If you want a top-ranking website then a solid SEO strategy is a necessity! While there are an endless amount of search engine optimization tools and tactics to use, the basics are the most important. We put together a list of the top SEO best practices you need to focus on to improve your rankings in search results.
In this article, we’ll discuss:
What Are SEO Best Practices?
SEO best practices are tried, tested and true techniques for improving search engine rankings.
These basic principles are the foundation for search engine optimization and are important to focus on in order to improve your website’s position in the SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages).
SEO best practices are those that have been proven to be effective through experience and research.
Focus on these 9 SEO best practices and you’ll be sure to see improvements in the position of your website in Google and other search engines!
9 SEO Best Practices
1. Keyword Use
Once you’ve completed your keyword research and decided on relevant, valuable keywords, make sure to use them in the proper ways. A single focus keyword or phrase should be used on each page along with additional relevant secondary keywords or phrases.
Keyword density (the number of times a keyword is used on a page divided by the total number of words) is important to consider – you want to ensure the word is used frequently throughout the page but not to the point that it is overused.
To properly rank, be sure to also use keyword in the following areas:
- Page titles (try to put your target keyword at the beginning of the title, if possible)
- First paragraph (as close to the beginning of the page as possible)
- Meta description
- Headers (i.e. H1 and H2 headers)
- Alt tags of relevant images on the page
- Throughout the page’s text
Try to create natural content for your website and focus on using the keyword naturally wherever it fits. Using your keyword(s) too many times on a page, also known as keyword stuffing, can have a negative outcome and even result in a penalty from Google.
2. Unique content
When researching keywords and creating content featuring your most valuable keywords, it’s important to keep in mind that all the content you create must be unique.
Avoiding duplicate content is a must for SEO, including duplicate titles, meta descriptions, alt tags, text, etc. Every piece of content you create should be unique and unlike anything else on your site.
Duplicate content is looked upon negatively by Google and other search engines – it is important to create unique content in order to avoid penalties that can negatively impact your site in the search results.
It is also important to make sure your content, including your page titles, is compelling. The more interesting your content, the more likely it will get shared and consumed, resulting in improved SEO and higher rankings.
3. Pyramid information architecture
Information architecture refers to the structure that you use to organize your website. Your website should be organized in a pyramid fashion, with the most important page at the top and subcategory pages filling out the bottom of the pyramid.
For example, your site should be organized in a fashion similar to this –
Homepage > Categories/Navigation > Subcategories > Etc.
The organization of your site is important for crawlability. The easier your website is to crawl, the better it will rank. By using a clear hierarchy, Google can more easily establish what your site is about and rank it based on relevant keywords.
A well-organized site is also easier for visitors to use and navigate. User experience is important to Google and other search engines – a site that is easy to use and navigate will rank better.
A good user experience will also positively impact metrics like bounce rate and time spent on your site.
Siloing content and using pillar pages refers to organizing your content by using a general concept or category as a focus page and including related topics, and links to those topics, underneath.
A pillar page is a category page under which other relevant topics on your site fall. This pillar page brings together all of the sub-topics related to it.
Create a pillar page that encompasses one important topic or keyword on your site, create content that falls under that topic and include links on each page back to the pillar page that it relates to.
This organization will help to create topical authority with interlinking, as well as improve crawlability, helping entire topics to be ranked.
Siloing also contributes to SEO in the following ways:
Demonstrates to search engines that you’re an authority on a specific topic
Improves usability by making it easier for users to navigate and find content
Improves time on page and bounce rate metrics
5. Choose a great hosting site and CMS
Did you know that users are likely to leave your website if it takes more than 2 seconds to load?
A good web host and CMS (content management system) are both integral to user experience and your site’s overall reputation and reliability.
A bad host can mean your site experiences lots of downtime and lag – this is bad for SEO as it degrades performance and makes your site look unreliable.
A good host will provide stable hosting, as well as fast loading times, another important ranking factor that search engines look out for.
There are a number of options when it comes to choosing a hosting site ranging from Shopify and Squarespace to WordPress and Blogger.
Many of these websites offer different functionalities and are geared towards different purposes. It’s important to do your research before committing to a platform. For example, WordPress is amazing for small businesses that want to sell intangible services, whereas Shopify is an incredible platform for e-commerce companies. Be sure to do your research before deciding on a platform.
6. Don’t overuse plugins
Plugins can be great tools for your website but you need to be sure that you aren’t overloading your site with too many. This can negatively impact loading speeds and therefore user experiences and SEO.
Make sure to only use the essentials in order to avoid bogging down your site.
7. Create Evergreen Content
Evergreen content is content that is timeless – it will be relevant for years to come, meaning that users can come back to it time and time again to refer to its contents. Evergreen content is important to SEO because it provides a steady source of compounding traffic, helping to establish authority.
Evergreen content that’s educational and informative is especially useful because it helps to establish an amiable relationship with your site’s visitors. By providing them with real value, your site becomes able to attract valuable backlinks from other sites. the more useful the content is, the more likely other sites are to link to it.
8. Build quality backlinks
Building quality backlinks is incredibly important for SEO. Backlinks from other reliable and relevant sites can greatly help to improve your SEO.
Keep in mind that it’s important that these links come from quality sites and that they are built organically – do not buy links or acquire them in any way that goes against Google’s policies.
Directory backlinks are a great way to start! For example, create a Google My Business profile and add a link to your site.
9. Create a social media presence
Although social media does not directly contribute to SEO, it can help significantly in an indirect way. Social media helps you gain exposure and therefore promotes backlinks to your site from others.
Being active and engaging on social media also helps to build a strong, relevant following and improves your brand awareness all of which can contribute to your authority and traffic.
Key Takeaways On SEO Best Practices
SEO best practices are the basic strategies that must be implemented by any SEO in order to improve rankings. These strategies have been shown to be effective by many others, putting them at the top of your SEO to-do list.
The 9 most important SEO best practices to focus on include:
- Using keywords properly and in the right areas
- Creating unique content
- Implementing a pyramid information architecture
- Organizing your content using a silo with pillar pages
- Using a reliable web host and CMS
- Not overusing plugins
- Developing evergreen content
- Building quality backlinks
- Developing a strong social media presence
Follow these 9 important tactics and you’re sure to see improvements in the Search Engine Results Page (SERPS).