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SEO Best Practices – How to Make Sure Your SEO Efforts Are Above Board

SEO Best Practices – How to Make Sure Your SEO Efforts Are Above Board

One important element of on-page SEO is content SEO. In short, content SEO is about creating and optimizing your content so that can it potentially rank high in search engines and attract search engine traffic. Content can have different forms. It can be text, images, videos, audio, infographics or a combination of these.

In general, the different types of content are:

  1. Blog Posts: The most widely used format. It can be a combination of text, images and video. Can be news type of articles, lists, how to guides, press releases or general information.
  2. Static Pages: Content found on static pages of your website like the ‘About us’
  3. Product pages: Pages promoting specific products or services.
  4. Landing pages: Pages designed specifically to be used in PPC campaigns or as the first page users see when they visit your website.

What are Google’s Best Practice Guidelines for SEO?

You can find the full transcript here, but to summarise:

“Search engine optimization (SEO) is often about making small modifications to parts of your website. When viewed individually, these changes might seem like incremental improvements, but when combined with other optimizations, they could have a noticeable impact on your site’s user experience and performance in organic search results. You’re likely already familiar with many of the topics in this guide, because they’re essential ingredients for any web page, but you may not be making the most out of them.

You should optimize your site to serve your users’ needs. One of those users is a search engine, which helps other users discover your content. Search Engine Optimization is about helping search engines understand and present content.”

How to Implement Google’s SEO Best Practice on Your Website

Give visitors the information they’re looking for

Provide high-quality content on your pages, especially your homepage. This is the single most important thing to do. If your pages contain useful information, their content will attract many visitors and entice webmasters to link to your site. In creating a helpful, information-rich site, write pages that clearly and accurately describe your topic. Think about the words users would type to find your pages and include those words on your site.

Make sure that other sites link to yours

Links help our crawlers find your site and can give your site greater visibility in our search results. When returning results for a search, Google uses sophisticated text-matching techniques to display pages that are both important and relevant to each search. Google interprets a link from page A to page B as a vote by page A for page B. Votes cast by pages that are themselves “important” weigh more heavily and help to make other pages “important.”

Keep in mind that our algorithms can distinguish natural links from unnatural links. Natural links to your site develop as part of the dynamic nature of the web when other sites find your content valuable and think it would be helpful for their visitors. Unnatural links to your site are placed there specifically to make your site look more popular to search engines.

Only natural links are useful for the indexing and ranking of your site. Read more about Black-Hat SEO Link-Farming here – and why you should avoid it at all costs. 

Make your site easily accessible

Build your site with a logical link structure. Every page should be reachable from at least one static text link.

Use a text browser, such as Lynx, to examine your site. Most spiders see your site much as Lynx would. If features such as JavaScript, cookies, session IDs, frames, DHTML, or Macromedia Flash keep you from seeing your entire site in a text browser, then spiders may have trouble crawling it.

Google SEO Best Practice: Things to Avoid

  • Don’t fill your page with lists of keywords, attempt to “cloak” pages, or put up “crawler only” pages. If your site contains pages, links, or text that you don’t intend visitors to see, Google considers those links and pages deceptive and may ignore your site.
  • Don’t feel obligated to purchase a search engine optimization service. Some companies claim to “guarantee” high ranking for your site in Google’s search results. While legitimate consulting firms can improve your site’s flow and content, others employ deceptive tactics in an attempt to fool search engines. Be careful; if your domain is affiliated with one of these deceptive services, it could be banned from our index.
  • Don’t use images to display important names, content, or links. Our crawler doesn’t recognize text contained in graphics. Use ALT attributes if the main content and keywords on your page can’t be formatted in regular HTML.
  • Don’t create multiple copies of a page under different URLs. Many sites offer text-only or printer-friendly versions of pages that contain the same content as the corresponding graphic-rich pages. If your site has identical content that can be reached via different URLs, there are several ways of indicating the canonical (preferred) version of a page

SEO Best Practices: How to Create Quality Content on Your Website

Good UX (user experience) is good SEO. When users are engaged, they consume more content, interact with it and share it. From the overarching structure to the details of the layout, make sure you are designing good content.

There are plenty of philosophies about which characteristics make content “good” — or “sticky” or “thought leadership.” They are all worthy considerations, and every piece of content should cover at least a few:

  • Simple/Clear/Coherent
  • Unexpected
  • Concrete
  • Credible/Valid/Experienced
  • Emotional
  • Entertaining
  • Inspiring
  • Educational
  • Relevant
  • Deep/Thorough
  • Practical
  • Novel/Unique (in value, not just in content)
  • Trustworthy

And as you continue to design content, keep your audience in mind: you are writing for people, so search engines can also understand — not vice versa.

High-quality content:

  • is written to its audience, not your peers. Make sure the language is neither too simple nor full of industry jargon.
  • is shareable. Take a step back and ask yourself if you would share it — and, if so, could you?
  • can be scanned quickly. Use short paragraphs, callouts, bold text, bullet points, numbered lists, quotes and so on to make the text easy on the eyes and easy to digest quickly.
  • uses strong titles and H1s. Create enticing, actionable titles that use keywords strategically and naturally.
  • features ideal results, common objections and/or time frames in subheaders. Anticipate the audience’s hopes, fears and concerns.
  • is better than current SERP winners. Spy out the competition. Review the pages that are currently ranking well for target keywords and ask yourself if your content is better. Make sure it’s better.

SEO Best Practice: Off-Page SEO Guidelines

Technical SEO is, mostly, an entirely different conversation. Most technical SEO factors are sitewide issues that need to be audited, and the important ones cleaned up, before you start trying to optimize content.

There are, however, a few technical considerations relating specifically to individual content, and I would be remiss to ignore them:

  • Content loads quickly. Three seconds or less is what you’re working with. Make sure the images and other media files aren’t slowing down the content’s performance.
  • Content plays well on mobile. This will not likely be an issue if the site uses responsive design, which most do, but make sure forms and CTAs are “tappable” in the content; images are centre-aligned and so on.
  • Page is included on the site’s XML sitemap. Help Google find and understand the content!
  • Internal links point to the content. Make sure they are relevant and they use keyword-based anchor text as possible/appropriate.
  • URLs are short. Top-ranking pages have shorter URLs. Position 1 URLs average 59 characters long.

For advice or guidance, or to find out more about our SEO offerings, fill out the form below to get in touch with us today.

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