SEO or Search Engine Optimization is very important for ranking high on Search Engine Results and increasing organic traffic coming to your website. If you neglect SEO, your website might as well be invisible online.
The ranking factors for SEO have changed and will keep changing over time. Even Google, which has some of the best search criteria, changes their SEO algorithm nearly 500 times a year. So if you are to keep up with the times you will have up learn and change with it, because the SEO techniques that worked 5 years ago won’t be as effective today.
We have compiled a list of SEO best practices for the present day for your benefit. The reoccurring theme in all of them is developing a good user experience for site visitors. We have also added a list of some SEO tips that you can use quickly and easily to get some great rewards!
1. User Experience is Key
Google Rank Brain, Google’s machine learning system, and their 3rd most critical ranking factor in their search algorithms, is the element they use to track user experience.
The rank brain tracks how users interact with a website once they have been led to it by a search engine result. If the user turns back and immediately returns to the search results, the ranks brain decides the user experience was not good enough and the ranking of that site goes down in the rankings. But, if the user spends time on the site & interacts with it then it will gain in rankings.
The key here is that you must optimize a web page for a medium tail keyword and you should make sure that you design the page to be as interesting and impactful as possible so that it will hold the attention of your viewer for longer.
Two Factors to Keep an Eye On:
- Click-through Rate (CTR): How many users will click on your site’s search engine result
- Time Spent: How much time the visitor spends on your website
Revamp the posts that are “Almost” First Page
You might have pages that rank just below 10, or on the second page when it comes to Google search results. Now these are gems in the rough and to see their full potential you would do better to re-write them.
Give them an overhaul. Insert more facts, increase the use of keywords. Add more details, graphics, statistics & images etc. Do anything possible to make the content more interesting
Make Sure to look at these 3 points:
- Make sure that the page you are changing is not ranked higher for another keyword/phrase
- Think of connected subtopics when you rewrite because they are visible in both “people also ask” & “related searches” in search result pages
- Do periodical content marketing audits
2. Utilize Videos more frequently
When it comes to generating content for SEO, quality is always better than quantity. When you are writing content it’s better to have a moderate amount of articles containing meaningful content that will interest and engage the audience and want them to spend time on your website.
Videos are a criminally under-used tool when it comes to increasing user engagement. Plenty of users will find a short one minute video about your services more engaging than reading a 100-word piece of content. With audiences demanding more video content it wouldn’t be a bad choice for getting into the bandwagon now.
Tips on how to optimize video content:
- Optimize the audio and video quality of the videos, and include graphics and images.
- Keep old videos searchable and relevant; update their title and descriptions
- Make sure to integrate the right video within the correct piece of site content.
3. Rank for Featured Snippets
A featured snippet is a search result that pops up in search results pages, after ads, and before the ranked results. Usually accompanied by an image or a video or a table, these snippets are capable of stealing clicks from the best-ranked results.
The trick to rank for them is to figure out what you are trying to rank for. If it is for a question like “How can I select good camping gear?” or “what is the best time to visit Sri Lanka?” you can use a paragraph format. But, if you are trying to rank for something that contains a preposition (“for,” “to,” “like,” etc.) using a list is the way to go.
Some points on how to optimize your content for featured snippets:
- Keep things short & clear
- Have headers to make scanning easier
- Use good external resources
- Maintain social engagement
- Ensure cross-device usability
5. Make Content that is Authoritative, Complete & Timeless
Comprehensive, in-depth posts on a topic are the best when it comes to ranking highly on Google.
Also, in recent times social sharing has been slowly turned somewhat irrelevant because of content saturation and the fact that people had started sharing content privately, instead of their public social media streams.
Despite content saturation & the decline in social shares, websites that had a solid reputation built on original content have fared well. Even though most content tends to get ignored authoritative research and reference content still has an edge online.
How to prompt search engines to notice your site as having Authoritative, Complete & Timeless content:
- Have long-form content where the content is longer than 2000 words
- Use LSI keywords which are words or phrases that are well connected to the topic of your post.
6. Increase Your User Engagement
Maximizing user engagement is very important because this ties into the User Experience we mentioned earlier and that as we explained directly influences the Google Rank Brain and ultimately your search engine ranking.
Use the following tips maximize user engagement in your website:
- Make the content easy to read using headings, shorter paragraphs, whitespaces, and the occasional relevant image.
- Have relevant links and tempting offers on the page. Having an internal link that will answer the visitors’ question, will lead your user further into the site and reduce your bounce rate.
- Don’t just provide the answer to only what the user searched for. Use LSI keywords and provide additional information connected to the topic the user searched for. This will help to retain your user longer in your website.
- You statistics, graphs, infographics, videos, etc. in your content. This sort of content will keep readers more engaged within the page.
7. Optimize for Voice Search
Voice search slowly started gaining traction in late 2018 and even though it is still not established yet, when the technology & accessibility of the service improves this is going to be the next big thing.
Data so far has shown that most voice searches have been local in nature, so the smart thing to do would be to insert as much geo-targeted keywords as possible within your content. This is especially important if you are a small business who is catering to a target audience in a relatively contained geographical area.
Another smart thing to do with regard to voice searches is to try to rank for both the question as well as the answer. Optimizing your website from today onwards for future voice search is good future-proofing.
8. Mobile-First Approach Indexing
Over the past decade with the increase in the use of mobile devices Google has announced recently that they will be giving preference to the mobile version of your site over your desktop version when it comes to search engine rankings.
So this means that if your website is not responsive or does not have a mobile interface then your search engine rankings can suffer. Having a separate URL like “m.yoursite.com” is not recommended by Google anymore, what they say is that a fully responsive site is the way to go!
Some Quick & Easy SEO Tips
In this section we are giving you some quick SEO tips to get your website’s SEO off to a flying start
Increasing the Click-Through Rate
- Use Page Titles that appeal to the emotions of your visitors.
- Use Commands or power words in your titles to trigger a viewer to click on it.
- Using brackets or parentheses in your titles to attract attention.
- Have a convincing meta description that grabs the attention of the searcher.
Increase Dwell Time & Reduce Bounce Rate
Use elements above-the-fold that will grab your visitors’ attention
- Have an intro paragraph that is interesting & engaging.
- Use internal links to keep visitors further into your website.
- Make sure to create a custom 404 page in case the requested page isn’t found.
Improve Site Authority
- Create backlinks from other websites that have relevant content and have higher authority.
- Enhance your community goodwill through reviews and testimonials.
- Utilize HTTPS by getting an SSL certificate for your website and gain visitor confidence.
- Get your business up on Google My Business to show that it’s a legitimate entity.
Optimize Your Site SEO to Gain More Traffic
- Improve website speed by optimizing and compressing images.
- Utilize software such as Google Analytics to track your site performance and visitor behavior online.
- Create an XML sitemap and make sure your site is fully accessible to search engine crawlers.
- 16. Use schema markup or structured data to classify your site content and make it easier for Google to understand what your post is about.