Search Engine Optimization or SEO is the key way to improve your website’s prominence in search engines. There are several rules, tools and plug-ins that can help boost SEO on the backend as well as experts and agencies who specialize in this area. But there also are a few best practices you can employ on your own that will help optimize your company’s website. Some of these also will help improve user experience and can support content marketing efforts.
Here are three SEO best practices to follow when creating online content.
Update the website regularly with reader (and SEO) friendly content.
The best way to do this is by offering relevant, useful, quality content through a blog. Blogging frequently drives traffic to your site and improves SEO while building relationships with your target audience. Brands that publish 15 or more posts in a month see about 3.5 times more traffic than companies who don’t.
When creating new content for your website, whether it’s on a blog or another page, be sure to keep the formatting scannable and user friendly. Use headers, bullets and lists and visuals like images, videos and infographics. Headings also help search engines (and readers) get a quick sense of what your content is about, and bullets and lists direct them to the main points you’re trying to convey.
Using the right keywords are key.
Before writing a blog post or other content for your website, choose a keyword or key phrase to focus on. Start by thinking about your target audience and the questions, terms or phrases they are likely to be searching for that are related to your blog topic. Next, use a keywords tool to determine your keyword phrases’ relevancy, competition and similar variations that people are typing into search engines. This will help you to choose the best phrase for your web page and optimize its content. Once you’ve narrowed down a keyword phrase, be sure to incorporate it (or variations of it) into the following components of your web page:
- Title page
- Image name and alt tag
- In the copy of your post
Incorporate inbound, outbound/external and internal links.
Let’s start by defining each:
- Internal links will link to other blog posts and webpages on your site
- External or outbound links will link to another web domain
- Inbound links are those from other web domains that link to your website
It’s important to balance the use of links throughout a webpage’s copy. Too many links can be distracting and take away from the core content or even the delivery of the information.
Incorporating internal links in your website’s content helps establish site architecture and increase search rankings. And you also get the added bonus of keeping website visitors clicking through your website, increasing page sessions, time spent on site and amplifying your company’s expertise on a specific topic.
Linking to authoritative external websites also has been proven to show positive effects on SEO and is a way search engines measure a website’s relevancy and popularity. Providing backlinks to high-authority pages also tells search engines that your website is a reliable source in your industry and supports points you are trying to make in a post.
Inbound links can drive traffic and add authority to your website. In fact, the more inbound links you have from credible, high-quality sites, the better your website will rank. Quality and credible sites that first come to mind include Forbes, Entrepreneur, The Washington Post and other national outlets, but there are much smaller sites that qualify as well. Think about industry trade publications that you can contribute to or try finding other industry blogs and resources to link to in hopes they just might return the favor.
These best practices are important to keep in mind when writing new content, but they also can be applied to old pages on your site too. Take a look at your website, old blogs posts and other pages and update them to incorporate SEO-friendly formatting, keywords and links.