Most businesses want their websites to rank higher in search engine results pages, and if they aren’t at least trying to do this then why the hell not? Many companies spend a fairly large portion of their marketing budget on not just ranking highly but getting to that coveted No.1 spot.
If you do not have the kind of budget that allows you to buy your way to the top, what do you do? There are hundreds of pieces on the internet telling people what the best SEO practices for year XXXX are, and there will probably always be. The truth is though, these things are not year dependant. The algorithms that search engines rely on to work could not give a stuff what year it is, so why are people so hung up on this?
The top best SEO practices detailed here are going to be just as relevant 10 years from now, unless there is a major shift in user search intent and the way search engines work.
Let’s crack on then, yes?
Create and publish epic content
At the centre of SEO campaigns, successful or otherwise, is content. Even in the early days where spam content and keyword stuff articles were running amok, content has always been the driving force of SEO. Search engines are more sophisticated these days, and users are more aware of what great content is as opposed to being fed fluff. The days of mass-produced rubbish to make a sale is over, so if your SEO campaign is to succeed then you had better start crafting some truly great content.
Well-written content that engages, informs and encourages visitors to take an action, without beating them over the head with it, is the single best thing that a business can do for their campaigns.
This probably looks more than a little obvious, but keyword research has been vital since search engines began to ‘evolve’. Learning which keywords you should be targeting, and if they are being used correctly, is a major step in the right direction in terms of best SEO practices.
If your business is in a tough niche to get ranked in (review sites are everywhere, for example, and it’s really hard for these to rank without spending a fortune) then you should probably focus on keyphrases rather than keywords.
Searchers tend to use whole sentences when they are further along in their purchase making decision. For example, “medium-sized dog collar for sale near me” would be used instead of “dog collars” when the searcher is further along, and they know exactly what they want.
Gearing toward that kind of keyphrase is going to be much better for your SEO efforts. Research tools are abundant for keyphrases and keywords on the web, many of them free.
Make use of on-page SEO techniques
The third best SEO practise that will always be relevant, is the tried and tested ‘on-page optimisation’. Everybody involved in SEO, at all stages and skill levels, agree on the basic fact that these techniques when properly executed can influence search engine rankings by as much as 40%.
Paid advertisements aside (which are being given more screen estate than ever before) all you must do to find your website on at least the first two pages of SERPs is to perform your on-page optimisation properly.
“that’s great and all guys, but how do I do that?”. That is a good question and a fair one. The first thing that you should be looking at are title tags. Now, keeping in mind that you should only be targeting one keyphrase or keyword per page, the word or phrase should be in the title and the first 30 words of the opening paragraph or introduction.
The keyword or phrase should then be used somewhere in the middle, at least once, and then again in the closing paragraph. It is generally accepted that there should be between 3 and 5 occurrences for every 500 words of content. As a rule, though, if the piece doesn’t read naturally then you have overdone it.
Don’t forget to include your target keyword or keyphrase in at least one heading tag. The other elements you need to hit are the Meta description, a sentence or two about the page, image tags and the SEO title. The SEO title doesn’t necessarily have to be the same as the piece title, so long it ‘means’ the same and contains the target.
Following these 3 best SEO practices does not mean hiring an expert, and this is especially true if your budget isn’t as large as you might like. It is straightforward but can take a little time. Other steps can be taken too, baked into your website design. For information on this get in touch.