Hand-in-hand with growing online competition, you always need to make sure that your SEO methods are aligned with current best SEO practice. As digital marketing progresses, new and better techniques have arisen. While SEO strategies and actionable steps are not rocket science if applied carefully, to stand out from your competition and rank higher in Google, you must keep up with the latest best practices in the SEO world.
Even SEO experts dedicate a reasonable amount of time regularly to figure out how to improve their SEO game to rank higher in search engine results pages. Since it seems new changes occur in the SEO industry very often, because search engine algorithms are constantly being updated, if you are always up-to-date and making sure you follow updated SEO best practices, it becomes easier to beat your competition.
To help you get up-to-date and practice good SEO, let’s look at the must-have search engine optimization tactics that you should be implementing today.
11 SEO Best Practices
While this list could have been a longer one (you can check out this SEO checklist for a 30-item list), I focused on the top 11 things you should consider today.
Let’s begin by focusing on some of the newer algorithm changes and Google features.
1. Optimize Your Website for Google Discover
Google Discover is a feed that appears on Google’s home page for mobile phone users. It improvises user search activities to understand their interests and preferences. It presents visitors with the most appropriate search queries based on their interests and preferences.
It is one of the essential SEO practices in 2024. Optimizing your website for Google Discover can substantially increase traffic on your website and connect you with millions of potential business prospects. Here are some of the factors helpful for optimizing your website for Google Discover:
- Strengthen the content quality of website – this goes without saying.
- Focus on using excellent visuals, because this is what Google recommends.
- On the same note, use high-quality and web optimized videos – video is the algorithm game changer, and you should think of Google Discover in the same way.
- Optimize your website for the Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) because of the importance of being optimized for mobile
2. Featured Snippets
In 2024, you should improve search engine rankings for a featured snippet as a part of your marketing strategy, because featured snippets will often appear at the top of search query results pages as pictured above. Google snippets answer the user intent in a more enhanced way. It benefits organic searches, as the featured snippets gain more attention and clicks from the people. You can pull numerous visitors to your website via featured snippets.
Here are some tips on how you can optimize for featured snippets.
- Do appropriate keyword research and focus on question-type search queries.
- Go through the results in the people also ask section for inspiration on what content to cover.
- Use inverted pyramid style to land snippets.
- Follow optimal word count i.e., 40-50 words for featured snippets.
Lastly, adding a Question and Answer section in your website is also an effective strategy.
3. Focus on the Core Web Vitals
The core web vitals maintain the quality of user experience on your website. It is one of the essential SEO practices to focus on in 2024.
There are three core web vitals for which you can also confirm the recommended times in the following SEO diagrams:
A) Largest contentful paint (LCP)
It is a measure of a website page speed. It denotes the time taken by the content of the website to load. Google considers page speed as one of the essentials of user experience.
It is the heavy images, illustrative, and heavy themes you use on your website that decrease the loading speed of your website. You must incorporate lighter elements in your website design. You can improvise image compression software to compress images before using them on your website.
B) First input delay (FID)
The first input delay is the time taken by the input receiving elements of your website, like a scroll or a lead form, to become available to the visitor.
The inconvenience visitors face because of the time the input receiving elements of a website takes to load, sabotage user experience. Focus on the responsive themes with lighter theme elements or hire a professional web developer to assist you with this issue.
C) Cumulative layout shift (CLS)
Cumulative layout shift refers to the instability of the website elements. It can create hindrances in the user experience. Some website owners use it to trick visitors into clicking the spam links and drive them through sales or lead generation funnels.
You must contact your developers if you notice any layout shift on any of your website pages.
Further Reading: SEO Basics: A Beginners Guide on How to Do SEO
4. BERT Algorithm
As per the new algorithm of Google, BERT will impact nearly 10% of search queries. It means that you need to pay attention to the SEO strategies and start implementing changes now. Implementing these changes will bring the blog post or article to the top when someone searches for it. You can see the power of artificial intelligence as BERT focuses on the user intent then finds the relevant pages. This AI-driven system focuses on topics rather than individual words, so optimizing your content will impact your SEO rankings when using this method to improve readability or accessibility.
How can you optimize your website for BERT?
As it has been the most important update of the past five years. Considering the BERT algorithm, it always says that content should be written to answer the user’s intent. So while writing keep in mind the following things.
Short and compact content
- Avoid lofty, unnecessary and flowery words
- Try to give straightforward answer to satisfy the search intent
- Write useful and informative content.
Focus on On-page SEO
It means focusing on the meta description, title tag, H1, h2, and URL structures.
Use easy-to- understand language
Not everyone has the same proficiency to understand English, so use simple language to understand language. It also means writing after understanding your audience.
The remaining items I would consider to be more evergreen SEO items that you should have always been focusing on but are more important than ever today.
5. Quality of Content
Make the content as per the search intent of the users. Satisfying the search thirst of the users is the ultimate goal of the search engine. Optimizing the keywords, contents, images, and backlinks according to user intent will automatically rank your website up in the search engine. Your website should be informational, attractive, commercial as well as user-friendly.
High-quality content drives more traffic, more visitors, and it can lead to higher conversion rates. It involves writing attention-grabbing content to attract your audience. Ensure your content is easy to read and readers love it. For that, you need to write while having fun and don’t forget your goals and the search intent. Taking care of all these things while writing is not going to show instant results, but it will throw its positive effects and can enhance SEO.
Further Reading: 12 “Secrets” to Writing High Quality Content for Your Blog
6. Long Tail Keyword Phrases
Google becomes more advanced with every single update it makes. Now Google understands that if a person is searching for a suitable vacuum cleaner, there are associated keywords, sometimes containing one or several more keywords, that relate to the search. It is undeniable that short keywords are more competitive, but long-tail keywords with more than three words can boost your domain to rank top in Google. Targeting long-tail keywords will be a technique to refresh your keyword strategy in 2024. It can help you in optimizing your web page or a given article. To ensure your content with the long-tail keyword ranks, you must create high-quality and engaging content that justifies user needs.
7. Relevant Meta Titles and Descriptions
You should describe your web page intent clearly, and meta titles and the meta description are the tags used for this purpose. It is a way for you to define the contents of a web page to your visitors and the search engine bots. These help people in finding out directly about your content and indirectly about what your business does.
You should also employe catchy titles and informative descriptions.
Titles of the content must be accessible, short, and catchy. Remember, you are competing with other search results for the same query, so if you aim to defeat the competitors and get the user to click on your search results, adopting this small technique can significantly change your website traffic.
8. Generate Effective and Quality Backlinks
Link building remains one of the critical factors used by Google and other search engines for ranking the content. It acts as a testimonial through which Google judges the quality of your content and ranks it at the top of the search results. In 2024, high-quality backlinks are going to make a huge difference. Nowadays, you can’t have a successful SEO strategy without building quality links to your website from other sites with established reputable authority and trustworthiness in their niche markets.
Here is a useful guide for building effective backlinks
- Build connections with other businesses in your niche and reach out to different webmasters for backlinks to your website.
- Create hyperlinks from reputable directory websites as an additional traffic source.
- Make some attractive infographics and provide a link for the source of that content. Also, you can put an Embed code through which other people can take that infographic and put it on their website, which will link back to yours.
- Guest post relevant content on other blogs
- Do a competitive analysis to see where your competitors have backlinks to find new backlink opportunities
- Engage with experienced bloggers in your niche who might already be guest blogging on the site you are targeting
Many bloggers earn their living by writing reviews for various products and services. Therefore, contact some experienced bloggers to write reviews of your content with a link to your promotional content, which will drive targeted traffic to your website.
Try to make content on which the audience is interested in reading about. However, do keep in mind the relevant Google Webmaster Guidelines on the subject.
Further Reading: 11 Actionable Link Building Strategies For 2024 and Beyond
9. Images in Your Marketing Strategy
It is essential to create diverse content to excel in your marketing campaign in 2024. Images are highly effective for increasing consumer engagement and achieving business goals.
Optimizing images is a whole new stream of SEO called image SEO. It is one of the essential SEO practices in 2024, especially for e-commerce businesses. Other forms of illustrations include Ggraphs, data charts, infographics, etc. These illustrations show up in Google’s image tab forming a new traffic stream for your website. Images also increase your chances of featuring in the featured snippets and Google discover feeds.
It is foremost essential to upload creative and optimized images, as it boosts the SEO of the website. Optimizing the images is next important to choosing the right image. So, always keep in mind the following tips before choosing an image.
- Choose the proper file format for your image. For example, use JPEG format for its small size but prefer PNG for images that contain texts.
- Use smaller size images to reduce the loading time of your website.
- Use Alt texts for your images.
- Load images according to the relevance of your content through lazy loading .
10. Focus on Technical SEO
Technical SEO is a way for you to help Google bots crawl the content of your website. It is one of the core SEO practices for increasing website organic rankings. It makes your website presentable and SEO-friendly. Here are some of the essential elements of technical SEO.
- Sitemap:- It is an organized collection of different web pages present on your website. It enables search engines and website visitors to navigate through the website.
- SSL certificate:- It is a certificate of credibility and security. An SSL-certified website is compact with the HTTPS tag in its URL. It proves the authority and trustworthiness of your website in Google’s eyes. It enhances your chances of attaining higher search rankings.
Further Reading: Why is HTTPS Essential for Good SEO?
The URL structure of your website is an essential tool to explain your website content matter. Use keywords in the URL instead of random numbers so that the search engine and users get a fair idea of the website subject matter.
There are some tips you can follow to make a well-structured URL
- Avoid longer URLs
- Use keywords that target the content of your website.
- URLs should be clean and free from unnecessary symbols and words.
- URLs should be descriptive.
11. Do Regular SEO Audits
SEO audit is one of the topmost fundamental SEO principles that help achieve the final goal for the websites. It will help find every error related to our website and spot them. Small mistakes are commonly found on web pages. It hinders the quality of user experience and sabotages content quality. You must do periodic audits on your website. Re-running the audit will help you make your web page free from silly mistakes. Don’t forget to look for opportunities with internal links as well!
Recommended SEO Audit Tool: SEMrush
The Bottom Line on SEO Best Practices
The growing competition in digital marketing has created a dynamic necessity to do something unique and stand out from the competition. Adequate knowledge of the essential digital marketing practices and trends is vital for the growth of your business in 2024.
One of the best ways to acquaint yourself with the latest digital marketing trends is to do a competitive analysis of your competition website. It enables you to learn about their marketing strategy. It can lead to numerous valuable findings, such as the targetted keywords, potential business prospects, and traffic sources. Scrap the data obtained and improvise learnings into your marketing strategy to outrank your competitor in the long run.
The main component of modern SEO is user experience. Focus on providing a quality user experience to your visitors and avoid unethical practices to trick search engine bots into ranking your website. One of the best ways to keep away from Google quality guideline violations is to run periodic SEO audits on your website. You can also improvise the free SEO tools present on the web development platforms for this purpose.
Mandeep Singh, the founder of SEO Discovery, the leading digital marketing company, is an experienced campaigner in the field of SEO marketing and the arena of digital selling.
Hero photo by Myriam Jessier on Unsplash
SEO Best Practices FAQs
The top 5 SEO strategies are:
1. Creating high-quality content that resonates with your target audience is key.
2. Optimizing your website’s structure, including URL structure and meta tags, can significantly improve your search rankings.
3. Building quality backlinks from reputable sources can boost your website’s authority.
4. Ensuring your website is mobile-friendly and has a fast loading speed is crucial for both search engines and users.
5. Staying up to date with algorithm changes and adapting your SEO strategy accordingly is vital to staying ahead of the competition.
Content, code, and credibility are the 3Cs of SEO. Content is all about the relevance and quality of the information on your website, while code relates to the technical aspects of your site, such as load times and mobile-friendliness. Lastly, credibility is all about establishing authority and trustworthiness in the eyes of search engines and users alike.
The three most important factors of SEO are relevancy, authority, and user experience. Relevancy means that the content should be relevant to the search intent and keywords used. Authority refers to the website’s trustworthiness, and user experience is crucial for visitors to stay longer on your website. By focusing on these three factors, you can boost your SEO performance and increase your website’s visibility.
Here are some of SEO techniques:
1. Keyword optimization – involves the strategic use of keywords, phrases, and long-tail keywords in website content to help search engines better understand what a particular page is about.
2. Link building – involves getting other websites to link back to your website, which can improve your website’s authority and credibility.
3. Content creation – involves producing high-quality, informative content that is tailored to your audience’s needs and interests.
These are the 4 primary areas of SEO:
1. On-page optimization – refers to the factors that can affect your website’s ranking directly on your site, such as meta descriptions, title tags, and keyword usage.
2. Off-page optimization – includes tactics like link building and social media marketing to increase your website’s authority and visibility.
3. Technical optimization – involves ensuring your website is mobile-friendly, has fast loading speeds, and is secure.
4. Content optimization – is all about creating high-quality, relevant content that appeals to both users and search engines.