The process of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a continuous process. It has to be worked on every single day and the more you work on it, the better your search engine rankings will get.
SEO is a moving target, so it's important to keep up with the latest best practices. But there are also some basic principles that have been around since Google's inception. Here are eight tips that will help you optimize your site for the long term.
1. Write for humans first and search engines second.
Search engine optimization (SEO) is about two things: making sure that people find your website and that search engines can crawl and index your site properly. The more useful your site is to users, the better chance you have of having high rankings. To make an effective site, focus on user experience (UX), not just on keyword density or link popularity.
2. Use targeted keywords in all the right places.
Keyword research is one of the most important parts of SEO. It helps you understand what terms people are searching for when they're looking for something online, and how those words relate to your business. You'll need to use these keywords throughout each page of your site, but be careful not to overuse them. Search engines reward sites with higher keyword quality over quantity.
3. Focus on user experience (UX).
If you want your site to rank highly on Google, make sure that the navigation is easy to follow. Make sure that users don't get lost; that the information is presented clearly and simply. And don't forget the importance of mobile-friendliness -- your site should work as well as possible on any device.
4. Link to authoritative resources.
Google rewards sites that provide reliable, trustworthy information. The web is full of spammy websites, so linking out doesn't mean that you'll rank higher. Instead, focus on adding links that lead to reputable sources. If you don't know where to start, try Googling "authoritative resource."
5. Don't stuff keywords into every paragraph.
It's tempting to use keywords in your copy, especially if you're trying to build backlinks. Resist the urge to add keyword phrases to every single sentence. That's called keyword stuffing, and it will get your site penalized by Google. Keep your content readable and free from repetition.
6. Be original.
The days of using blog posts and press releases written solely for SEO purposes are over. Nowadays, it's crucial to write unique content that answers questions and solves problems. This is good news for readers, because they won't get bored reading articles that talk only about how great your company is.
7. Optimize images.
Images should always be optimized using alt tags. These tags tell search engines which image goes with each piece of text on a page, so make sure they're descriptive. They should never contain keywords. Also make sure that they load quickly. If you use a large number of small images, search engines may choose to load them individually rather than loading the entire page at once.
8. Remove anything that slows down your site.
Search engines take a lot of factors into consideration when determining the ranking of a site. One of the main ones is server speed. Slow servers can negatively affect your page rank, especially if it takes too long for pages to display on mobile devices. In addition to this, slow servers can cause problems with bandwidth usage and security. Make sure that your site loads fast and is secure.
These tips are just a few that I've found particularly helpful. There are many others, though, and they tend to vary depending on your industry. For example, if your business sells widgets, you might want to focus on creating lots of videos, blogging frequently, and including lots of pictures. If you sell software, you might want to focus on providing detailed documentation and tutorials.
Keep in mind that SEO changes often, so you should be monitoring your progress and updating your site accordingly. There are new techniques being developed almost daily, and you'll want to stay ahead of the curve.
If you're interested in learning more about SEO, check out our guide to getting started.
What other SEO tips do you recommend? Share them in the comments!