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Seems like everyone is talking about “SEO best practices” these days—but what does that even mean? Put simply: by implementing SEO best practices, your website becomes more search-friendly. The more search-friendly your site, the higher your rankings will be—increasing the number of people who visit your site.

And as every CEO knows: more website traffic means more sales—and that’s why SEO best practices are so important.

Understanding search

First off, let’s start with some SEO basics. SEO (or search engine optimization) is essentially a set of website improvement tactics you can deploy to generate more search traffic. So when we talk about SEO best practices, we’re talking about the very best ways to approach and implement your search strategy.

Now, there are many people who will tell you they know the secret SEO sauce to “ranking first on Google,” but in truth, Google uses over 200 different ranking factors when filtering through sites (and most of them are kept secret). Plus, nowadays Google uses machine learning to return results—meaning those search engine results pages are constantly changing.

Despite all this, SEO experts work to understand what Google likes and what Google doesn’t like. The result is a set of SEO best practices you can implement to improve the quality of your website, therefore showing up in search more often.

SEO best practices are split into two areas: Technical SEO and Optimized Content

While these areas require different expertise, both are key to driving traffic to your website.

How to improve your technical SEO

Technical SEO refers to just that: the technical side of your website. While this is probably under the auspices of your IT department or web developer, a cursory knowledge of technical SEO will keep you from falling prey to companies who sell black hat tactics and tricks (that ignore your audience and promise impossible results).

There are three steps to improving your technical SEO:

      1. Find a technical SEO expert you trust.
      2. Get that SEO expert to run an SEO audit on your website to identify and then fix technical SEO issues.
      3. Understand that improving technical SEO is usually an ongoing process—not a one-time, quick fix.

Currently, two of the top technical SEO issues to address are the security of your website (if you haven’t made the move to HTTPS, now’s the time) and improving your user experience across all devices. To keep your users happy and satisfied, your website must be mobile-friendly. Mobile leads now account for 63% of user traffic and that number is only expected to grow in the future. Addressing these two technical factors will keep your website from being penalized with lower search rankings.

Additionally, no matter how slick your website, that SEO audit is likely to reveal several areas in which you can improve your technical SEO. If terms like broken external and internal links, redirections, sitemap, plugins, meta descriptions, and alt tags make your head spin, don’t worry! There are plenty of SEO experts who understand how to identify and fix these housekeeping problems. (Just don’t go with the first one who spams your inbox!)

 

How to optimize your website content for search

The second leg of SEO best practices is all about creating great, user-friendly content. We all know that anyone can put content out on the web, but at the end of the day, Google (and other search engines) value well-written, authoritative, current content. This means you shouldn’t view your website as a static fixture of your business. Instead, regularly update your content to provide more answers as searchers generate more questions.

Content must be well-written and thorough. Every piece of your content should focus on one topic—and that topic should be easily summed up in a few keywords. (When discussing SEO, the term “keyword” comes up frequently. Keywords aren’t mysterious or magical. At the end of the day, a focus keyword is simply a summary of: What is this page/post/piece of content about?)

As you craft content to reach your audience, you may want to conduct keyword research—explore who’s searching for what in your industry and learn what users are already searching for when they land on your site. You should also look at your competitors’ search rankings and learn what queries drive users to their site instead of yours.

Use keywords throughout your website, especially on your site’s homepage. When customers visit your business online, they should immediately know who you are and what you offer. All content should be singularly focused, well-written, clear and authoritative.

Why are SEO best practices important?

The internet is based on search-driven communication, so much so that “google” has become a verb synonymous with query. Optimizing your website and content for search is extremely important if you want customers to find your business. Realize SEO is a long-term strategy, not a one-time fix. Your content must be interesting, well-written, relevant and optimized. Your website needs to meet your customers needs and answer every question they google.

Implementing SEO best practices may seem daunting, until you realize that at the end of the day, it’s simply an extension of marketing your brand. A well-optimized website will clearly and concisely communicate with your customers. It will capture your story and explain who you are, what you do, and why you are the one who will solve your clients’ problems!

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