What Are SEO Best Practices? (and why they matter)
Did you know that More than 2.4 billion people use the internet every day? 90% of those have purchased something, or contacted a company, online in the last 12 months! Will they find you?
Search Engine Optimization, aka SEO is a pretty complex topic. Organic SEO is the process and techniques used to obtain a natural placement on organic search engine results pages. Let’s explore SEO Best Practices, some SEO tactics, and their role in your website and marketing efforts.
Organic SEO Best Practices
Organic SEO – The Foundation Of Any Successful Website
Organic SEO is also known as On-Page SEO. It is made up of various techniques applied to a website to enable search engines to discover the site, determine what the site is about, and judge the importance of the site among its’ competitors.
We view Organic SEO as an integral part of our WordPress Web Design packages.
We also review existing websites and offer our thoughts on areas for SEO improvement. It’s easy to arrange a complimentary review. Use our Free Website Audit Form and we’ll take it from there.
SEO Is Confusing
SEO is probably the most misunderstood and confusing aspect of web development. That’s why is especially important to utilize SEO best practices in your SEO efforts .
Search engines build an index of web pages much like a book is indexed. Just imagine trying to locate a specific word or phrase in a book without the aid of an index.
Same goes for the online world. You look in the index (in this case, Google, Bing or Yahoo) for a term or phrase and you’re presented with a list of web pages containing the items you searched for.
SEO techniques are used to try and get your web page closer to the top of the pile of pages presented as a result of a search.
People Are Impatient
Having your web page in the top 2 or 3 positions of the pile increases the chances of a visit to your website. People are lazy um… impatient, and not inclined to look further than they have to.
That’s what this is all about. If your web page is on the 3rd or 4th page of the pile, the chances of getting much traffic on your website is slim.
SEO comes in a couple of variations; Paid and Organic. Paid SEO is advertising and different from our focus here, which is Organic SEO. (this is also known as White Hat SEO)
If you bring up the term SEO with business owners, the usual reaction is a groan or a frown.
Here’s the problem, SEO is a complex subject. To compound matters, there is so much misinformation about it.
You’ll find lots of people who claim to be “SEO experts” and promise to get your website ranked at the top of Google.
One of the common tactics targets recently registered websites. SEO “vultures” send an email to tell you they can make your website rank right up there at the top of the search rankings. You should be wary of anyone who makes promises like that – in fact, RUN.
All these things make for a whole lot of confusion and frustration so let’s cut through the fog.
Why is SEO so confusing?
Google, Bing, and Yahoo all use different algorithms to deliver their search results.
Not only are they different but they are evolving almost daily so it takes some effort to keep up with them. Google reportedly makes upwards of 2,000 updates to their algorithm every year.
It Should Be Easy
You’d think it would be easy – create a website, publish it on the internet and you’re done. People will flock to it cause it’s a pretty great website, right? Wrong!
It’s tough to get a brand new website to show up in the search engines. We’ve seen new sites take as long as six months to begin ranking.
META WHAT? Meta Data!
Meta data is the information that helps search engines know what your page is about. Meta Title is the title that appears in your SERP (Search Engine Results Page), not the title you see on the screen. Meta Description describes what your page is about to search engines.
Take a look at a snippet of the SERP for the search term “ice cream”.
You should incorporate your page’s search key phrase terms into your Meta Data in a natural way as in the above example. It should be concise and meaningful and provide a good representation of what your page is about.
Copywriting is crucial to good on-page SEO. Creating keyword-rich content for your website is an art in itself.
You want quality content while using terms appropriate to your business or industry.
The goal should be to create content that demonstrates your authority and expertise on the subject matter.
What Do People Search For
Search terms are also critical to your SEO results. Too generic and you’ll be competing with millions of other websites. Too specific and people may never search for that search term.
Consider demographics, products, search terms, and location in choosing your search terms. This process may have to be repeated many times to get your rank to move.
Where To Begin
SEO should be the foundation of any great website. It begins with thorough research of the client’s organization and a solid strategy for SEO.
Links remain a very important ranking factor. If you have links from quality websites then your site is likely an a quality site with authority on your topic. Link building is almost an art unto itself. Remember though that even the best network of links will fail if the links point back to an inferior web design so make sure your page is rock solid so other sites will want to link to it.
Organic SEO isn’t something that can be “tacked on” after the fact. It needs to be a core component of the website’s design.
Organic SEO – Key Components
- Title Tags (50-60 characters – include keyword(s))
- Meta Description Optimization (160 characters max – include keyword(s))
- Header Tag Optimization (use keywords naturally)
- Image Optimization (always include unique alt text and title)
- Internal Links
- Body Content
Watch The SEO Video
Here is a great explainer video courtesy of Search Engine Land that is a great resource for understanding SEO concepts. It’s a quick 3 1/2 minute explanation of Search Engine Optimization and we Highly Recommend you watch it!
Local SEO Agency
Local SEO Tips
Local SEO has taken on an increasingly important role in overall SEO and online marketing of a business. Google My Business and Google Maps are the 2 most important pieces of the local SEO puzzle to get right. The majority of GMB accounts are not fully optimized, leaving lots of opportunity on the table. It’s so important to make sure both of these tools are accurate and utilized to their fullest extent.
GMB is the standard in local search citations. As such, you need to have all of your information 100% accurate. You should be creating posts on GMB regularly – at least 3 days a week if you really want results. You also need to post photos just as often. There is some debate on what the value is of GEO tagging photos is to your Local SEO but my opinion is that it can’t hurt and may help. Go ahead and use GEO tagging if you want.
Your business needs to have reviews on GMB and you need to respond to each and every review, regardless of how the reviewer ranks you. Make sure your response is genuine and not a canned reply. Talk to the reviewer in your reply as you would if you were face to face. Try to take bad reviews offline and offer to make things right. Not only does GMB notice HOW you respond to reviews but HOW LONG it takes you to respond.
Make sure you business shows up on Google Maps. If it doesn’t, add it and make sure you are accurate and consistent with your NAP (name, address, phone number).
Want to learn more? Check out our Knowledge Base article How To Set Up Google My Business.
If you need help with your GMB or Google Maps listing, get in touch and we’ll be glad to help.
GMB Update: 7/22/2020
Google has announced they will begin offering an enhanced GMB listing. Called Google Guaranteed certification and available for a $50 monthly fee, this could be a game changer and a huge cash infusion for Google. This new “feature” fits in with Google’s intent to monetize the GMB platform. We’ll continue to follow this and provide updated information here.
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