Give your optimized pages the biggest boost they can get
Before we conclude, here are a few more tips worth knowing:
Regularly update your content
Search engines like fresh content, so it’s important to update your pages on a regular basis. When webpages are close competitors in the search results pages, the freshness and frequency of updates are additional factors that search engines consider. The more dynamic, up-to-date pages will be given priority.
Maintain an up-to-date sitemap file
A sitemap is an XML file containing all the URLs in your site, and how they are structured. Search engines use sitemap files to help them crawl websites more effectively. Google provides a list of links to sitemap generators of various types here.
When you initially create your sitemap, and then every time you update it thereafter, you should submit it to each search engine (Google, Bing, etc.). Refer to each search engine’s directions for doing so (or you can wait for the sitemap file to be rescanned automatically, though it will take longer to get scanned).
Use canonical tags for duplicate content
Although we mentioned earlier that you should avoid having multiple pages with overlapping content, sometimes you need to do this. In such situations, it is important to prevent Google from penalizing pages with duplicate content by specifying which page is the primary, or authoritative one.
This is done using a tag that looks like this, placed within the page’s <head> section: <link rel=”canonical” href=”https://www.domain.com/authoritative- page-URL”/> (make sure to specify the absolute, not relative, path). This tells Google to show the primary page in search results, without penalizing either page, take advantage of this advice for best SEO results.
This is a major topic in and of itself, and is beyond the scope of this guide. However, we would be remiss if we didn’t mention the great importance of having links coming (“inbound”) to your website from other websites.
Pages to which other sites link, especially if the link text used contains keywords for which the target page is optimized, are a powerful indicator to search engines that the page is valuable to other people.
An interesting piece of search engine trivia: tracking and analyzing inbound links – and not just the page content itself – was the key innovation that allowed Google to leapfrog – and ultimately eliminate – most of the other existing search engines of that time and to cement its dominance in the search engine space. But, just like on-page optimization, this “off-page” optimization has to be done correctly so that it helps your pages rank higher, instead of possibly hurting them.
Run an occasional SEO audit of your website
There are tools that scan your website to highlight any issues that might be hurting its search results rankings. It’s a good idea to run such an audit after you’ve done your initial optimization project (and occasionally thereafter). Addressing the issues raised might further bump your pages up in search results. You can find a list of recommended SEO audit tools here.