SEO, an important aspect of web service, improves the online presence of a website based on its understanding of Google’s search algorithms, thus helping your website’s content ranking.
Although algorithms can sometimes be difficult to figure out, Agile Development can help you with your website’s SEO. Whether you hire a pro or strike out on your own, in this article we will be sharing with you the dos and don’ts of SEO to equip you with the basics you’ll need.
SEO is continuously changing over the years, in step with perpetual refinements of search engine algorithms. Better algorithms have helped improve user experience, mainly focused on battling spam and preventing websites with weak or irrelevant content from ranking higher on the search engines.
In line with that, there are some best practices that don’t go out of style. Here are some of the dos and don’ts of SEO that will hold true no matter the latest search engine update.
Focus the content on keywords.
Before anything else, you must compose a title and meta title based on the content and the keywords you will use. When a user’s search on Google brings up content on your website as one of the suggestions, the first 55 characters of your title will show up, and the user will scan it quickly to determine if your content is useful or relevant to them. Even if it is, you need to make sure that the words that you use are engaging to the ideal reader of your content.
In the article’s main body, ensure that the content is simple and specific to the topic. Do not try to squeeze in extra words and irrelevant information as it will not help your website’s SEO. The search engine algorithms are capable of understanding context and conversational language, so there is no need to repeat the target keywords or phrases. You can use keyword variations like keyword expansions instead.
Apply long-tail keywords
Keywords have an important part in achieving good SEO. If you include specific keywords in your content, you can rank higher by using those keywords.
When using keywords, consider these two specific criteria: low competition and high relevance. This type of keyword is also called a long-tail keyword.
Long-tail keywords contain more words, which makes them more specific. This often results in clearer search intent and often has less competition. You can use long-tail keywords by targeting more specific topics that have lesser competition. For example, instead of just using the word “laptop” on your topic, you can go for “what kind of laptop is best for students.”
Use keywords analytics to evaluate performance
By now you know that before you start working on your content, you need to check your keywords and determine whether they will be optimal in increasing your website’s rank. To do this, you can use keyword analytics. This is an effective way to check the keywords for viability before you start working them into your content.
Try ranking keywords associated with your business. Make sure that the keywords have a low difficulty score, which means that there are not too many businesses or websites competing against you. Lean toward more specific, long-tailed keywords — these have been proven many times to result in the best conversions.
After you have written content for your website, follow keyword analytics to see which phrases or keywords need attention. When your rank decreases or you see an opportunity to rank higher, run through the tips in this list until your rank improves. Rinse, repeat.
Use related keywords
Always remember when writing your content that you must have a primary target keyword that you will try to rank. You can then also write in some related keywords and integrate them into the content.
You can find related keywords by searching the primary keyword on Google and then pick out the keywords at the bottom of the results page. This approach allows you to write toward more specific topics that can be useful for users searching for more advanced or nuanced information about the topic.
Integrate relevant links
When linking, use only links relevant to the topic. Do not use a lot of links as the content will just look like spam. Web UX studies have even shown that readers are more likely to be distracted every time a new link pops up. On top of this, your links must be relevant and welcome.
For example, use internal web pages from your website or a few external links that act as a sort of footnote or supplementary info to the content at hand — try not to segue too much from the main topic.
Always remember when internally linking to link on keywords that you want to rank for. Link to a particular web page only once — avoid using multiple links to the same webpage. This won’t increase your rank. Never overdo it. Occasionally you can link more than once (for example to contact pages) while using different anchor text every time. The most effective links direct users to the important parts of your website, such as the homepage and products/services pages.
A recent study has shown that using external links from credible websites can also boost your rank on search engines. Just make sure the link opens to a new tab because you want the users to stay and spend a long time on your website. The longer the users stay on your website, the higher the chance for conversion.
Optimize images for SEO
When using different forms of media on your website, always remember to label, tag, or add alt text to them so they can be also visible to the various search engines.
You do not have to include a long description for alt text — just add a long-tailed keyword to an image in your content. Once the search engine traces your images with their keywords, it will easily help the users find your content and increase your rank in the process.
Use title and meta descriptions for your web content
Titles and meta descriptions are important elements that must be included in your web content. Title tags are crucial for web content because they are the main thing that will influence whether a user clicks on your content in the search engine results. Compose a title that will catch the people’s attention wherein you must use the target keyword.
Meta descriptions also play an important role in catching the attention of users while doing their part in letting the search engines know about the context of your webpage. You must remember to write meta descriptions that will relay the context and content of the page within only 160 or fewer characters including white spaces.
Avoid copying someone else’s content
Search engines have evolved and are capable of checking whether your content is original or copied from another website. Unless quoting extensively and with permission, or reposting (also with permission), you must create your content and not just copy-paste large segments from other websites.
There is another scenario called syndicated content in which third-party websites host your blog posts on their website. If done correctly, this strategy can help increase conversions as you reach your target audience through the third-party site.
If you want to syndicate your content, you must do it correctly which means you have to choose a website with high authority and you must only use legitimate methods to gain recognition. You can also consider guest blogging to can avoid any possible issues with content syndication.
Whichever route you take, always remember to focus on making original content on your website since successful guest-posting will prompt readers to check out your main blog.
Avoid keyword stuffing
While keywords are important, take care to use the keywords only a few times as it can help improve your ranking in search engines like Google. Do not overdo it. If you put the keywords in every paragraph, search engines will not respond positively.
Keyword stuffing means overusing keywords in your content with the intent of getting a high ranking on search engines. This strategy is a black-hat SEO strategy as it violates Google’s guidelines so make sure to avoid it at all costs. You must only incorporate the target keywords naturally if you want to have a high ranking on the search engines.
Avoid linking frequently to external websites
Always remember to avoid linking too often to external websites as it can harm your ranking on the search engines. If you link frequently to other websites within a single post, your content will be hard to read and can result in high bounce rates. You must ensure to not link to external websites that contain forms that ask for sensitive information, gambling, or adult content.
Avoid overusing keywords
Search engines will favor websites that have a clear theme. You must avoid overusing a keyword as it can deter users and can also result in reducing conversions for your site. With regards to search engines, they may not penalize this strategy but they may find that your repetitious content can cause high bounce rates, which will often result in the lowering of your website’s ranking in the search engines.
One simple thing you can do is to use synonyms when writing your content. This can make sure that the search engines still understand the topic of your content without influencing the readability of your target audience.
Do not cheat the system
Some black-hat SEO strategies can game the search engines with methods such as buying back-links, using hidden links, and employing link networks to increase SEO. Thanks to such attempts, the search engines are now smarter. Before you know it, techniques like these that paid off before do not work anymore. What’s more, search engines can penalize your website. Your content will be seen as of lesser quality, which will drastically affect the generation of high-quality inbound leads.
If you are searching for a website developer that will help with your SEO, make sure to check out Agile Development. We can help you upgrade your website or get a new one. Check out our portfolio of past projects for clients, and take advantage of our free website consultation. You can request a quote here, free of charge.
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