Did you know that most website traffic begins with an online search?

Yes, many people use search engines to find exactly what they are looking for. Right now, there are thousands of people out there looking for something that you offer. You might have the best products or services on the market, but it won’t benefit your business if customers can’t find you online.  It’s up to you to guide them in finding your website. This is where Search Engine Optimization (SEO) plays a major role. 

When you optimize your webpages for search engines with SEO best practices, you can increase their ranking and, therefore, their visibility to the right people. 

There are so many different ranking factors that search engines consider. All of this makeup SEO—the process of tailoring your webpage content and elements so that search engines rank you better for relevant search queries. 

In this article, we’ll look at some SEO best practices you should follow to get a good search engine ranking and reach the right people.

12 SEO Best Practices to Get SEO Right

From among the 200 known SEO ranking factors for Google, we have narrowed it down to a few basic ones that lay the foundation for better ranking.

At YellowFin Digital, our SEO specialists swear by these 12 SEO best practices to help our clients rank better. If you want to know more about how we can help increase your website’s ranking, get on a call with one of our experts now.

1. The Faster the Loading Time, the Better

Research published by Google in 2018 concluded that when a web page’s loading time increases from 1 second to 10 seconds, the probability of a mobile site visitor bouncing increases to 123%!

The above chart shows that every second counts regarding a site’s bounce rate. And when the bounce rate of a website is high, your search engine ranking will also go down.

Generally, as advised by Google, the best loading time for any website is three seconds. E-commerce websites are encouraged to load even faster than regular websites, with an ideal loading speed of two seconds.

Curious to find out what your site’s load time clocks in at? Test your website’s speed using Pingdom to see how you stack up.

2. Have a Highly-Secure Website

By now, most people recognize the need for internet security. Some sites prioritize security and make this feature visible by displaying a secure ‘lock’ symbol at the start of the address bar in the browser. Search engines prefer to rank highly secure websites, which means only HTTPS encryption.

HTTPS is the secure version of the HyperText Transfer Protocol, which establishes a secure connection between the website and its users. Websites with HTTPS (as opposed to HTTP) will have SSL encryption and offer an additional layer of security.

Having a website with HTTPS encryption is one of the essential things to take care of for your ranking.

3. Create Mobile-Friendly Web Pages

Nowadays, there is an increasing amount of site traffic coming from smartphones. People whip out their cell phones to search for just about anything they want to know—finding the nearest coffee place, defining an unknown word, searching for the best services, checking out the reviews of a place before going in, and thousands of other reasons.

So your website and its elements must be user-friendly for mobile phone users. Using the same desktop structure of a website for mobile phones doesn’t cut it when it comes to optimization. You need to customize and make it look accessible for mobile phone users. This type of design is called responsive web design- meaning that your web page’s design will adjust based on the device it is viewed from.

You can check out the mobile-friendliness of your website through Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test.

4. Target Topics with Potential

For any given domain, there are thousands of topics you can explore. But among those topics, only a few topics have high potential, according to your website. Not all high-traffic topics will work the best for you, and not all least traffic topics will help you rank on the first page of Google.

You have to analyze those topics that are compatible with your website’s central theme and your intent. Make sure to match your purpose of the content with the user intent when deciding the main topics.

5. Research your Main Keywords with Competitive Analysis

What is your business all about? After you have zeroed in on the main topic, research appropriate keywords that will help you to rank. The right keywords indicate to search engines that your site features valuable content. Your keywords should be featured prominently on each page of your site- while still working with the rest of your content. Make sure to look at keywords for which your competitors rank and compare them with your purpose. If your business is local to a few areas, you can include localized keywords for better results.

6. Target Long-Tail Keywords for Better Conversions

What is a long-tail keyword? A long-tail keyword is a specific keyword phrase that is usually longer than more commonly searched phrases.

If you want to rank high and achieve good conversion rates, you should target “long-tail” keywords.

In the above image, you probably notice that long-tail keywords make up about 70% of search results and have fewer searches. Focussing on long-tail keywords will increase the chances of ranking your website higher and will target only those specific people with better chances of converting.

Especially for small business marketing, it can be hard to rank for keywords with the most traffic. Instead, targeting long-tail, medium-traffic keywords will drive a good amount of traffic and high conversions.

7. Include Target Keywords at the Right Locations

Randomly including keywords scattered throughout your content with no direction isn’t the way to go. You should focus instead on including the keywords in these locations:

  • Once within the first 150 words of the content 
  • Once on the main heading of the page
  • A few times in the other heading tags
  • In the title tag, meta description, and image attributes

You can distribute keywords evenly throughout the entire content in other locations.

Many SEO experts believe that a keyword density of about 1-2% is optimal for SEO. So, check for the keyword density and ensure it’s not too high or too low.

8. Use a Crisp, Descriptive URL

Search engines prefer short URLs that describe what the page is all about. The URL should be short and crisp, without any alphanumeric characters added to some URL structures by default.

This is also ideal for marketing over social media, where your content can only be added as a URL. A short, descriptive URL works best on social media, too.

You can easily optimize the URL of the website directly. If you want to add a special touch, you can include the main keyword in the URL.

9. Create Backlinks for Your Landing Pages

Backlinks are one of the well-known factors that Google initially built into its ranking algorithm. Google looks at the different pages linking back to your landing page and analyzes the value of it based on those links. Google only considers contextual backlinks, i.e. the links surrounded by relevant content. If your backlinks are from irrelevant or spammy websites, it could seriously harm your ranking. 

You can use a Backlink Checker Tool online to find any web pages linking to your website.

10. Keep Track of User Experience Metrics

The bounce rate, conversion rate, clickthrough rate, time spent on the page, and a few other factors are used by search engines to measure the overall user experience. These metrics help search engines understand how much visitors are enjoying your website.

If any metrics rate low, it’s time to fix them, so your site gains a competitive edge.

11. Stay Aware of your Domain Age

This isn’t something you have control over, but it’s essential to be aware of it. The age of your website plays a vital role in ranking.

According to a study published on Ahrefs, 60% of websites that rank on the first page of Google search results are at least 3 years old.

If you are planning to buy a domain, it’s best to place your money on older domains than newer ones. If you have already purchased a domain, don’t worry. You can use our other strategies to try your best to be among the 20% of 1-year-old websites ranking on the first page of Google results.

12. High-Quality Content Matters- A Lot

You can learn all the SEO tips and tricks to increase your search engine ranking. But Google values the content of a site more than anything else. Even if you have done every SEO best practice by the book, your rankings won’t improve if you have poor-quality content.

Create error-free, useful content that users want to read. Focus on your ideal site visitor and create a viewing experience that will be helpful, valuable, and informative to them. Have something of value in every piece of content you create, which will definitely impact your search engine rankings in the long run.

When you are on a tight budget for small business marketing, having high-quality content will help you to maximize the reach at minimum investment by adding value to your prospects.

Wrapping Up

SEO can be a powerful tool for any business, enabling you to now reach more people than ever before. While the main goal of SEO is to rank higher, the ultimate aim of any online effort is, ideally to provide the best user experience possible. So follow these 12 SEO best practices to please your users.