For many creatives, managing website SEO – search engine optimization – is alien. However, SEO is incredibly important if you want people to actually see your work. It is not enough just to choose the best web hosting service and create a beautiful portfolio website. People also need to be able to find your website if they are looking for work like yours.
This guide highlights 15 website SEO tips that can help you get more eyes on your creative website.
01. Optimize your pictures
Most creative professionals’ websites are filled with pictures. However, if your images are not optimized for web presentation, they can slow down your page as they load. This can affect the ranking of your website in Google searches.
Rather than uploading photos and design files that are megabytes in size, your goal should be to upload files that are no larger than 2,500 pixels on the long edge. That’s more than enough to appear in high resolution on any computer screen.
02. Add alt text
(Photo credit: WordPress)
You can also help your website rank in search engines by adding alternate text (alternative text) or captions to your images. The alt text tells Google the content of your photo so that your visual content can be cataloged in search results.
Describe the content of your image with a maximum of 125 characters and make sure you include some keywords for your website. Just avoid using the same keywords repeatedly for each image as search engines may call you for keyword stuffing.
03. Use titles and descriptions
The title and description of your page will be displayed to viewers by Google and other search engines. So these lines don’t just need to show the keywords that are relevant to your creative niche. You also need to attract visitors to click on your website as you scroll through search results.
Keep your page title between 30 and 60 characters. Descriptions should contain between 70 and 140 characters.
04. Write a copy on your homepage
(Image credit: Scott Kranz)
If your homepage is filled with images and no text, search engines will find it difficult to read. For this reason it is important to have at least one written copy on your homepage. A brief description of your activity or a preview of your About page can go a long way in improving your website’s search results.
05. Focus on your info page
(Image credit: tower)
On most creative websites, the info page is the second most visited page, just behind the home page. Optimization allows visitors to stay on your website longer. This is seen by search engines as a sign that your website is high quality.
Make sure you include a picture of yourself and a brief but detailed explanation of who you are and what type of work you are doing. This is also a great opportunity to find keywords related to your niche.
06. Fix broken links
Pages on the internet move over time. This can lead to broken links, especially in older blog posts. Every time your website contains a broken link, your page ranking will drop only slightly.
Fortunately, updating or removing broken links is straightforward. Just use an online tool like Dead Link Checker to spot links that are no longer working across your entire website.
07. Add an SSL certificate
An SSL certificate ensures that visitors are safe when connecting to your website. If your website doesn’t have an SSL certificate, it will likely be downgraded by search engines.
Most of the best web hosts come with a free SSL certificate when you sign up for a hosting plan. If you don’t already have a certificate, you can get a free certificate from Let’s Encrypt. Your web host should have detailed instructions to walk you through the installation process.
08. Connect to a CDN
(Image credit: CloudFlare)
A content delivery network (CDN) creates copies of your website on servers around the world. This is a good thing for your website SEO as it speeds up page loading for visitors, which puts a heavy load on search engines in ranking. Cloudflare offers a free CDN, and there are many other free providers as well.
09. Start a blog
Starting a blog is one of the best things you can do for your website’s SEO. This gives you the opportunity to add more content and photos to your work, and you can write a copy that has a ton of keywords in it. Better still, high quality blog content can help you keep visitors to your website, which will improve your website’s ranking in search engine algorithms.
10. Do keyword research
(Photo credit: Google)
Keywords are the words and phrases visitors look for when they search for websites like yours. While some keywords relevant to your website may be obvious, researching them can help you find those that aren’t. You can use the Google Search Console to see what keywords are typically searched for when they find your website.
11. Add testimonials and reviews
Testimonials and customer ratings give your website more credibility in the eyes of visitors and search engines. You can get the most out of customer reviews by creating a Google My Business account and then asking customers to write reviews for your business through Google.
12. Build backlinks
Backlinks are links from other websites to your own. When backlinks come from reputable websites with lots of traffic, they increase the legitimacy of your website in the eyes of search engines. You can create backlinks by blogging as a guest or sharing your work. Monitor Backlinks is a service that enables you to track backlinks to your website.
13. Create a sitemap
A sitemap is a digital map of your website that Google and other search engines can use to index it. This will ensure that all of your pages and content will show up in search results. You can easily create and submit a sitemap for your website using the Google Search Console.
14. Put in your 404 page
(Image credit: Delaware Sea Grant)
It’s easy to forget your 404 page. This is where visitors end up when they try to visit a page that no longer exists on your website. However, the 404 page can be a chance to redirect visitors to the rest of your website and even hit some keywords. Check out some of our favorite 404 pages for some entertaining examples.
15. Connect to Google Analytics
(Photo credit: Google)
With Google Analytics, you can see how visitors are finding your website and which pages they visit most often. Connecting to Google Analytics won’t improve your SEO on its own. But it will help you see which SEO changes are working and which pages on your website need improvement.