SEO is a fast-changing landscape and being able to navigate the minefield is a must. The best way to do this is to keep up to date with the latest news and views and these tips are going to help you in this regard. These are tips for now and for the long term.
Optimize Each Page For A Single Keyword Or Topic
While “stuffing” a page with heavy mentions of a single keyword is no longer a viable optimization strategy, you do need to keep each page on your site focused around one idea and one keyword. You should place your keyword into emphasized elements of the page, such as the title, the headings, and the alt text for images, as well as using it in the page copy. It’s always good to do an SEO check of your pages to ensure that this is the case. Note that delivering a smooth, sensible human reading experience is still your top priority.
Important Keywords Don’t Need To Be Verbatim Matches
In 2014, Google announced that AdWords, its paid search platform, would no longer prioritize exact keyword matches over close keyword associations. While the company hasn’t explicitly confirmed it, it’s reasonable to assume that the same holds true for organic searches. That means you’ll reap the benefits from both precise and inexact keyword matches. A page optimized for a single keyword, like “inbound marketing tactics,” will also collect attention from searches looking for the singular variation, “inbound marketing tactic” in AdWords. This new policy will also enable your site to score well for optimized keywords even if users misspell them in the search box.
URLs Should Be Short, Descriptive, And Categorization-Friendly
URLs earn tremendous weight when search engines are ranking pages, so your URLs need to be clear and easy to index. URLs should be kept as short as possible and line up well with the topics and featured keywords on their pages. (This also improves UX.) Sensible, short URLs make it easier for you to categorize the different pages on your site, too.
Optimize Your Titles
Title tags are where search engines find the text they display on the results page; they also show up at the top of visitors’ browser windows. Titles are intended to be broad but accurate descriptions of the content to be found on the page. Google will typically only show the first 50-60 characters of your title on the results page. That means you need to aim for titles around 55 characters and compose them as persuasive tools to encourage searchers to click on your link. Whenever possible, push your chosen keywords and topics to the front of the title.
Use Heading Tags Correctly
Heading tags are intended to give the reader (and search engines) information about the page’s structure and/or topics. Headings appear in a page’s raw HTML inside the <H1> tags; if you edit your pages using a CMS or COS (e.g. WordPress, HubSpot, etc), the HTML coding is typically handled in the background. There are a range of organized heading tags (<H2> and <H3>) you can use to organize your page and establish a hierarchy of importance. To check your page’s heading tags, look at it in HTML view.
A few other key points for headings:
* Avoid over-generic words such as “Products” or “Home.”
* Don’t rely on images to convey information that should be in an <H1> tag.
Optimize Alt Text For Images
Although keywords that you embed into image files themselves cannot be picked up by search engines, you can give your images optimization strength by making sure that their file names and alt texts feature relevant keywords.
Build Natural Inbound Links
The number and quality of organic links pointing to your pages from other sites remain key components of Google’s ranking algorithm. Keep a close watch on the links established to your pages to confirm that they’re growing over time and coming from quality sites.