20+ Powerful SEO Practices to Boost Rankings
Larry Page coined the term “search engine” and developed the first algorithm used by today's popular search engines like Yahoo!, Google, Bing, etc. The word search engine means “to seek information through searching”.
Finding something specific on the Internet was difficult in the early days because there were no categories or directories.
It was only after the invention of computers that people could easily organise and categorise information.
Nowadays, we use these powerful machines to perform searches online, making this technology more efficient than ever before.
Today, we refer to any device that uses this type of technology as a search engine. This includes mobile phones, handheld devices, desktop PCs, laptops, PDAs, smartphones, tablets, GPS systems, gaming consoles, set-top boxes etc.
In other words, most people now rely heavily on search engines when looking for products or services. People also use them to research their family and friends.
Search engines help users find relevant content within seconds. They provide answers to questions ranging from simple to complex. For example, a user may want to check airline fares for their next trip but not know where to start.
They may go directly to a search engine and enter the desired keywords into its search field. If the query returns too many irrelevant hits, they may refine it further by adding additional keywords.
But sometimes, even after doing all this, the searcher still ends up with too much noise on the screen. How can they save time and effort while searching for good deals online?
It turns out that the answer lies in a concept called search engine optimisation (SEO). This technique involves improving the visibility of a website so that it shows up high in the rankings of major search engines. When more visitors see your site, the chances of generating leads increase significantly.
This article will explain how SEO works, some of the best SEO practices for making your website appear higher in search results, and how you can learn SEO skills yourself.
What is Search Engine Optimisation?
When discussing SEO practices, one must understand that it is not a single process. Instead, it is a series of processes that aim to improve the overall performance.
These processes include analysing your target audience, designing a quality website, writing keyword-rich titles and descriptions, implementing meta tags and links, creating backlinks, submitting the website URL to social media sites, submitting RSS feeds, integrating video and multimedia elements, incorporating semantic markup and using image tags.
Here are some of the basic concepts involved in the top SEO practices:
Keyword selection: Keywords are essential components of your webpage title and description. You should select keywords carefully since they play a vital role in determining where your page appears in search results. Choosing the wrong keyword combination might send you entirely off course.
On-page factors: On-page factors involve things that happen inside your website. These include coding, navigation menus, graphics, images, file names, and content.
Off-page factors: Off-page factors are those things that occur outside your website. Factors such as link building, social bookmarking, blog commenting, press releases, article submission, social networking, forum posting, directory submissions, social media sharing, and social bookmarking are examples of off-page activities. These SEO practices make your website more visible to search engines.
Backlinking: Backlinking refers to the process of getting incoming hyperlinks from other websites. The more incoming links you get, the higher your ranking. Of course, you need permission from other websites owners to do this.
Link Building: Link building involves increasing the value and popularity of your website among other websites. One way to achieve this is by creating lots of incoming links from other websites. However, you shouldn't just create links randomly. Instead, it would help to build links from relevant websites.
Content Curation: Content curation refers to the process of collecting quality content from different sources, editing them together, and publishing them on your website. Content curation helps gain trust and credibility.
Social Media Marketing: Social media marketing is the art of leveraging social networks to promote businesses and attract prospective customers or clients.
How does SEO work?
What are the benefits of having a website optimised with these SEO practices?
You've probably heard the saying, “content is king.” Well, that statement rings true for search engines as well. That's why it's essential to produce unique, informative content that attracts readers. A reader loves content that offers helpful information.
So write articles that offer original ideas and solutions to problems. Make sure you keep everything simple and easy to follow. Don't be afraid to share your expertise. Readers love experts who aren't afraid to show their knowledge.
Also, don't forget to incorporate keywords throughout your content. Remember that keywords function as breadcrumbs. They point readers to whatever section of your site they're interested in reading.
Choose keywords wisely, however. Keep them short and sweet. Try to avoid long phrases that are hard to remember. Also, choose keywords that are related to your industry.
Another factor that determines whether a visitor clicks on your ad is relevancy. As mentioned earlier, content is king. Therefore, you should always ensure that your content is relevant and appropriate.
Write for humans rather than robots. Robots won't care about your content unless it contains specific keywords. Humans, however, would appreciate engaging, interesting, and educational material.
Nowadays, many people prefer buying goods and services online instead of brick-and-mortar stores. If your product sells better over the Internet, you should consider placing an eCommerce version of your website.
One of the most significant advantages of having a website optimised with proper SEO practices is that it allows you to reach new audiences all across the globe.
Your website becomes available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, regardless of the time zone. Because of this, SEO is considered very effective.
How can you determine if your business site needs an overhaul to optimise it for better traffic results?
There are several ways you can evaluate your website to determine whether it requires an overhaul to optimise it for better traffic results. Here are some respected methods you can use to improve your website's current position in the SERP list.
Top 20+ Most Powerful SEO Practices to Follow
Many different approaches exist to getting a good ranking with search engines; however, most experts agree upon some basics.
These include relevant content, quality backlinks pointing towards your website, using specific key phrases within your copy, having a sitemap and regularly checking out where you rank against competitors. Below are some additional SEO practices which can help improve rankings further.
1) Use Keywords Wisely
It should go without saying that one of the main objectives of any online marketing campaign is to achieve visibility over your competition, so always make sure that your keyword choice is going to bring visitors from searches that relate entirely to your business.
If possible, use two separate versions of each word, so if “accountant” brings no traffic, then try “Accounting Assistant”.
When choosing these terms, don't just pick them at random either – take time to research popular search terms relating to your niche market and see what works and doesn't work before settling on something else.
There are many tools available to assist you in doing this, such Google AdWords Keyword Suggestions Tool. Remember, though not all keywords will affect your overall ranking, it's important to test!
2) Make Your Website Accessible To All Users
To ensure that everyone who visits your site has access to every part of it, you must consider accessibility issues first. This means ensuring that images load quickly and videos play smoothly, that menus appear correctly and that users aren't being directed around by broken hyperlinks.
Check that everything loads correctly on mobile devices, too, as they're becoming much more popular nowadays than desktops.
3) Keep Content Fresh And Relevant
Google likes fresh new content. The fresher, the better, so think about how often you update your blog or news section. Also, bear in mind that while you might want to write about current events, others may wish to read articles related to their particular interests.
Always keep those readers' needs firmly in mind when creating your posts and updates. Don't forget to add alternative viewpoints or opinions too. People love reading arguments.
4) Build Quality Back Links
Backlinks are incoming links from other websites to yours. They are beneficial and provide many benefits because they can boost your organic rankings significantly. However, it would help if you didn't focus solely on garnering backlinks through shady techniques.
Instead, aim to establish relationships with reputable sites and ask permission to place links on their sites. You could say ‘website XYZ would appreciate it if you added our link'.
Or perhaps offer exclusive deals or discounts to encourage them to accept you. Make sure you follow ethical guidelines set down by major players like Google and avoid black hat tactics.
5) Have A Sitemap For Better Ranking Results
A sitemap is simply a map of your entire website showing exactly where individual pages fit into the whole scheme of things. Having a sitemap helps both human and robot visitors navigate your site easier and makes it look tidier to humans.
While robots won't necessarily notice the difference between a regular home page and a sitemap, it means that the search spiders can find all the information faster and index quicker.
6) Use Rich Snippets & Videos
Rich snippets show extra details about services offered on your website, whilst video adds another dimension to your offering.
Using rich snippets gives searchers a chance to learn more about your products and services and allows businesses to showcase themselves in previously impossible ways. Try to incorporate rich snippets whenever possible, as they can significantly increase relevancy.
7) Be Patient With Organic Growth
Don't expect instant success straight away. As mentioned above, it takes time for all aspects of SEO to start working together effectively.
But once your efforts pay off, never stop improving – stick to proven strategies and trends instead of following fads.
8) Social Media Marketing Is Great Too
Use Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn etc… to promote yourself. Not only does it drive targeted traffic to your site, but it also creates brand awareness.
By interacting with fans and followers via social networks, you can build trust and loyalty amongst potential customers. Most importantly, though, it builds credibility.
9) Link Building Is Still Important
Link building is critical to boosting your rankings. Getting external links pointing to your website is vital to its popularity. Although a lot of spamming still occurs, there are plenty of legitimate methods used by companies, large and small, to generate positive links.
Some examples include joining industry forums, participating in blogs and writing press releases. Remember to stay professional and steer clear of unethical practices such as buying links and selling Page Rank points.
10) Monitor Your Rankings Regularly
We cannot stress the importance of monitoring rankings enough. Keeping tabs on how your website ranks compared to competitors is essential to maintaining progress.
Tools like google analytics allow you to track visitor behaviour, monitor performance and analyse data quickly and efficiently.
Once again, don't feel pressured into paying enormous sums for expensive software packages. Many providers offer simple yet effective tracking solutions which require little effort to install and run.
11) Start On Easy Wins First
If you've been neglecting SEO practices for an extended period, it's probably best to begin slowly. Focus on areas that are easiest to change rather than trying to overhaul your entire site overnight.
Look at the internal linking structure, image naming conventions and meta tags. Once you've made improvements here, move on to bigger and better tasks.
12) Ask Questions Of Competitors
Ask questions and study closely the answers given. Find out what they are doing right and what mistakes they are making. Then use that knowledge as a blueprint for future developments.
Sometimes you'll discover that you're copying someone else's ideas anyway, so why not let them know and ask for feedback?
13) Avoid Duplicate Content
Avoid duplicate content wherever possible. Whilst sometimes necessary, it is generally frowned upon by search engines because it can cause confusion among consumers. Even worse, it can lead to penalties from authorities such as Google Webmasters Central.
14) Get Qualified Help From Professionals
When setting up a solid SEO strategy, hiring professionals is usually worth the money spent.
If you lack experience, expertise or confidence, seek advice from individuals familiar with the field. Whether you choose to employ a team of consultants or hire freelancers, there are several places online where you can obtain expert guidance.
15) Take Time To Relax After Successes
After achieving successes, enjoy them and savour them. Don't be tempted to push on blindly after each win, thinking of next year's targets.
Give yourself time to relax and reflect on past achievements. Learn from your experiences and apply them to your plans.
16) Never Stop Learning New Skills
Never fall behind your peers. Knowledge is power, and staying ahead of your competition requires constant learning. Join courses, seminars and workshops to enhance your skill set and develop new ones.
17) Stay Up To Date With Trends
Trends come and go. Today's hot topic might tomorrow turn sour. So it pays to remain informed and up to date on changes affecting the online landscape.
18) Work Harder Than Anyone Else Before You
Be ambitious. Aim higher than anyone else in your company and strive for perfection. Set goals and deadlines for yourself and refuse to compromise until you reach them.
19) Maintain An Attitude Of Positive Expectation
A positive attitude is the cornerstone of successful SEO campaigns. Develop a healthy mindset and approach problems positively. Remain optimistic despite setbacks. Accept failure gracefully and learn from it.
20) Test Everything!
Make sure that you test anything you put forward to the public, whether your product or service or your website itself. If you don't believe it, how can others? Put your theories to the test and see what happens.
21) Think Long Term
Always remember to view SEO practices as a marathon rather than a sprint. It can take months or years to reap the rewards, but you will eventually succeed with patience and perseverance.