Search engine optimization has changed considerably over the years. Google’s algorithm has advanced to the point of using artificial intelligence and machine learning as part of its ranking process.
There are millions of websites and many of them compete against each other for that top spot on the Google search results.
Learning SEO isn’t easy, but it’s worth knowing and understanding how it works.
The SEO best practices of 2023 are far different than those from just a few years ago. SEO is the only way to systematically improve search engine rankings for Google, Bing and other search engines.
Even slight changes can create a major improvement, but you need to know what to change and why.
SEO Best Practices of 2023 Begins with Data
Google Analytics is a free data platform you can implement on your site to examine traffic data, page popularity and so much more. Websites can develop goals and triggers that help determine the efficacy of websites and SEO changes.
If you combine Google Analytics with Google Search Console, you have a treasure-trove of data to use in developing and changing your SEO marketing plan. You’re probably asking how can data help with SEO?
Knowledge is power and determining how your traffic changes as you implement SEO improvement is paramount to understanding if it’s working. It takes time for Google to see the changes and index accordingly.
It could be weeks or months before you start seeing results and you see results through Google Analytics. You can see how your traffic increases and decreases among various sources such as Google and PPC. Ideally, there will be an upward trend.
Perhaps, more importantly, you can see how popular individual pages are based on the source. If a page you worked SEO on becomes far more popular, then you know what you’re doing worked.
Keywords Are Still Important
The SEO community often contradicts itself on the importance of keywords in Google search because of algorithm advancements. Some say keywords aren’t as important because the algorithm can understand the context from the page.
Keywords are still very important because it’s one of the first things the algorithm checks on the page. It scours the H1 tags, content, alt tags and more searching for something relevant. While the algorithm can understand limited context having the exact or near exact search query tells it explicitly.
You need to develop an extensive keyword list that has the keyword search volume and competition. Use that list to improve the SEO on your website using both standard and long tail keywords.
Track your ranking for these keywords and how the ranking changes over time. Keywords are especially important for e-commerce sites with product and category pages. The content on these pages tends to be short and thus must have proper keywords.
Keywords should be placed in meta descriptions, page titles, blog posts, product and category descriptions. Make sure the keywords match the subject of the page and diversify enough that it doesn’t seem spammy.
Keywords should not be forced into the copy. They should appear naturally and in context with the subject matter of the page.
The Time for Schema Markup Is Now
Google introduced several above the search rankings items including Q & A’s and knowledge graphs. These help answer common questions associated with the search query and are valuable real estate.
These put you above the search results. Even if your site is ranked third or fourth, the searcher sees you before your competition. How do you get in these areas?
The first way is to have content that addresses their questions, etc. and you can also include schema markup on your website. Schema markup is a language used by search engines to provide context to various areas of the page.
There are hundreds of schema markups from address and product to review and recipe. Schema markup must be programmed, but there is an add-on for WordPress that provides some automatic functionality.
In addition to knowledge graphs, schema can help create expanded search results that include categories, reviews, recipes and more on the search results page. This is important because it expands your result and makes you more attractive than the boring websites that ranked above you.
The future of SEO is in schema markup. It can help get you above the search results and improve click-through rate by making your search result more attractive.
Educational and Relevant Content
Everyone knows that content is an important part of SEO, but it’s not about the amount of content, but the quality. Google’s various updates are all designed to improve the search results for their customers.
Sites were once able to fill pages with keywords and useless content and still rank well, but those days are gone. Today’s content needs to be valuable to the searcher and not designed to just get them to the page.
Blog posts that answer their questions and provide educational information do much better in search results than blogs that are about sales. You can tell them how to use your products and why your products or services would be perfect for them.
Listen to the common concerns and complaints of your customers and use that as subject material. Blogs not only provide good relevant content but also provide new fresh content, which Google also loves.
Blogs about common topics can gain traffic over time and continue to get traffic years after being posted. Make sure to include keywords and internal links in your blog post as well.
SEO Is a Journey
Website growth from SEO doesn’t happen overnight, but the investment is worth the wait. Google handles billions of searches and you want to rank well for any keywords associated with your product or service.
It takes time for Google to see the changes and it might be a gradual climb instead of instant, but don’t discount SEO just because it can be a long term commitment. These are some of the SEO best practices of 2023.
By optimizing your website for what Google and the other search engines want, you’ll improve your rankings, gain revenue and grow your traffic. If you want more information on SEO or other digital marketing, then explore our site.