These are SEO best practices of 2022 that most influence ranking and will remain in practice today, tomorrow and forever. Even though Google is constantly releasing updates to its algorithm, the philosophy remains the same and that is to help the user. The updates are only a way to improve that thinking, which is to help the user by offering the best information.
That’s why, from the first moment you have to think about writing to be helpful, it will make you do better. The user is looking for something, we help them with useful content and in turn we get the benefit of better ranking which translates to more sales.
The way Google thinks is the same as the way we think at the moment of carrying out a Content Marketing and Inbound Marketing strategy: ” Being present where the user needs us”. This will bring the traffic that will allow us to achieve benefits for our business.
So, if you are looking to rank, this guide is for you. Therefore, I recommend you make a list of what you are already doing and what you are not doing, in order to get the most out of this information.
- User intent
To start off on the right foot, the first thing to do is to analyze how the user thinks in order to understand how we are going to help them. You see, every user who does a search has an intention, that’s called user intent.
Keywords already have an established user intent. Google, with its algorithm, registers everything that the user does. So, if a user performs a search that may have a double intention, such as “best cheap laptops”. It will already know if the user wants:
- An online store selling the best cheap laptops.
- A page explaining which are the best cheap laptops.
If we think about it, both make sense, but we will be interested in the page that is ranked in Google since it knows what the user wants because it is already offering pages for that intention.
Let’s search for “best cheap laptops” to see what Google is ranking for:
As you can see, Google is showing pages that explain ” which are the best cheap laptops”. Thus, if you make a web page selling the best cheap laptops, you are not going to rank. Why?
Because what the user wants are pages explaining which are the best cheap laptops, that is the intention.
And how do I know which is the user’s search intent?
It’ s easy, there are 4 types of intent: informational, navigational, commercial and transactional.
But without complicating our life… The best and the only way to know exactly what the search intent is:
- Go to Google
- Make a search using the keyword
- Analyze the first 10 results
There is no need to look at the 10 results, the first 5 are enough. If the first 5 are selling, then we know we have to sell. If the top 5 are doing some guide, then we have to do some guide. If they’re doing reviews, we have to do a review… if they’re doing something weird, we have to do something weird.
Why? Because those pages are already positioned by Google, meaning that they are already solving the search intent of other users making those searches. Therefore, if you want to rank yourself, you have to do the same but better.
2. Create quality and SEO-optimized content.
Once you know what the intention is, it’s time to create the content, one that is useful and at the same time optimized for ranking.
And what must content have to be good?
- Good readability. A content that a user, or rather, a teenager can read on the move, eliminating all kinds of technicalities and any words that are difficult to understand.
- Good spelling, grammar and style. The style will be up to your personal taste or brand tone. A conversational style can be ranked just as well as a serious one, perhaps even higher, because a conversational style entertains the reader and makes him read more. A serious style is boring and takes away the desire to read, which is bad for us when we are looking to rank. On the other hand, spelling and grammar should not be lacking, since this is a ranking factor.
- Easy to understand. Besides good legibility, no matter how legible it is, if the user does not understand anything, it can be worrying. What happens if you have a question and they can’t answer it? Easy, you go to another page to get your question answered. Therefore, using examples and even metaphors helps a lot to understand.
- Short paragraphs. Paragraphs have to be short, those who are good at writing know that a paragraph has to convey only one idea. This makes texts easier to read and understand. In addition, paragraphs on cell phones are longer because of the smaller size of the screen, which can be tedious for the reader.
- Titles. Besides being necessary for ranking, titles also improve the user’s experience, since they guide the user while reading the content. Even if a title does not have a keyword, it is still useful to improve the user’s experience.
- Introduction. With this we seek to provoke users to read the web and know that they are going to find what they need, thus being precise and clear is not a bad idea.
- Original content. Those who know how to write do not need to copy content from others, it is not elegant and it can be penalized by Google. The language is so broad that you can say the same ideas in several ways. On the other hand, there is a lot of content out there that is too abstract and can be improved to help the user. In other words, the competition is there, but it can be beaten with good work.
Now, for the content to be optimized by SEO it has to comply with:
- Optimized tags and Meta tags. There are 6 tags that must be optimized for ranking. Some are more important than others, but all of them are essential to do it right. Here is an article where we talk about What are meta tags? And how to use them for SEO and their importance.
- Having an internal linking strategy. Having an internal linking strategy. The article must have external links in order to increase the authority of the page, which is necessary for ranking. At least you have to match your competitors in terms of link quality. More on this later.
- Having an external linking strategy. Finally, an internal linking strategy to transfer traffic and authority from one of our pages to another of our pages.
3. Make a link building strategy
Making a strategy of external links is important and in almost all cases it should not be omitted. Link building is a strategy that tries to create or obtain external links that lead to our pages.
As it does not depend on us, it is a communication job that we have to do with other website owners.
The purpose of this is to increase the traffic and authority of our website, specifically, of the page we want to rank. But this has its difficulty because it is not about adding a link for the sake of adding a link. If it were like that, it would be easy.
It used to be like that, but nowadays you have to comply with some guidelines to achieve a good link building strategy, and the guidelines to take into account are:
- Only links from websites with the same topic
- Almost the same amount of DoFollow / NoFollow links
- Correct use of Anchor Text
- Insert links manually and not automatically
- Place links progressively
- Getting links from both authoritative and non-authoritative sites
Remember, quantity is not better here, but quality, meaning, it is better to have 2 inbound links with authority between 40-60 than to have 15 links with authority between 10-30.
And finally, it’s not useful to have all the links coming from the same website, they must be from different websites for it to work.
This is a crucial strategy, which in highly competitive cases where the two sites respond well to the search intent, it will determine who ranks higher than the other. Also, you can opt for this if you want to rank fast.
4. Make an internal linking strategy
In addition to external links, we also have internal links. This, unlike the other one, is totally up to us. This is a strategy that is used to distribute the traffic and, more importantly, the authority from your own web page to one of our web pages and, on the other hand, this also benefits us with:
- Improving the navigation of the website.
- Improving the user experience.
5. Place the keyword in 3 crucial places
Where to place the keyword? There are 3 places where we have to insert the keyword to achieve an optimized page and those are:
- In the URL
- In the Meta title
- And in the h1
With the keyword placed in these 3 places, Google will assume that the whole page will be about that keyword.
6. Use the XML Sitemaps and RRS
Simply put, a sitemap is a file that you send to Google. You send it to them so they know how your website is structured. It’s like giving Google a map of your house. And, in addition, you will point out with an ” x ” the rooms (pages) that it should not enter.
With this, we manage to add all the content to the database and, incidentally, speed up the process. Thus avoiding losing pages that are not added sometimes. Remember, a page that is not added is a page that is not displayed.
And the RRS is a file that indicates to Google the new changes, which means if you add more rooms to your house the RRS file indicates it to Google.
7. Use short URLs
When making a URL, make it short and precise. Google recommends avoiding URLs that are long. So, the suggestion is to use domain name, blog and keyword. An example (www.katlinks.com/blog/best-SEO-practices). As you will see, this URL is short and precise, besides, it has no date or category.
8. Use a responsive design
Pages that do not have a responsive design make for a bad user experience on mobile and tablet. For this reason, make sure that the page adapts and looks good on mobile, tablet and computer. These are the 3 most used devices.
Imagine a website that does not adapt well to all devices. This will generate a bad user experience, so bad, that Google will take it as a negative signal affecting your ranking. Although today almost all themes are responsive it is better to be aware of this.
9. Have a fast website
How do you prefer it, fast or slow? Fast, isn’t it? Well, here are two important facts:
- Google says according to a study it conducted that a slow website loses 37% of traffic, slow being more than 3 seconds to load.
- Google indirectly forces us to make fast pages to avoid being penalized with rankings. How nice of Google, isn’t it?
- Use HTTPS
Do you like to be protected? Well, most of us do too. An HTTPS is a security encryption between the user and your website. That is why Google emphasizes the use of HTTPS, moreover, this is a ranking factor. Activating it is easy and once you activate it, it stays active forever.
On the other hand, this prevents the browser from displaying “This website is not secure”. Browsers by default block websites that do not have HTTPS encryption for the security of its user.
Well, that’s it, these are the best practices. When we say that these are the best practices is because they are the most influential and you should be aware of them. There are some practices that are packaged, which means that in order to be able to perform them, you will have to comply with other practices.
You can take this list as a reference and annotate what you are already accomplishing and what you are not, consider it as a sign that you have to work on it in order to improve your ranking and get more organic traffic.