There is a long laundry list for fully optimizing a website for SEO, and no single tactic significantly moves the needle. That said, some tactics can do more for your site than others. While this list is not exhaustive strategic marketers consistently implement these 10 SEO tactics on their sites!
#1: Page speed
Do everything you can to speed your site up. Page speed is arguably the most stressful and difficult issue to fix. This is especially true if you are using a CMS like WordPress. However, there are many things you can do to improve your page speed:
Compress images and size them appropriately for your site. You don’t need an image that is 2000 pixels wide if it will only display at 600 pixels wide.
Serve your images in modern formats like JPEG 2000 JPEG XR, and webP.
Compress the text on your site with Gzip.
Use a Content Delivery Network (CDN) to serve your assets. CDNs store your site assets on servers in multiple locations, and then serve them to users, based on their geographic location, sending those assets from the closet server to a user, decreasing the time it takes to deliver them.
This list doesn’t include every tactic but it covers the major issues that almost every site needs to address.
To check your page speed, use Google’s tool, PageSpeed Insights. When you run your page speed audit, take the score with a grain of salt. The number is less important than the recommendations that the report gives you.
#2: Create outgoing links to other websites
Google likes to know that your content is well-researched and supported by other content living on the web. The higher authority those sources are, the better. Link to these sites when you talk about studies, research projects, etc.
Google wants to know that your claims are supported, but it also has to do with a positive user experience. Users like to be able to easily verify what you are saying, especially if you are referencing policies, stats, or studies. Sometimes, just the visual presence of a link is enough to convince a user that your content is legit. With that in mind, provide quality links to make your users and Google happy.
#3: Write great content, consistently
The key to writing great content is to write for your users first. Write in a way that is easy for them to understand and give them the information they need. Once you have addressed the actual needs of your audience, and tailored your content specifically for them, then you can optimize it for search. Optimization is not about re-working content just to rank well. It is about subtle changes that make your topic clearer to Google.
When you prioritize writing for your audience, more people will land on, and stay on your site, because your content is what they are looking for. That is a more powerful signal to Google than a ton of keywords stuffed into your content.
#4: Inbound link building
Get links from external websites to your site. Acquiring links back to your site (backlinks) from other sites helps to build your site’s authority. However, not just any site will do. Google knows which sites are spammy, and which sites are used for paid link building. These are universally a bad idea. You want to organically build your backlinks.
There are several ways to do this with the most effective way being to make sure that your site’s information is consistent across the internet. Look for listing sites, and make sure your URL is on your business’s listing. There are hundreds of listing sites, and there are many tools to check and update your listings.
Another great way to build up your links is to look for places where your business is mentioned, like on news sites. Asking for a link back to your site on these sites is an easy way to get a link back to your site from a reputable news site.
#5: Ensure Google Analytics is installed properly and get custom views set
Your SEO efforts will be fruitless if you have no way of measuring how users interact with your site. Make sure you have analytics installed on your site so that you know what is happening. There are several analytics platforms out there, but the most popular, and arguably most powerful, is Google Analytics. This service is free and robust. Make sure that you are utilizing the latest version of analytics, and that you are tracking all relevant events.
When you set up your Universal Analytics Property, make sure that you utilize custom views. The most actionable analytics setups have at least two views set up – one with no changes, and one with filters applied. This can be an exclusion for traffic coming from your office or traffic to only a certain section of your site.
#6: Write unique and relevant meta descriptions for every page
Meta descriptions are what show up in search results. These allow you to give searchers a preview of the information they will find on that page. This description should contain your target keyword, and as much relevant information as you can manage. This is your hook. Do your best to make it eye-catching and contain the keyword that users will be using to find you.
#7: Move to a better URL structure
URLs that contain random letters and numbers, or that have a date associated with every page are not users or Google friendly. Google looks for descriptive links. Use links in a similar way that you would use the file system on your computer. For instance, this post lives in the blog, so the URL looks like this: brandcraft.com/blog/top-10-most-important-seo-tactics/. This URL structure tells you that this is a blog and the title of the post. URL structures can go deeper, for more targeted content.
A URL structure that looks like this: brandcraft.com/2021/3/20/top-10-most-important-seo-tactics doesn’t give as much helpful information. Most people don’t care about the exact date being in the URL. Search engines don’t care, and it doesn’t help them understand what the post is about.
#8: Use social signals to improve traffic to your most important content
Your content should be made to share. Once you have shared it via social media, email campaigns, etc., pay attention to how people respond to it. You’ll want to look at who is responding, what they’re saying, whether that is positive or negative and if they are sharing it with others.
If you start to see the same questions being asked, or the same comments being made about missing information, or even incorrect information, use that to update your content, or if it is significant enough, create new content to address those questions and link it back to the original piece of content, and add a link to the new content in the original content. This also creates an internal linking structure that helps search engines to associate content on your site together.
#9: Improve your keywords in images with alt tags
One of the easiest and most over-looked methods of SEO is the use of alt tags in your website images. Alt tags were and still are, for accessibility, allowing those using screen readers to understand what images contain. A good alt tag does two things: (1) accurately describes the image content and (2) uses your target keyword in the description. If an image description can’t smoothly integrate your keyword, it might be worth choosing an image that allows you to naturally include your keywords in the description.
#10: Write better-performing headlines and headings throughout your site
Headlines are arguably more important than the content itself. Headlines tell search engines details about what is in your post and assign topic focus. If your headlines don’t contain your target keyword(s), in at least your main headline and a few of your subheadings, then you’re leaving some SEO power on the table. Not every heading needs to have your Keyword, especially as you descend in heading level, but the majority of your headings should have your target keyword(s) in them.
The thing to avoid here is keyword stuffing. Headings that have keywords unnaturally placed in them are glaringly obvious to users and search engines alike. This results in a negative user experience, and an unfavorable view from search engine crawlers, both of which contribute to lower search rankings.
As mentioned earlier, this list is not all-inclusive. There are many SEO tactics, and all of them help to move the needle, but there is no silver bullet. These 10 tactics are a great place to start.
If you’re not sure where to start with your SEO or marketing strategy, BrandCraft is here to help! Give us a call or shoot us a message and tell us about your marketing and SEO needs.