Top 10 best practices for SEO
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the process of making your website rank better for search engines which in turn will provide your residents with optimal and defined search results that align with their requirements.
When it comes to SEO, there is a lot to consider. How well do your pages rank? Which keywords work best? How much time should you dedicate to research and implementation?
To help guide you in making the right decisions, and prevent you from becoming overwhelmed with data, here are a few best practices.
SEO falls into three categories:
- On-page SEO
- Off-page SEO
- Technical SEO
Align your keyword research The very first step in search engine optimization is to determine which keywords you are optimizing for. These are typically the terms your residents are likely to type in search engines, and each page in your website should target a different keyword cluster.
How to begin with keyword research
- Create the seed list: A list of phrases or terms that your ideal user would type. These could be interests, pain points, goals, or which could be different from what we encounter.
- Put them in a keyword research tool to analyze the volume and competition which will help in sorting and prioritizing the high-intent and low-intent ones.
- Create quality content targeting those keywords
Your main navigation pages (homepage, about us, contact, products, services) will target keywords you have identified broadly but the bulk of your keyword targeting will come from long-form content in the form of blog posts. The quality depends on:
- Content aligned with keyword intent: Make sure the content provides the most relevant information to what your residents are searching for.
- Natural form content: Understanding the negative impacts of keyword stuffing and catering to the requirements of the product, service, or industry offering.
- In-depth and organized: Neither Google nor your users will be interested in loose or low-value content. Hence the need for ensuring you share accurate, up-to-date information, key for ranking your page organically.
- Placement of keywords
In addition to having high-intent content, you will also want to strategically place the keywords in specific places on a page to indicate to Google what your intentions are for that page to rank. These include,
- SEO title (title tag)
- Page title (H1 tag)
- At least two H2 headings
- Image alt text
- Image file name
- Naturally in the body
- Meta description
- Add and optimize images
Images are key in SEO. They are more likely to keep your residents engaged with your pages, enhance the quality of the content, and provide important indicators for rankings that can generate traffic to the respective host page through image results.
- File name: Saving the file name with the respective keyword with dashes instead of spaces.
- ALT text: Alt text stands for text alternative to an image, and that’s how search engines see images on a page and detect their relevance to the keyword.
- Compress: Large images are detrimental to page load speed. Compressing and reducing file sizes can enhance its true image on the host pages.
- Internal and external links
Finding 1-4 pages relevant to the topic being targeted on other sites that have high domain authority and linking them to a post will enable building trust with search engines.
Internal linking to other blog posts or articles helps in multiple pathways to a given post through anchor tags making your site easier to crawl.
- Earn and build backlinks
Backlinks are links to your sites from third parties. These build higher credibility, and having higher intent backlinks helps in a better ranking.
But how do you get more backlinks?
- Proactively reaching out to sites for which a link to your content would be a useful addition.
- Guest posting/blogging
- Use social media
Organic social could act as a great catalyst for SEO, depending heavily on how you use it to your advantage. Regular posting can drive a lot of referral traffic to your website. The more eyes on your post, the higher the chances of generating high-quality backlinks. Social media itself is not a direct Google ranking factor, but your activity on the platforms and users’ engagement with your content there send social signals to Google that influence your ranking.
- Page speed, core web vitals, mobile-first approach
Technical SEO is done primarily at the back office of a website or Content Management System (CMS) to make sure that you provide the best user experience possible. Govstack enables you to stay on top of these measures with the in-built capacity to help you with:
- Site architecture: Ideally, your residents should be able to access any page on the website.
- URL structure: Organized URL structure such as bucketing all content types under /resources as in govstack.com will again make it easier for bots to crawl across your website.
- Core web vitals: These metrics help in quantifying a resident's experience within your page or website.
- Mobile-first: Being mobile-friendly doesn’t cut it anymore. Google’s indexing is now mobile-first, so your site needs to be fully responsive.
- Canonical tags
A canonical URL is the URL you wish to use to represent a collection of duplicate pages. Google will try its best to determine the canonical URL for each given set of duplicates, but you can additionally tell Google this by using canonical tags or 301 redirects.
- Schema markup
Schema markup assists Google (and other search engines) in understanding the content you have and displaying rich results when appropriate. For example, site link schema can provide you with extra SERP real estate.
Govstack enables you to navigate through these best practices to get a better ranking and help your residents stay engaged with your website. Contact us today.