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SEO Best Practices

By piranha

27th June 2017

SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) is a tricky old business with lots of factors constantly influencing one another. Since search engines first emerged, companies have been vying for positions on their results pages.

Though the online world isn’t going anywhere soon, that doesn’t mean SEO is unchanging! In fact, quite the opposite; Digital marketing is a sector of incessant change and revolution.

As part of this month’s news, we wanted to explore some SEO best practices which – in theory – maximise your chances of ranking highly in SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages).

Our industry changes so frequently that nearly every SEO factor will shrink or grow in importance, even in the time it takes to write this article!

A question of science

Digital marketing forerunner SearchEngineLand has recently updated its years-old ‘Periodic Table of SEO Success Factors’ article. This resource has found a brilliant way to illustrate and explain the interconnectedness of SEO considerations; just like the periodic table of elements!

Though this image doesn’t include every single factor (Google famously tracks over 200 ranking signals), it does give a fantastic overview of some key points.

As you can see, SEO is generally split into 2 distinct sectors:

  • On-Page SEO
  • Off-Page SEO

On-Page Factors

The term ‘on-page’ means just that. It relates to everything webmasters can do internally to improve a page and increase its ranking potential.

These factors are often divided again into creative and technical branches. Website owners can’t concentrate on one over the other; a technically perfect web page might be boring or irrelevant to visitors whilst an interesting page that is broken is similarly useless.

Quality content is very important to ranking. ‘Quality’ is the word Google uses for content that gives searchers what they want. That might be answering a specific question but it might equally mean being hilarious – the page must fulfil a purpose and be useful for site visitors.

Hand-in-hand with this idea, actions which attempt to trick or exploit visitors are likely to be penalised by search engines like Google. Avoid questionable actions like cloaking or spamming at all costs!

Keywords remain an important part of on-page optimisation. Although the ways search engines use keyword information have become more sophisticated in recent years, there are some actions you can take to improve keyword usage:

  • Research key terms using appropriate software
  • Approach implementation carefully and in a structured way
  • Focus only on 1 or 2 keywords per page
  • Do not participate in ‘keyword stuffing’ (incorporating a keyword too many times on the page)

Keeping your readers in mind as well as demonstrating well-written content should help you address many on-page issues. This is because Google has been trying to encourage improved user experience for years now.

Off-Page Factors

Whereas many aspects of on-page SEO are easy to control, off-page factors are much more difficult to manage effectively.

The most influential consideration when looking at off-page is authority. This relates to how Google and other search engines perceive the quality and reliability of your site.

Page and domain authority are affected by several factors in themselves. However, a key part of authority remains backlinks. Backlinks are hyperlinks bringing visitors to your site from outside sources. That could include directories or forums where people might discuss your products or services. They are very difficult to obtain, and can be even harder to track and maintain!

A helpful general SEO tip is to avoid paying for clicks. Here, we need to make a distinction between paid clicks and Pay-Per-Click. PPC campaigns are a legitimate avenue of traffic, as are purchasable backlinks from domains with high authority.

However, some online services advertise ‘clicks’ for direct purchase. This is a scam and will inevitably damage your site rather than improve it.

The SEO soup pot

It’s easy to see that a page’s content and technical set-up affects its performance in search engine results, but it’s difficult to see exactly how.

Just like making soup, the ingredients must be there in the correct quantities to make a tasty product! Concentrating on any one aspect of SEO too much is likely to be a waste of time.

We hope that this article provides a decent overview of some important search engine ranking factors. If your SEO needs professional assistance, don’t forget to contact our experienced digital marketing team today.

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