You can use a variety of SEO tools and tactics to improve your Google ranking, but if you don’t have the basics correctly, the odds of ranking on Google’s first page are slim.
You’ll be setting the foundation for your site’s increased search exposure by adopting SEO best practices. You should move on to more technical keyword research and link-building tactics once you’ve laid the foundation.
In this article, we’ll go through the top SEO best practices that you can adopt in 2021 if you want to improve your search ranking.
Did you know that these are the SEO standard practices for all of our projects?Check out HEXA Singapore’s Professional Services
Align the content with user intent
Every search query is guided by user intent (also known as “search intent”), and it’s Google’s top priority to understand and fulfil the search purpose. The search results on Google’s first page have all passed its litmus test.
Have a look at the search results for “how to create a website” for example.
Instead of agencies offering website development services, the top search results are tutorials, tools, and videos for building a website. Google recognizes those who make such search queries are trying to learn more than purchasing something.
Since Google recognizes the search queries, in the search results for “website develop services” would have no ties to website tutorials in the top results.
As a practice, if you want to rank on Google’s first page in 2021, you’ll need to understand the idea of user intent and produce material that matches it. When developing content for your website, an SEO best practice is to keep the user intent in mind at all times.
For example, if you want to rank with the keywords “best development service“, you must understand that the user intent is commercial, not transactional.
Conclusion: Develop contents that matches the target audience’s search intent.
Create SEO title tags and meta description
The meta description and page title are two of the most significant meta tags for SEO. Let’s start with title tags.
From an SEO standpoint, title tags are clickable headlines that appear in search results and are highly important.
“Titles are critical to giving users a quick insight into the content of a result and why it’s relevant to their query. It’s often the primary piece of information used to decide which result to click on, so it’s important to use high-quality titles on your web pages.“According to Google
The first 50-60 characters of a title are usually shown by Google and other search engines. As long as your title tag is under 60 characters, Google can display the full title of your website in the search results.
Best practices to bear in mind when making title tags are as follows:
- Include the keywords you want to target.
- Make a title that reflects the user intent.
- Just sure you don’t have any duplicated title tags.
- Keyword stuffing should be avoided.
- Keep it succinct but also being descriptive.
The meta description is the second most significant meta tag on a website. A meta description is a short overview of a webpage that appears below the title tag in SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages).
While meta description have little direct effect on the website’s search rank, they do have an impact on click-through rates.
“A meta description tag should generally inform and interest users with a short, relevant summary of what a particular page is about.“Google explains it best.
Since meta descriptions are usually truncated to 155-160 characters by Google, make sure you have an accurate rundown of your content while staying under 160 characters.
Here are few guidelines to keep in mind when composing meta descriptions:
- Make each meta description exclusive.
- Use copies that prompts actions.
- Include the keywords you want to target.
- Match the purpose of the search.
- Provide a thorough description.
Optimized images are useful to SEO
Images are important for enhancing the user experience of your site’s users. You probably spend a lot of time choosing the best photos to complement your blog posts, product profiles, and other key pages on your website.
Do you, on the other hand, devote the same amount of time to optimizing your site’s images? When used correctly, images will help your site’s overall SEO and increase organic traffic.
We use Imagify to automatically optimize all uploaded images to our platform.Check out HEXA Singapore’s Professional Services
There are four things you can do to improve the quality of your pictures.
Choose the most effective file format
Images are the greatest contributor to total page size, and site pace is a significant ranking signal. As a practice, you must optimize images to increase the overall efficiency of your website.
The first step in image optimization is to use the right file format, so let’s compare JPEG, PNG, and WebP.
JPEG and PNG are the most commonly used image formats. Since these formats use different compression methods, the file sizes of these two will vary drastically.
Given the aforementioned differences in file sizes, it’s safe to call JPEG the absolute champion. However, using JPEG as decorative for your website will be a mistake.
Though JPEGs are perfect for photos (as seen in the image above), PNGs are better for images with text, line drawings, and other elements.
Another alternative is WebP, which Google explains: “WebP is a modern image format that provides superior lossless and lossy compression for images on the web.“.
Learn more about how to use WebP in this guide by Google.
Compress the images
The bigger the image file size, the long it takes for the webpage to load. This is why compressing your images before posting them to your website is important.
Fortunately, there are free tools available to assist you in compression your images.
- TinyPNG: Uses smart lossy compression techniques to reduce the file size of your PNG files.
- Imagify: If you use WordPress, you can use this plugin to compress your images.
Alternative text for images
Adding ALT text to images is still important, despite improvements in Google’s ability to understand images. Adding ALT text to images increases page compatibility and lets browsers comprehend the website’s images.
“When choosing alt text, focus on creating useful, information-rich content that uses keywords appropriately and is in context of the content of the page.
Avoid filling alt attributes with keywords (keyword stuffing) as it results in a negative user experience and may cause your site to be seen as spam.“What Google says about ALT text
When writing images ALT text, keep it short and sweet, and stop stuffing your target keywords.
Use lazy-load for your images
Lazy loading is a page-loading techniques that delays the loading of non-essential resources (images, videos, and so on). Instead, images and videos are only loaded when they are needed.
“When we lazy load images and video, we reduce initial page load time, initial page weight, and system resource usage, all of which have positive impacts on performance.“Google describes the relationship between lazy loading and site performance
Improve the speed of your website
If your website takes a long time to load, you’ll have a lot of disgruntled users, and your rankings will duffer as a result.
GTmetrix is the tool we recommend. This free tool analyses the page speed and makes suggestions on how you can improve it.
We use Cloudflare Workers to deploy serverless technologies on our platform. This enables us to achieve milliseconds page load times and improved securities.Check out HEXA Singapore’s Professional Services
Make use of internal linking
Internal links are relevant because they help Google understand the content on your page by establishing a knowledge hierarchy for your website. When used correctly, internal ties will greatly improve your website’s ranking.
Linking from your website’s top-ranking pages to pages or posts that need a lift are an SEO best practice.
Enhance the website’s user experience
Google monitors how people interact with your materials. As a result, one of the most important aspects in raising the search ranking is user experience.
Here are a few pointers to ensure that users to your site have a positive experience:
- Make use of subheadings: Subheadings (H1, H2, H3) help Google to interpret your content and make your text more readable for readers.
- Make your material pleasing to the eye: Accordingly to some reports, visuals aid in the comprehension of the content. To highlight your points, use related images, videos, and screenshots.
- Avoid distracting pop-ups: Pop-ups are not only ineffective in terms of SEO, but they also bother the users. Google has been penalizing websites that use annoying pop-ups since 2017.
- Make use of white space: The use of white space is an important feature of successful website architecture. White space in paragraphs and in the left and right lines, according to researches, improves understanding by 20%.
Use keywords in the URL
The structure of a URL is an element of SEO that is often ignored. A strong URL structure informs both users and search engines about the content of the website.
“A site’s URL structure should be as simple as possible. Consider organizing your content so that URLs are constructed logically and in a manner that is most intelligible to humans (when possible, readable words rather than long ID numbers).“Google explains it best.
With that in mind, here’s how to make a URL that’s well-structured:
- Use short URLs: According to reports, short URLs outperform long URLs in the SERPs.
- Use keyword-rich URLs: To improve your odds of ranking higher in search results, always include your desired keywords in the URL.
- Remove needless stop words: Remove unnecessary words from your URL to make it look cleaner and more concise.
Concentrate on increasing authoritative backlinks
After many revisions to Google’s search algorithm and tanking method, backlinks remain a significant ranking factor. Backlinks are regarded by Google as votes of confidence.
Your odds of appearing higher in search results improve if your web pages have numerous backlinks. As a whole, it’s important to concentrate on the number of backlinks to your website.
However, backlinks are not always made equal. Some backlinks will exponentially increase your ranking for particular search queries, whereas others will derail your rankings. This is why authoritative backlinks should be prioritized over other forms of backlinks.
You should concentrate all of your efforts on obtaining high-quality backlinks that will help you rank higher with your target keywords. Replicating the competitors’ link-building tactics is one of the most successful ways to get authoritative backlinks.
Publishing long-form materials
The reality is that long-form content performs best in Google searches. Several surveys support this argument.
Long-form articles (those with 3000+ words) get 3x more traffic, 4x more shares, and 3.5x more backlinks than articles of average length (901-1200 words), according to the study. To cut a long story short, there’s a clear connection between content length and search results.
As a result, you can plan to write 1-2 in-depth, long-form articles that provide useful information to Google searchers. Google prefers that you prioritize searchers interests over SEO to retain readers and convert them.
Target keywords that strike a strong balance between search volume and keyword complexity when writing long-form content for your blog.
Long-tail keywords have a lower search rate, but they could help you attract the users you need in certain ways. Aim for mid-tail keyword to medium keyword complexity if the search frequency is just too low.
Last words on SEO best practices
The above SEO best practices are a perfect way to start if you want to improve your search rankings. Regardless of the niche you work in, the fight for the desirable first page on Google is intense.