The world of SEO (search engine optimization) is huge, complex, and can be confusing. Keeping track of all of the factors that can influence the search engine ranking of your website can be difficult – if not impossible for most business owners. In this article, we’ll go over some of the best SEO practices for web design and development – and talk about the ones which you may not even know about! Let’s get started.
1. Keywords Matter
Alright, this one may be obvious. But it’s really important. The keywords that you focus on for individual pages have a huge impact on whether or not you’ll rank. Identifying the keywords you want to rank for is only part of the battle, though. The other half is making sure you include them naturally and in the right places. You can’t just stuff your keyword into every paragraph on your page and expect that #1 spot on Google.
Think about the title, meta description, and headings used on the page. Can your focused keyword fit into those places naturally, without you forcing it? When you write your content for your site, keep in mind what the focus of that page is and how you can make tailor the page to get your point across.
2. Linking To Other Pages On Your Own Site
When you link to a page on the same site you’re strengthening the keywords for those pages. This benefits not only your users, but also the search engines navigating your site find relevant content more easily. It’s important that the internal link makes proper use of the keyword for the page it is linking to. For example, if you’re trying to highlight your WordPress development services, you’d want to link that text instead of something like “Click here….” (see what we did there?).
3. Length Of On-Page Content Can Help Boost Your SEO Rankings
It has been found that the length of on-page content – such as a blog post or a description of products and services – can have a significant effect on the ability of a webpage to rank for SEO.
Based on SERP data from SEMRush, this study from Backlinko found that articles with a longer length were more likely to perform well in Google SEO rankings. The average Google first-page result contains 1,890 words.
That means that content with a length of around 1800-2000 words could be more likely to be prioritized by Google SEO rankings. However, this is only the case if the content is written naturally – simply “stuffing” a piece with unnecessary fluff and keywords can actually have the opposite effect.
So do your best to create high-value, long-form content – but don’t prioritize length over quality. If you can strike the right balance, you’re sure to reap the rewards.
4. Recency Of Content Can Help Boost Your Rankings
Since 2010, with the introduction of the Google Caffeine Search Ranking Index, the recency of a published piece has had an impact on its ability to rank on SEO. This update is when Google started showing the “Published” date on search engine results.
Recently-published content can help you boost the SEO rankings of your page. Because of this, it’s often a good idea to sift through your past blog posts and other such content, and update them for the current year. You can make edits or add new information and update the published date on WordPress – and potentially benefit from a helpful SEO boost.
Historical Page Updates can also help you boost your SEO rankings. In general, web pages that are frequently updated and changed rank more highly than “static” web pages, because updates to content indicate that the website is being actively managed to provide searchers with high-quality content and information.
5. Site Downtime Can Negatively Impact Your SEO Rankings
Site downtime can be extremely damaging to your website. Not only are users completely unable to access your website to get information about your company, services, or products, Google may penalize you with a lower SEO ranking. In extreme circumstances, if your website is down for an extended period of time, it may be removed entirely.
This is primarily because Google has to “crawl” the page again once it comes back up – which can take several weeks, and will likely negatively impact your search rankings.
To avoid this, it’s best to ensure that your website is serving up a 503 to Google when you do have to take it down for planned maintenance or custom application development – and to make sure that you avoid any unexpected downtime by using reliable servers.
6. HTTPS Is A Requirement
According to Search Engine Land, as of July 2018, Google will mark any site that doesn’t load over HTTPS as ‘non-secure’. It has been a well known fact for years now that Google would prioritize HTTPS sites in it’s search results, but with the recent update it’s now no longer a recommendation, but a requirement. If your site isn’t currently HTTPS, you should definitely focus on getting that added.
Follow These Tips To Compete For Better Google SEO Rankings!
Each of these individual best practices only has a small impact. But when combined with other industry standard best practices, you can turbocharge your SEO strategy – and bring in more customers and visitors to your site. If you’re interested in working with an experienced development agency that has top-tier Search Engine Optimization services, be sure to reach out and contact us!