Like anything that has to do with technology, search engine optimization (SEO) is continually changing. Traditional SEO focused on the more technical structure of the website and overlooked the most important aspect – the experience it was providing the user. SEO has come a long way and in order to reach the top spot on the search engine results page you need to optimize your website and create a great user experience.
I have outlined some of the best practices for search engine optimization that will help provide value and create a great experience for your user.
Keywords are the Foundation
Choosing the right keywords is essential when it comes to search engine optimization, but what’s even more important is choosing keywords that are relevant to your user. What type of language do your consumers use when searching for information about your products or services? Understanding how your consumers think and use search engines to find your products or services is crucial when it comes to selecting keywords that will attract qualified traffic to your site.
Once you have complied a list of relevant keywords it’s important to perform research to confirm these keywords are actually being searched. There are many tools out there that allow you to check the search volume for your specific keyword, such as Google’s Keyword Planner. You want your keyword to display high monthly results and if it does, then you’ve just found yourself a new search term to target – congrats!
Content is Still King
When it comes to search engine optimization, it is essential to produce high quality content that is targeted to your user. Creating content for your user and not just for search engines will ensure your site resonates with your target audience and makes them stick around.
Along with being highly relevant, your content needs to be uniquely valuable to your audience. Rand Fishkin from Moz notes that any website can be considered valuable, but very few provide a unique kind of value – one that can’t be discovered on other pages targeting that keyword phrase.
If you can produce valuable pages with unique content that solves your audience’s problem and fulfills their needs, then you are that much closer to reaching the top of the search engine results page.
Linking is Still Queen
Link building is among the top requirements for search engine optimization. Building a link profile for your website will help increase visibility, bring traffic to your site, and ultimately help your site to rank highly in the search results.
When it comes to developing a link profile it is extremely important to create high quality, uniquely valuable content that is targeted to your user (as we previously discussed, content is king!) so other relevant websites will link to your own site. Search engines use link popularity to determine search rankings. Therefore, if you want to see your website at the top of the search engine results page then it’s important you earn links from reputable and established domains.
Another factor that search engines take into consideration when ranking pages is freshness. In addition to earning links from reputable websites, it is crucial to continue to create new content so websites will continue to link to your site. If established domains are linking to your website that’s great, but if it’s to content that was created over a year ago that’s not going to help you stay at the top of the search engine results page.
Expand Your Presence with Social Sharing
Social media is becoming an integral part of search engine optimization as search engines are now starting to take social sharing into consideration and look for social signals to help aid in the ranking of pages. Therefore, it is important to continually create and share fresh, relevant content on social media channels your audience frequents such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+.
If your audience finds your content informative, useful, and unique they will most likely share it with other users which will improve your visibility, increase traffic to your site and potentially boost your ranking.
When it comes to search engine optimization the main question to ask yourself is “Am I providing value to my user?”. If your answer is anything along the lines of “No” – then it’s time to re-evaluate your strategy for SEO and optimize your website so you create that great user experience that provides value for your audience.
Are there any other best practices for search engine optimization that you live by? Share them in the comments section below!