Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Best Practices

By the Fancy Comma, LLC Team

While Search Engine Optimization or #SEO may appear very complicated, the truth is that optimizing your web content to be better ‘seen’ by Google is quite simple. #writingtips #fancycomma #marketing #digitalmarketing

Most people interested in Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, simply want their webpage to show up earlier on the search engine results page.

There are a few simple steps you can take to boost SEO. Check out our best advice regarding SEO best practices below.

Photo by Benjamin Dada on Unsplash

Top 9 SEO Tips to Make Your Web Content Stand Out

At Fancy Comma, LLC, we work with a variety of people and businesses who want their web content to have the largest readership possible. SEO can be an important piece of this strategy, but keep in mind that it is just one piece of your content strategy. The substance of your content itself should still be the most important part of any marketing strategy.

Here are our best tips to help you write the most Google-friendly web content possible:

1. Write authoritative, informative articles.

This is the single most important piece of advice when it comes to getting the most out of SEO. Think about Google Search as a service. Its goal is to deliver answers for users who visit it in search of information daily. By making sure your articles are informative and contain many of the keywords people are searching, you also increase traffic by making it more likely for people to visit your page and refer it to others. Major sites may also link to your content if it is sufficiently authoritative and helpful, which can give you a huge boost in search page ranking!

2. Link to well-established, reputable sources.

Another key to making sure that your article is authoritative is to link to reputable sources. For example, if you are writing a report on what cancer is and what scientists know about it, you may wish to link to sources at the National Cancer Institute. In this article about best SEO practices for the best Google Search rankings, you may notice that I have sometimes linked to sources on the Google website – the best source for information about the popular search engine.

People will find your article more useful and trustworthy when you use better quality sources. This encourages more viewers to link your webpages themselves, thereby increasing traffic and boosting your page’s ranking on Google.

3. Break up long text with headings. 

Headings serve to break up long passages of text to make them much easier to read.  This has benefits for both people and Google’s search engine robots.

Adding headers serves to improve the readability and flow of text by people who visit your site, which means that more people are likely to read your article.  These people may also refer others to your site, or link to your content on their site, which can boost your page’s visibility on Google.

Concise headings also improve SEO in terms of how Google indexes and interprets webpages.  With the use of short, informative headings, Google’s indexing service, which tries to create an informative entry for every page discovered by the Google webcrawler, will likely have an easier time trying to figure out what your page is about. 

This means that, thanks to the use of headings to break up web content, both your readers and Google will be better able to understand and interpret the content of your page.

4. Begin your text with a short, insightful summary.

Google displays the first few lines of your website in its search results.  So, you will want to make sure that this text is both useful and concise. You may want to Google your web content to see what comes up on the search results page and adjust your page’s organization and content as needed.

An added benefit of adding an introductory summary is that it can help improve SEO by increasing readability and reducing the time it takes to read your site to figure out what it’s all about.

5. Make sure your article is free of spelling and grammatical errors.

It should perhaps go without saying that you should run your article or webpage through a simple spell check before publication. Spelling and grammatical errors can make your content look unprofessional or undercut its authority, even if you are an expert in the topic. 

Furthermore, errors can make your web content difficult to read for both people and Google’s robots. If your page is difficult to read, fewer people will rely on it as a source, and it may get less traffic.

6. Add captions and alt-text for photos and videos.

Google’s crawler and indexing mechanisms do not readily have a way to interpret media such as pictures and videos. This means that Google uses text descriptions you have provided to interpret them for Google’s search results.  These descriptions can help your site’s images show up in Google’s image search results.

Photos that have captions and alt-text have better SEO than those that do not.  The same can be said of videos which have captions. Remember to annotate the photos and video you publish to your site, so that Google’s robots can better understand them.

Adding captions and alt-text can also make your website easier to navigate and read for people, which can improve readability and generate SEO improvements that way.

7. Eliminate anything on your page that would make it take a very long time to load. 

Very large images, videos, and complicated JavaScript or CSS that takes forever to load is likely to hurt your SEO and Google Search page ranking. This is because Google takes into account the time it takes for your page to load in its indexing and ranking.

Reduce the use of large, clunky images by using software or online tools to reduce their size. Link to large files rather than embedding them on your page.

If you are not sure how fast your page loads, there are a number of utilities available on the web such as Pingdom that can perform a speed test.

An added benefit of having a fast-loading page is that it will likely also perform well on mobile platforms, which can further boost SEO.

8. Consider doing a keyword analysis before you start writing.

If you are trying to boost your visibility on Google, it may help you to do a keyword analysis. Sophisticated keyword analysis can be helpful from a marketing perspective, but for the average person, it will likely not make that much of a difference.

An easy, informal way to do keyword analysis is by using Google Trends.  This tool can help you get a handle on the keywords that people are searching for in Google.  You may wish to come up with a short list of keywords that are relevant to your web content, and look them up in Google Trends to see which are most popular.

Tip for Advanced SEO Users: Latent Semantic Indexing or LSI is a new way that people are using keywords. By identifying related keywords that are being frequently searched, and including them in your text, your site may experience an SEO boost as the LSI keywords are searched and visitors learn of your page. It is unclear how much this can boost PageRank. A free LSI tool to identify candidate keywords is LSIGraph.

9. Update your web content regularly.

Google’s ranking algorithms add more weight to content that is updated regularly than static content. For best SEO results with a blogging website, updating once or twice a week will likely boost your page’s visibility on Google.

For more information on SEO Best Practices, check out Google’s helpful SEO tips and tricks.

Conclusion

SEO sounds confusing and overly technical, but it’s not. If you are writing good content, then your content will be highly visible on search engines — perhaps in the first one or two pages of Google results.

Artificial intelligence and people are similar in that information overload can have a negative effect on the comprehension of your web content.  The more readable and informative your content, the more readers – and Google robots – will be able to understand and interpret your web content in the proper context, which will ensure the best results in terms of your page’s ranking.

Trying to “hack” your page ranking on Google using unethical means can lead to lasting damage to the visibility of your web content. As discussed in our worst SEO practices article, there’s not much you can do to artificially boost your web content’s ranking on Google, and efforts to do so may backfire. That’s why you may want to consider alternate marketing avenues if you are concerned that not enough people are finding you on Google. 

Social media, word of mouth, and advertising can be good ways to boost the visibility of your content in a natural, organic way.  The combined approach of SEO best practices and marketing is likely to boost your page ranking as more people visit and interact with your page.

This is the second post in a three-part series by Fancy Comma, LLC on Search Engines and SEO. To read our full guide to Search Engines and SEO, click here.

6 thoughts on “Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Best Practices

  1. Thank you! I am glad you found this post helpful. BTW, I also recommend the Moz courses, which I am taking right now to learn more, though they are more focused towards using SEO to drive sales. The courses, which are at https://academy.moz.com, are free until May 31 with code ‘wegotthis’ (and you can get a couple of different courses with this code – I recommend the starter and sequel packs).

    Like

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