SEO Best Practices, Guidelines, and Resources for Your Digital Marketing Career
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a method Google uses to identify high-quality sites that deserve to rank higher than others for search queries on the search engine. When a page ranks higher on a search engine, it automatically means that it will receive more traffic and clicks. It boosts trust in the page and can lead to repeat purchases.
SEO is a necessary skill to develop if you want to work in digital marketing, web development, or design. If you want a piece of content to be seen by more people, utilizing SEO best practices is the way to do it. This comprehensive guide will highlight SEO best practices, guidelines, and resources to help you advance in your social media marketing or digital marketing career.
What Is SEO?
SEO is an acronym for Search Engine Optimization, and it involves several practices designed to enhance a web page’s appearance in organic results on the search engine. An excellent SEO strategy improves the quantity and quality of traffic to a website. People use organic searches to find and access content online, and your content needs to be optimized to grow your audience.
Search engines like Bing and Google use search engine crawlers, also known as spiders or bots, to learn about content on the Internet. They start on a page, crawl internal links to other pages on the site, and explore external links. This enables crawlers to understand what’s contained in each page and how it is linked to other pages in the Google search engine’s index or database.
5 Concepts You Need to Understand for SEO Best Practices
Before you can master SEO best practices to build your skills, you need to understand a few essential concepts in Search Engine Optimization. They include mobile-first indexing, machine learning, core web vitals, EAT, and knowledge gap.
- Machine Learning. This concept is essential in ranking algorithms. It is used in semantic searches to allow search engines to make educated guesses on ambiguous queries. This provides more accurate Google search results and improves user experience.
- Core Web Vitals. This concept is essential for both non-technical and technical SEO experts today. It is a Google standard for determining the value of a page and whether the web page provides an excellent user experience. It focuses on image compression, mobile experience, site speed, informational page content, and technical structure.
- Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness. EAT is not an algorithm. However, when a web page does not adhere to best practices, it can impact search rankings. Websites must provide authoritative content that users can rely on. EAT evaluates a website’s credibility, subject matter, off-page content, security structure, and quality.
- Mobile-First Indexing. Computers used to access most web pages on the Internet. Now, according to Statista, mobile devices account for 54.8 percent of all web traffic. Then, Google updates pushed for mobile-friendly sites. Now, they are pushing for mobile-first sites. This means that the mobile version of a site, not the desktop version, will not be responsible for a site’s ranking signals.
- Knowledge Graphs and Semantics. Google uses knowledge graphs to improve search engine results by combining data from various sources on the Internet. This tool enables SEO professionals to create content on topics that help Google understand their content for better semantic SEO. For example, a hospital may create a page about diseases and treatments.
5 Common Challenges That SEO Guidelines Can Address
SEO has come a long way since its inception. SEO success is no longer simply about using a target keyword in the first paragraph but involves creating useful content, providing an excellent user experience and fresh insights, and maintaining a healthy link profile. Here are some of the major issues that SEO guidelines can address.
Most companies have a marketing team whose main goal is to attract new customers and profit from their purchases. Regardless of the marketing method used, the end goal is to increase revenue. Here is where Search Engine Optimization comes into play.
When your web page has enough traffic, it can exponentially increase your sales. Online marketing has been proven to generate more leads than traditional methods. According to Hubspot, Search Engine Optimization leads have approximately 15 percent close rates. This insight means that SEO can increase sales and profit in the long run.
Similarly, if your website receives a lot of traffic but has a low conversion rate, it could be due to unqualified leads. This occurs when visitors to a website arrive by accident or to look for something other than your products.
You can reduce unqualified leads to your website by using Search Engine Optimization. It attracts visitors primarily interested in working with you and purchasing your products or services. SEO improves qualified leads and your chances of acquiring customers.
High Marketing Costs
Marketing is an excellent way to attract clients. However, the traditional method of marketing comes with high costs. Businesses prefer cost-effective ways to attract clients, especially if they don’t have a big budget.
Search Engine Optimization allows businesses to attract customers organically without spending a fortune on marketing. Businesses can compete with other brands with large marketing budgets and still come out on top with competitive SEO metrics. SEO helps businesses to generate leads and increase their profit margin.
Duplicate content is a problem for web pages that want to rank higher in search results. The current algorithms make it difficult for crawlers to check for similar content across multiple pages. Since the original content has already been indexed, the duplicate content will rank lower in search engine results.
Even if the content is indexed and added to the database, it dilutes the rankings for other similar pages, and most of them will not perform well enough to attract clients and qualified leads. This means plagiarism in your online content is bad from an SEO perspective, as well as an ethical one, if you want to build an online presence.
Load Times Take Too Long
In SEO, page load time is critical. Slower pages have a higher bounce rate. The acceptable standard for page load time is three seconds, and if it can be faster, even better. The page should open quickly regardless of the device being used to view it. If it takes longer, it could indicate that there is a problem with the site configuration or page elements.
Load time matters because Internet users have a short attention span and become impatient with lengthy loading times. When users notice that the site takes too long to load, they usually leave and quickly move on to the next Google search result. This will also reduce the credibility of your website and signals to search engines that your site isn’t reliable.
Top 10 SEO Best Practices and Guidelines
SEO best practices are important because they improve the search engine rankings of a website. There are a lot of SEO best practices and guidelines to follow if you want your web page to perform well. Keep reading to build your essential SEO toolset.
Avoid Duplicate Content
This is one of the most important rules of SEO. Duplicate content involves uploading content that matches other web content or is very similar. Google frowns at duplicate content across any web page.
The rule applies not only to long-form content like written articles, but also to meta description tags, title tags, landing pages, ecommerce product pages, category pages, and image alt text. All content on a web page must be unique and add value to the readers. If this guideline is not followed, the site rankings will be affected negatively.
Another crucial SEO tool is site security. Visitors do not trust sites with poor security, so Google recommends using HTTPS, which encrypts data sent between the server and the visitor. No information can be intercepted by third parties. This policy has been in effect since 2014 and remains one of the most important SEO practices.
Users can tell if a website is secure by clicking the side of the loading bar. Most of the time, it appears as a lock icon. This feature protects your customers’ data and can help you gain visitors’ trust.
Use a Short, Descriptive URL
Long URLs may confuse your visitors or searchers. The URL is often automatically generated from the article title. However, it can be shortened to improve the content ranking. For instance, if you write a blog post with the title “How to Treat Acne Without Visiting the Dermatologist,” the URL will appear as “how-to-treat-acne-without-visiting-the-dermatologist”.
This URL is long and will most likely be cut off in search results. You can shorten the link to highlight the most important parts of the title. “Home Remedies for Acne” is a good example. SEO-friendly URLs are short and easy to remember and understand.
Add Meta Description and Meta Title
In addition to optimizing your content for search engines, you must also entice viewers to click. You can accomplish this by creating compelling meta descriptions and title tags. Both of these features are significant because they appear in search results. A meta description is a brief summary of the article that entices the reader to click for more information.
Both the title and the meta descriptions are effective sales pitches and should include relevant keywords. Title tags should be properly optimized and kept to a maximum of 60 characters. The same is true for meta descriptions, which should be no more than 150 characters long. If they are longer, the search query will most likely truncate them.
Image SEO should not be overlooked because it is essential for Search Engine Optimization. Pages load faster when images are well compressed. Other image optimization techniques include using alt tags to assist Google in understanding your image. Descriptive file names also improve your site’s chances of ranking for long-tail keywords in both Google images and web searches.
Alt text doesn’t just help Google spiders improve your Google analytics. It helps readers with vision impairments comprehend what is depicted in the images. Many of these users use a screen reader to read content and other tags aloud.
Add Internal Links
There are many types of links to deal with when you are creating content, but remember that internal linking is just as important as backlinking. This is one SEO rule that most website owners disregard. Internal linking is the process of adding links from one page to another on your website.
The page rank of a page will be higher if it has more links from both internal and external sources. Internal linking is also important because it assists Google in determining the subject matter of the pages. Internal linking increases page views by redirecting readers to other relevant pages on the website.
Backlinking Is Important
This is one of the oldest guidelines of the Google algorithm, and it is still very useful today. Backlinks need to be of good quality to be useful to the site’s rankings. It helps to build high-quality backlinks from relevant pages and authoritative websites. Choose authority sites that are relevant to the theme of your website.
Backlinking is the process of creating content that entices other web pages to provide a natural link to your site. It’s also a good idea to use content formats that are better for backlinking. However, since the process is not automatic, results may take some time to appear. In the long run, it is guaranteed to be effective.
Publish Good and Relevant Content
Following all the SEO guidelines and using SEO tools without creating compelling content reduces your chances of ranking higher. While ranking determines who appears on the first page, the first page must contain high-quality content. As the popular saying goes, content is king, and you must ensure that your content will enhance the experience of visitors.
Google’s expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness guideline, which is still in effect today, focuses specifically on content quality. The length of the content also varies depending on the website. For example, long-form articles perform better in some cases. The priority should be optimizing the content to offer value to readers.
Optimize for Voice
Voice assistants are becoming increasingly popular, with market leaders such as Siri, Alexa, and Google dominating the market. Since an average user may prefer to have their content read to them, including a speech recognition tool on your website can improve its ranking.
It helps to boost engagement with your site since visitors can read it hands-free. However, you need to optimize content for voice search before benefiting from the feature. One effective method is to keep paragraphs short in order to facilitate comprehension. You can also use lists and headers to break up the content.
Optimize Your Headings
The title tag is distinct from the H1 tag, and they should not be used interchangeably. The H1 tag is part of the article, whereas the title tag appears in the browser window, organic search results, and social media snippets. An effective title can encourage readers to click on your page. All headings, from H1 to H4, make content easier to read and improve crawling.
Consider a book with a title in front of it to gain a better understanding of the tags. The title tag is the cover title, and the H1 is the page title. H2 refers to the chapters, while H3 refers to the sections within the chapters. You can use a descriptive title to ensure your readers know what information they will find if they keep reading, or include a primary keyword.
How to Learn SEO Best Practices
There are numerous ways to learn SEO best practices and guidelines if you want to become an SEO specialist. You can learn on your own using online resources, enroll in an online course, or attend a coding bootcamp.
Can a Bootcamp Help You Learn SEO Best Practices?
Yes, you can learn SEO best practices in a coding bootcamp. Coding bootcamps are short and intensive training programs for people who want to enter the tech industry. SEO best practices are often part of digital marketing training programs and, in some cases, web design programs.
In most cases, a bootcamp is an excellent training program because it provides hands-on experience. Students are given the opportunity to create a portfolio that they can use to apply for jobs in the absence of work experience. You can be ready for the workforce in a matter of months.
Best Courses and Training Programs to Learn SEO Best Practices
|BrainStation||Digital Marketing Bootcamp Online||Free and paid options|
|General Assembly||Digital Marketing Immersive||$13,500|
|Noble Desktop||Digital Marketing Certificate||$3,295|
|Simplilearn||Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Training Course||$599|
|UC Davis||Digital Marketing Boot Camp||Free and paid options|
Should You Learn SEO Best Practices?
Yes, if you want to work as a digital marketer, you must be familiar with best practices for Search Engine Optimization. The goal of digital marketing is to lower the cost of traditional marketing. It may be difficult to achieve this feat without the help of SEO. Working on SEO projects can help you develop the skills you need to succeed in your career.
SEO Best Practices and Guidelines FAQ
SEO best practices and guidelines are rules that govern web pages in order to help them rank higher. These guidelines aid in the reduction of unqualified leads, high bounce rates, and a lack of conversion. Websites that follow best practices will rank higher and receive more traffic as a result.
Yes, SEO still matters in 2021. Google updates continue to emphasize Search Engine Optimization in order to improve site ranking. It enables you to reach your target audience and gain the trust of site visitors. This guideline will assist you in avoiding risky SEO practices like keyword stuffing, broken links, and duplicate title tags.
There are so many essential SEO factors and concepts, but the most important ones include machine learning, core web vitals, mobile fast indexing, expertise, trustworthiness, knowledge graphs, and semantics. These main concepts help you understand how Search Engine Optimization works.
SEO skills include critical thinking, social skills, data skills, analytics skills, programming skills, and technical skills. You need to determine ranking factors and SEO strategies while reducing site bounce rate and increasing click-through rate.