SEO is a rewarding but complicated undertaking. Here are some essential SEO best practices a business must take to get the most from its search engine optimization efforts.
If you engage in online service or product marketing, you probably already include SEO in your digital marketing strategy. You also might prioritize paid ads or social media sites over organic search engine marketing. After all, some alternatives to traditional SEO tactics can produce faster results.
The Forbes Agency Council expressed a different perspective when it wrote that businesses should not merely include SEO in their plans but should consider it a foundation of their marketing strategy. Even though proper SEO can take time and effort, the long-term rewards will provide you with an asset that increases website traffic, revenue, and profit.
SEO Best practices to tune your marketing
Search engine optimization gives your website a better chance to attract organic, free traffic from people searching for your keywords. Besides increasing traffic, you can also improve the quality of traffic with high-intent visitors. Done right, businesses use search optimization to attract people who are already looking for exactly what they offer.
At the same time, achieving high ranks can present a challenge in competitive markets. For instance, HubSpot found that 75 percent of searchers will never bother to keep looking for a search result that appears after the first page. Again, this shows the importance of adhering to SEO best practices and avoiding any blackhat tricks that can negatively impact search ranks.
What are the 4 pillars of SEO best practices?
If your company’s SEO could use some propping up, simplify the matter by considering the four support piers for your SEO platform. As we discussed in an earlier article about improving website rankings, these four piers include:
- Technical SEO
- Domain authority
- Content relevance
- User experience
Take a moment to briefly review each one of these four SEO best practices.
1. Technical SEO
Part of this pillar involves making your site Google-friendly, as well as user-friendly. The latter involves using title tags and meta descriptions, rich with keyword phrases, to let people and search engines know precisely what your site offers. Here’s a more detailed look at three ways of getting the on-page part of SEO right:
- Performance: Modern search engines consider site speed as a ranking factor. Users get frustrated if pages take too long to load. WebPageTest.org offers a free, quick check. Ideally, pages should load in less than two seconds on all devices. Some steps that can increase page speed might include getting rid of code bloat and optimizing images.
- Crawl friendliness: Search engines actually have crawl budgets for each site. Make sure you don’t have more pages than the budget allows by reducing or not indexing duplicate and low-value content.
- Indexability: Make certain that both a human user and a search engine crawler can easily navigate the website to find important web pages. You can use the Google Search Console Crawl Stats and Index Coverage report to spot problems. Yoast SEO is another good resource.
2. Webpage or website authority
In some cases, hundreds or even thousands of sites compete for the same keyword ranks. So to satisfy its users, Google needs a way to figure out how to list sites that may compare well on other factors, like load speed and relevance. In other words, Google hopes to offer the most authoritative information for a given search.
Nobody knows exactly how Google’s search algorithm calculates the relative domain authority. SEOs do know that the size and quality of the site or page’s backlink profile help establish authority when compared to other sites or pages. Many SEOs rely on domain authority tools on sites like Moz.com to deliver an estimate.
Poor-quality or irrelevant backlinks generally won’t help and may even hurt search rankings. For one thing, some Google updates have punished backlink spam. For another, irrelevant backlinks won’t help inform the Google search crawler about the content of the site. In turn, high-quality links from credible websites will help develop trust and increase traffic from both search engine bots and humans. Of course, careful use of internal links helps, too.
Your SEO best practices should include link building, and many SEO tools are available to help with this. Ahrefs and Google Analytics, for example, provide plenty of useful information on a site’s current backlinks and even that of competitors. Some examples of sources of high-quality backlinks could include industry journals, popular blog posts, and news sites.
3. Content relevance
Search intent refers to the intention behind a particular search query. Obviously, visitors hope to find that a webpage provides the information they searched for. Google has made it a priority to deliver those relevant pages, so each page needs to do a better job sending the right signals to Google’s algorithm about the user intent that they satisfy than their competitors.
- A search asking “how to make pizza” will return videos and articles about baking pizzas and not information or ads about ordering pizza – or at least not too many.
- In contrast, a search for “how to buy pizza” will return a page of results with pizza reviews and restaurant websites, plus the page will usually display plenty of ads.
Keyword research helps companies determine what people are searching for. High-quality content will have the right keyword density to make the content easy to find and meaningful.
Companies like rellify use AI to help businesses make sure that they craft content to satisfy user intent. This ensures Google’s search bots will understand the page’s relevance. Most of all, it helps businesses enjoy high-quality visitors who find exactly what they search for. That means more click-through that turns visitors into customers responding to your call to action.
4. User experience
Many customers get their first impression of a business from its website. Businesses with solid content marketing will make sure their sites have covered on-page SEO fundamentals and offer quality content to provide a good experience. That includes mobile-friendliness because so many people use mobile devices for web surfing and e-commerce. A positive user experience, or UX, will improve engagement metrics that search engines use in their ranking algorithms.
Some common UX problems include complex navigation, lack of a truly responsive design, hard-to-read text, and poor color schemes. Make sure to test website features and pages on several different kinds of devices to make certain that the website looks professional and works well. To get started, BrowserStack.com lets you see exactly how your site looks on different devices, like phones, tablets, and laptops.
For another example, Google announced they will use a secure HTTPS connection as a positive ranking factor, and it also builds trust with people.
Use SEO best practices to boost traffic
For organic search engine marketing, the winner really does take it all. Sites ranked below the first page probably will get little organic traffic. However, even on the first page, the first few results usually attract the most clicks.
On the positive side, attention to technical SEO, page and domain authority, user experience, and content relevance will please both potential customers and search crawlers. Luckily, today’s businesses can rely upon handy tools and companies like rellify to help them audit and improve all aspects of their website content.