Have you ever seen something and taken a mental note, promising yourself to look it up later? But then, when you go to look it up, you either can’t seem to remember the exact phrase you wanted to look up, or there are no mentions in the search. What happens in these situations, and is there a way you can apply the answer to this simple question to your work, business, blog, or website?
You may be asking the link between you looking up something on the internet and growing your online business. Well, the two are more or less the same: Look at it this way, your brain processes a lot of information, and what is not relevant or exciting is shoved to the back. There’s a lot of information competing to remain relevant and top of mind.
The internet operates in a more or less similar way.
To better illustrate this, it’s best to look at it from the business owner’s point of view. For the illustration’s purpose, let’s imagine John recently started a blog. See, John has been told he’s an amazing blogger, and he has the most fascinating of stories. Unfortunately, any time John publishes a post, only a handful of people get to read it.
John’s major problem, as put above, is that readers are not reading John’s blog. There are various ways John can get more people to notice his blog. However, various methods have different success rates, the most promising and favorable being Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
Just what is SEO and how can it help you grow your business?
In any field, there are skills and practices you need to be the top. On the internet, you’ll need a more than a basic understanding of SEO to keep your site on top and relevant. What are the SEO Best practices, and when can you start implementing them? Let’s look at the most important information you’ll need when utilizing SEO to grow your site’s internet reach.
What is SEO?
Whenever you look up something on a search engine, there are quite a number of results displaying. In one study, it was found that over 70% of people looking up something never go to the second page.
If you actually go back to the last time you looked up something, can you remember a time you went to the second and third page? Most of the times, you’ll change the phrase you’re looking up just to ensure the result you want or expect is closer to the top.
On the internet, everyone seems to be fighting for the first page. Better yet, the first three results in an online search appear to be the most coveted, and most people will try any means to get there, and this is what is referred to as ranking high or at the top.
Businesses are willing to do anything to rank high, including paying to advertise at the top. But John –the blogger from the previous example, doesn’t have the kind of budget to compete with big companies. But don’t count John out just yet; with the aid of SEO, John too can rank high and grow his blog.
Essentially, SEO is the exercise of getting actionable traffic to your website. This allows your website to grow organic rankings, which help boost your overall position, therefore getting you more leads and customers. This creates a recurring loop where more targeted people find your site, thereby increasing business and helping you grow.
In John’s case, since he doesn’t have the budget to pay for good ranking, his best option would be capitalizing on SEO. You too may be in a similar boat, and you’re looking for effective ways to grow your business through SEO.
However, there’s more that goes into SEO to have a fruitful outcome, and this article seeks to cover the SEO best practices 2020 as well as how you can practically apply this info.
Is SEO different from marketing?
While SEO has gotten a lot of traction over the last few years, it is often confused with marketing.
The two are, however, slightly different. In SEO, you’re trying to create impactful content that draws in organic traffic. In essence, it is targeted marketing, where you use keywords to appeal to potential customers.
Marketing, on the other hand, is a broad umbrella term for the many strategies used to attract business and customers. SEO falls under marketing.
While the importance of SEO is evident, it is not something you can just wake up and be good at. Every day, you’ll see people asking, “How can I improve my Google SEO?” Here are some of the SEO Best Practices easy enough to learn and apply.
What are SEO Best Practices?
If you’re new to SEO, you’re now mostly caught up, and you’re likely wondering where to start. While looking at the SEO best practices checklist, keep in mind how they could apply to your business or online site.
When looking at SEO, you’re likely after the best practices for SEO content writing that will have the most impactful outcome. If you’ve been asking, what are the most effective SEO practices to optimize online content? Here are a few practical tips.
1. Your keywords should appear in the headline and URL
With the headline, you have a chance to grab the attention of your audience. While you don’t want to go shouting at them, you also don’t want to be too general; otherwise, your presence will be missed.
The rule of thumb in writing headers is to not overdo the keyword. If you can, use the keyword, however, if it really is impossible, or doesn’t sound like a fit, you can get another keyword that is better suited.
As shown in one study, being ranked high in the search engine result page (SERP) can help you get more inquiries as over 90% of people use the search engines to get more information and to make up their minds.
Keywords best practice
- Don’t stuff all your keywords in the title
- The title should be original and catchy
- Use the words and phrases that resonate with your target audience
2. Use LSI keywords in the content appropriately
Latent semantic indexing, simply referred to as LSI, is where search engines look at other closely related words and phrases. When you use different words and closely related phrases, Google and other search engines can understand you better and increase the chance for you to rank for the various keywords as well. It is best to rank for words and phrases closely related to you as it increases your target reach.
LSI keywords best practices
- Ensure the word is indeed related to your content
- Don’t overuse the LSI keywords
At SEOPressor, we use the tool LSIGraph to do keyword research for SEO purpose. As the name suggests, the tool generates a list of LSI keywords according to the main keyword you entered.
Do you know that the LSI Keyword suggestion in our tool SEOPressor Connect WordPress plugin is also powered by LSIGraph? It really is a fantastic and handy tool for anyone looking to beef up on their SEO effort.
3. What should you put in the Meta description?
If someone were to ask, ‘what are the most important SEO ranking factors?’ would your answer include Meta descriptions?
The truth is, most people forget Meta descriptions, yet they are key to your SEO strategy. The Meta description is the short write up below the title. If you do not have a customized Meta description, Google will automatically cut off a piece of the write-up, which acts as the description.
SEO best practices Google on Meta description
- It should be clear, direct, and convincing
- Don’t use quotes or non-alpha characters as the Google logarithm will just cut them
- Each meta description should be unique
4. Optimize your image
Your images also need an alt text. Simply put, the alt text acts as the name of the image in your write up. Remember to include alt tags in all your images, other than improving the SEO best practices; you’re also increasing the web page’s accessibility.
Additionally, the text reads as actual text, and correct optimization can help your ranking as well as those with impaired vision and need to use a screen reader.
If you use WordPress as your content management system (CMS), you will notice that you can edit your image’s alt text easily in the media library.
Image optimization best practices
- The text should be descriptive enough
- Don’t use non-alpha characters in the alt description
- Don’t overuse the keywords in the description
5. Utilize your header tags and keyword phrases
You’ve likely seen H1, H2, and H3 when researching about content writing. Headers have an important place in SEO writing. These are headers and subheaders, and when utilized correctly, can help you rank better on Google and other search engines.
This is because having headers in your content and pages helps search engines like Google navigate and understand them better.
Here’s a quote from John Mueller, Google’s Webmaster Trends Analyst.
We do use headings when it comes to search. But we use them to better understand the content on the pages.
Again, if you are using WordPress, specifically their block editor, you can edit the header settings for your content easily. When creating a new block, you have the option to create a heading, which after you can easily switch between H2, H3 and H4 type headings.
Header tags and keyword phrases best practices
- Have your primary keyword phrase as part of the H1 tag
- The importance of the headings H1, H2, H3, H4 should be in a descending order
- Clever use of headings can greatly help your readers to easier skim through your content
6. How easy it is to read your content?
When someone lands on your page, Google tracks how long they are on the page and their progress on your site. A short stay means they didn’t find what they were looking for, or the content is too complex.
Though Google never outright admits it, but they do have patents analyzing a searcher’s browsing activity like did they make a quick u-turn and clicked on the other website Google result returns?
Even without the SEO benefit, it is always a good idea to keep your content organized in a way that it’s easily skimmable and where the main points are clearly labeled and delivered.
Easy writing best practices
- Use short and engaging sentences and paragraphs
- Use bolding and bullet points to break up large paragraphs
- Don’t overuse the bullets
7. Internal linking boosts your SEO rank
Internal linking, as the name suggests, is when you link to other pages in your own website. Think of it as an online store; when you buy margarine, you’ll likely get suggestions for pastry. Internal linking is a powerful and effective way of suggesting to your potential customers on what could benefit them later.
When you link from one page of your website to another page of your website, this also helps Google to discover the different pages of your website because search engine spiders follow through the hyperlinks in your pages. That also helps search engines understand which pages are related to each other, and when search engines understand you better, you’re on the way to better ranking.
Internal linking best practices
- Choose a piece of text that talks more about what you’re linking to (anchor text)
- Only link when necessary or when the link could benefit the reader
8. Link to other credible sources
If you exist in your own island, it’s harder for Google to recognize you, or what your website is about. When you link to external sources (outbound links), it helps the search engine identify your topic quickly.
Outbound linking best practices
- Only link back to credible and authoritative sources
- Don’t link back to competitor sites
9. Create engaging titles
As mentioned above, the right title can do wonders from your SEO strategy. If it’s dull or unappealing, people will just browse past it. If it’s falsely misleading, people will leave soon as they click, and this hurts your SEO best practices.
Titles best practices
- Have an engaging and clear title
- Don’t use misleading or clickbait titles
- Emotion evoking headlines can also be a good idea
10. The content should be informative
Last, but certainly not least, is the content itself. Much of the tips cover themes around the topic; you should, however, ensure the content you’re putting out there is of benefit to the reader.
Informative content best practices
- Keenly research on your topic
- Use language and tone that appeal to your target audience
What are the most effective SEO best practices to optimize online content? This is one of those questions most people have when getting into the online scene. This piece shows how to employ the SEO strategy to helps build your brand. What tip are you eager to try?
Updated: 5 November 2021