9 SEO Best Practices That You Should Follow
There are several strategies and techniques you can follow to rank higher on Google, but if you don't get the basics right, your chances of ranking on page 1 of Google are minimal.
1. Align Your Content with Search Intent
Search intent (also called "user intent") is the purpose behind every search query. Understanding and satisfying search intent is Google's ultimate priority. Pages that rank on the first page of Google have all passed Google's litmus test on search intent.
There are four common types of search intent:
- Informational: A search falls under informational intent when the user is looking for specific information. It can be a simple search like "what's the weather today?" that provides instant results or something complex like "best SEO strategies" that requires a more in-depth explanation.
- Navigational: In this case, the searcher is looking for a specific website or app. Common examples of navigational searches include "Facebook login," "SEMrush," and "Amazon."
- Commercial: The intent behind a search is commercial when the user is looking for a specific product but hasn't made the final decision yet. For example, searches such as "best SEO tools" and "best DSLR cameras" are all commercial searches.
- Transactional: Here, the intent is to buy. The searcher has already made a decision to buy a specific product or tool. Examples include searches such as "buy Nikon d500," "buy Macbook Air," and "buy groceries online."
An SEO best practice is to always keep the search intent in mind while creating content for your website. Create content that aligns with the search intent of your target audience.
2. Write a Compelling Title Tag and Meta Description
Your page title and meta description are two of the most important meta tags on your page.
Title tags are clickable headlines that appear in search results and are extremely critical from an SEO perspective. Search engines like Google typically display the first 50-60 characters of a title. Google will display the full title to your page as long as you keep your title tag under 60 characters.
The second most important meta tag on a page is the meta description. A meta description is a brief summary of a page in SERPs it displayed below the title tag.
Meta descriptions do not directly impact search rankings, but they can influence click-through rates.
3. Optimize Your Images
Images play a crucial role in improving the user experience of visitors on your site. Chances are you spend a lot of time selecting the right images to enhance your blog posts, product pages, and other important pages on your site.
- Choose the Best File Format
- Compress Your Images
- Provide Alt Text for Images
- Lazy-Load Your Images
4. Optimize Your Page Speed
If your site takes a long time to load, you are going to have a lot of frustrated users, and your rankings will drop.
5. Use Internal Linking
Internal links are important because they establish an information hierarchy for your website and also help Google get a deeper understanding of the content on your page. Internal links can significantly boost your rankings when used the right way.
6. Improve the User Experience on Your Website
Google keeps a close eye on how users behave with your content. As such, user experience is one of the key factors in improving your search rankings. Page speed plays a vital role in improving the user experience of visitors on your site.
7. Include Keywords in Your URL
URL structure is an often overlooked aspect of SEO. A good URL structure provides both users and search engines an idea of what the destination page is all about.
8. Focus on Getting More Authoritative Backlinks
Google still considers backlinks to be a key ranking signal. Google recognizes backlinks as votes of confidence.
If your web pages have a high number of backlinks, it increases your chances of ranking higher in search results. As a result, it is important that you focus on building backlinks for your website.
9. Publish Long-Form Content
A key finding in the research suggested that long-form articles (posts with 3000+ words) get 3x more traffic, 4x more shares, and 3.5x more backlinks than articles of average length (901-1200 words). Google wants you to focus on the needs of the user over SEO, and it is the best way to keep readers and convert.