Search engine optimization (SEO) helps websites rank higher in search engines like Google. There are several types of SEO, each with its own pros and cons. Choosing the right approach is key to an effective strategy.
This article provides recommendations and best practices for SEO based on Google’s Discovery, Evaluation, Action, and Tracking (DEAT) framework. Key elements include:
- Cultivating trust with accurate, secure content
- Optimizing for users through useful info
- Avoiding keyword stuffing
- Using unique, descriptive titles and headings
- Writing clearly, accurately and organizing content logically
On-page optimization focuses on optimizing individual web pages through elements Google’s algorithm evaluates when indexing that page. This includes page content, HTML tags, site architecture and internal linking structures.
Key Elements of On-Page SEO
- Page Title Tags: Concise but descriptive titles effectively communicate the topic of a page. Keep under 60 characters.
- Headings: Proper heading structure helps highlight important topics and improves readability. Use targeted keywords.
- Content: Providing useful, engaging content builds trust and authority. Aim for long-form content over 3,000 words using paragraph text, lists, tables etc.
- Keywords: Incorporate targeted keywords in a natural way without over-optimizing. Focus on informational content.
- Alt Text: Descriptive alt text for images helps search engines understand content.
- Controls page-level optimization
- Builds relevance and trust
- Provides user value
- Owned by site
- Doesn’t influence external signals like links/clicks
Technical SEO optimizes behind-the-scenes elements like site architecture, speed and infrastructure to improve crawling and indexing.
Key Technical SEO Factors:
- Site Speed: Faster sites lead to better user experience and rankings. Optimize images, enable caching, minimize redirects.
- Mobile Optimization: With over 50% of searches on mobile, a mobile-friendly responsive design is critical.
- SSL Certificate: Switch to HTTPS for security and trust signals. This will soon become an algorithm ranking factor.
- Sitemaps: Sitemaps help search engines discover new and updated content. Include XML, image, video and news sitemaps.
- Structured Data: Adding schema markup helps search engines understand content. Can also enable rich results.
- URL Structure: Use descriptive URLs with keywords over date/ID numbers. Keep links clean and short.
- Improves crawler accessibility
- Provides infrastructure for SEO initiatives
- Enhances user experience
- Requires development work
- Low direct impact on rankings
Link building involves earning high-quality backlinks from other sites to build domain authority and rankings.
Effective Link Building Tactics
- Outreach: Connect with site owners in your industry to request backlinks. Prioritize reputable, relevant sites.
- Guest Posts: Writing guest posts for popular blogs helps secure do follow backlinks and referral traffic.
- Resource Pages: Creating resource pages and link roundups attracts sites to link back to you for referrals.
- Brand Mentions: Monitoring brand mentions across the web to request branded anchor text links.
- Directly influences search rankings
- Drives referral traffic
- Reinforces expertise and thought leadership
- Manual and time-intensive
- Risks over-optimization penalties
For businesses targeting local customers, optimizing for local search results is key.
Local SEO Best Practices
- NAP Citations: Correct name, address and phone number citations across key local directories.
- Reviews: Generate positive customer reviews on Google, Facebook and industry vertical sites.
- Local Content: Craft location-specific content like city service area pages targeting relevant keywords.
- GMB Profile: Optimize Google My Business profile with images, services, hours and attributes.
- Improves visibility for locally-intent customers
- Drives foot traffic to brick-and-mortar locations
- Cost-effective method to outrank competitors
- Requires ongoing management
- Dependent on Google algorithm favoring local signals
- No one-size-fits-all SEO approach – use a blended strategy customized to business goals.
- On-page optimization should be the foundation, enhanced by technical SEO and link building.
- For local businesses, optimizing for local search is vital to driving in-person sales.
- Build trust and authority by providing value to users through useful, engaging content.
- Avoid overusing keywords and focus on content quality and relativity.
By leveraging the right SEO mix with a user-first mentality, sites can build organic growth and unlock their full potential.
Determining the best SEO approach requires aligning tactics to specific business goals and resources. While on-page optimization is essential for any effective SEO strategy, supplementing those efforts with off-page link building and technical SEO can maximize overall performance. Local SEO stands critical for location-based businesses driving in-store traffic.
At its core, optimizing for users must remain central to all SEO initiatives. Search engines reward sites that build trust and authority by offering engaging experiences and fulfilling queries. Avoid pure optimization plays and focus on content quality, accuracy and usefulness above all else. This cultivates organic growth and visibility over the long-term.
Frequently Asked Questions
- What is the best type of SEO for small businesses?
Focusing on on-page optimization and local SEO provides an affordable starting point to build organic growth as a small business.
- What does a good SEO strategy include?
A results-driven SEO strategy balances foundational on-page optimization with off-page link building campaigns and user-focused content that answers search queries.
- How can I improve my website’s SEO?
Key ways to improve SEO include optimizing page titles and meta descriptions, improving site speed, enhancing content quality and length, and earning high-quality backlinks from trusted websites.
- Is SEO better than PPC?
SEO and PPC serve different purposes. SEO builds organic growth whereas Pay-Per-Click (PPC) drives immediate visibility. Using both in tandem provides short and long-term visibility.
- Can I do SEO on my own?
While hiring an SEO agency has advantages, you can achieve solid DIY results through on-page optimization and blogger outreach for backlinks. Technical SEO does require development skills.
- How long does quality SEO take?
SEO is an ongoing process, but expect organic rankings to steadily improve over a 3-6 month period by sticking to best practices on cultivating backlinks and optimizing website elements.
- What are some beginner SEO tips?
Beginner SEO tips include improving site speed, enhancing content with keywords (but avoiding stuffing), creating XML sitemaps, building internal links, and claiming online profiles.
- How often should you optimize a website?
Websites should be optimized continually, not just once. Search engines like Google are constantly evolving, so SEO is an ongoing process to keep rankings solid.
- Can I rank a new website on Google quickly?
It is difficult to rank a new website quickly on Google. Focus on building domain authority through high-quality backlinks, optimizing pages, and proven SEO best practices over at least 3-6 months for results.
- What are the 3 most important things in SEO?
The three most important elements of SEO are on-page optimization for concise meta titles and descriptions, improving site speed through image compression and caching, and regularly publishing engaging, useful content.
- Is 10,000 words enough for a blog post for SEO?
For most websites, a blog post length between 1,500-2,500 words is ideal. Posts over 3,000-4,000 words can dilute keyword density. Only produce 10,000 word posts for definitive guides on a topic.
- Is writing good content enough for SEO?
Quality, original content is crucial for SEO but not the only factor. Optimal formatting, meta data, backlinks and technical website elements also impacts search visibility and rankings.
- How much does SEO cost per month?
SEO costs vary widely depending on your provider, location and customized.