In 2020, developing a cutting-edge website is no longer enough to be found by your buyer persona: in fact, the truth is that you absolutely need to rank in Search Engines’ first pages for your focus keywords.
Search Engine Optimization – the so-called SEO – which consists of a series of On-Page and Off-Page tactics that can make you position higher on SERPs, since (according to HubSpot) 75% of searchers never go past the first page of search results.
The first best practice is a must for any kind of marketing strategy, including SEO’s:
We’re talking about setting up your primary SMART goals. The ‘SMART’ acronym stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-based. To do so, you need to think about your website and answer the following starting questions:
|Main Starting Questions|
|What’s your business’ main Unique-Selling-Proposition (USP) and buyer persona?|
|Till now, did you put into place any form of SEO strategy? If so, do you have any previous report, keyword research, or SEO audits?|
|Which actions and goals would be the most important ones on your site (e.g. subscriptions, lead generation, downloads)?|
|Do you have an ongoing content strategy? If so, which platforms and content are you adopting?|
|Are you already using the Google Search Console, Google Analytics, and SEO tools like SEMrush or Moz?|
|Have you ever planned a specific link building and guest posting strategy for your website and blog?|
|Are you actually using any specific focus keywords throughout the website?|
|Are you paying attention to your competitors or market leaders’ SEO strategies?|
If you’ve correctly answered, you should already have in mind a starting picture of the main goals you’d like to achieve with your SEO strategy.
The first SEO step is to undertake a throughout Site Audit of your website, in order to identify and take note of any issues related to:
SEO audits should be reviewed periodically, because a SEO strategy is dynamic and needs to be updated month by month to identify any new threats and opportunities.
After the Site Audit, it’s the turn of the implementations, which include the on-page SEO measures – based on the site audit’s results – that should be undertaken by the SEO expert and the website developer.
This is surely the most crucial part of any SEO strategy, and that’s why we’re going to split it up across the rest of the article.
Yet, prior to start, the first thing you need to pay attention to is the so-called ‘Search Intent’ (also called ‘User Intent’), namely your potential clients’ purpose behind their search query, to which your content should be aligned with (e.g. buying, learning, subscribing). This is important because satisfying the search intent is Google's pivotal priority and all your pages have to pass Google's test on search intent.
Now, we can dive into some more practical steps: your SEO implementations should be mainly based on structuring the following elements.
The Title Tag – or Page Title – is the clickable headline that’s shown in search results.
It is the first piece of information seen by the users, so it can really drive their decision to click on your link or not, as well as being one of the elements that Google’s algorithms take into consideration when it comes to position your web pages.
So, in order to create the perfect title tags, you should:
On the other side, the meta description is a brief summary of what the page is about, displayed right below the page title, which can highly influence your click-through rates.
Before writing it, just remember to:
Moreover, also a well-structured URL provides both users and search engines with an idea of what the page is about, so it’s an important SEO aspect. To create it, remember that it should:
And finally, never forget to optimize your headings, which would provide your pages with the correct SEO copywriting structure.
Pay attention above all to the H1, which should be unique for each page and include the target keyword, and always use the subheadings properly (H1, H2, H3, H4) to help both search engines and users understand – and read – your content.
Another SEO best practice is image optimization, both in terms of ALT texts, titles, and format, since they play a crucial role in improving your page speed and user experience.
To optimize them, you should:
As above-mentioned, Page Speed is another meaningful ranking factor and should be part of your implementation measures.
Luckily, there are plenty of tools to check your page speed, including Google PageSpeed Insights, SEMrush, and GTMetrix, where you’ll grab also some meaningful recommendations on the steps you should take to improve your load time, such as:
Besides, mastering a keyword research is one of the most important steps for any SEO expert, and it can be done by using SEO tools like SEMrush or Moz.
In this regard, always remember that the best keywords – indicatively – are the ones with the lower difficulty and the higher volume, due to it is simpler to compete for them
Furthermore, you should know that long-form content ranks better on Google, as a recent SEMrush research shows: so, when creating long-form content for your blog, try to target long-tail keywords even if they have a lower search volume.
After that, one of the SEO best practices you cannot ignore is the Link Building strategy.
In fact, Google algorithms still consider backlinks a remarkable ranking factor: more backlinks you have, the higher you can rank in SERPs.
One of the best ways to discover new backlinks opportunities is by replicating your competitors' strategies, studying them with tools like SEMrush’s Backlink Gap Tool and Backlink Audit.
Moreover, BERT – the new Google’s algorithm – understands human language and questions: this means that SEO experts should focus on creating the most useful and natural content, as – in 2020 – 20% of mobile queries are currently done with voice search (Review42).
So, in order to optimize your content for voice search, you should:
Last but not least, after completing the On-Page best practices, you can move forward with the Off-Page steps, which refer to all those channels and platforms that can boost your online presence and traffic, both organically and paid, as:
As we’ve seen, SEO is still one of the most important marketing aspects in 2020, and its best practices are always evolvin
Therefore, if you aren’t a SEO expert and haven’t a dedicated team within your company, you should start paying attention to your business’ goals, buyer persona’s needs, and creative resources.
After that, if you really want to make a difference, you should look for the help of a valuable SEO expert.
Do you need some help to improve your SEO website strategy? If so, just contact ICON’s team to get a free quote!
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