SEO best practice
SEO isn’t just about keywords. It involves several disciplines that work together. So, if you want your SEO strategy to be effective, you must tick all the boxes.
There are several SEO ranking factors, but for the purpose of this blog, we’ll look at nine areas that create the essential groundwork on which you can develop your ongoing strategy. But, as you will see, it’s not all about content; many other things are going on in the background that also have to be considered.
Are you ready? Then let’s get started.
SEO Best Practice Top Nine Tips
Content vs user intent
When someone types in a search query, they are doing so for a specific purpose. Understanding that will help you align your content with user needs.
For example, there are four main types of searches:
- Informational – here, the user is looking for something specific, e.g., “What time is the next train?” or “best investment choices”
- Navigational – the user is looking for a particular website, e.g., “Amazon”
- Commercial – the user is looking for a product but hasn’t yet decided to buy, e.g., “best American fridge freezers”
- Transactional – the user is ready to buy, e.g., “buy Dyson online”
Let’s say you were writing a blog about which is the best shampoo for curly hair. First, you must understand that user intent here is commercial and not transactional because they are looking for information. Therefore, there’s no point in optimising your content for the brand name of the product.
Write stonking tags SEO best practice
Here, the tags we’re talking about are your title tags and meta description.
The title tag (a maximum of 60 characters) is the clickable headline in the search results. According to Google:
“Titles are crucial to giving users a quick insight into the content of a result and why it’s relevant to their query. It’s often the primary piece of information used to decide which result to click on, so it’s important to use high-quality titles on your web pages.”
When writing it, include your target keywords (but don’t keyword stuff), make sure it matches user intent, keep it descriptive, and void writing duplicate tags.
Your meta description is the summary that appears in the search results below the title tag (a maximum of 160 characters). Once again, we’ll bring in Google to explain their value:
“A meta description should inform and interest users with a short, relevant summary of what a particular page is about. They are like a pitch that convinces the user that the page is exactly what they’re looking for.”
Your meta description should include your target keywords (but don’t keyword stuff), match user intent, be action-orientated, provide an accurate summary, and be unique to that page.
As we mentioned at the beginning, SEO isn’t just about content. The images you use on your pages will also have an impact.
The loading speed of your website is an important ranking factor. That’s why you must choose the correct format for your image (usually JPEG for PNG). As a rough guide, JPEG is best for photographs, whereas PNG is better if the image contains text.
The next consideration is compressing your image. The larger the file size, the longer the loading time, which is why it’s best to compress before uploading (use a free tool such as TinyPNG or ImageOptim).
Finally, your images will need Alt tags. These help Google understand your image. Again, avoid keyword stuffing and be concise in your description.
This may be one you need to speak to your web developer about.
If your website takes an age to load, you’ll frustrate users and drop in the rankings. Getting a site audit done will help identify if you have a problem.
Why internal links? Well, they help establish an information waterfall for your website, which also helps Google get a better understanding of the content on your website.
Adding internal links from top-ranking pages to others on your site that need a boost can significantly help your rankings.
Concentrate on aesthetics
If people like what they see, they’ll hang around.
Making sure your visitors get a good user experience is essential. You can do this by using plenty of subheadings in your content, make your pages visually appealing, use plenty of white space (i.e., avoid solid blocks of text), and avoid using annoying popups.
Don’t forget your URL
In the words of Google:
“A site’s URL structure should be as simple as possible. Consider organising your content so that URLs are constructed logically and in a manner that is most intelligible to humans (when possible, readable words rather than long ID numbers.”
Earlier, we talked about internal links. This time, we’re looking at other sites linking to you. Google see this as a vote of confidence in your website, so the more you have, the higher you rank.
But this is only true if they are high-quality backlinks (i.e., from other authority sites, not from articles you’ve written on sites such as Ezine).
Long-form or short-form content?
There is a place for both on your website, but the chances are you’ll get more traffic from long-form articles (3000+ words).
Why is long-form content so powerful? Well, it opens the door for long-tail keywords. They may carry a lower search volume but can lead to highly accurate search results.
Don’t worry; not every post you write has to be that length. However, one or two well-researched articles of that length will help.
The final word on SEO best practice
As you can see, SEO isn’t just about keywords. It involves on and off-page elements that must work together to get the results you want.
Don’t forget this isn’t a one-time-only event. Your SEO strategy will have to evolve continuously. Your competitors are also working on theirs, so you’ll be in a constant battle to retain your rankings.
Whether you decide to do your own SEO or get an agency to help you, make sure you always keep your readers in mind. High rankings are only beneficial if they are reaching your target audience. After all, there’s no point in ranking in the number one spot for a keyword that’s irrelevant to your business.