A good website is one that’s well-received by the target audience. And, what largely determines viewership is your website ranking.
As per a report by SMA Marketing, 75% of users do not click past the first page of search results. This is why website owners are on the constant lookout for a strategy that helps them rank on top of the search engine results pages (SERPs).
However, nothing SEO-related is ever that easy, is it? Amidst constantly changing Google algorithms and rising competition, competing for high rankings is not easy.
Your website can rise through the ranks. Here’s a mini crash course to run you through the best SEO practices. Ready?
1.) Watch Out For Google Updates:
While mastering SEO is essential for businesses, not all SEO is equally good. So, how do you really know what to prioritize?
Here’s the catch:
The Google algorithm is ever-changing. 2018 saw as many as 3,234 updates per day – more than 8 times the number of updates in 2008.
In the past, a number of websites–both big and small–were hit significantly by major algorithm updates.
Let’s take a look at an example:
Image via Twitter
Clearly, being aware of these algorithm updates is paramount for better rankings. However, keeping in mind the uncertainty that ensues when every update is rolled out, this could be tough.
Nonetheless, you can educate yourself on major algorithm updates like:
- Panda, 2011 – This update aimed at penalizing pages with bad, irrelevant, and plagiarized content.
- Hummingbird, 2013 – It aimed at improving search by comprehending user intent. Thus, understanding the context around keywords and thorough research gained importance.
- Mobilegeddon, 2015 – An algorithm that prioritized the mobile-friendliness of websites.
- Fred, 2017 – This one was a minor update that had a colossal impact. It caused huge drops in traffic for websites employing heavy ad monetization tactics.
While a lot of these updates are many years old, they continue to hold value, even today.
To stay up-to-date on Google updates, you can rely on tools like Algoroo or cognitiveSEO Signals.
Image via cognitiveSEO Signals
Before diving into other strategies, make sure that you understand the Google ranking algorithm because about 93% of web traffic is generated through search engines.
2.) Master The Process Of Keyword Optimization:
Targeting the right keywords helps Google understand what your content’s intent is. Accordingly, webpages are matched to searchers.
As per a survey by Databox, 38% of SEO pros believe that keyword optimization is a priority when it comes to SEO.
However, getting your content to rank for a keyword can be arduous, especially if:
- Your website is new
- The keyword is popular
That being said, it is not impossible.
Here are a few tips to ace keyword research and usage:
Analyze User Intent:
Before you start creating content, it is important to understand what your audience wants, and how they want it. In 2017, Google estimated that 15% of users’ queries were new and had never been handled before.
People are altering their searches, and it is necessary for you to keep that in mind.
For example, let’s say you want to bake a chocolate cake.
But you’re busy and want it quick.
So you head over to Google, and type “quick chocolate cake recipes.” You click on the first link and realize that the recipe takes over an hour.
You leave the website and head to the second link. This one takes less than 30 minutes, and you go forward with it. If many other users searching “quick chocolate cake recipes” have a similar experience, that particular link will get a boost.
So, it is important to create a customer persona, analyze their requirements, pick a relevant keyword, and write content that aligns with it.
Choose The Right Mix Of Keywords:
While your main keyword is of the utmost importance, don’t stop at that. Make sure you incorporate long-tail (3-4-word keyphrases) and low-volume keywords.
The following graph shows that although long-tail keywords have lower search volumes, they often lead to higher conversions.
Image via SEMrush
A person searching for “why are my tomato plants turning yellow” is more likely to sign up for a gardening course than someone searching for “tomatoes.”
Spy On Competitors:
Whether your competitors are ranking ahead of you or not, spying on them offers a variety of benefits. Find out what search algorithms like about them, and how you can benefit from that.
Competitor keyword analysis helps answer the following questions successfully:
- What keywords are they ranking for?
- What topics should I cover?
- Are there any keywords with high search volumes that they haven’t targeted yet?
If done right, competitor analysis can keep you from being outranked.
Master Keyword Placement:
In addition to using your main keyword in the main content, try using it in titles, meta descriptions, alt tags, and some of the sub-headings.
However, ensure that you’re not stuffing keywords everywhere just for the sake of doing so. Keep it natural–Google loves that!
All in all, keyword optimization is an elaborate process. To ease the process, you can use SEO tools like SEMrush, Google Keywords Planner, MozBar, etc.
3.) Create Content that’s Relevant, Engaging, and Readable:
As per Mill For Business, there are more than 1.2 billion websites on the internet as of January 2020.
That’s a huge number!
Let’s assume that despite that, you manage to get users to click on your webpage. Now what?
To prevent users from leaving your page, you need to have content that stands and holds their attention.
Here’s how you can do that:
Make It Relevant:
Ensure that your content aligns with the keyword you want to get your web page to rank for. If you’re targeting “backpacking to Indonesia,” you might want to talk about:
- Tips to save money
- Economical accommodation options
- Must-try street food
Instead, if you talk about luxury hotels or experiences, your users would probably switch to another web page. Always remember that a high bounce rate is detrimental to SEO.
Embrace Good Design:
First impressions matter.
In the world of web design, users do judge a book by its cover.
So, invest in professional web design. Keep your design balanced, use grids to compartmentalize content, narrow down on a few colors, and employ fonts that go with your brand’s tone.
Lastly, to ensure readability across different devices, ensure that your website uses Responsive Web Design (RWD).
Make It Readable:
Think of webpages as a novel. Would readers find it easier to read a novel split into chapters or without?
The answer is obvious.
Formatting your webpage’s content is as important as writing it. Think short paragraphs, bullet points, listicles, and header tags to provide structure and context for your article.
Not many want to read through a wall of text. Multimedia a.k.a videos, photos, graphics, animation, etc, help to break the content for users to consume.
For example, if you’re looking for a strawberry cake recipe, you’re more likely to spend time on a page with visuals. Here’s an example:
Image via Once Upon a Chef
Employing visuals is one of the key digital marketing tips for businesses.
Such websites make for engaging user experience and make readers want to revisit.
4.) Create A Pool Of Backlinks:
Backlinks help build a page’s authority and add to its credibility.
Research by Ahrefs revealed that 43.7% of top-ranking pages on Google contain reciprocal links.
Some of the most effective ways to get other sites to link to you are:
- Ask family, friends, other people you might know.
- Partner with bloggers and influencers.
- Create rich content that people automatically want to link to.
Ready To Get Started With These SEO Best Practices?
The world of SEO is tough, but it’s certainly worth it.
Think about all the money that you can save if you follow an efficient SEO strategy and rank organically!
Keeping an eye out for Google updates, using the right keywords, and creating content that’s relevant will ultimately lead to better web rankings.
Are there SEO practices that have done wonders for you? Tell us in the comments below!