Search engine optimization has become somewhat of a buzzword in marketing circles. We all practice it, we all recommend it to others, and we all swear that it works. Yet, we’re not all number one on Google search results. So what gives? The answer is that there are good and bad ways to practice SEO. If you do it right, SEO can be a great asset. But if you do it wrong, you’re unlikely to see any results and may even harm your brand. For this reason, it is important to focus on SEO best practices and avoid major mistakes. And to do that, you need to learn more about search engine optimization.
Why is it important for beginners to learn about SEO best practices?
SEO is a complex field. As a beginner who’s just now jumping into the deep end of it, you’ll probably make some mistakes. Unfortunately, those mistakes can cost you quite a bit. At best, poor SEO strategies will be a waste of resources; you’ll put time and effort into the wrong areas and won’t see any results. It could, however, be worse: you could invest in bad SEO practices that actively harm your brand. Tactics like link farming, comment spamming, and keyword stuffing will hurt your rankings and can even earn you a penalty from Google. So if you’re new to this type of marketing strategy, knowing where to start will be crucial for your success. By focusing exclusively on best practices, you’ll avoid problems and see much better results faster.
SEO best practices to implement today
Like everything else in business, good search engine optimization starts with a good plan. So if you’re in the process of developing your SEO strategy right now, what are some digital marketing tips that can help you?
Use keywords wisely
The goal of SEO is to improve the position of your page in Google search results. The question, then, is – which results exactly? You don’t need to be at the top of every search; only those that matter most for your business. Brainstorm some key phrases that relate to your niche. Then, use a keyword research tool like Google AdWords or Keyword Discovery to find out which keywords are searched for the most. This should help you come up with a list of phrases to target.
Keep in mind, however, that you need to be selective with your keywords. You won’t have the resources to target every one of them, so you need to focus on those that yield the best results. These will often be specific phrases that include your unique services, your location, or other pertinent information. Not only will you attract more quality traffic, but you’ll also find it easier to rank because there’ll be less competition.
Match your content to search intent
All keywords have their place in SEO, but not all keywords are equally suited for everything. People search the internet in different ways and for different reasons; you’ll want to adjust to that. Broadly speaking, the intent behind searches can be informational (seeking to learn something), navigational (looking for a specific page), and transactional (trying to make a purchase). Depending on this intent, people will search for different things. So when you’re choosing a keyword for your optimized content, think about what purpose that content serves. If you’re planning a social media marketing campaign to raise awareness, for example, you’ll want to think of phrases one might search when looking for information. But if you’re trying to sell a new product, then the focus should be on keywords suited to a transactional intent.
Optimize your website for speed, compatibility, and accessibility
Quality content is not worth much if people can’t access it. That’s why Google doesn’t only base results on keywords used but also the technical specifications of the website. Your pages need to load fast – search engines want to keep their users happy, and users don’t like waiting. You also want to make your web design responsive; that way, people can access it from different devices and browsers.
Links are your best friends
One of the best things you can do for your SEO strategy is to use links and use them well. Both internal and external links are important here but in different ways. Internal links, which point to content on your own website, help with navigation. With them, users discover related content and browse the website more easily. When another website links to your page, external links or backlinks act as a “recommendation” of your website. Search engines interpret backlinks as proof that your website is legitimate and relevant, raising your domain authority and improving your ranking.
Improve user experience
The term “search engine optimization” leads many to believe that SEO is all about somehow tricking search engines into liking your website. This couldn’t be further from the truth: ultimately, all marketing efforts come down to what your audience likes. SEO is no different – user satisfaction is what you want to aim for. Satisfied users spend more time on your website, interact with it more, and come back to it more often. Google uses all these metrics when serving up results, so it’s in your best interest to keep your users happy.
Keep up with the current trends
SEO is a dynamic field in which things change all the time. Search engines change their algorithms, users change their behavior, new websites come and go, new types of content gain and lose popularity, etc. What worked perfectly just a few months ago may yield no results now. What was unthinkable last year might be the perfect solution for this one. It is, therefore, vital to know what this year will bring to SEO and adapt to all the new trends. So don’t get complacent – keep up with the news, watch your competitors closely, and do your research regularly.
Additional tips that will help you make the most of SEO best practices
Staying away from black hat SEO and focusing on SEO best practices is solid advice. But it’s just the beginning. If you want to make the most of your optimization, you need to continuously invest in improvement. This means devising measures to track your progress and revising plans if required. This is the only way to maintain success long term. So start with a well-developed but flexible plan. Always think of your users first. And finally, continue to develop your strategies as the situation changes.