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Has this module highlighted issues with your website or SEO work but you don't know how to resolve them?
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SEO Basics Course. Module 9
Being Secure, Fast and Readable
OK lets recap!
In Module 1 we looked at SEO Scams and Cons so you can avoid the companies that could cause your website considerable harm.
Module 2 covered personalized search so you don't make the very common mistake made by many website owners and think you have good rankings when you don't!
In Module 3 we saw how Search Engines go about deciding who should be in their Search Results Pages and in what order they should rank.
Module 4 was all about how you can decide what you want to rank for in the SERPs so you don't waste your time trying to compete with much larger players or ranking for phrases no one searches!
Module 5 outlined how we can help search engines understand the basic structure of our website.
In Module 6 we went through how to check if the key elements of a web page are optimized.
In Module 7 we got to grips with how to audit and optimize our code without needing to know anything about programming to ensure it is correctly marked up for search engine bots to read and understand clearly.
Module 8 was all about structuring the pages of a website so search engines can understand the topic areas in which the site excels.
In Module 3 we said good rankings depend on being relevant to a search term and having authority for that search term but there is one more important factor . Accessibility.
The three key parts to this are:
One. Are your pages secure?
Two. How clear is your content.
And Three. how fast does your content load
We'll cover all three of these in this module
First security. Your website is secure if you see a little padlock in the address bar and your urls start https.
If your website does not have this you will need an SSL. Your hosting provider should be able to set this up for you or most SSL retailers provide a step by step guide if you need to do it yourself. There are links below this video and in the module text to some popular hosting providers who can do the setup on your behalf and SSL providers if your current host can't do it.
Next up, readability. Is your website easy to view in all devices. At all orientations?
Its important to note here that even though your visitors may access your website via a computer, tablet or smartphone, major search engines are only interested in how well it performs on mobile devices. An approach known as Mobile First Indexing.
So how can you check your website.
1. Open a page on your website using Google Chrome, we'll use our how to be a carpenter website to demonstrate this.
2. In Windows: Press Ctrl, Shift and I (all at the same time). On a Mac: Press Cmd + Opt + I (all at the same time)
3. A new window will appear at the bottom or to the right of the screen
4. Look for the Toggle device toolbar icon and left click on it
5. A small bar will appear just above your website.
6. You can also see the screen size has changed and our website is starting to fall apart.
7. If we Click the 'Responsive' text and select iphone X we can see that the website is looking hopeless for users of this device. We'll need to fix it if we want good rankings in the search results.
To be mobile friendly you also need to ensure you use text which is large enough to be easily readable and use font colors that have a strong enough contrast with their background color to be clear.
We'll see how you can test your pages for this in a moment but first lets talk about page loading speed. How long it takes from clicking a link to your website in the search results to seeing the content of your page.
This is measured in two ways. First Paint. The time it takes for something to appear giving the user a sense that your website is actually working. Time To Interactive. The time it takes for the page to be ready to use. So main content loaded, links are clickable, etc.
So how can you test your fonts and your load speeds? Luckily Google provides a free to use audit tool called Lighthouse.
To use it open a page from your website in Google Chrome and, as we did before, press Ctrl, Shift and I all at the same time.
In the toolbar that opens we're looking for the Audit option in the top right. If it isn't there you might need to click the double arrows to find it.
There is a huge amount in Google Lighthouse but don't let it distract you. We only want the SEO audit to check text sizing, the Accessibility report for Text and Background contrast and the Performance report for loading speed.
The remaining parts of the audit are for a more advanced SEO course.
The results of the audit will tell you if you need to adjust your text size, reported in the audit as font size, and if there is a strong enough contrast between your font colors and their backgrounds.
If the website you are working on has issues here and you are not sure how to resolve them there is a section at the end of this video with how to suggestions.
OK, on to page loading Speeds. There are multiple actions you can take.
Start by contacting your hosting provider and asking them:
are my pages served with gzip
are my pages using the http2 protocol
does my site use cached content.
These are all technical aspects of a website server. You don't need to understand their ins and outs but if your hosting provider answers no to any of these questions and cannot resolve them ... move your website to a host that can.
There are links below this video and in the module text to hosts which can set up your server to tick all three of these requirements which can radically increase the speed at which your pages load.
Next up in reducing load time is reducing the file sizes of your images. First you can do this with software such as PhotoShop which you can subscribe to in the cloud for around $10 per month. There are plenty of tutorials online which will take you through how you can use it to achieve substantial reductions in your image file sizes without loosing any noticeable quality.
Second install Jquery Lazyload. This makes sure only images above the fold are loaded initially. What's above the fold? Its whatever is visible to a visitor when they first open a page.
Lazy load will load images below the fold only when visitors start scrolling towards them. With less to load at the start your page loads faster.
Many platforms such as WordPress offer this as a plugin so no technical skills are needed.
Finally consider a Content Delivery Network like KeyCDN or Stackpath. What do these do?
Let's say you host your website on a server in New York. That means all the content, including large files like images, is located there. Now let's say someone in Perth, Australia wants to see your content. All the files have to be sent half way around the world.
Content Delivery Networks keep certain parts of your website, like images, on numerous servers around the world. So now when your Perth visitor wants to see your site these parts are sent from somewhere nearby slicing vital time off your loading speed!
CDNs are usually charged for as maintaining multiple servers globally is costly but pricing is normally graded depending on how busy your website is.
You can find a list of the more popular, high speed and reliable CDNs below this video and in the module text.
Offering secure content that displays clearly in mobile devices and loads fast are key parts of SEO and more often than not you won't need technical knowledge to make them happen.
This is the final part of On-Page SEO, next we'll move on to Off-Page SEO and that all important question ... How do you become an authority?
Has this video highlighted issues with your SEO work or with a website you are working on but you don't know how to resolve them?
There are simply too many ways a website can be built for us to offer a comprehensive how to part to these tutorials however we would recommend the following steps.
Google it! If you know what platform your website is built on (say XCart or Wordpress) just try googling what you need. For example "How to make WordPress urls SEO friendly" to find out how you can make changes to the urls of your WordPress based site.
You'll be surprised how often issues have already been resolved by others and sometimes they have even created plugins so you can make the changes you need to without needing any technical skills.
If this doesn't resolve your issue you probably will need the help of a programmer. In this case see the 'Need Help' link below this video or in the module text for options.
That was module nine, being secure, fast and readable Next up Module ten, becoming an authority, and, as they always say at the end of these videos, if you like what you saw, remember to subscribe.