SEO is an important digital marketing strategy that allows your website to rank higher on search engine result pages. Topping the results of Google or any other search engine helps you strengthen your online brand and make more sales.
You won’t be able to achieve your business goals online if your website isn’t optimized for SEO. Many budding entrepreneurs find it hard to optimize their website SEO. However, in this SEO guide, we will help you understand actionable SEO strategies you can adopt this year – let’s dive in!
Choose the keywords carefully
In simple terms, keywords help customers find information on a topic. The good thing about keywords is that they help online users find information easily and buy the products they want online without wasting their time.
Keywords play an important role in managing your content marketing strategy. No matter how valuable your content is, if you don’t use the right keywords, you won’t be able to rank higher on SERPs and attract more customers.
It’s a common misconception among SEO beginners that they should spam their content by adding keywords. However, the truth is that adding tons of keywords to your web pages won’t’ help you achieve your SEO goals.
Here are some good keyword practices you should adopt:
- Use a keyword discovery tool.
- Spread keywords throughout the page.
- Use “LSI keywords” properly on your website.
- Avoid repeating a keyword in your content.
- Choose the keywords with high search volume and low competition.
Following the best practices for choosing keywords is not as difficult as you might think. You can start by reading online guides on how you can choose keywords without making any mistakes. Make sure you learn the science of keywords to rank higher on SERPs.
Learn about your audience
A common mistake SEO beginners make is thinking they can optimize their website for SEO without learning about their audience. However, the truth is that you should gather all the information you can about your target audience before you go on to spending any money on your SEO efforts.
Learning about your target audience is not as difficult as you might think. You can start by creating an “audience persona” of your ideal customers. Using online tools, you can easily develop an audience persona that you can refer to when writing content or developing an SEO strategy.
Studying the audience persona is daunting if you don’t have time. However, if you want to supercharge your online growth and improve your website’s SEO without wasting your time, you must equip yourself with knowledge about your target audience.
A simple way you can check the audience persona of your target audience is by checking the websites of your competitors. You can easily define how your competitors have targeted their audience, and by using that knowledge, you can create content that helps you top the SEO rankings.
Learn about branches of SEO
SEO can easily be divided into different branches. Making yourself familiar with these branches, understanding their differences, and learning how you can optimize your website for these branches is the key to claiming the first ranking on Google and other search engines. The three branches of SEO are:
- On-Page SEO
- Off-Page SEO
- Technical SEO
Here is a brief overview of all three branches.
On-Page SEO defines the practices you can adopt to optimize your web pages SEO. These practices are only linked to your web pages, meaning that you should adopt these strategies to ensure that Google and other search engines recognize the “SEO-friendliness” of your web pages.
Some of the On-Page SEO strategies include:
- Using the right keywords on your web pages.
- Using “header tags” in your content.
- Adding images to your web pages and using “image tags.”
- Improving the authority of your content by adding links.
On-Page SEO is relatively the easier branch of SEO. You don’t have to spend a lot of time and effort to optimize your web pages for On-Page SEO. Ensuring that your webpages meet the On-Page SEO standards is essential for higher website rankings.
Off-Page SEO practices are those SEO strategies that don’t apply on your web pages like On-Page SEO but affect your website’s rankings. In simple terms, this type of SEO can be termed as a “behind the scenes” activity that shows the SEO authority of your website to search engines.
Optimizing your website for Off-Page SEO is relatively more difficult than optimizing for Off-Page SEO. This type of SEO requires a lot of time, money, and effort, which is why many website owners prefer to outsource Off-Page SEO instead of working on it themselves.
Link building is considered the core of Off-Page SEO. In an SEO strategy, SEO experts try to generate more backlinks for their website. Countless SEO studies prove that a website with better backlinks has a higher chance of ranking on the first page of Google.
There are several strategies you can adopt for link building. However, guest posting and blogger outreach are the easiest ways to generate quality backlinks (business listing, outreach, editorial links, forum backlinks, resource links, etc.) for your website.
In guest posting and blogger outreach, it’s important to find the best websites that can give you a Do-Follow backlink. You can check the list of blogs that accept guest posts so you can easily generate backlinks.
Technical SEO includes all the practices that help you optimize the technical aspects of your website for SEO purposes. A Technical SEO expert ensures that:
- Your website has SEO-optimized URLs.
- There is a proper structure on your website.
- Robots.txt file of your website is managed.
- Canonical tags are used on your website.
By comparison, Technical SEO is considered the most difficult SEO strategy. It requires you a lot of time and effort to identify the Technical SEO issues of your website and fix them at the right time.
Many SEO beginners find it easy to optimize for On-Page and Off-Page SEO but don’t focus on improving the Technical SEO of your website. But remember that your website won’t rank higher on SERPs if optimized for Technical SEO.
Optimize for Local SEO
Nowadays, Google and other search engines try to show optimized results for local users. This new optimization means that if someone searches for “pizza,” then the search engine will return the results of local pizza shops.
In the same fashion, if you want your website to show up in local search rankings, you must follow the “Local SEO” practices introduced by search engines. Local SEO allows you to check all the specific guidelines to help local customers discover your website.
Optimizing your website for Local SEO is a comparatively easy task. You don’t have to spend weeks to ensure that you follow all the Local SEO practices set by search engines. Here are some basic Local SEO practices you shouldn’t ignore:
- Create your “Google My Business” account and list your business.
- Set up your business profile for “Bing Maps.”
- Ensure that your website is optimized for “NAP consistency.”
- Get local citations, so your website ranks higher in local search results.
Don’t forget about Image SEO
Images play a huge role in improving the readability of content. When used properly, images can break down difficult concepts for readers and enable them to follow the content in easier steps. Adding images to your website can also improve your SERP rankings if you follow the best practices of Image SEO.
You can optimize your website for Image SEO to ensure that search engine bots can crawl your website and verify that your content is relevant for certain keywords. The good thing about optimizing for Image SEO is that it’s relatively easy, and you don’t have to wait for months before you can use it for your website.
Here are some Image SEO tips that you must adopt:
- Upload your images in web-friendly formats.
- Downscale all images you upload on your website.
- Try to upload the photos you have captured yourself.
- Place relevant keywords in the file name of images.
- Provide alt-text for all images you upload.
- Link all the website images in your sitemap.
Create a sitemap for your website
As a website owner trying to improve the SEO of your website, the first thing you have to remember is to make things easier for readers and search engine bots.
Creating a hierarchy of content and following the SEO practices will improve the SERP rankings of your website. One of the things you can do to make your website readily accessible is to develop a proper sitemap.
The good thing about having a sitemap is that it helps you design your website properly. With a sitemap, you can easily plan the content you will post on your website. Here are the best practices you can adopt to create a proper sitemap:
- Identify the primary pages for your website.
- Pick the dropdown or secondary web pages.
- Plan ahead for the expansion of content on your website.
- Decide a URL structure you will use for all web pages.
- Create a hierarchy by developing menus on your website
Get rid of useless pages
As a website owner, you will have so many pages on your website that it will be hard to keep all those pages responsive. Those pages you don’t update timely will show the “404 error” on your website.
This error shows that the website owner no longer maintains a webpage. You might think that such an error is negligible if your website’s main pages are updated regularly. However, keep in mind that this error can lower the SERP rankings of your website.
A user doesn’t like when a website returns the notorious “404 error.” Search engine bots recognize this user behavior and lower the SERP ranking of a website with several broken pages. Ensure you keep all the pages alive on your website and learn how to properly delete unwanted web pages.
Publish valuable content
You might have already read a hundred times that “content is king” in the online world. But the question is; why is content so important, and how can you achieve your digital marketing goals?
The simple answer is that content allows you to optimize your website for relevant keywords. After doing proper keyword research, you can find ideas on which you can write content that easily ranks #1 on Google and other search engines.
Creating authoritative content is an essential part of any SEO strategy. Ensure you adopt the best content creation tips to ensure that your content helps you achieve your SEO goals.
Optimize your website for mobile
Websites are created on desktop computers, and many website owners optimize their websites only for desktop users. But keep in mind that around half of web traffic comes from smartphones, which means that your website should also be optimized for mobile users.
Google and many other search engines put those websites higher on SERPs that are better optimized for smartphones. A mobile-friendly website will be easier to access for mobile users, allowing you to cater to your customers using the internet on their smartphones.
Make sure you focus on mobile optimization of your website to claim higher rankings on Google and other search engines.
Learn from your competitors
Optimizing your website for SEO doesn’t require you to do everything from scratch. For example, instead of trying what SEO strategies are the most important in your target industry, you can check for the strategies that already bring great results for your competitors.
Looking at the SEO strategy of your competitors can help you easily create a proper SEO strategy for your website. Spend your time analyzing the SEO efforts of your competitors so planning your SEO strategy becomes easier for you.
Track your progress
The best thing about SEO is that it doesn’t force you to shoot darts in the dark. You can easily track the progress you have made with your SEO strategies, allowing you to pick the strategies that work for you and avoid those that don’t help you get any consistent results.
You can use tracking tools like “Google Analytics” to identify the SEO progress you have made through different strategies.