SEO BEST PRACTICES
If your website is ranking ‘somewhere’ on Google, but you’re not in the first ten results, your chances of being found are minimal. SEO is a labour of love and something that needs constant attention, but it’s really worth putting the work in if you want to be seen.
Read on for our top tips on making it to page one!
WORK OUT WHAT PEOPLE ARE SEARCHING FOR
It’s important that you’re writing content that’s relevant to your business, but it should also be tailored to queries that people are actually searching for!
According to SEMrush, there are four different types of search query:
- Informational: A search falls under informational intent when the user is looking for specific information. It can be a simple search like "what's the weather today?" that provides instant results or something complex like "best SEO strategies" that requires a more in-depth explanation.
- Navigational: In this case, the searcher is looking for a specific website or app. Common examples of navigational searches include "Facebook login", "SEMrush", and "Amazon".
- Commercial: The intent behind a search is commercial when the user is looking for a specific product but hasn't made the final decision yet. For example, searches such as "best SEO tools" and "best DSLR cameras" are all commercial searches.
- Transactional: Here, the intent is to buy. The searcher has already made a decision to buy a specific product or tool. Examples include searches such as "buy Nikon d500", "buy Macbook Air", and "buy groceries online”.
There are loads of tools out there that can help you to decide what keywords you should use in your content to increase your chances of being seen. The best part is that a lot of them are free to use. Some of our favourites are Google Search Console and AnswerThePublic which are both great for content ideas.
PAGE TITLES AND META DESCRIPTIONS
Two of the most easily influenceable but often underused areas for SEO performance are your page titles (also known as browser titles) and meta descriptions. These are the snippets of text that are displayed in search results. In Google, for example, the blue/purple section is your page title and the black text below the URL is your meta description. Take advantage of your page titles and meta descriptions with the following best practice!
It’s important that you don’t leave these empty, or search engines will fill them in on your behalf with content from that page, which may not be the right focus point.
Good quality images on your website play a really important part of an enjoyable user experience, not to mention that they enforce your brand and help you look professional. But it’s important that they’re optimised to avoid long page load times, which can really affect your SEO.
JPEG’s are smaller than PNG files and work well for photos, but images including text will display better when saved as a PNG, so, unfortunately, it’s not one size fits all!
It’s really important to compress images before uploading them to your website, but again, there are plenty of free tools to help you do this.
A few that we like at Spindogs are:
Alt Text for images
It’s also a good move for SEO (and, importantly, accessibility) to add Alt text to all your images. This text allows people who are using a screen-reader to understand what your images are, but it’s also a good chance to get some relevant keywords in. Remember to be descriptive but concise when explaining what’s in the image.
LINKS, LINKS, LINKS!
Internal and external links can really help your SEO. Internal links help search engines establish an information hierarchy for your site and can significantly improve your rankings when used in the correct way.
To help boost the SEO of pages that aren’t ranking well, see if there’s a way to relevantly link a better performing internal page to give it a helping hand.
It’s also important to keep on top of broken links as these can significantly damage your search engine ranking. Using tools like SEMrush or ScreamingFrog can help identify which links are broken so you can arrange for them to be fixed.
Backlinks are links from third party sources that direct people to your website.
Googles search algorithm often goes through changes, but one thing that has remained a constant is that it still considers backlinks to be a key ranking signal, think of it as a thumbs up from another website that your website is the real deal.
It’s really important that you only go for links from trusted and authoritative websites, or your backlink strategy could be derailed and damage your ranking.
IMPROVE YOUR WEBSITES USER EXPERIENCE (UX)
Once you’ve put the work in to bring someone to your website, don’t let them slip the net with a bad user experience! High bounce rates will damage your ranking and certainly won’t end up in making you any money.
Here are some things to review on your websites UX:
- Avoid annoying and intrusive popups
- Have an obvious user journey and clear CTA’s
- Make your content visually appealing and clear
- Avoid obvious stock imagery and pixelated images
- Make use of white space to avoid crowding and distraction
- Structure your content properly with headings and subheadings
STRENGTHEN YOUR URLS
The importance of URL structure is often overlooked when it comes to thinking about SEO. To create a URL that helps improve your website ranking you must give the search engines (and the users) a good idea of what the page is about.
Keep your URLs short and sweet, shorter URLs will outperform long URLs in SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages). It’s also a really good idea to include keywords in your URLs and consider removing any stop words.
Applying all of our best practice SEO tips to your website should significantly improve your ranking and chances of making it to page one of search engine results pages.
If you’d like some help with your SEO or any other area of your digital marketing, get in touch with one of our experts below, we’d love to hear from you!