*This guest post detailing SEO best practices to keep top-of-mind was written by Harsha Kiran, director of SEO at SEOtribunal. Updated December 5th, 2018.
In the contemporary world of hyper-connected communities, where more people rely on search engines every day, it is essential for most companies to implement search engine optimization (SEO) to radically shift or enhance their website’s visibility and organic traction.
Research shows that a whopping 95% of all web traffic Google receives comes from front pages while other pages receive meager amounts of 5% or less.
SEO is highly beneficial for generating new sales and leads – and it’s an investment that compounds over time. Startups along with small to mid-sized businesses often lose steam as confidence wanes and prices appear unreasonable while navigating the deep waters of technology.
NOTE: It is best to shy away from any too-good-to-be-true offers and, most effectively, sustain peace of mind by realizing search engines usually opt for quality over quantity.
Hoping to soothe frazzled nerves, and shed a little light on the subject, I’m about to spell out a few noteworthy optimizations. I also suggest carving time to explore the beginners guide to 24 Proven SEO Growth Strategies as well as checking out reviews of a few vetted SEO agencies via SEOTribunal.
With this knowledge and awareness, you’ll begin to take a leap toward directing your business across the expansive field of SEO practices at their very best.
1. Publish High Quality, Long-Form Content
If your blog posts, articles, and other pages aren’t surpassing the 500-word mark, you’re placing your business and website at a proven disadvantage.
A study conducted in 2012 involving 20,000 keywords uncovered that the average length of the top results captures our attention at 2000 words.
Keeping us on the edge of our seats, these findings further reveal, a 20% increase rounding out at approximately 2,416 words holds our attention even longer and a far cry from the short and generic articles we’ve all stumbled upon in the past.
A delicate balance is necessary when we place focus on word count versus content. As mentioned previously, bountiful words reign supreme but must deliciously pair with enlivened content.
In other words, to hit the mark of a search engine’s superior rank, you must create worthy, engaging, and thought-provoking content that sweeps your audience with tangible emotions as much as it provides solid answers and insight.
2. SEO best practices for technical architecture
External factors often take the lead when people talk about SEO. Although links, social interactions, and other outside signals are vital for rankings, one cannot downplay the role played by a showstopping “on-page” SEO.
More or less the guts, essence, or a site’s technical architecture, SEO is the process of optimizing the mechanical aspects of your pages (meta tags, keywords, URLs, etc) to help reach the tippy-top in the SERPs and earn more traffic.
If that sounds like rocket science, fear not. “On-page” SEO best practices aren’t all that complicated, and you can cover your bases with the following tips:
Title: The title tag should summarise what the page is about and include at least ONE keyword.
- Title Tags should not be too long: Knowing longer titles slip by the wayside, you’ll need to choose with discernment as search engines only display the first 60 or so characters of a web page title tag.
- Title tags should not be too short: Give the reader a reason to click on the title. If it’s too short, the allure falls flat, and the reader is off to something far more interesting. Don’t waste space: Including your domain name is a waste of space since you’re working with a limited number of characters and you have to include the necessary ingredients and relevant keyword for that particular page.
Description: A page’s description is important in its own right. The description can create a considerable difference in the click-through rate by showing the page is relevant and optimized. High CTR signals the page is worth exploring, substantially boosting SEO.
User-Friendly URLs: Ensure that your URLs are brief and easy to read. Also, include your primary keyword, so readers have a crystallized picture of what the page is about before they click.
Keyword Frequency: Even though Google outgrew the elementary keyword stuffing phase a long time ago, you’ll still need to incorporate the keywords you wish to rank within the texts of your site to maintain an intrinsic value. Flavoring titles and subheadings along with adding long-tail keywords and synonyms is an ideal way to cast a wider net and strategically utilize creativity.
3. Let “SEO Juice” Flow Across Pages via Internal Linking
What the heck is internal linking?
It refers to any links from one page in a domain to another page in the same domain. It’s a critical SEO best practice that you should implement. By using internal linking, you share ranking authority across your website. For example, if one page ranks really well it means Google it granting it the authority to do so, and by linking to other pages internally some of that authority is passed to the linked pages. It’s like having someone you trust vouch for someone else – you’re more like to trust them and care about what they have to say.
Another benefit worth mentioning is that internal linking help direct visitors to a variety of relevant reading options and more will likely increase session duration, pages per session, etc (positive engagement signals Google will like). Think of this as a journey as opposed to a destination.
Linking to other pages within your website can assist Google index pages more efficiently and enhance your site’s ranking for particular keywords.
4. Please the Eyes Of Google With A Responsive Design
To no stretch, as our world continues to stream in multilayered directions, more Google searches are conducted on tablets, smartphones, and other manageable mobile gadgets instead of desktop computers. Google always prioritizes user experience, so much so it now uses responsiveness as a ranking factor in its algorithm.
Responsive web designs use CSS style sheets and proportion-based grids to accommodate a site’s content and layout depending on the device and adjustable images. This ensures a pleasant reading and browsing experience for both desktop and mobile users. A mainstay worth its weight in gold, and just what Google loves!
5. Improve Your Page Speed
Google loves websites that offer smooth reading, seamless browsing, and support lightning fast loading speeds.
In 2010, the search engine behemoth introduced site speed as a new ranking signal. Chipping in my two cents, amping up a site’s speed makes a whole lot of sense especially when we look at it from the vantage point of a consumer.
With that energy circulating, be on the lookout for more opportunities to increase your site’s speed whenever you do a full site audit. If, for instance, you have extensive posts and pages, compress them. And, if you’re using WordPress, put in a little extra effort to get rid of worn out plugins and add-ons, replacing them with a quality caching plugin.
Get On The Path To Safer SEO Best Practices
At the end of the day, SEO is not free. But the five SEO best practices discussed above are basics that are truly cost-effective.
Of course, reaching the status of shining star on Google takes more than a fast and responsive website design, properly written title tags, descriptions, and long-form content. But it’s just what the doctor ordered when you decide to focus on the basics first and then consider more advanced strategies and tactics to gain exposure.
Laying the foundation of a quality website experience is never a waste. Performed on themselves, and as another way to build SEO know-how, Ladder actually shared what they learned from SEO audit. A perfect walkthrough you can use for your own site, filled with step-by-step guidance and additional tools to place your website front and center.