It’s not hard to build a website for free, these days! There are plenty of website builders out there which can help anyone (or any business) get live on the internet. But for the vast majority of website owners, the goal of having a website is getting people to that website. And there are two main vehicles for getting traffic: marketing and SEO!
Since most free websites are built on website builders which have some restrictions to their url structure, framework, and size, it’s important to learn how to build great SEO within their limitations. We’ll take you step-by-step through the process, giving tried-and-true tips on building the foundations for excellent SEO, even if your free website isn’t as customizable as a paid one.
Your Page URLs
A page’s URL is one of the most important tools you have, when building SEO. And since every page will have a URL, it’s important to have a plan when you’re building your website. Just having a one-word url identifier after the website’s static url is one of the worst things you could do. Also, avoid using numbers or underscores! Place dashes between words, and use a few words which accurately describe the page and also could be used as keywords. For example, /top-ten-tips-for-SEO would be much better than /seo.
It might seem a little strange to think that page navigation can have an affect on SEO, but navigation matters more than you think! Since navigation controls how pages link and relate to each other, navigation structure will signal to search engines which pages are most important. Also, ensure that navigation is located at the top of a website (where it is easiest for users to see) and that it has text links, rather than image ones. This ensures that search engines can crawl it more easily!
Social Media Signals
Make certain to have social sharing links at the bottom or sides of all your pages! While Google has announced that they don’t use social signals in their algorithms, these links can help direct more visitors to your website. And visitors to your website- how long they stay on it, how many there are, and how often they visit- is absolutely part of the Google ranking algorithm.
Optimize All Your Images
When you upload an image on your free website, or when you place it on a page, you might have noticed the opportunity to use alt-text or titles! Whenever possible, always use alt text which describes the page the image is on. This text is indexed by search engines, and can be utilized to help gain SEO leverage. But that’s not enough! Optimizing also means controlling the image size and resolution. Use web-resolution images cropped to size, which can reduce page loading times. The faster your website is, the higher it can rank!
Another big thing? Do keyword research! You can use Google’s Keyword Planner to find out the most popular keywords for your business, industry, or niche. These keywords should all be build into page titles and used to guide new pages, blog posts, and other content opportunities. They should reveal the topics and phrases which people potentially looking for websites like yours might use to find it: so target them!
The Bottom Line
We’ve touched on all the best ways to build a great SEO foundation on a free website! Everything begins with the anatomy of your website’s organization, from navigation to pages. From there, you should optimize your images and ensure that visitors to your website have access to social sharing tools. And of course, use keyword research to guide your page generation. Because just having a good foundation isn’t enough to get great SEO! Once you’re done with these mechanics, the real work begins: creating great SEO content.