By Katy Katz
It’s easy to get caught up in the latest trends, but never forget these SEO basics! Here are five ways to help your site rank better in the organic search results.
We’ve all heard the false claim for years now: SEO is dead.
This couldn’t be farther from the truth.
What is dead are the quick fixes and shortcuts that defined SEO strategies in the beginning.
This post is not about how to get those back – far from it actually.
Honestly, you will probably have to spend some time to optimize your site properly.
But you don’t need a Ph.D. in computer science or machine learning to do it.
Don’t Forget These Basic SEO Strategies
It can be easy to get caught up in the latest SEO trends – mobile first, optimizing for featured snippets, using structured data – but you can’t take your eye off the ball.
This list has some of the most important SEO basics that anyone can apply to help their site rank better in the search engine results (SERPs), many of which I bet you skip.
1. Be Empathetic
User experience (UX) is not just an SEO tactic — it’s essential to the core of SEO.
A search engine’s number one function is to serve up the best possible answer to a user’s question. Every single ranking factor (including the remaining points in this article) boils down to user experience.
If you don’t invest time in a website that resonates, your site takes too long to load, or you don’t answer the right question, the users will leave. And that’s not going to reflect well on your site.
Start with the user. Put yourself in their shoes and create a site that’s functional.
- Does your site load quickly? (Page Speed)
- Did you answer their question? (Keyword and Content Strategy)
- Was it quick and easy for them to find that answer? (Page Layout)
- Did you give them something to do next and can they easily learn more about you if they’re interested? (Navigation and Site Structure)
Each of the basic SEO best practices stems from the value of a functional website.
2. Want Links? Build Relationships
Google weighs links so heavily because they’re still the cleanest way to measure whether you’re relevant to anyone other than yourself.
In the old days, it was easy to set link building on autopilot and watch the rankings roll in. But again, Google is smart and is looking for genuine authority to enhance UX. They will not be fooled by your spammy links.
Not only is it more important than ever for links to your website to be of quality, it’s a time consuming and often overwhelming mountain to climb.
Try taking a break from the “Hey I saw you wrote about this thing that I also wrote about so maybe you’d like to link to me” tactic.
Go offline and explore building links based on genuine connections – join an organization that will list you as a member or start a co-marketing campaign with a related business – form relationships and the links will come.
3. Words Matter, a Lot
This concept ties back to the first point on user experience, but it’s important enough to have its own spotlight. I’m not talking about picking the right keyword (which we’ll get to in a bit).
But slight adjustments in the actual language you choose can be the difference between a 10 percent click-through rate and 60 percent — which in turn (you guessed it), impacts your SEO.
Take time selecting the right language and organizing it in an impactful way and you will have a much better chance of engaging and converting an audience. Research shows that people respond more strongly to language that mirrors their own.
Plus, brushing up on how to make your headlines sexier and your calls to action more persuasive will help you stand out in the SERPs.
Don’t make the mistake of relying solely on a strong technical foundation — pull out your writer’s cap and get creative.
The old Upworthy trick of writing the same sentence or headline out multiple ways can be an effective way to push you past your perceived creative limitations.
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