What is SEO?
The ultimate goal of SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) is to improve a website’s search engine rankings. Ideally your website should rank No.1 on any search engine as this allows you to earn more website visits. Sounds easy right?
However, in order to be ranked number 1 on any search engine you need to incorporate the best practices of SEO. There are a million different ways to incorporate SEO on your page but before you make any changes on your website, it’s important to get the basics right. Let us break it down for you:
1. Choose the correct SEO keywords
It is crucial that you define which keywords you want your page to rank for. In most cases, it will be the product or service that you are trying to sell. In order to find the perfect keyword for your site, the best way forward is research, research, research.
Keyword research is a vital part of your SEO strategy. When you know what people are searching for within your field, you can optimise your content around these keywords. By doing so, your website or page will potentially rank higher.
Another thing you would want to avoid is having your website show up for the wrong keywords. This will lead to a low search intent and a high bounce rate. Search engines take high bounce rate websites as irrelevant and as a result your website will appear in the lower sections of the search page.
How to find the best SEO keywords
When looking for the right keywords, it is important to look at the search volume and competition. It can be almost impossible to rank for very competitive search queries like “performance marketing”, as it is such a generic term that everyone wants to rank for. It might be possible but would take years to achieve.
Instead of using a competitive keyword, a better SEO strategy would be researching long-tail keywords. These consist of three or more keywords put together in a sentence. They often have a lower search volume and competition but as they are more specific, there will be a higher chance of your audience converting or clicking on your webpage due to higher relevance.
Long-tail keywords are also becoming more relevant as people are using voice search, where they will often say a whole sentence instead of just one word. Fortunately, Google and other platforms have made it easy for us to find these long-tail keywords. Below are the two platforms you can use to look for long-tail keywords:
For the first 200 words of your page keep the keyword density at around 2-3%. For the rest of your content the keyword density should be around 1-2%.
This will make it easier for search engines like Google to identify your topic, and rank your page higher. However, avoid stuffing your text with keywords as it will appear unnatural and unattractive to readers.
It is important to hit the right balance with the amount of keywords in your content. If you have too many keywords — also known as keyword stuffing, search engines will lower the ranking of your page. On the contrary, if you do not have enough keywords, search engines are unable to understand what your website is about.
2. The importance of Headlines in your SEO strategy
Headlines are more important than you think. Attractive headlines are what compel readers to click on an article. However, your headlines should also resonate with the search engines’ algorithms so that they prioritise your page for a higher ranking. This applies to both the main headline as well as your sub-headlines throughout the article.
Practice using persuasive adjectives while crafting your headline copy. The catchier your headline is, the higher your Click-through Rate (CTR) is. Just be careful that it’s not misleading.
A few examples:
- 10 Free Tips to…
- 5 Amazing Ways to…
- 7 Awesome Tricks to …
- 20 Surprising things you didn’t know about…
- Great strategies to improve your business 2020
- 5 Easy ways to improve your…
An alternative strategy to create compelling headlines is to add numbers. E.g.: “Fastest Way to Write an Interesting Blog Post in 2020” or “9 Surprising Tips Every Writer Should Know”.
Optimize your Headlines for the SEO algorithms
The most important ingredient of an SEO-worthy headline is keywords. As search engines have a tendency to value the first part of your headline the most, the best practice is to begin your sentence with your keyword.
However, always keep in mind that you are writing content to benefit your reader and not the search engines. So always follow your common sense above the rules. If your text is disjointed and stuffed with keywords, people will quickly leave your page as it is not relevant.
Use your keyword in 60-80% (3-4 out of 5 titles) of the titles. Add a headline every 200-250 words for structure, and always have your headlines in a natural order (<H2> always comes first, followed by <h3>, <h4> etc.).
When the search engine’s algorithm ranks your pages, it looks for a lot of different signals. Signals include headlines and the readability of your page etc. The order of your headline tags can help improve the position of a page for a particular keyword.
Furthermore, the keyword density rule applies to your headlines as well, and it is therefore important to find the perfect balance between keyword stuffing and not having enough keywords.
3. The Body Content is Key for SEO Optimization
Although your headlines are key in gaining a user’s attention, your body content also needs to be appealing enough to keep readers engaged. If your content is unstructured and boring, people will instantly exit your page, leaving your bounce rate sky-high.
People have a tendency to only skim through a page, or they only tend to read the first sentence of each paragraph. So keep your paragraphs short and concise.
It is important that your page is well-structured so that readers are intrigued. Remember to also disperse information in a way that is simple and readable. Luckily, it is easier than you think. Just follow the 3x3x3 method:
- Have maximum of 3 paragraphs below one headline
- Have 3 rows in a paragraph
- Have 3 sentences in a paragraph
Do’s and Don'ts for your Content
Above all rules and best practices comes high quality content. There is a huge amount of content all over the internet, so it is important to stand out. Publishing original, helpful content will help you rank higher on any search engine.
Never duplicate your content as this will not bring any new value to your readers. This rule applies to everything on your website including headlines, image alt text, category pages, etc.
Remember to always have your audience in mind while creating content. Your content should resonate with your audience and it should be something they find interesting. If your readers love your content, so will Google!