SEO is constantly evolving even as Google tries to deliver results that are more meaningful to users taking into account the various changes in the search environment. Rather than viewing search as being limited to factoring in only content and links, it is very apparent that Google, as well as other search engines, is no longer relying only on conventional analysis of text and documents to rank pages but instead factoring in much more. There are many factors that SEO practitioners think are important. While not everyone agrees on the same ones, here are a few on-site SEO best practices that seem to have universal acceptance:
Best Practices Of SEO
Even though the content has been acknowledged to be perhaps the most important SEO factor, it does not help to just have content and hope it will boost your rankings. In fact, https://ahrefs.com study startlingly points out that Google does not generate traffic from as much as 91% of the content on the web. Now more than ever, the relevance of the content in relation to the intent of the user is becoming the performance parameter that search engines are focusing on.
Google is trying really hard to understand both the semantics and the syntax of the search queries of users and trying to match its understanding of the content that will best cater to the information requirement of the user. Content that is deemed to be not relevant to the user intent is driven down in the search results.
Short content has always been viewed with suspicion by search engines who interpret the brevity of the content as being thin or non-informative. While it is natural for long content to be interpreted as informative, nobody was sure how long content needed to be to qualify for an SEO ranking boost. However, a recent study suggests that content in the range of 2,250-2,500 words tended to generate the most organic traffic; the underlying assumption being that given this length, the content would have addressed as many user issues as possible as well as provided more updated information as well as fresh perspective on the subject.
While it is not established if content which deviates from this sweet spot would be pushed down the rankings, but it stands to reason that if necessary, content longer than 2,500 words can be hosted if called for, suggests the sales manager of a top SEO company in New York.
At the end of the day, website design takes into account the benefit of users or search engines, preferably both. It is always a good idea to develop a fresh perspective on both the design and content to find out how engaging the site is for users.
Even though Google has never come out directly with any statement regarding whether it factors in user engagement as a signal in its ranking, however, it stands to reason that increased dwell time would indicate that users do find the website contents to be of use. The user signals that you can consider for evaluating user engagement are pager per session, bounce rate, and the click-through rate.
You can use Google Analytics to discover the number of pages the average user views on your website before leaving, which combined with the session time will tell you how much your site engages the viewer and how interactive it is. If the user is reading multiple pages per session, it proves that site does deliver some satisfaction on the user intent and you can improve on plugging the gaps to extend the journey along the sales funnel or remove obstacles.
The bounce rate metric is also something that you should examine because it indicates how satisfied users are with your website home page or landing page. If there is a high bounce rate, it means that users don’t like what they see or experience when they first arrive on your website and decide to quit.
Typically, high page loading times, intrusive advertising, and confusing navigation are the top reasons for high bounce rates. Similarly, you should analyze the click-through rate, because if it is low it indicates the Meta description or even the title tag may not be powerful enough to compel the user to click on the link.
You can improve on it by inserting keywords that are an exact match into the title tags and Meta descriptions so that they automatically display in bold in the results page. Adding a key benefit that users will get in the description also helps.
Technical Structure of the Site
The site structure is a very important factor that affects user engagement as well as search engine rankings. Google can only rank the website if it is able to index it and for that, it needs to crawl through all the pages of the site. It is important for you to decide which pages you want the search engine to crawl and even which pages should have priority.
You should create a clean site map and submit it to Google and other leading search engines, block all the pages that are not to be crawled, set the dynamic URL parameters, and clean up the redirect chains.
As website traffic is increasingly being generated by mobile devices, it is vital that the website is optimized for mobiles. Having a responsive website design implemented ensures that your website displays properly across all screens of varying sizes.
Google has also become sensitive to mobile-optimized sites and not only does it update its mobile index before the desktop index but also downgrades websites that are not optimized for mobiles.
While optimizing for mobiles it is also important to revisit the navigation to ensure that all buttons are easily visible and clickable on the small screen and that the users do not have to unnecessarily travel from one page to another to access the contents.
While there are a lot more SEO practices than the point covered here, it has to be kept in mind that the SEO environment is extremely dynamic and subject to change not only due to technology but also due to changes in user behavior and expectations. You need to constantly monitor the SEO performance of your website and making necessary changes on the go.