If you want a cost-effective way to make people visit your website, then SEO is the right channel to use. Some people consider it a secret toolset. However, the reality is that there is no secrecy surrounding it. You just have to know SEO best practices, set up a strategy and follow it persistently.
Applying SEO best practices will help you achieve great results that will improve your website's organic rankings.
In this article, you will find several hacks that will help you rank higher in Google search results.
Find and use the right keywords
Start with keyword research. Conducting keyword research will help you gain insight into the words and phrases that your target audience searches on the internet. There are several tools you can use for keyword research. One of them is Alexa's Keyword Difficulty Tool, another one is Google Keyword Planner. The latter is free and very easy to use.
You should just type in a word or a phrase and get keyword suggestions. The tool will also provide you with the average monthly searches for the given keyword suggestion and show the competition. If the competition is "high", then you will have a tough time ranking high in Google search results. So, make sure to use "medium" or "low" competition keywords at the beginning.
In fact, there are two types of keywords: short-tail and long tail keywords. Short tail keywords usually involve one word only, for example, shoes. Long tail keywords are more descriptive and specific; for example, red high-heeled shoes. And since people usually search in phrases or sentences, it is recommended to use long tail keywords in your marketing content.
Another important point to remember regarding the keywords is to place them in the right places. Let's start with the fact that there can be primary and secondary keywords. You need to place the primary keywords in the following places within the text:
- The title
- The first paragraph
- One or more subheading
- Throughout the text for a few times
- The conclusion
- The meta title and description
- The URL
- The image ALT text
The most difficult part here is to make this all look and feel natural. Through time, you will learn to do this too.
Write great meta titles and descriptions
Another hack in SEO best practices is to write perfect meta titles and meta descriptions. Here are a few tips for you:
- The meta title should be 50-60 characters long
- It should contain the primary keyword and should be catchy
- Usually "How to" or "Top X" type of titles work well
- The meta description should usually be 150-158 characters
- The meta description should not be a random sentence from your text
- The meta description should not be the duplicate of the text
One thing to keep in mind regarding the meta titles and meta descriptions is that your writing should be interesting and creative. There should not be random words or phrases, fillers, or unrelated words there. So, try to make your writing easy to understand and catchy at the same time.
Nail the text
One of the most important aspects of SEO is the text itself. If you are blogging through WordPress, you can use Yoast SEO, which is a great plugin that will help you analyze the text you have written. There are a few things to keep in mind when writing a content optimized for SEO. Here they are:
- Avoid passive voice
- Try to write in short sentences (up to 20 words per sentence)
- Use humor
- Don't write in the academic style (unless your blog is not a legal blog or something similar)
- Try to entertain and inform the readers, make your article useful
- The ideal length of a blog post is 1000-1600 words (1600 words, according to Buffer)
Optimize the URL
URLs are one of the most important things you should take into account while doing SEO. They are usually auto-generated, but they are also editable. This means that you should always take a look at the URL and edit it if needed.
An URL should not contain stop words. These are the words that are not indexed by Google. You can find a list of stop words by simply googling them. Some such words are "the", "a", "and". Numbers contained in URLs are not being indexed too.
It's a good idea to add the primary keyword into the URL and to make the URL easy to understand. Make it clear for Google that a human has worked on the URL, not a bot.
Additionally, if you want to translate your website and still want to keep your web pages SEO-friendly, it's a good idea to translate them with GTranslate. It helps easily translate website content and makes the website localization a breeze. And by content, we mean the text, the visuals, and the URLs too. In this respect, GTranslate helps you make your content fully optimized for local SEO, which if done right can benefit your online presence a ton and drive more website visitors to your website.
Take into account the technical side of SEO
SEO is not only about perfectly structured articles and URLs, but it's also about a sitemap and Google Search Console. So, make sure to have a Google Console account and add your website there. Track your website performance and see if you have got any errors or issues while Google crawls the website.
As for the sitemap, it's a great thing to have, especially considering the fact that it helps Google find and crawl your website faster. If you are using a WordPress website, then you can download a plugin that auto-generates a sitemap for you. Any of the following plugins will work:
We hope these SEO best practices will help you optimize your website and get more organic traffic to it. It does not have to be easy, however, it's not impossible to achieve great results if you put in the necessary work. You just need to love reading and digging deep into details. Always ask the question "Why?", as everything has got some kind of logic behind it. So, don't just memorize SEO rules, try to understand their essence to be able to use them effectively.