, make sure to always include a description of the image so that Google can both understand and properly index the pictures.
Join me next time as I dive deeper into the different ways that you can optimize your public facing SharePoint site for Search Engines, including the importance of the structure of your SharePoint site and how social plays a role in search rankings.