If you want your website to rank well in search results, website optimization is essential.
It can be confusing since Google has more than 200 ranking signals in its algorithms that evaluate websites every time there’s a search query. And, they are often moving targets. If you’re wondering what Google says is the most important, the company’s lead for Search Relations John Mueller summed it up in one word: Awesomeness.
If you aren’t providing relevant and useful content, none of the SEO best practices will help your content perform better. Even if you rank high, if the content is poor, it’s not going to help you when people get to your website. Awesome content is the first — and best — strategy to employ.
So, once you’ve got great content, your next step in website optimization is to tackle the SEO best practices that impact the most important ranking signals. You can’t afford to hit all 200 — and they change regularly — but you must pay attention to the SEO attributes that carry the most weight.
In 2021, here are the keys to better SEO.
We’ve been saying this for several years now, but it’s official. If your website doesn’t provide a great mobile experience, it will hurt your search rankings.
- Adaptive to device
- Responsive design
- Content designed for mobile
- Fast loading
Mobile-first indexing is now in full swing.
While you want to make sure you have the right keywords as part of your site, it’s more about matching keywords to search intent. SEO best practices include distinguishing between the four most common types of search intent and ensuring your content reflects the appropriate one.
- Informational: Users looking for answers to specific questions or providing information about topics
- Navigational: Users trying to find your company or products
- Transactional: Users that are looking to buy
- Commercial Investigation: Users that are researching products or companies
The word and phrasing you use in conjunction with keywords help signal search intent.
You’ll also need to dial in your technical SEO.
- Make sure pages have unique title tags and meta descriptions
- Make sure XML site maps and robot.txt files are accurate and available
- Schema markup to help create rich snippets
Managing Core Web Vitals
Starting in 2021, Google is using its page experience signal, including what it calls Core Web Vitals. This covers things such as leading experience, interactivity, visual stability, and vital web elements for a good user experience.
Fortunately, Google has provided some free tools to see how your site is performing according to its standards:
Links are still an important currency on the internet. Getting quality links to your website from High Authority websites helps your SEO. Links send a signal to the search engine that your content is valuable enough that major players provide links to their visitors.
Of course, that takes us back to having quality content that’s link-worthy. This might include Whitepapers, original research, how-to guides, data visualizations, or infographics.
Assuming you have that, you can also help your SEO by guest blogging for High Authority websites or doing outreach to try to earn links.
Learn More about Website Optimization
Want to learn more about website optimization, including SEO best practices? Contact the experts at 20North Marketing, a full-service digital marketing agency, today.