Whether you’re a newcomer to the world of SEO or consider yourself to be a bit of a veteran, there’s one thing everyone who operates in this space understands: SEO is always changing!
It seems like one day there’s an updated algorithm that’s meant to boost your site, then the next, new updates mean you have a lot of work to do to maintain your current rank. Thankfully, there are some SEO best practices that will never die.
These include the basics like keyword research and writing custom URLs. But, there are a handful of other good SEO practices worth making a fundamental part of your overall search strategy.
Here’s a list of seven things you can always come back to if you’re not sure what will support your site’s performance and what might hinder it.
1. Keep Publishing Content
Content will always be king in the world of SEO. This has been true since day one and it doesn’t show a single sign of changing anytime soon. At the end of the day, consumers pull up search engines when they need relevant, valuable information.
This means it’s your job to keep producing that for the people in your industry. A blog is the most obvious platform for new content, but it’s not the only one. Use social media to the most of your advantage and don’t underestimate the power of email marketing, either.
More so, make an effort to recycle content from time to time. When you publish something really good, it’s worth pushing more than once as long as it’s still relevant.
2. Take Link Building Seriously
Here’s something that many veterans of the SEO space have seen evolve over time: link building. You used to just be able to plant a link anywhere and build your online presence.
Now, you have to be a bit more strategic about it if you want the absolute best results. Not to mention, you can’t flood pages with links because Google won’t take you seriously if you do. They may even flag you.
So, what’s the balance between too much and not enough link building, or just doing it all wrong? The best way to use this tool is to plant a link where it makes sense. Weave it into the guest content you publish on other sites and make internal linking feel natural to users.
Not only does this comply with SEO best practices, but it places links in a way that feels most appealing to users. The better you get at this, the more positive your results will be than just placing a link anywhere.
3. Index Everything
Another SEO tool to keep as a constant in your digital toolbox is indexing. Indexing tells Google you’ve published new content. It sends blog posts, site updates, and new landing pages to the search engine instead of its bots having to find your content.
This goes hand in hand with your sitemap. Indexing should be pretty easy to add into your digital strategy if you haven’t already. Plus, it’s a quick tool to make use of whenever you have new content to share.
4. Create Image ALT Tags and File Names
Keep in mind content isn’t just written information. It’s also photos, videos, and graphics. All of these things need ALT tags and file names.
When you create an ALT tag for a site visual, you make it legible for search bots. They can’t “see” an image or video when they crawl your site, but they can pick up on the tag for it.
File names help search bots recognize what’s on your website too. They go beyond that, though. Creating a file name is a great opportunity to put a keyword; it boosts your optimization efforts just a bit, which adds up when you continue to use it over time.
5. Shorten Your Load Times
Whether you mostly publish words or visuals, you have to make sure everything loads quickly. The last thing you want is to have a site that gets the attention of search bots very well only to lose real users with slow load times.
Every page needs to fully load in three seconds or less – the faster, the better. Oh, and search bots will catch onto this fault in your SEO strategy soon enough. They’ll start to rank you lower and lower if you don’t get load times up to speed.
6. Write Engaging, Optimized Title Tags
You can be the very first result on a SERP and still lose potential traffic. How? Well, there are many possible answers for this, but one of them is overlooking the power of well-written title tags.
Title tags are the links on a SERP, the blue lines where a user clicks on to get to your site. Some site owners have phrases like “HOME” or “BLOG” at the very beginning of their title tag, then the actual title of the page. Words like these do no good to your users.
You need to get right to the point instead. Title tags should be engaging, interesting summaries of what a certain landing page is about. You don’t have to use the exact title of the blog post or the product page, but you do need to figure out how to get people’s attention.
Start a title tag with phrases like “how to” or “the top (x) (things/places/steps, etc)” to hook people before they even get to your website. Feel free to sprinkle in an adjective or two, but don’t fluff the title tag.
7. Prepare for Voice Search
All of the SEO best practices so far are nothing new, yet, they are details that some people still don’t pay enough attention to. Voice search, on the other hand, is a more recent part of search. It’s changing how people look for the information they need, and how site owners can rank to reach them.
One of the most important effects of voice search is the switch from keyword exact matches to conversational inquiries. People are going to ask their devices questions out loud like they would in regular conversation. This means prepositions like “in” “by” or “to” are going to become more relevant when writing title tags and doing keyword research.
SEO Best Practices for Now and Later
No matter how high-performing your site is right now, or how much work you need to do to get started, always remember that mastering SEO is a continuous process. There’s always something new to learn and a change to adapt to – and adapt quickly.
To stay in the know about all things search and SEO best practices, keep checking our most recent articles.