Any digital agency that’s worth its salt will help you create and implement search engine optimization (SEO) best practices that will put your company on the map. And by on the map, we mean at the top of the search rankings on Google.
As a Nashville SEO company, we get asked about SEO best practices all the time. And while we’re not giving away our secret sauce in this blog post, we’re happy to provide a few tips that will improve SEO on your existing site or help you plan a keyword strategy for the future.
Consider User Intent When You Choose Keywords
User intent or search intent is why Google seems to deliver exactly what you need with every search (it’s almost scary, right?). It’s Google’s top priority to understand user intent and deliver the most applicable sites. So let’s say you run a business that sells fresh bread in Nashville. For starters, please send us some. But after that, think about how users might search for your product.
For your situation, you might consider trying to rank for the keywords “Fresh bread near me” or “Homemade bread Nashville.” A term like “fresh bread” turns up several recipes. Ranking for that keyword won’t attract the traffic you need to grow.
Think about how users might search for your product.
Use 301 Redirects
A 301 redirect is a permanent action that takes users to a new page if they are trying to access a URL that no longer exists. This is important if you’ve deleted a page, discontinued products, or launched a new site.
Let’s say you moved your “about” page from website.com/about to website.com/our-story. If a user tries to access website.com/about, the 301 redirect will automatically take them to the new page. The best part? Your visitors will never know the difference and Google will transfer any value the old page had to the new one. Here are some other ways you can use 301 redirects to boost your SEO:
- Prune your content by pointing low-performing pages to another page that has the same intent, but better content. Or merge the two pages to create improved content and use a redirect to get your audience to the right place.
- Do you have pages that are targeting the same keywords? Don’t make them duke it out. If the intent of two pages is the same, remove one of the pages and redirect your visitors accordingly.
- Maintain your SEO while merging websites. If your business operates multiple websites and you want to merge them into one, the 301 redirect will be your best friend.
Use Link Building
BackLinkO analyzed 11.8 million Google search results and discovered that the top-ranking page on Google has an average of 3.8x more backlinks than positions 2 to 10. That means you need a backlink strategy.
A backlink is when another website links to yours, which drives more traffic to your site and tells Google that you’re an authority in your field. There are a few ways to improve your backlinks—and it starts by writing engaging content that people actually want to share. Here are some other ways to increase link-building:
- Write guest blogs for your vendors’ and business partners’ sites, linking back to yours.
- Seek out press/PR opportunities when you have big news to share
- Share on LinkedIn or other social media sites
Just be wary of anyone trying to sell you a get-links-quick scheme. While it may bring some quick wins, it’s a great way to end up in Google jail down the road.
Good UX Applies to SEO, Too
You know how users will ditch your site within seconds if they can’t find what they need? Google kind of does the same thing. Clear site navigation, fast load times, and mobile-friendly pages can all help your SERP (search engine results page) rankings.
Good UX also includes the tone and voice on your website—so make sure you’re writing for humans and not SEO bots. If you’re dropping SEO keywords into the copy left and right, readers will begin to notice…and they won’t be happy about it. Take it from a Nashville SEO company and best digital web agency—we know what we’re talking about. Did that sentence sound weird? That’s what it feels like when companies write for search engines instead of people.
Don’t Forget Content Strategy
As we’ve said before, the most effective websites combine SEO and content strategy for a happy marriage. We’re talking about your grandparents’ marriage that lasted 50 years, not your parents who split after committing too many tragic 80s fashion mistakes in their wedding photos.
If you’re building a new site from the ground up, make sure your SEO and content people are working closely together. While you want your website to deliver the right message to the right people (content strategy), SEO can help get people there to read that message. When you combine the two, you’ll crush your content goals.
Track Your Results
An SEO strategy doesn’t live forever. Just like your website copy, your home decorating style, or your haircut, it needs to be updated now and then. Tools like Google Analytics and Google Search Console can help you see where you’re hitting the mark and where you need a new approach. For example:
- Review user search queries in Google Search Console to get an idea of what searches you’re showing up for. (It’s probably not what you’d expect.)
- Look for drop-offs in traffic. Those pages may need to be updated and re-published, or maybe it’s time to write a new post that covers the same topic from another angle.
- Look at your top landing pages to figure out which pages are your best performers. Make sure they’re updated when necessary and that they point your visitors to the right information.
Whew! We know that’s a lot. It’s complicated and overwhelming, but we can help. We’ve been providing Transparent SEO services to our clients for years, demystifying it for them along the way. Let’s talk.