SEO Best Practice To Improve Organic Visibility
Research shows that the first organic result on Google has an average click through rate (CTR) of 28.5 percent. This figure rapidly decreases after position one with the second position receiving 15 percent and the third just 11 percent. Scrolling down all the way to the tenth position, the average CTR is pretty poor at only 2.5 percent. And that’s before we even consider the second page of search results – a place people rarely venture to.
This is why it’s so essential to rank on the first page of Google.
Unfortunately, there’s no one solution that gets your site ranking on page one. Results like that take time, dedication and expertise. But there are many strategies and techniques you can deploy to rank higher.
Consistently following SEO best practices, you lay the foundations to better your site’s organic visibility for the long run. In this blog, we share 10 SEO best practices that can help your site rank better.
Get to know your competition
Do you know who your real competitors are? When working with a new client, one of the first tasks we complete is a competitor analysis.
So why do you need to keep track of who your online competitors are? For starters, they can have a big impact on your organic success. Today’s consumers face a variety of choice online. Finding out who your competitors are allows you to take stock of where you are versus where you want to be. This unlocks insight to help you achieve a competitive edge, increase your bottom line and spot growth opportunities.
Our exclusively developed competitor analysis tool can provide valuable insight including:
- Understanding the market and where you are placed
- Being aware of the strengths and weaknesses of your competitors
- Which web pages need fast optimisation
- Your site’s health including page indexing, site speed and Google crawling
- How many phrases you rank for on the first page of Google
Knowing what your competitors are up to can help you make better, informed decisions. This knowledge should underpin your SEO strategy. Do you want to find out where you sit in the market compared to your competitors and how to get ahead? Fill in the form for your free competitor analysis.
Create an effective keyword strategy
Keywords provide insight into what people want, allowing you to better meet their needs. A keyword strategy that will drive relevant traffic to your site is critical to SEO success.
Keyword research considers the opportunity and relevance of certain keywords, helping you select which you should target in the short and long term to form a high performing strategy.
A well thought out keyword strategy gives focus to your organic efforts and will help drive organic performance, allowing you to target relevant phrases with the highest-ranking potential.
Find out how to create an effective keyword strategy by reading our article on the topic: 3 Reasons Your SEO Campaign Needs A Keyword Strategy.
Align your content with search intent
Once you’ve conducted your keyword research, you should have a better idea of what your audience are searching for and how they search. Now it’s time to align your onsite content with this search intent.
There are four core search intent themes:
- Informational: The user is looking for specific information. Whether it’s something simple like ‘thai restaurants in London’ or something that requires more in-depth information like ‘how to create an effective SEO strategy’.
- Navigational: These types of searches indicate that the user is looking for a specific website.
- Commercial: The user is looking for a product but hasn’t made their decision on who they want to convert with. For example, ‘best yoga mats’ or ‘best social media tools’.
- Transactional: This type of search signals an intent to convert. The user may use more specific search language such as ‘apple watch series 6’.
The search intent can dictate the type of content the user is looking for. For example, a navigational or commercial search would suit a blog post or video that shares more information on the topic. Whereas a transactional search could lead to a specific landing page for a product that has been optimised with relevant keywords.
Optimise your content
Once you’ve established your keyword strategy, don’t forget to use them in your onsite content. The days of keyword stuffing have long gone. Aim to use your keywords a handful of times on your page, where they fit most naturally.
Have you considered the location of your keywords too? Google puts more weight on keywords that appear towards the top of a webpage. We advise including your main keyword at least once in this space alongside your headers and title tags too.
Speaking of title tags, do your title tags and meta descriptions summarise the content of each page? These are two of the most important meta tags for your pages:
- Title tags: These are clickable page titles that appear in the search results. They give users quick insight into the content and why it’s relevant to their search. Search engines usually show the first 50-60 characters of a title, so be sure to keep it under this limit.
- Meta descriptions: This is a brief summary of a page that is displayed in the SERPs under the title tag. While meta descriptions don’t directly impact organic rankings, they can influence CTRs. Provide an accurate summary of your content but aim to keep it under 160 characters.
When writing title tags and meta descriptions there are a few best practices to follow:
- Include your target keywords
- Write in a way that matches search intent
- Avoid duplicate title tags
- Provide an accurate summary of what the page is about
- Use action-orientated language in your meta description
To make this process easier, we have developed an in-house tool that tests the quality and optimisation of meta data to ensure what we produce is as beneficial to your SEO as possible.
Optimise images for SEO
SEO best practices go beyond written content. Images are an important part of creating an engaging user experience. Optimised images can contribute to your site’s SEO, boost organic traffic and help your pages rank higher in the search results.
Here’s some ideas on how to optimise your images for SEO:
- Give your images accurate file names: Google can’t see images so giving the files an accurate name helps the search engine understand what the content is.
- Use image alt text: Google heavily relies on alt text to understand images. Just like the file names, you need to write descriptive but concise alt text to sit with your images. This practice will also improve web accessibility and helps users better understand images onsite.
- Compress your site image: The larger your image size, the longer it will take your web page to load. Using tools such as TinyPNG or ImageOptim allows you to compress images before uploading them on your site which can help with speeding up the loading time.
Optimise for Core Web Vitals
The Core Web Vitals update is on the horizon. From June, Google will begin rolling out this update which will consist of a set of metrics used to measure a site’s loading speed, responsiveness and visual stability.
The update will centre around three vitals:
- First Input Delay: The time from when a user interacts with the site to when the browser responds.
- Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS): How often users experience unexpected re-arrangements in the page layout.
- Largest Contentful Paint: This is the largest area of the page that requires loading. Your Largest Contentful Paint can impact your CLS.
These metrics will be used by Google to provide guidance to brands on the essential ranking signals for delivering a positive user experience. If each of these areas are followed correctly, you’ll send positive signals to the search engine which could lead to increased rankings.
Core Web Vitals could become a key part of SEO best practice. If you don’t optimise these vitals, you could experience a dip in your ranking keywords which will decrease your site’s organic visibility and a loss in traffic.
There are various areas to consider when it comes to optimising your Core Web Vitals. That’s why our R&D team have been busy developing a Core Web Vitals auditing tool that will be used to show which website areas need improving to better organic performance.
Feel free to get in touch with our SEO specialists to find out how you can get your website prepared ahead of the update.
Use internal links
An internal link is a link from one page on your website to another. Your users and search engines use links to find content on your site and they’re also effective for continuing the user journey by pushing users onto other relevant content.
Internal links connect your content and give Google clues on the structure of your website. When used in the right way, these links can significantly boost your rankings. They’re also great for establishing a hierarchy onsite, allowing you to give the most important pages more link value than other pages.
Don’t forget about your external links!
Link building should play a role in any SEO strategy. Not only does Google use links as trust signals to understand how authoritative your website is but gaining backlinks from external sites is one of the most effective methods of increasing rankings.
However, caution should be taken if you want to build high quality back links. The aim is to create a natural, varied and high-quality back link profile. Poor link acquisition tactics can be damaging to your site. We advise to take caution and enlist the support of an expert to get the full benefits of link building.
- Digital PR: This approach usually involves targeting high domain sites and relevant media news outlets. Links gained through digital PR are often based around the media and mid to high tier domain authority sites.
- Outreach: This tactic is essentially more niche with the aim to gather links on sites that are more targeted to your brand. These sites might not always have high domain authorities, but they are extremely relevant to your brand and therefore potent at supporting your SEO strategy.
Gaining external links is a hugely important part of improving your organic visibility and getting ahead of the competition.
Publish high quality content
Content is the backbone of your SEO strategy. Effective content writing will see improvements in ranking, traffic, increased engagement and improved brand visibility.
But how can you write great SEO content? Following these tips is a good starting point:
- Start with a strategy: Using insight from your competitor analysis and keyword research, you can form a content strategy that supports your wider SEO efforts. Considering your strengths, target audience, key brand messages, content gaps and the opportunities available, a strategy takes shape on what your content should revolve around.
- Data and storytelling: Your content needs to be unique and tell a story, but it should also be led by the data. This could include improving existing pages that aren’t currently answering search intent or need optimising. Or it could be writing new landing pages that fill a gap.
- Improve your content quality score: Our R&D team built an internal tool that measures your content’s quality score allowing us to quantify the quality of content out of 100 alongside your competitors. This tool sheds light on where improvements can be made to boost your organic visibility.
- Write with Google in mind: While you’re ultimately writing for the end reader, it’s also important to write with Google in mind and pay attention to algorithm updates. Many of Google’s updates place quality content in the spotlight. It’s important to refine and finesse your content as Google’s algorithm evolves.
- Consider your content format: Whether it’s EAT content, blog posts, white papers, landing pages or guides, it’s important to consider what format your content is best suited to. Different formats may be better suited to your objectives, industry and brand.
Using keyword research to inform content, considering the search intent of the end user and measuring the content quality to spot improvements before writing puts you in a great starting place.
Measure your SEO performance
There’s no point putting all this effort in and not reaping the rewards! Make time to measure your SEO performance and learn from your analysis.
SEO that leads to increased leads or revenue is what businesses want and that’s why it’s so important to demonstrate the ROI your SEO is creating:
- Get the most out of your budget: If your SEO is costing you more than you’re getting out of it, something needs to change. Maybe your website is letting you down or your strategy just isn’t right for your audience. Whatever it may be, it’s important to get to the bottom of it and fix it.
- Benchmark performance: When you understand your current performance, you have something to work from. This insight allows you to increase your ROI to get more from your budget and demonstrate the value to the wider business.
- Get more buy-in: Being able to show the ROI of your SEO investment makes it easier to get more buy-in from stakeholders. Demonstrating a positive ROI could help you gain increased investment for the channel or, at a bare minimum, maintain this investment.
Google Search Console is a great tool for highlighting any issues that are affecting your website’s SEO while Google Analytics can be used to track metrics such as bounce rate, sessions and time on site.
These best practices are just a snapshot into our SEO services. Our organic experts are highly experienced at helping brands improve their online visibility. We’ve even developed a variety of in-house SEO tools which fuel us with data to guide our decisions.
As an SEO agency, we’ve used our approach to achieve sustainable results for many including a 200 percent increase to organic visibility for Hammonds Furniture and 115 percent for Shelbourne Motors.
If you want to find out how we can do the same for you, our SEO experts would be happy to chat.