SEO is a realm of intensive competition in a crowded world dealing in probability and great uncertainty. Everyone wants to land on Google page one, even Google page one, position one. The industry is far too competitive for anyone to guarantee anything. So, if you read about a SEO guarantee, run away.
Consider professional sports. Each team has millions of dollars to construct the best staff and players. Some are highly successful, and others are not. What’s the difference? Preparation and consistency put certain teams in the playoff mix each year and luck still plays a factor. There are always those teams that fail to do the common sensical things and continue to lose.
In the SEO game, doing the common sensical things can get you in the game and get you ahead of those who will not or cannot perform those basic tasks that please the Google algorithm.
And luck still plays a factor.
The Google Algorithm
One of the most important things to remember about SEO is that it is constantly changing. Google makes hundreds of changes to its algorithm every year, so what worked last year may not work this year. This means that businesses need to be agile and adapt their approach as new ranking factors come into play.
Here are the key aspects of a SEO program that will all help your website rise in the rankings and get seen. Hopefully, by the end of this article, you will see that any marketing company that guarantees a certain result might also sell you the Brooklyn Bridge for a very good price.
There are many factors that contribute to a website’s search engine optimization (SEO). “On-page SEO” refers to the elements on your website that affect your ranking in the search engines. This includes things like your website’s title, tags, and overall structure. Making sure these elements are optimized can help improve your ranking and visibility in the search engines.
“Off-page SEO” refers to the things that are not on your website that can still affect your ranking. This includes things like link building and social media. Getting high-quality links from other websites can help improve your ranking. And promoting your website on social media can also help increase its visibility.
On-page SEO refers to the factors that you can control on your own website.
Put your targeted keywords in the title tag of each page on your site.
As you create content for your website, you will want to include certain keywords or phrases in your title tags. Title tags are the HTML code that specifies the title of a web page. Search engines use these tags to help identify and categorize the content on your website.
- Use relevant keywords or phrases that accurately describe the page’s content.
- Keep it short and sweet – aim for around 60 characters or less.
- Use unique title tags for each page on your site. This helps search engines better understand the purpose of each page and how it relates to other pages on your site.
- Avoid keyword stuffing, which is the act of cramming too many keywords into your title tag in an attempt to manipulate search engine rankings. This tactic can actually hurt your ranking and cause search engines to view your site as spammy.
Headings are usually the largest words on the page, and for that reason, search engines give them a little more weight than your other page copy. It is a good idea to work your target keywords into the headings of each web page but make sure you accurately reflect your page’s great content.
Creating a well-structured URL can help search engines better understand your site’s content and improve your ranking.
- Use keywords in your URLs. Using relevant keywords in your URLs can help search engines better understand what your page is about. This can also help you rank higher for those keywords.
- Keep it short and sweet. Search engines prefer shorter, more concise URLs. Long, complicated URLs are more likely to be ignored by search engines.
- Use hyphens to separate words. Using hyphens to separate words in your URL makes it easier for search engines to read and understand.
- Avoid duplicate content. Duplicate content is a major no-no in the world of SEO. If you have multiple pages with the same or similar content, search engines may penalize your site.
- Use canonical tags. Canonical tags help prevent duplicate content penalties by telling search engines which version of a page is the original. This is especially helpful if you have pages with similar content but different URLs.
- Make sure your URLs are accessible. Your URLs should be easy to read and understand. Additionally, they should be easy to reach from other parts of your site. If your URL structure is too complicated, people (and search engines) may have a hard time finding your content.
- Use SSL. Using SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) is a must if you want your site to be secure. SSL encrypts information sent between your site and visitors’ browsers, making it harder for hackers to steal data. Additionally, Google has said that sites with SSL are given a small ranking boost.
- Redirect old URLs. If you change your URL structure, be sure to redirect your old URLs to the new ones. This will help ensure that people (and search engines) can still find your content.
- Use 301 redirects. A 301 redirect is a permanent redirect from one URL to another. Using 301 redirects is the best way to ensure that search engines and visitors are directed to the correct URL.
- Keep an eye on your 404 errors. 404 errors occur when someone tries to visit a page that doesn’t exist. While 404 errors are inevitable, you should try to keep them to a minimum. Having too many 404 errors can hurt your site’s ranking and user experience.
Alt text is the text that appears in place of an image if the image can’t be displayed for some reason. It’s also sometimes referred to as “alt tags.” Alt text is important for on-page SEO because it helps search engines understand what an image is about, and it can also help improve your website’s accessibility.
When writing alt text, be sure to keep it brief, but descriptive. Avoid keyword stuffing, and instead focus on creating alt text that accurately describes the image. Also, be sure to use your target keywords sparingly, as too many keywords in your alt text can result in penalization from search engines.
Fast Loading Pages
You can also optimize your image files to make them smaller and more efficient. For example, you can use a tool like ImageOptim to reduce the file size of your images without reducing their quality.
Finally, if you’re using a content delivery network (CDN), make sure that your pages are configured to load resources from the CDN’s server closest to the visitor’s location. This will help ensure that your pages load as quickly as possible for everyone.
The content on your website needs to be well-written, keyword-rich, and informative if you want it to help your site rank well in SERPs. The better your content, the more likely it is that people will find your website when they search for keywords related to your business.
Internal links are hyperlinks that point to other pages on the same website. They are important for both users and search engines and can help improve a website’s SEO.
Internal links give users a way to navigate a website and can help search engines understand a website’s structure and hierarchy. They can also be used to boost the PageRank of individual pages, which can lead to improved search engine rankings.
While external links are also important for SEO, too many of them can be a sign of spam, so it’s important to strike a balance. A good rule of thumb is to have more internal than external links.
If you’re not sure how many internal links to use, a good starting point is to add a couple of links to each page, and then add more if needed. Remember that it’s important to keep the user experience in mind, so don’t go overboard with the links.
Social tags are essentially keywords that describe your content for social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Including relevant social tags can help your content show up in more searches, which can ultimately lead to more traffic and conversions.
Consider what keywords people might use when searching for your content on social media. Make sure these keywords are included in your social tags. In addition, make sure your social tags are accurate and describe your content accurately. Social media users are more likely to share content that is relevant and useful, so including accurate social tags will help ensure that your content is shared more often.
Update your social tags regularly. As you create new content, be sure to add relevant social tags so that your content can be found by the people who are looking for it.
Core Web Vitals
Core web vitals are a set of metrics that measure the performance of a website. These metrics include things like load time, interactivity, and stability. Google has said that these factors are important for providing a good user experience, and they will be used as a ranking signal in search results.
There are a few ways to improve your website’s core web vitals. One way is to optimize your images so that they load faster. Another way is to use a content delivery network (CDN) to speed up the loading of your website. You can also minify your code to reduce the size of your pages.
Page experience is a combination of factors that influence how users interact with your website. This includes things like your website’s loading speed, mobile-friendliness, and whether or not it uses intrusive popups.
- Make sure your site loads quickly.
- Optimize your site for mobile devices.
- Avoid using intrusive pop-ups.
- Make your site easy to navigate.
- Use high-quality images and videos.
- Use engaging and relevant content.
- Make sure your site is secure (https).
- Monitor your site’s performance with Google Search Console.
Off-page SEO refers to actions taken outside of your own website to impact your rankings within search engine results pages (SERPs).
Inbound links are links that come from other websites to yours. In general, the more inbound links you have, the better your website will rank in search engine results pages (SERPs). This is because inbound links are one of the main ranking factors used by search engines.
There are a few things to keep in mind when it comes to inbound links and SEO:
The quality of your inbound links matters more than the quantity. It’s better to have a few high-quality inbound links than a lot of low-quality ones.
The anchor text of your inbound links (the text that is linked to your website) can also influence your SEO. If you have a lot of inbound links with anchor text that includes your target keywords, this will tell search engines that your website is relevant for those keywords.
Inbound links from websites that are in the same niche as yours will be more valuable than inbound links from unrelated websites. This is because search engines see related websites as more relevant for your website.
Inbound links from high-authority websites will be more valuable than inbound links from low-authority websites. This is because search engines view high-authority websites as more trustworthy and relevant.
In general, it’s best to avoid buying or selling inbound links. This can get you into trouble with Google and other search engines, and it can also result in low-quality inbound links.
Social Media Marketing
Social media signals are a ranking factor in Google search algorithms. Google has stated that social signals, such as likes, shares, and plusses, are taken into consideration when ranking webpages in their search results. This means that if your content is being liked and shared by people on social media, it’s more likely to rank higher in Google search results.
When you share links to your website content on social media, you’re essentially giving your website a free publicity boost. The more people who see your content, the more likely it is that someone will click through to your website. And the more traffic your website gets, the higher it will rank in search results.
If you’re regularly sharing high-quality content on social media, people are going to start taking notice of your brand. Over time, this can lead to increased brand awareness and authority, both of which are important factors in SEO.
Backlinks are an important ranking factor in Google’s search algorithm. The more high-quality backlinks your website has, the higher it will rank in search results. And one of the best ways to et natural backlinks is to share your content on social media and have people link to it from their own websites and blogs.
Other Components of Off-Page SEO
Reputation management: Monitoring what is being said about your brand online and taking steps to ensure that negative sentiment is minimized.
Local search: This involves adding your business to online directories and making sure your website is optimized for local keywords.
Review sites like Yelp and TripAdvisor can also be useful for off-page SEO. By encouraging customers to leave reviews on your business, you can improve your chances of ranking higher in search results.
Directory submissions: Submitting your website to online directories can increase your chances of being found by potential customers.
Forum postings: By participating in relevant forums, you can share your expert knowledge with others and build relationships and build links back to your website.
Blog comments: By leaving insightful and helpful comments on popular blogs, you can increase your visibility and attract more visitors.
As you’ve just read, there are many, many variables when it comes to improving your SEO. A lot of it you can control with enough time and money and other aspects can be out of your control. You’ll never be able to simultaneously outspend or outthink everyone else in your niche.
But with some guidance, you can improve your situation considerably.
If you read about a company offering SEO guarantees, run away. But, if you are looking to do the best you can on a budget, we can help.