SEO is a complicated beast. Google is constantly changing their parameters in order to weed out people who take shortcuts to rank higher. This means that the requirements for good SEO are always changing. However, there are a few basic things you can do to give you the best possible chance of ranking.
Have a high-quality site
Google’s definition of exactly what defines a ‘high quality site’ changes a lot. However at the very least they want to know that the people visiting your site will be satisfied with what they find. That might involve lots of additional content, or just straightforward information displayed simply. It depends on each individual business. You’ll be penalised for not making sure everything is mobile friendly. You should definitely avoid naughty things like hidden backlinks and too many forced third-party ads.
So you want your post to stand a chance of ranking when a user searches for a certain topic. You need to be using keywords associated with that topic (shock, horror). For example, if you were writing about baking, you need to make sure you actually use the word a lo. It’s not something that should cause much panic, since you’ll mention what you’re writing about when you write about it. Google’s bots tend to scrape the first few lines of each piece of content, so make sure you make a few references to your subject matter in the first few lines. However, you also remember to keep it sounding natural.
Have your keyword in your URL
In much the same vein as the previous point, make sure that your keyword appears in the URL of the page. Whichever CMS you’re using, you should be able to edit your URL to make it say what you want it to. It also helps to bear in mind that once you’ve settled on a URL, it’s best not to change it, because it goes without saying that you’ll be sharing it across your thriving social media channels. Don’t have those yet? No biggie. Check out how to get started here.
Use Plugins to help you
If you’re using WordPress there are plugins that can help guide you through the process of implementing great SEO. For each post you write, plugins like Jetpack will keep track of how many times you’ve mentioned your keyword. They’ll also remind you to add in anything you’ve forgotten, like those pesky pictures. You’ll be able to update your meta description so that you can make it something attractive to your demographic, rather than simply the 160 characters that just happen to get picked up by Google’s bots.
Keep your site active
We’ve mentioned that you could benefit from having a good level of extra content on your site, and that’s one way to keep it active. If that’s not something you’re going for, you at least need to be keeping all of your information up-to-date. This allows the the powers-that-be (Google) to see that you’re still maintaining the site. If they don’t see any signs of activity they’ll question the quality of the UX, and if you’re not careful you might see your account slipping down the rankings.
Like we mentioned at the beginning of this, the rules for SEO are constantly changing, which makes it difficult to stay on top of everything. The thing to bear in mind, though, is that Google are ultimately looking for high-quality sites with good information. As long as you have one of those, you’ve got off to a great start with SEO. If you’re looking for a more in-depth insight, check out HowNow to find experts who can teach you.