Over the past few years, getting a high organic ranking on search engines like Google has become increasingly important.
The problem is that Google is constantly changing its algorithms responsible for ranking search engine results. This requires SEO specialists to continuously develop their skills in order to stay on the ball and be effective in keeping their websites at the top of the results page.
Luckily, Google puts out hints every now and then when they’re about to release a new update, thus preparing users for the change. This usually comes in the form of a nudge towards a particular aspect of SEO while encouraging the use of certain features.
The good news is there are a few evergreen SEO strategies that work for pretty much any website. The following SEO best practices will remain effective regardless of how the algorithms change.
Optimise Image Alt Text
Image alt text is the veteran of the SEO industry. There have been rumours that Google is using machine learning to decipher images and better understand image alt text and the purpose it serves on the website.
This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t prioritise alt text because having good quality images on your website is still very important to SEO success. This SEO best practice will work regardless of the new image recognition techniques and technology that Google puts out.
Remember that machine learning is a rather new idea so it’s going to take a while for it to take traction and Google knows this. That’s why they’re slowly phasing out alt text over the course of several years, which means you should still optimise your images through conventional methods.
Focus on Content Authority
Content “authority” in relation to SEO is quite difficult to describe or explain. The gist of it is that Google is always going to prioritise authoritative and credible content over fluff when determining who gets the top spot on the results page.
Thanks to the Medic Core update in August 2018, companies in the Your Money Your Life industries were required to adhere to the E-A-T (Expertise, Authority, Trustworthiness) when putting out content. However, a lot of the specifics of this definition have since been redacted, unfortunately.
This understandably caused a lot of confusion and left people wondering whether they should bother using their content to build authority and how much they should focus on that.
The truth is that authoritative content will never go out of style, and you must always prioritise it if you want to achieve high search engine rankings.
The first step in doing so involves developing content based on the principles of reliability and proper insight. Keep in mind that most people are looking for reliable information on the topics they search for online, which means they will check your sources so see if your claims are based on credible data.
However, it’s important to combine this with clear takeaways that are easy for the user to apply and implement. This is by far the most effective method of developing authoritative content.
Write Longer Articles
Another important key to getting good SEO rankings is to consider the word count of your content. Research shows that there’s potential for success with both short and long-form content.
That means your focus shouldn’t solely be on quantity but on quality as well. Your content should provide value and inspire action from the reader. This requires you to tap into user intent and you can capture this in 700 words or 4,000 words depending on the content. The onus is on you as the site owner to decide which way you want to go.
Backlinko recently put out a report which shows that long-form content typically gets viewed 77.2% more than short form content. This means that long-form articles are the ideal way to acquire backlinks and improve organic search results rankings as well.
The great thing about long for content is that it makes it easier for you to target specific queries so that people can find you based on user intent. That’s why long-form content is often recommended over short articles, but the key takeaway here is to provide valuable content that benefits the user in a number of ways while maintaining credibility.
Target LSI Keywords
LSI stands for Latent Semantic Indexing keywords which have an indirect effect on organic search engine rankings. It’s important to carefully select the LSI keywords that you will include in your content so that you can create content that’s relevant to phrases and keywords. This improves your chances of ranking well for specific keywords and search terms while eliminating the possibility of keyword stuffing.
LSI keywords make it difficult for Google to figure out the SEO connections in your website content. That’s because LSI enables you to use relevant keywords sparingly yet effectively, which is in stark contrast to what a lot of people do which is to try and stuff as many keywords as possible into their content. Plus, it clarifies why your content is relevant to user intent.
However, if you want to benefit from LSI keywords you must use conversational language in order to incorporate them naturally into the text. Basically, LSI keywords make it easier for users to find relevant content on your website.
According to Google, HTTPS is a lightweight yet important ranking factor.
Without an SSL certificate, Google will flag your website so that the first thing users see when they visit it is a pop-up message saying “this website is not secure.” This obviously doesn’t inspire confidence and can significantly increase your website’s bounce rates.
It’s particularly essential to incorporate an SSL certificate for websites that require users to share sensitive information such as personal data, credit card information, addresses etc.
There’s never been a better time than now for businesses to work on improving their SEO rankings. But ranking well on Google search results shouldn’t be a substitute for creating good-quality, valuable content and retaining a positive online presence.