How are you doing with Website SEO?
Is your website currently ranking on the first page of search engine results?
According to an article posted by Hubspot, 75% of searchers never go past the first page of search results.
If yes, then great! Keep up the good work, and continue to improve your rankings by keeping up with the latest Website SEO best practices.
But if your website isn’t even on the first results page, then fret not – HoopJumper has you covered.
We’ve compiled a list of the top 10 Website SEO best practices to get your website marketing back on track.
According to Google, SEO best practices are tasks that will “hopefully make it easier for search engines to crawl, index, and understand your content.”
Website SEO Best Practices #1: Your Content Must Match Search Intent
You may have an idea already of what SEO is and what kind of keywords to target due to articles that we’ve written previously, so now it’s time to focus on search intent.
When we talk about search intent (also called “user intent”), we are referring to the purpose behind every search query made by users.
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 “how’s the weather?” that provides instant results or something complex like “best ways to optimize videos” 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.”
Always keep the search intent in mind while creating content for your website.
Website SEO Best Practices #2. Write A Compelling Title Tag For Your Website
Your page title and meta description are two of the most important meta tags on your page. Let’s cover title tags first.
Title tags are clickable headlines that appear in search results and are extremely critical from an SEO perspective.
According to Google:
“Titles are critical to giving users a quick insight into the content of a result and why it’s relevant to their query. It’s often the primary piece of information used to decide which result to click on, so it’s important to use high-quality titles on your web pages.”
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.
Here are some other tricks to create effective title tags:
- Include your target keywords
- Write a title that matches search intent
- Avoid creating duplicate title tags
- Avoid keyword stuffing
- Keep it descriptive but concise
Website SEO Best Practices #3: Write SEO-Friendly And Interesting Meta Descriptions
The meta description is a brief summary of a page in the SERP (search engine results page) displayed below the title tag.
While meta descriptions don’t directly impact search rankings, they can influence click rates for your website.
Google explains it best:
“A meta description tag should generally inform and interest users with a short, relevant summary of what a particular page is about. They are like a pitch that convinces the user that the page is exactly what they’re looking for.”
Google typically truncates meta descriptions to 155-160 characters, so make sure you provide an accurate summary of your content while keeping it under 150 characters.
Here are some tricks to write effective meta descriptions:
- Write unique meta descriptions for each page
- Use action-oriented copy
- Include your target keywords
- Match search intent
- Provide an accurate summary
Website SEO Best Practices #4: Optimize The Images You Place On Your Website
Images are vital for making or breaking your visitor’s experience on your website.
If you use a lot of images on your pages, blog posts, and other important sections, you need to make sure that your images are optimized so they don’t ruin user experience and drive traffic away.
Here are four ways you can make sure that your images are optimized:
1. Choose the Best File Format
There are currently three popular image formats that are often used for websites: JPEG, PNG and WebP.
The most commonly used image formats on the web are JPEG and PNG. Both of these formats use different compression techniques, which is why the file sizes between these two can be dramatically different.
While JPEG and PNG are the more commonly used, WebP has risen in popularity in recent years due to how smaller they are (which contributes to faster page loading) yet maintaining the same quality of image.
Here’s what Google says about WebP images:
“WebP is a modern image format that provides superior lossless and lossy compression for images on the web.
WebP lossless images are 26% smaller in size compared to PNGs.
WebP lossy images are 25-35% smaller than comparable JPEG images at equivalent SSIM quality index.”
2. Compress Your Images
Larger images tend to load slower, which affects a webpage’s overall loading speed. This is why compressing your images is important before uploading them to your webpages.
Here are some free tools that can help you compress your images.
- TinyPNG: this platform uses smart lossy compression techniques to reduce the file size of your PNG and JPEG files.
- ImageOptim: If you’re a Mac user, you can download and use this free tool for all your image compression needs. ImageOption is a tool recommended by Google as well. It’s by far the best tool for compressing JPEGs, but not for PNGs. For compressing PNGs, you’re better off using TinyPNG.
- ShortPixel: If you run your site on WordPress, you can install this plugin to compress your images. ShortPixel’s free plan allows you to compress 100 images per month.
3. Provide Alt Text for Images
Another way to optimize your images is by providing alt text. Adding alt text to images improves web accessibility and helps browsers better understand the images on your site.
Here is what Google says about writing alt text:
“When choosing alt text, focus on creating useful, information-rich content that uses keywords appropriately and is in context of the content of the page. Avoid filling alt attributes with keywords (keyword stuffing) as it results in a negative user experience and may cause your site to be seen as spam.”
When writing alt text for images, be concise in your description, and avoid stuffing your target keywords.
4. Lazy-Load Your Images
Lazy loading is a technique that defers the loading of non-critical resources (images, videos, etc.) at page load time. Instead, images and videos are loaded only when users need them.
Here what Google says about the link between lazy loading and site performance:
“When we lazy load images and video, we reduce initial page load time, initial page weight, and system resource usage, all of which have positive impacts on performance.”
Website SEO Best Practices #5: Optimize Your Pages’ Speed
When your website takes a long time to load, it will drive users away from your website. This will then cause your search engine ranking to drop.
There are several free tools that can help you check your page speed, including Google’s very own PageSpeed Insights.
One of the best ways to optimize your page loading speed is to compress your images.
In addition to image compression, here are some other things you can do to help your pages load faster:
- Enable browser caching
- Reduce the number of redirects
- Delete unnecessary plugins
- Reduce server response time
Website SEO Best Practices #6: Make Use Of Internal Links For Easier Navigation
Another often forgotten practice to boost your rankings is building internal links on your website.
Internal links are important because they establish an information hierarchy for your website and help Google understand the content that is on the webpage.
When used the right way, internal links have the ability to boost your rankings.
For example, NinjaOutreach boosted their organic traffic by 40% by optimizing internal links.
Another good tip is to add internal links from top-ranking pages on your website to pages that need a boost so they get more chances of being clicked on.
Website SEO Best Practices #7: Tips And Tricks To Improve User Experience
Google keeps a close eye on how users engage with your pages. As such, user experience is one of the key factors in improving your search rankings.
As noted above, page speed plays a vital role in improving the user experience of visitors on your site.
Here are a few other tips to ensure that users have a good experience when they visit your site:
- Use subheadings: Using subheaders properly (H1, H2, H3) helps Google understand your content better and makes your text more accessible to readers.
- Don’t use intrusive popups: Poorly placed popups not only annoy the heck out of your website visitors, but they also get your website penalized. Be careful when using them on your website.
- Make your content visually appealing: Several studies indicate that visuals help people understand your content better. Use relevant images, videos, and screenshots to illustrate your points.
- Make your site mobile-friendly: Mobile-friendliness is paramount when it comes to user experience as Google uses mobile-first indexing. You can use Google’s mobile-friendly test to see how your site fares.
- Use negative space: Negative space is foundational in creating good website design. According to the Interaction Design Foundation, negative space (a.k.a. White space) improves legibility, branding, and focus. Consider using white space to make your content more legible and attract more viewers.
Website SEO Best Practices #8: Utilize SEO-Friendly Website URLs
URL format is an important aspect of SEO but is often forgotten by website developers and marketers.
If you want to let search engines know what your web pages are going to be about, then you should build a good URL structure.
As Google says:
“A site’s URL structure should be as simple as possible. Consider organizing your content so that URLs are constructed logically and in a manner that is most intelligible to humans (when possible, readable words rather than long ID numbers).”
With that in mind, here are some ways to make your URLs friendly to search engines:
- Use short URLs: A study performed by Backlinko found that short URLs tend to outperform long URLs in SERPs.
- Use keywords on URLs: Always include your target keywords in the URL to increase your chances of ranking better in search results.
- Include categories or subfolders when needed: If you’re selling goods, you may have a “shop” subcategory. This helps both users and search engines navigate your site.
- Get rid of unnecessary stop words: Keep your URL clean and easy to read by avoiding stop words.
Website SEO Best Practices #9: Authoritative Backlinks – Take Advantage Of Them
Backlinks are integral to building your website’s search ranking because they act as ‘votes of confidence’ and are thus signals for search engines to rank your site high.
That being said, be careful of where you are putting backlinks. If your pages have many authoritative backlinks they are more likely to do well on the SERPs.
The key is the backlinks should be authoritative.
If your backlinks are placed in poor-quality sites, or websites that are involved in link schemes, then your website can be penalized by Google.
Your focus should be on building high-quality backlinks that can improve your chances of ranking higher for your target keywords.
One of the most effective ways to do this is by taking a look at how your competitors are building authoritative backlinks on their websites, then if they are successful, emulating some of the effective strategies.
Website SEO Best Practices #10: Make Your Content Relevant And Useful
Quality above quantity – this is the most effective piece of advice to boost your rankings.
Don’t overstuff content into your website if your visitors aren’t going to make use of them anyway.
Build content that’s relevant and useful for your audience, and they will keep coming back for more.
Here are some content-specific best practices you can do:
- Identify your user’s intent
- Find the right keywords to target
- Optimize headers and meta tags
- Review competing content
- Keep linking structure in mind
- Build and gather original data
- Include visuals (images, videos, etc…)
The important thing is that your content should answer your visitors’ search queries. The length of content is dependent on whether or not the answer should be long or short.
So long as your content is well-researched and matches your users’ intent, you will be in a good place.
The website SEO best practices listed above are a perfect foundation for boosting your rank on search engines.
However, know that because the competition for page 1 on search engines is intense, you need to improve on these and build your own digital identity to make your website stand out.
It will also be good to take advantage of other SEO techniques to ensure that your website is up to date with current technologies and practices.
This is where HoopJumper can help you.
We create websites for business owners like you that will get interested prospects to contact you so you can capture and nurture that lead.
HoopJumper’s custom-built websites are also up to date with the latest SEO standards, ensuring that our clients can be easily found in search engines like Google.
Check out our website services HERE and make your website more discoverable by being on the top ten results.