Best SEO Practices for 2021

SEO

Marco Gaudio

Marco Gaudio Head Of Digital Strategy

Best SEO Practices for 2021

Most of us have seen 2020 as an incredible year. For some people that means it has been focused and busy - especially in the world of SEO! It has seen some of the biggest moves, including growth in the Ecommerce sector as businesses being locked down fight to get customers their loved products.

As this briefly becomes a visible mirage or potential new reality. Many others wait to see what happens, while to others, it’s as real as income taxes!

Some say there’s a particular formula to reach new ranking heights, when others feel that it’s just a matter of consistent, heartfelt effort.


But which is it!?

At SEO Troop, we feel that balance has its place in all aspects of life and the best on-page SEO practices are no exception to that.

Here’s a list to refresh why balance is key...

best SEO practices



On-Page SEO Ranking Factors

There are tons of opinions on which SEO strategies work best, as well as many debates on which aspects of SEO are the main ones to focus on.

Our troop has put together a comprehensive guide, encompassing what we feel are the best SEO practices to master and implement. Let’s get started!




Keyword Research & Implementation

Make sure you use your target keywords efficiently and in a natural flow. The days of keyword stuffing are long gone and in fact, can get you penalized by Google.

As a general rule, make sure to include your keyword at the beginning of your headings (not in all your headings. Only where it applies best and most naturally).

In the body of your text, keyword mentions largely depend on the length of your text. Our suggestions are 3 times for every 750 words or so.




Image ALT Tags

You would be surprised how many people search Google images. Whether it’s for an infographic or a how-to, searching images can sometimes give the user all the information they’re looking for.

For this reason, you should definitely add your keyword in your image ALT tags, not only for image search relevancy, but also for regular search SEO as well.

Remember, Google looks at the big picture and having your images properly tagged is part of it.




Linking


Internal Links

Where possible and relevant, your website’s written content should contain various links to other web pages or sections on your site.

For example, if we were to mention our seo pricing plans, we should create a hyperlink to that page by clicking on the relevant anchor text.


Outbound Links

Outbound links are similar to internal links but, as you guessed it, they lead to a page outside of your website. In fact, we used some outbound links in this article to further bring value to the reader.

In the “page loading speed” section of this article, we linked to a page on moz.com so that after a basic explanation of how important page loading speed is for SEO, the reader can then get a brief breakdown of the specific areas to look at when addressing page load speed.




Duplicate Content

Webpages are considered duplicates if their content is 85% identical. Having duplicate content may significantly affect your SEO performance. First of all, search engines will typically show only one duplicate page, filtering other instances out of its index and search results, and this page may not be the one you want to rank.

In some cases, search engines may consider duplicate pages as an attempt to manipulate search engine rankings and, as a result, your website may be downgraded or even banned from search results. Moreover, duplicate pages may dilute your link profile.


How To Fix It

The following are ways you can go about fixing your duplicate content issues:

  • Add a rel="canonical" link to one of your duplicate pages to inform search engines which page to show in search results
  • Use a 301 redirect from a duplicate page to the original one
  • Use a rel="next" and a rel="prev" link attribute to fix pagination duplicates
  • Instruct GoogleBot to handle URL parameters differently using Google Search Console
  • Provide some unique content on the webpage

Duplicate content can also apply to page titles and meta descriptions. Make sure you are using unique meta info for every page on your site. For more on this issue, visit the Meta Keyword Implementation section in our off-page SEO practices below.




Off-Page SEO Ranking Factors


Website Security & Accessibility

Making your website secure and universally accessible is one of the most basic and important factors to take care of.

Though Google has said that “HTTPS” is a lightweight ranking factor,” studies have shown that when users see the “not secure” message in their browser windows, most tend to bounce immediately.

Installing your SSL is easy. Some web hosting providers include it free with your first year of hosting.

It just makes sense that the more your website is accessible, the better it is. These days, mobile searches have surpassed desktop searches, so make sure your website is fully responsive on all devices.


Page Loading Speed

Page speed something that is often overlooked but has critical effects on bounce rates and ultimately, your search engine rankings.

Minifying your CSS, Javascript & HTML as well as reducing redirects, are a couple of things you can do make your website load quicker.

For a complete list and how-to article on this very topic, visit MOZ’s learning center article and get to work on your site’s loading performance.


Meta Keyword Implementation

Including your keyword in your page content is one thing, but remember that keywords also need to be included in off-page instances like your meta information.

Ideally, your meta title tag (the main title that appears in a purplish hue in Google search results) needs to have the focus keyword at the beginning, while your meta description (the text that appears under the meta title in Google searches) needs to include it somewhere in the text.


URL Structure Optimization

Let’s not forget that URL structure. Keeping your categories and landing pages specific to their given themes is part of maintaining a clean, flowing user experience.

Here is an example of a good URL structure: seotroop.com/blog/best-seo-practices - on the other hand, here’s an example of a bad URL structure: seotroop.com/blog/32565

In the latter example, the randomly generated number does nothing to explain what the landing page is about. In this case, our blog is about best seo practices and therefore, should include the main focus keyword.

Having your landing page link back to its main category or another relevant page of your website is a great addition as well.

That said, let’s look at the importance of website linking.


Backlinking

Backlinking is one the most most important SEO strategies out there. By obtaining links from authoritative websites, search engines trust that your website is delivering accurate,relevant information.

In the end, search engines like Google, want us all to find exactly what we’re looking for so that we continue to use their search engine.

Referring a user to a website with little to no backlinks raises a flag in the algorithm, because if trusted sites aren’t vouching for you, chances are that your content isn’t delivering solid value.




best SEO practices

Conclusion

These are just some of the best seo practices to keep in mind when deploying a proper SEO strategy. If you want to get serious then you should probably consider talking with our team!

Keep in mind, results don’t happen overnight but keep at it and the hard work will pay off. SEO troop can be your guide and execute all the details for you - feel free to connect with our team today!

Stay tuned for part 2 of this blog series as we explore more seo factors like keyword research, search intent, publishing long-form content, duplicate content and more!

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