SEO is a complicated subject and a constantly moving target, but if you keep Google’s stated purpose in mind, you can craft a solid SEO strategy that works now and into the future. What is that purpose? To deliver the highest quality, most relevant results to users.
It sounds simple enough, but past efforts to game the system have landed many website owners in Google Hell…not always for their own actions. Many “SEO experts” are infamous for shady practices meant to deliver fast results. It makes them look good for a little while, until an algorithm update brings it all tumbling down. A major loss in pagerank can destroy your bottom line.
That’s why we’re going to give you the strongest & simplest approach to solid SEO strategy. No tricks. No gaming. Just real, evergreen tactics that will never get you in trouble—and will always push your site to the top of the search engine results page.
Focus on: Keywords
Even with semantic search, keywords are still important. Make a list of industry keywords you want to shoot for, and ensure your website content on your site is focused around those topics and words. Forget repeating keywords x number of times on each page. Longtail keywords also have their limits. Just write naturally about the subjects native to your industry.
Best keyword practices:
- Do thorough keyword research.
- Use your primary keyword or keyword phrase in your title.
- Write a short, pretty URL that contains your keyword.
- Use keywords in your subheaders.
- Include keywords in your first paragraph.
Focus on: Links
Every link is important, even those coming in to your website. Be sure you link in and out only to quality, relevant sites. Linking to internal pages is great SEO, but the links should fit naturally into the text.
Incoming links are equal parts awesome and terrifying. If industry bloggers on high-traffic sites link to your content or mention your site in any context, it’s a real SEO boost. Ditto if you share your knowledge to be published on other sites. Guest blogging extends your audience and raises your authority.
You just have to be careful. Backlinks coming in from low-quality sites can hurt your SEO. It’s a good idea to regularly evaluate your site’s links, fix any broken ones you find, and make sure your incoming links are from authoritative links related to your industry.
Focus on: Load Time
The length of time it takes your page to load is critical to SEO for several reasons. Slow-loading pages are frustrating to visitors and increase your bounce rate—which is indicative of how fast and how often visitors leave your page. Load times are influenced by the amount of code that loads when a visitor arrives and by image size.
If your page is loading slowly, the cause might be ads, videos or music set to play automatically, or other scripts. Code errors may also result in loading issues.
Large graphics are also a common issue. Even if graphics appear to be small in dimension, they might be large files controlled by specifying size in the code. If you right-click a small image and open it in a new window and it’s huge, it’s not optimized, and it’s probably slowing your load time.
Focus on: Content
All basic SEO strategy should focus on high-quality content. Publishing great content attracts traffic by giving customers and prospects information about your industry and your products, provides endless opportunities to bolster your keyword strategy, and establishes your site as authoritative…a good reason for bloggers and journalists to write about you.
Whether you write content in-house or outsource, it should be informative and tailored to the interests of your audience.
Focus on: Location-Based SEO
Google’s latest algorithm makes location far more important than it’s ever been before. While city searches are still relevant, the search now drills down to a more granular neighborhood level. If you’re a brick-and-mortar, raising your rank, especially for mobile search, means adding more location information to your page. Instead of sticking to New York City references, be sure to mention you’re in SoHo or the Village.
Focus on: Mobile-Friendliness
If your site isn’t optimized for mobile, your SEO isn’t up to par. Mobile search makes up 61% of all website traffic today and sites that aren’t optimized do not appear in the mobile search results. It’s a simple rule. If your site is not optimized for mobile, you lose any mobile traffic you might have earned.
There are a lot of details to SEO, but this is the strongest & simplest approach to solid SEO strategy on a broad level. Google is looking to deliver high quality results, and, if your website meets those high standards, that means your SEO is solid—and you’ll see boosts in both customer engagement and search engine results rankings. It’s worth it.
Not sure if your site is mobile friendly? Use the free and easy Google Mobile-Friendly Test tool to find out. Now’s the time to go mobile, but how? Check out this handy and comprehensive FREE guide to making your website mobile friendly.