Follow these 10 SEO best practices to improve your search rankings and achieve the best visibility online.
Search engines can drive traffic to any website that offers valuable content matching a user’s search query. However, there’s a lot of competition, with over 6 billion pages of content online.
Drawing the attention of these search engines is the key to attracting new searchers. However, the enormous volume of content online today will take a strategic approach.
The effort can pay off handsomely, though. By following best practices for search engine optimization (SEO), you can increase the chances of your website ranking well or showing up closer to the top of the list of search results.
How Google ranking affects your traffic
Your ranking in the search engine results pages (SERPs) is vital to how many people see your website pages. There is simply too much online content for users to comb through pages of search results. That means getting on the first page of results is a big win.
If you can rank at the top of search results in your niche, you’re likely to see almost a 40 per cent click-through rate (CTR) from users. However, that number drops off sharply as you scroll down through search results, with the second-ranking page receiving 18.7 per cent and the third, just 10.2 per cent.
If your site falls to the second or third page of search results, you won’t see much traffic from Google. Efforts to improve your ranking are therefore worthwhile to appeal to more visitors and attract more potential customers to your site.
Google’s search algorithm evaluates several key factors when deciding what pages to show to which users:
- The meaning of the user’s search query.
- The relevance of a page’s content.
- The quality of the website content.
- The usability of the webpages.
- The context and settings that could help offer more insight.
You can make your website more visible by paying attention to the type of content you publish and the way you publish it. Follow these highly recommended practices for SEO to help search engines find your website and present it to users looking for what you offer.
1. Publish (and update) high-quality content
Google rewards valuable content that interests your target audience and keeps them reading once they discover it. Your top priority should be to create content that offers helpful information your users need. Continuously add to and refresh content to show Google your site is relevant and active. You can do this by adding pages, publishing a company blog, and improving or updating pages to prevent them from becoming stale.
2. Do keyword research
Learn about keywords and how they help guide users to your site. Find out what kinds of search terms are being used and what keywords appeal to your audience that aren’t being used by many competitors. Deliberately creating content targeting these keywords can help boost your SEO.
3. Ensure your site is user-friendly
User experience (UX) plays a big part in how people use your website and if they’ll return. The ability to navigate menus, find the content they need and follow your calls to action will improve the UX while also signalling to Google that your site is appealing to readers.
4. Ensure your site is mobile friendly
Responsive website design is critical in an age where many people commonly use devices to browse the internet. Your website should adjust to the screen it appears on, with pages that load swiftly and show essential information to a mobile customer first. You can provide an easy-to-find address and only require one click for a customer to call or find the address on a map.
5. Implement on-page SEO
Certain elements help search engines understand each page of content on your site, including headers, meta descriptions, title tags and even URLs that include your target keywords. You can help Google understand what the content is about and the kind of audience that would find it useful.
6. Link internal content
You can link pages of related content on your site to make it easier for search engines to understand what your site is about and how you’ve organized your content. As a bonus, this type of direction is also helpful for users to know where to look for more information as they read through your site.
7. Seek out backlinks
When other websites link to your site, it helps signal to Google that it is reputable, boosting your SEO. You’ll need to influence other website publishers to link to yours. Building a linking strategy may consist of tactics such as publishing high-appeal content that will attract backlinks and acting as a guest contributor on other sites where you can link back to your own.
8. Improve page performance
Any content you publish on your site must load for users to view on their mobile device or desktop. How quickly this happens depends on factors such as how large the files are on your site and server speeds. Online searchers rarely want to wait long for a page to load, much less multiple pages. Google measures page loading speed and other metrics to reward sites that respond quickly to user actions.
9. Embrace social media
You can attract more traffic to your website by creating social media accounts for your business and building interaction there. Google rewards your participation online, even on other platforms. Being active on social media helps elevate your social signals, which can drive up your brand visibility and influence your site’s SEO.
10. Attend to technical SEO
As well as optimizing the content on your site, you need to look after off-page or technical SEO. These actions include ensuring that you keep the backend details of your website in good order, from website architecture to XML sitemaps. Correct technical issues such as broken links as you discover them to ensure your entire site functions well.
Bonus tip: Always measure your performance through analytics such as Google Analytics so you can monitor your website traffic, assess how your content is performing and keep track of how your efforts affect your progress. You can repeat successful endeavours and investigate underperforming pages of content to improve how people engage with your website and if they want to return.
While there is no perfect list of instructions to guarantee a top ranking in Google, these established guidelines can help improve your rankings and increase your traffic. A proactive approach can keep your site ahead of those of you competitors and draw more of your desired audience.
With these SEO best practices, you can attract more searchers to your website and potentially convert more of them into customers. Ready to get started? Book a consultation with a Postmedia expert to learn more.