The best SEO practices for content optimization and search engine rankings. Are you confused about the rigors of SEO and the best SEO practices that will increase your search ranking?
How good is your search engine optimization (SEO) strategy? Do you want to improve your Google search ranking?
If so, this post is for you.
Understandably, if you ask some marketers and website owners, you will find out that there are many more SEO issues they’re trying to solve.
Are SEO experts left out? No! Because the search engine algorithm continues to change, meaning that to keep up your game as an expert, you have to keep adapting to the latest trends.
What are you going to learn in this post?
- What is SEO, and how does SEO works?
- SEO strategies that’ll improve your search ranking
- How to conduct your website SEO audit.
- The best SEO tools every content marketer must use.
- Common SEO mistakes that are hurting your search ranking.
- SEO Myths that are killing your chances of ranking high on Google and grow your business.
So, let us dive in …
#• What is SEO?
Rand Fishkin of Moz, a well-known search engine expert defined SEO as a marketing discipline that is focused on growing your visibility in organic (non-paid) search engine results.
According to his description, the main objective of search engine optimization is to boost your search rankings on Google and to help you drive organic traffic to your blog or website through organic search results.
However, there are some technicalities and creative juices involved in SEO that will help you boost visibility and your chances of ranking high on SERP.
But first, …
How does SEO work?
As mentioned above, there are some technicalities and creativity that you must apply to make your SEO looks great.
For one thing, your blog or website should be search engine-friendly and user-friendly. This means that your site is fast, responsive to mobile, with well-researched, high-quality, valuable content that users will find useful.
In this way, Google bot will crawl your site and index it faster, improving your rankings on search.
For example, Google uses a search algorithm to analyze blogs, websites and blog content and offer a performance score according to its analysis of your site.
What SEO does in this regard is that it send signals to Google and other search engines that tells these bots that your blog, website, and content are great for indexing.
#• SEO techniques that’ll boost your search ranking
Although SEO seems complex, it is in fact, very easy to understand and apply. The good news is that there are many techniques you can apply today that’ll greatly improve your search rankings.
The first step for me is to …
1• Audit your blog or website to find SEO issues to fix
Website SEO audit is crucial to your search ranking success, which is why it is essential that you often conduct an audit on your blog or website.
An SEO audit simply means performing an examination test on your site to help you decide areas of your site or content that needs changes to increase your blog or website’s visibility on search engine.
Let’s say you’re not getting enough organic search traffic to your blog. To improve your odds and drive more organic traffic, an audit is necessary to help you make the necessary adjustments to drive more organic traffic.
When conducting your website audit, please make sure the following areas are well optimized:
- URL: Make sure the URL of your blog and blog content is well structured and optimized for search engine. This will help search engine know what your content is all about.
- Headlines: Make sure your main headline and SEO headline are captivating. They might be slightly different, but make sure to add relevant keywords to both headlines to improve your chances of appearing on SERP.
- Sub-headings: Subheadings, also known as H2 headings are valuable elements that can help you rank your page on Google if well optimized. Add your keywords in H2.
- Images: Do you add title tags and Alt tags to images on your site? This is crucial for content optimization. Make sure all images are well optimized with a descriptive title tag and Alt tag.
- Meta title: The meta title is another remarkable component for SEO ranking. It appears in the search engine results page. So optimize it with your target keyword.
- Meta description: Do not leave your meta description and meta title empty, fill out this section properly.
- Anchor text: Many bloggers fail to link to their new blog post or others new pages on the site. It is a good rule of thumb to link to your new blog posts and pages from within your website with your target keyword as the anchor text. That way, Google crawlers can easily find and rank your page.
This SEO techniques will greatly improve your rankings on the search engine.
Recommended Post: How to Make Google Index Your Backlinks Faster
2• Perform keyword research to find the right keywords for content & website optimization
Keyword research is one of the best, if not the best part of content optimization and Google’s page one ranking.
Why do I say so? …
Without the right keywords in strategic places on your blog and blog content, your content marketing campaign will gradually fade away.
This is so true because every search query, be it traditional search or voice search queries all start with a keyword. So in simple terms, keywords help to increase your website’s visibility.
Hence, make a list of keywords. Brainstorm keywords your competitors are ranking for and keywords your target audience is searching for on Google to add to your list.
You can use Google search or Ahrefs to brainstorm those keywords.
3• Make your blog or website mobile-friendly
It is no secret that search engine giant, Google, favor mobile-friendly websites over non-mobile friendly sites. The reason, almost everyone is using a mobile device.
In fact, research shows that more than 60℅ of all search queries are performed on mobile devices. Furthermore, a recent study reveals that over 80% of smartphone users check their device within 15 mins of waking up.
And just recently, global mobile internet users overtook desktop users, meaning that more people are accessing the internet via mobile devices.
More is that Google mobile-first indexing strategy which has already been rolled out will have an impact on SEO. This strategy simply means that Google has made mobile website version its primary indexing site, a more reason for you to create a mobile-friendly site.
As a result, make sure your blog or website is mobile-friendly to boost your SEO campaign.
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4• Use relevant keywords to upgrade your search ranking game
When you’re done researching and making a list of the right keywords for your marketing campaign, the next step is to use those keywords to optimize your content to increase your odds of appearing on search engine page one.
Certainly, your keyword list comprises seed, LSI keywords, and long-tail keywords. Your seed keyword is your primary target keyword that might be one or two words.
LSI keywords are keywords with 3~4 words that are related in meaning to your target keyword.
On the other hand, long-tail keywords are keyword terms that contain 4 words and above, but also related in meaning toy our target keyword.
The difference is that long-tail keywords are more descriptive or specific compared to LSI keywords.
Both LSI and long-tail keywords are exceptionally great for:
- Content optimization.
- Organic traffic.
- High search ranking.
Here is what Harsh Agrawal of Shout Me Loud said about LSI keywords:
“LSI keyword is known to be an important aspect of on-page SEO. It is a key element for ranking that cannot be ignored.”
– Harsh Agrawal.
How to find relevant keywords
It does not have to be difficult to find relevant keywords for your SEO strategy. But many bloggers, content marketers and web-owners are having a hard time in this regard.
The best way to find relevant keywords and keyword phrases are to use some of the best tools mentioned in this article. You can see a list of them in section 4, below.
Another way is to interview your target market on social media and blog commenters or do in-depth keyword research using any of the SEO tools in this post.
For example, if you type your main keyword into Google search bar, you’ll see related keywords popping up as possible suggestions. Make a list of them.
But after you click the search button, you can see more related keywords at the bottom of the results page. Add them to your list.
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5• Make your URLs crawlable
A crawlable URL will help Google spiders to crawl your web pages and understand what your content is about.
It makes it easier for these bots to crawl any type of content on your web page in ways that allow them to easily put it in Google web index.
That way, you improve your chances of Google high-ranking.
6• Make your existing post longer
Why should you add more content to your existing post to make it longer? I get it why you ask that question.
Here’s the reason…
A study by Backlinko revealed that the more content you add to make your post longer, the higher the chances of the post ranking on Google search result page one.
But you agree that many bloggers are convenient writing 800~1,000 words blog post. In fact, some cannot go beyond 600 words.
Writing a 2,000-word article and above means, you have to do in-depth research o come up with incredible information for your readers.
So, the easiest way to do it is to look for existing posts that are doing well on SERP and add more content to make them longer. It’s a lot easier than to start writing an in-depth article of 2,000 words and above from scratch.
More is that your existing old or blog post already have readers who are engaging with it, so updating it with more information will more likely increase its reach and attract more readers.
The result, existing signals to the article will push it high at the top of SERP.
*Important* Please note that making your blog post length is not the same as repurposing your old blog posts. Repurposing your post means that you are using your existing post to create a new content format.
However, you can as well repurpose your old blog content to extend its reach as well.
Use relevant keywords – LSI keywords and long-tail keywords to optimize your old blog post for SEO and increase your chances of high Google ranking.
For example, Brian Dean of backlinko is an amazing SEO expert with years of experience. He indicated that repurposing his old blog posts increased his organic search traffic by more than 100℅.
Pro tips: Find old blog posts on your site and give them a facelift. This article will help you learn how to repurpose your old blog posts.
7• Improve Your Website Usability
Source image: Pinterest
SEO is not all about keyword research and content optimization. SEO also involves optimizing your website for user – those who’re using Google search engine.
This is important because search algorithms not only considers user search terms when ranking a website, but also considers website usability as a critical factor for high search rankings.
This simply means that getting your website visitors to stay longer on your site can dramatically increase your Google search rankings.
But the question you want to ask me is …
What is website usability?
In simple terms, Website Usability means how easy it is for visitors to use your website. The ease at which your website users use your site to achieve their objectives.
Hence, there are many elements that can negatively affect your website usability (user experience) and hinder your SEO efforts.
A few of them are:
- Error Prevention
- User Satisfaction
*Important* Your can dramatically increase your search engine rankings with a remarkable user-friendly website. This will help keep users longer on your site.
And while search engine optimization best also involves On-page optimization, please read this article.
#• How to perform a website audit for SEO?
In section two above, you learn the importance of conducting a website audit – to help you find areas of your site and blog content with SEO problems that need to be corrected to improve visibility and Google search ranking.
With that said, the easiest way to do this is to use one of the best SEO tools in the marketplace to conduct your site audit with ease.
In this case, I recommend SE Ranking Website Audit.
This tool is incredibly amazing both for auditing your website to find SEO issues or website errors and for helping you prepare a list of undertakings for bloggers, content marketers, SEOers, web-developers, etc.
This undertaking will help to prevent the above-mentioned experts from technical problems. In other words, this tool will help marketers to avoid website technical issues.
SE Ranking Website will analyze your entire blog or website based on more than 70 measurable factors and categorize all errors in one SEO audit report sheet.
The best part is that it also has suggestions or tips section that you can leverage.
When you’re done auditing your site, you can save your report as a PDF file or send it as an email to your email inbox.
You can find more powerful website audit tools here
#• The best SEO tools for content optimization that’ll boost your search ranking
It is good to know that there are more than enough free and premium SEO tools that can get you started.
Every content marketer must use any of these tools to upgrade his or her organic search campaign.
Some of the best tools recommended by experts are, but not limited to:
Some of these tools are free to use while others are premium. These remarkable tools have one thing in common…
They will scan your blog/website and show you areas where you have to optimize properly to increase your Google ranking.
Choose a tool that works best for you.
#• Common SEO mistakes that are hurting your search ranking
SEO has rules that must be maintained to stay safe from hurting your marketing campaign.
So, to be on the white list of Google and boost your Google ranking, avoid making the common SEO mistakes that are hurting you.
Google care less about whether you’re a newbie in SEO or not. If you break any rules, there are consequences.
So, what are some common SEO mistakes that are hurting you – mistakes that can ruin your effort and put you on Google’s blacklist?
Here is some mistake to avoid:
- Keyword stuffing: The importance of using keywords in your content and website can never be over-emphasized. But that does NOT mean keyword stuffing. Days are gone when keyword stuffing was the easiest way to increase your search ranking. So do NOT stuff keywords in the hopes of improving your SEO strategy. It will only put you in Google’s blacklist. The best practice for a keyword is, find the right keywords for your content and website optimization.
- Broken links: Broken links are links that no longer direct users to the page or pages they intend to go. In other words, they’re dead links because they’re not working anymore. Broken links damage your reputation in the search engine. Thus, the best way to deal with broken links is to replace them with relevant links or remove them completely.
- No Images: You know and I know that images are one of the best ways to convey information because people relate more with visuals. According to a recent study, the brain processes visual information 60,000 times faster than text content. Furthermore, you can retain 65% of the information you watched on a video after three days, compared to a mere 10℅ of the same information you heard. So use images to boost your SEO.
- No title tag: One of the most important elements of On-page SEO is a title tag. If you do not add title tags to your content, you’re destroying your reputation with Google.
- No Alt tag: Just as a title tag plays a crucial role in On-page SEO, Alt tag in a similar way, also help in boosting your search campaign.
- No meta descriptions: Another important element is your meta description. Are you in the habit of leaving your meta description empty? If you answered yes, then please stop and reverse it. Your meta description helps visitors to your site and search engine understand what your content is about, so make it a habit of adding a descriptive meta description with keywords. If you go above the character limit, cut some wordings.
Other common mistakes are:
- No quality backlinks.
- No internal links.
- Not optimizing your URLs, with keywords.
- Not optimizing your headlines – primary and SEO headlines.
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#• SEO Myths that are killing your chances of ranking high on Google
There are many SEO myths that are killing your chances of search engine page one success. The more you believe these myths, the more you’re harming your Google search ranking.
Some SEO myths to STOP believing are:
- Search engine drives all website traffic: Do you believe that? Believing such a myth will hold you back from improving your search ranking because you’re putting all your eggs in one basket. The truth is, SEO is one traffic source as there are many other traffic sources. So, search and diversify your strategy.
- You only need a well-optimized website to rank high on Google: Yes, a well-optimized website is an important factor for driving organic traffic, but that is not all you need to drive massive traffic and appear on Google’s page one. There are other factors involve, such as quality backlinks, guest blogging, blog commenting and other Off-page SEO activities.
- High ranking websites convert more: Even though it seems true, it actually isn’t. Why? Because keywords have different levels of search volume and buyer intent. So, depending on the keywords your site is ranking for, it might have a negative impact on conversion and sales.
Here you have it, a comprehensive post on what you need to know about SEO – both what to avoid and tips to improve your Google search ranking.
From the article, you have learned the best SEO techniques you must apply if you want to rank high on SERP. But if you ignore these tips or not done right, your website and content optimization and search ranking will suffer.
Consequently, conduct a proper keyword research to find the right keywords and keyword phrases for your blog post and website.
These secrets and strategies will definitely change the way you approach SEO in 2018 and boost your search ranking.