SEO Best Practices
I talk a lot about SEO. When I’ve talked in front of groups or to other website owners they often just ask “What are the best practices for SEO?”
I’ve put together a list of the best things you can do for your website to increase your rankings, while being sure you don’t get penalized by the search engines like Google and Bing.
1 – Choose a good CMS that allows you to do your own SEO
If you run a website I’m sure you have heard of WordPress. WrdPress is the most common CMS that people think of when looking for one that is optimized for search. WordPress is great, I’ve built many sites on WordPress. It’s not the only option though, check out our list of WordPress alternatives.
2 – Think of your readers
There is a common theme in the SEO community. If you make decisions that are best for your readers, it is going to be best for your SEO. Google doesn’t just look at how well optimized your site is. They pay attention to how people are interacting, how long they stay, if they click further into your site or whether they hit the back button. Make sure your readers are happy, then YOU will be happy with your search engine performance.
3 – Make changes often
When you’ve submitted your site map to Google Search Console, it knows when you’ve made changes. If you are consistently making changes and updating your content, search engines know that you are up to date and your site is actively being managed. In a recent episode of Marketing School by Neil Patel and Eric Sui, they mention that you won’t notice much action in your first 30 days of doing SEO on your website, but when you get in there every day and update your title tags, meta descriptions and content you will notice more search traffic come sooner.
4 – Title Tags and Meta Descriptions
Google has said that they don’t take your title tags and meta descriptions into consideration for rankings. I don’t think that is entirely true. However you will want to make sure that these are relevant and encourage searchers to click. Click through rate is taken into consideration for your search rankings.
5 – Your Content document and Internal Linking
For our sites we have an internal document listing all of our content. It’s in a Google Sheet so our team can see our editorial calendar as well as all of our content organized by category. This document is priceless in the long run as it helps you manage things and see opportunities to link internally. I’ll make a sample copy you can download and link to it here when it’s ready.
Internal linking on your website is when you link from one of your pages to another. If you are writing an article about dog food recipes, and link to another page with the anchor text “dog food shopping lists” Google how has a better idea of what your content is about and will rank you accordingly.
6 – Making sure everything is labeled | Use image ALT tags
The internet if becoming more and more of a visual place. More often than before people are finding the content they want by performing image searches. Make sure all of the images on your website have proper and descriptive ALT tags. This improves the usability of your site as well as shapes the meaning and context of your content for search engines to organize and rank.
7 – Network with others
The internet is a social place. Be sure to link to others when credit is due and mention other content creators on social media when you have quoted, linked to, or been inspired by their work. This will lead to more opportunities, people will share your content and it makes the whole content creation process more enjoyable. If you find someone with an audience that would like your content ask them to share it! It’s a big world out there and most people want to provide the best content possible for their audience, even if some of it comes from you.
These are the basics of doing SEO. If you publish often, have your readers best interest in mind and network with others online you are well on your way to building a machine that ranks well and builds you a loyal following of readers.
Is there anything you think I should add to the list? Comment below!