By Alexandra Thompson, Operations Manager of WriterArmy.com
Boosting your SEO performance is one of the best things you can do for your content marketing strategy. Being able to show up on the first page of Google search results will not only gain you more traffic but will also help solidify your business as an authority in the industry. There are tons of tips and tricks for improving SEO, but here are a few best practices to keep in mind.
SEO optimization all starts with the right keywords. First, consider who exactly your audience is and what kind of information they’re looking for. Market research and buyer personas are going to be especially important here. Once you understand your ideal audience and their needs and values, you can research what keywords they might search for that relate to your business and your products.
You can use tools like SEMrush or Google Keyword Planner to see what keywords your audience is searching for. Integrate these keywords naturally into your copy, but make sure you don’t overdo it, which might actually hurt your SEO ranking.
While it’s good to give content on a wide variety of topics within your industry, you also want to go in-depth. Google has put more of an emphasis on content quality lately, so you’ll want to ensure your content meets those standards. In this case, it’s better to have 10 2,000-word blog posts than 100 200-word blog posts.
Consider writing some longer, more in-depth pieces on topics in your industry (often called “pillar pages”). Use resources like JSTOR or Google Scholar to get studies on your topics and research from the experts. Just make sure you’re always properly citing your sources.
Sometimes when you ask a question in Google, you’re met with a box at the top of the page that contains your answer. This answer is an excerpt from another website, which is often one of the first (but not always the first!) search result. Format your copy to appeal to the featured snippet format, meaning lists, simple paragraphs, and quality data.
If Google can’t immediately find the answer to a user’s query in a neat little paragraph or list, your post likely won’t get picked for this coveted spot. Even if your post comes up first in the search results, users will probably read the featured snippet instead of scrolling and searching on your post.
Google is searching for quality content, so posting lots of incredibly similar articles won’t do the trick. Having duplicate content is the quickest way to ruin your SEO. Instead, combine shorter similar articles into longer, more in-depth pieces.
This rule about duplication doesn’t just apply to blog posts. Look at your landing pages, meta tags and descriptions, category pages, and other places on your site for similar content. Make sure to vary these pages up to make your website more engaging and SEO-friendly.
A huge portion of online searches are performed on mobile, so it’s more important than ever to ensure your page is mobile-friendly. More specifically, a good loading speed is crucial. Users want their information and they want it now, so if they have to wait more than a few seconds for your page to load, they’ll go somewhere else.
One of the easiest and most effective ways to improve your SEO is to boost your loading speed. Compress your images, use lightweight themes, and use tools like PageSpeed Insights or Web Page Test to see how your site actually loads for users.
If you want a quick and easy SEO best practice, make sure you’re using internal links in your content. It’s as simple as adding a link in your blog post to another page on your website. Include links on your page’s main keyword, and link to the pages that you want to have more authority.
Above all, make sure that your links make sense. You don’t want the phrase “best chocolate chip cookies” to link to an apple pie recipe. If your keywords and links don’t match up, your SEO efforts will be damaged significantly. Don’t overthink your internal links, but don’t forget about them, either.
A picture’s worth a thousand words, and when it comes to SEO best practices, they might be worth even more. Not only do images appeal to the user more and make them more likely to keep browsing your site, but when optimized correctly, they can do wonders for your SEO.
Google has flat-out stated that properly optimized images can increase your SEO ranking. Luckily, it’s easier than it sounds. Use descriptive filenames for your images instead of your basic “image1.png,” and be sure to optimize your image’s alt text with a relevant keyword.
By keeping these 7 SEO best practices in mind, you’ll be well on your way to the first page of Google search results. While it might seem like a lot to remember at first, these best practices will truly become second nature once you get the hang of it.
Looking for more tips and advance to improve your SEO content strategy? Contact WriterArmy today for a free consultation. We can help you develop or upgrade a content marketing strategy that works well for your business and results in greater leads, better engagement, and more conversions.