Improve SEO Ranking

Updated: 12 August 2019

Revision: 10

Daniel Joseph Pezely

Help people find your content, and do this by accommodating where they are likely to initiate their search. Then, help the spyders and algorithms across the various platforms, so these beasts in turn can help those people you are trying to reach.

These are tips and tricks from successful Search Engine Optimization (SEO), including tips for automated Social Media integration for further reach.

This is an amalgamation from different points of view, from practitioners spanning Silicon Valley, Poland’s tech sector, Vancouver and beyond.

Consider this to be the least you need to know and do for a pragmatic approach, such as operating a one-person business or as an independent author. Typically, a company would have a specialist handling all this, so beware that this is merely scratching the surface of many delicate, complicated activities.

N.B., As this is a moving target due to algorithms and heuristics constantly changing among the various service providers, de-prioritize this list further for every month that passes since last updated.


Single Page Apps (SPAs) Rendered In Browser-Side JavaScript

Google is fairly upfront about how they crawl web sites.

For those using JavaScript that gets rendered by the web browser, there’s a section of of their developer website helping you Understand the JavaScript SEO basics.

Note, however, that a significant volume of search traffic goes through Microsoft and other search providers that do not currently render JavaScript.

Most importantly, just because a human would navigate a highly interactive JavaScript-based web page doesn’t mean that the rendering step of the search crawler pipeline would engage with your page as you intended.

As of mid-2019, conventional practice still recommends avoiding use of JavaScript rendering for anything beyond finishing touches such as sorting, alternating highlight/emphasis of rows, etc.

Bottom line: all your content for the page should be on the page when the spyder lands there.

If you’ve already committed to the path of a JavaScript web app, perhaps something like Next.js might help move that rendering back to your servers. (No affiliation.)

Search Engine Ranking Favours Mobile

As of late March 2018, Google’s ranking algorithm favours mobile websites.

There are a few ways to accommodate this for your own website:

The website, for instance, uses a “responsive” approach.

There’s only one set of content pages, but style sheets have rules for small screens versus large ones.

The threshold chosen here was size of a current mini tablet (e.g., 7” iPad). Small tablets and phones are shown content zoomed-in so no magnification required for most. (View top of this file’s HTML source code for the specific bit of markup, viewport set to device-width.)

A second approach would be serving different content to different devices, and a third would be to have separate websites such as, where the letter M is an easy-to-type convention for “mobile” website.

Structure of Your Website

A few minutes of planning your website’s structure can yield substantial dividends of good placement on Search Engine Result Pages (SERP) of Google as well as other search engines such as Yandex (the back-end previously used by DuckDuckGo, for instance).

  1. Google penalizes for slow websites.
  2. Google penalizes for duplicate keywords.
  3. When planning keywords, you are defining a matrix of web pages at the intersection of primary and secondary keyword combinations.
  4. Think in terms of a two dimensional structure:
  5. Use those dimensions to create file names on your website:
  6. Google favours “deep links”, hence “services” in the paths above.
  7. The idea is to accommodate the various “keywords” that someone might use as the essence of their Google search.
  8. There’s no need to worry about common typos, as Google handles that.
  9. Likewise, let Google Search resolve synonyms.
  10. If possible, use a key search term in your domain name:
  11. But if there is important jargon in your particular field, it might be worth creating a “redirect” page (formally, “HTTP 301 Moved Permanently”) to bounce people from a page that uses the typo in its filename to a page named using correct spelling.
  12. Start small such as dozens of pages in total, then increase to hundreds, then possibly thousands of combinations, such as for a merchant catalogue.
  13. “Keep it indexed, keep it unique”
  14. Include more than just a search box on your home page– add actual links for people to browse, and the Google crawler can then find the pages too! It’s good for people and great for search engine ranking.
  15. For links back to your “contact” page that might occur in footer of every page, you can avoid the Google crawler from thinking that it’s link-spam by adding rel=nofollow to the HTML code of each link. (Search for “nofollow” on your hosting provider’s FAQ or Support pages.)
  16. For websites with deep links such as extensive product catalogues with subcategories: keep your filters in the same semantic order or category sequence.
  17. Only add a landing page to this collection only when either it can bring traffic from search or is so unique that Google will love you for it.
  18. Measure your websites ranking over time to track progress.
  19. Keep your domain registration expiration several years into the future; e.g., 5+ years
  20. Register typo domain names, names with/without hyphen, with/without plurals, etc.
  21. Many domain name registrars price their fees in US Dollars, even if displaying in other currencies. Some providers, in no particular order:
  22. You may be able to find deals on domain registration for typo domains by transferring in bulk just before expiration, when another registrar offers deep discounts for new customers.

For additional resources, see:

If low quality websites link into your website, you can disavow those links. Read more.

YouTube & Vimeo

Even if your primary video hosting platform is Vimeo, always upload to YouTube as well for increasing chances for people to discover your works.

For each video hosted on YouTube, Vimeo, etc. and even if embedding videos on your own website:

Social Media as SEO Strategy

Think of social media as increasing opportunities for both people and search engine spyders to find your main content.

If you do nothing else with social media, use automation to push a synopsis or first few sentences– plus link back to your main content– to a wide range of platforms.

That is, use an automated tool such as Sprout Social or Social Report to bulk-schedule what and when to publish to each of your social media accounts. (Note that in 2018, Instagram added a business tier where you can post using social media automation tools; whereas, previously, you could only officially post via their mobile app.)

These accounts should include:

The point here is to consider media where not only your potential audience may be but where the search engine spyders would find it! Prior to Google+ becoming deprecated, that one was extremely important. Even though few people actually used it, the crawlers did.

If you have a location-specific component to your content, also add: Yelp, Meetup, FourSquare, TripAdvisor, etc.

If you’re familiar with the local culture, also consider asking a friend to post your link to Reddit or similar forum.

For text content, use text-to-speech generators (bundled on Mac and Windows, optional on Linux and BSD) to generate video content for YouTube, Vimeo, etc. It helps to have at least one image rather than blank visuals. A talking head (i.e., you) reciting or summarizing the content will perform even better.

That same visual element (picture, informative graphic, title card, etc.) may also be used for Instagram and friends; however, stock imagery and title cards perform worse than original photos and expressive imagery.

If you don’t have a Facebook profile for yourself, create one in order to create a Page for your website. Then, push to the Page while leaving your personal Profile alone.

Maintaining an automation schedule should only take as long as needed to revise a row within a spreadsheet for each new bit of content on your primary website. You can and likely should tweak the wording for every few destinations (so that you don’t have 30 clones of identical text, which would count against you in the algorithms).

Best of all, this automated push schedule can be working while you are sleeping or on vacation.

If you have several friends also starting out with social media automation, consider pooling resources and getting a single high-end account with Social Report or similar service that offers white-label use. You’ll each get your own login access yet also get more features!

One more thing:

Be sure that you are not merely presenting only your own content. Play nice with the neighbours, and re-tweet or re-post content from others. This will give your content better ranking in search results (because of the way that the algorithms and heuristics work) as well as boost placement of your friend’s material!


“Build it and they will come” or “Your audience will find you” are good intentions, yet a few minutes of planning and another few minutes of regular upkeep go a long way in affirming or demonstrating that intention.

In this day and age, SEO and Social Media are intertwined. The “internet” for some people is the Google search box, but for many more, it’s Facebook– as much as that’s disheartening for this long-time net-head to admit publicly.

Begin with good content. Spend a little time planning the layout of your website. Prepare a synopsis or lede for each piece that you create. Use automation for pushing this intro to various social media for increasing your exposure, ultimately making it easier for your audience to find you.

Copyright © 2019 Daniel Joseph Pezely
May be licensed via Creative Commons Attribution.