SEO can be a revenue goldmine, but as fruitful as it can be, it is not an easy undertaking. SEO requires consistency and a multidirectional approach.
While most companies are investing the time and effort to get their SEO game right, most of them are not yielding the desired results. As per an Ahrefs study, just 5.7% of all studied pages ranked in the Top 10 search results within one year.
What’s more, there are more than 200 factors that affect your ranking on Google, which means it is tricky to bifurcate priorities. Different industries and business goals require different approaches to rank higher.
Before moving forward with any SEO efforts for your website, it’s a good idea to conduct a thorough SEO audit to analyze your current SEO performance and figure out which areas to optimize first.
Some factors remain consistent and effective across all industries. And without implementing them appropriately, it is almost impossible to achieve SEO success. Let’s look at four such core factors you must prioritize in your SEO strategy.
Keep the basics in check
While search marketers are aware of all the necessary SEO to-dos, sometimes we still miss the most basic yet important things that make a significant difference. Here are six on-page optimization basics to always keep in mind.
Select the right keywords.
There are several tools like Ubersuggest and Ahrefs that’ll help you figure out the right keywords and leverage them to ensure proper implementation. Techniques like mixing the head terms and long tail keywords, competitor analysis, keeping your keyword list brief, etc. can entail several benefits.
Keywords that consist of more than three or four words are generally termed long tail keywords. These keywords have lower search volumes. However, their conversion rates tend to be higher.
Use keyword tools to find relevant long tail keywords and match them with head terms to gain maximum output.
Competitor analysis involves keeping an eye on your competitors and their SEO strategies. Having an understanding of what your competitors do helps you remain aware of the trends and stay at par with your competitors.
You can use tools like SEMrush to conduct a thorough competitor analysis.
Set keyword density.
Do not stuff your content with keywords. Keyword density is the percentage of times a keyword or phrase appears on a web page compared to the total number of words on the page.
When the keyword density is higher, it is assumed that Google will recognize your page more easily. However, that is not true anymore.
The optimal keyword density ranges from 1% to 2%. This means that the target keyword must appear at least 1-2 times in every 100 words of the article.
Use H1, H2, H3 tags.
Bots evaluate your content using these header tags (H1, H2,…, H6) so make sure your article complies with the standard heading formats.
Add relevant meta title, tags and descriptions.
Search engines display a summary of your content on the search results page in the form of your page’s title, a short meta description, and a URL.
Make sure you write an inviting title and meta description and have a short yet descriptive URL for every page. Also, double-check their relevance.
When the page is loaded with heavy images, the page loading speed tends to decrease. Slower page speed leads to users leaving. Hence, image optimization is crucial.
Image optimization helps increase your page speed and reduce overall page load. Use tools to resize your images.
Do not forget to add alt text. Alt text is a short written description for images that helps increase your website’s content accessibility.
An internal link is hyperlinking one page on your website to the other. This practice helps you rank higher as it helps readers find more information on that particular topic and stay on your website, thus improving the average time on page.
Internal links also help Google understand the most important pages on your website.
Great content feeds almost all factors that affect your rankings. High-quality content is one of the most important signals used by Google to rank your website for search.
Black hat SEO techniques such as repeating unrelated phrases to manipulate SERPs are no longer effective.
Search engines have become smarter than ever. Google really likes informative and useful content that people invest their time in. Contrary to popular practices of writing to rank higher, one should write content with the purpose of providing valuable information to the reader.
When people spend time reading your content — the bounce rate of your website decreases, they trust your website and share their reviews, domain authority building becomes easier, external websites leverage your content for borrowed credibility, and as a result, your page ranks higher.
Also, 90.63% of content gets no traffic from Google. So, how do you create content that ranks in that top 10%?
By writing quality content. Some of the best practices to write quality content for SEO are adding images, writing comprehensive content, including keywords naturally, adding relevant internal & external links, and avoiding plagiarism.
Adding header tags and writing alt text are a few other techniques to make your content SEO friendly.
Link building and audit.
Link building helps Google discover new pages and determine which pages should rank higher on SERPs (search engine results pages). Since the beginning, Google has considered backlinks one of the most crucial aspects of SEO.
Link building is the process of acquiring hyperlinks from other credible web resources to rank higher on SERPs.
Hunting backlinks from high-authority websites should be a primary to-do for your SEO team.
Link building is no longer limited to being active on forums or buying links from other websites. While you can still be active on Quora, building links has become a barter deal between most organizations today.
However, it is also imperative that websites consider this barter only if your website has valuable content and authority to offer and vice versa.
Conduct a backlink audit and see who is linking back to your content and also keep a check on your backlink profile health. This way you can also send the links to respective websites and request social sharing. Sharing will help you in getting more visitors to your website.
Moreover, nearly 55% of the global web traffic is generated from mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. It is imperative to make your website responsive and mobile-friendly.
To do so, first, test your site using Google’s mobile-friendly tool. Based on the results, you can consider making adjustments to your website such as choosing a responsive theme.
Other practices to optimize your website for mobile include enabling Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMPs), improving site loading time, redesigning pop-ups and more.
Read this guide to know how you can optimize your website for mobile users further.
While the journey to SEO success is long, it is critical to start on the right foot. This article is your head start to the same. You can implement all these strategies even if you do not have an expert in-house.
Make sure you leverage relevant tools and do not indulge in any practice that Google does not endorse. Keep these factors in mind, and your website will do better than what it is doing today.
The best time to implement SEO is now!