The SEO industry is a lot like sports, with lots of rules and regulations to follow. The rules are constantly evolving, so it's important to stay up-to-date on changes to SEO best practices. With so many different factors involved in SEO, there's no one quick and easy way to get started. In this article, we'll discuss the basics of what you need to know to improve your search engine rankings.
It's critical to realize that SEO is not about tricking search engines. Search engines want to index high quality websites that are useful to their users. So, don't do any tricks or gimmicks that will make your website appear spammy or low quality. If you're unsure how to achieve top search engine results without doing some tricks, check out our guide to SEO best practices. It includes the following tips:
Write For Humans First and Search Engines Second - You should always write for human readers and visitors before you write for search engines. Your goal should be to provide users with a great user experience. When this happens, you can expect that search engines will return your website to its rightful place at the top of search results.
Use Targeted Keywords in All the Right Places - To achieve top placement in search results, you need to use specific keywords in multiple locations on your website. These include: H1 tags, page titles, URL structure, meta descriptions, alt text, image alt tags, etc. You also need to optimize your content for these keywords, which means using them frequently throughout your copy.
Focus On User Experience (UX) - A good UX design makes all the difference between your site being found and being ignored by users who have better things to do than visit your website. Keep in mind that usability trumps SEO every time.
Format Content For Featured Snippets - Featured snippets are small bits of information that appear when you type in a query into Google. They're usually displayed above the organic search results. Many webmasters think they are the same as sponsored ads because they look like advertisements. But featured snippets are actually part of Google's algorithm to determine which websites are the best answer to a user's question. Therefore, these snippets contain useful information that your website should have too. Make sure you format your content for featured snippets.
Remove Any Unnecessary Words From Headings & Titles - Google doesn't care about the words themselves; only whether they help a user understand the content of a webpage. If you have unnecessary words in headings or titles, then they won't help a reader find what they're looking for. This can cause your website to rank lower in search results.
Make Sure Everything Is Accessible - Accessibility is another key factor in ranking well in search results. If your website isn't accessible to people with disabilities, Google could punish you for it. Even though it's unlikely, it's possible someone could report your site for failing accessibility guidelines, hurting your chances of ranking highly in search results.
In addition, make sure you aren't violating any terms of service agreements or policies that Google has posted. For example, you might be required to disclose paid ads or certain types of advertising. Or, you may be prohibited from displaying "click here" buttons or other types of call-to-action prompts.
Keep an Eye on Changes in Best Practices - As new SEO trends emerge, you'll want to keep an eye on them. Some of the more recent developments include responsive design, mobile friendliness, and voice search optimization. As you learn more about these topics, you'll probably discover additional ways to improve your search engine rankings.
If you want to learn more about SEO marketing, read our guide to SEO best practices. Also, here are several tools you can use to analyze your website's SEO progress.