SEO Best Practices (2017 Update)

By Donald Kim
9 Feb '17

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Companies seeking to increase site visitor traffic and sales need look no further than their current Search Engine Optimization (SEO) practices. Is your strategy up to the day's current SEO standards? Actively using the most current and relevent SEO strategies is advantageous for companies striving to boost their Google rating and overall site traffic. Although Google’s search engine algorithm updates are constantly updating and evolving, there are some notable trends in SEO that you’ll want to take advantage of. If you haven’t done so already, check out how our new 2017 list compares with our 2016 list in our blog titled “SEO Best Practices Checklist in 2016”.

 

This article provides a look into all aspects of SEO strategies in 2017, including on-page, on-site and off-site SEO. This can serve as a great resource for marketers, SEO practitioners, or anyone wanting to get up to speed on the most current and effective SEO strategies.

 

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A. ON-PAGE SEO

On-page SEO refers to optimizing content for target keywords within a single blog post, such as using proper keyword placements, headings, and writing high quality content.

1. Blog Post Title

  • This is the most crucial on-page SEO factor.
  • Try to use targeted keywords or phrases toward the beginning of the title (H1) tag.

2. Post Permalink Structure

  • Make sure your URL is displayed correctly.
  • Use dashes to differentiate the strings in your URL structure.
  • Use targeted keywords in the URL.

3. Meta Tags

  • Use your targeted keywords in the meta description, but don’t spam your keywords into your description.
  • Ensure to use user-friendly meta descriptions that make sense and are actually related to your post. The idea is for users to click on the post.

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4. Images

  • Image optimization plays an important role in driving traffic from image searches. Keywords in the “image title” and “alt text” helps your blog post be more targeted and focused.
  • Images help create engagement.

5. Write Engaging Content

  • Your blog post should be a complete manual for the keyword.
  • Learn how to engage your audience, i.e. ask your readers questions and answer them. Understand what your target audience reads and write to that.

 

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B. ON-SITE SEO

On-page SEO is the practice of optimizing individual web pages on your website to rank higher as well as gain relevant visitor traffic on search engines. It includes optimizing HTML source code, content, sitemapping, and setting permalink structures. Off-site SEO, on the other hand, refers to using links and external signals.

1. Page titles

  • Include keywords once.

2. Headings

  • Add only one H1 tag to each page. Afterwards, you can use multiples of H2 to H6 tags.
  • Include a keyword that’s relevant to that page.

3. URL Structure

  • The URL structure is an important aspect of on-site SEO.

4. Work on good site navigation       

  • Improving your site navigation can help decrease bounce rate, a google ranking factor. It is important that your website visitors can find exactly what they want and interact with all of the visual cues and call to actions displayed on your website.

5. Dazzle with Multimedia       

  • Use engaging images, videos, and graphics, as it can help to reduce bounce rates and increase the time of time on site. Both are critical user interaction ranking factors.

6. Mobile Responsiveness & Load Times

  • Ensure that your website is mobile responsive on all platforms.
  • Keep load times under 2-3 seconds. A longer load time will have a negative impact on your rankings.

7. UX/UI

  • Optimize the User Experience (UX) and User Interface (UI). This can drastically decrease bounce rates, and help with your branding.

 

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C. OFF-SITE SEO

Off-site SEO refers to activities that are performed outside of your website. Off-site SEO can increase rankings in SERPS (Search Engine Results Pages), which can result in increased website traffic, a greater page ranking, and a boost in site visits, social mentions, and links.

Link building is the most effective form of off-page SEO. By building external links to your website, you are essentially gaining votes to bypass your competitors and in turn rank higher in SERPS. If someone were to like an article on your website and it’s referenced from your website or blog, then this lets the search engine know that your page contains valuable information. However, avoid black hat SEO, and spamming links at all costs as Google’s Panda, Penguin, and Hummingbird algorithm updates protect its search engine from spam.

1. Blog Writing

  • Guest blogging is a great way to gain backlinks to your website, provided that you're not just doing so for the backlinks. 

2. Social Media

  • Social media mentions are beginning to gain ground as ranking factors and a great way to link-build.
  • Proper configuration of social media profiles can also boost SEO.

3. Link building

  • Social bookmarking is a great strategy for link building.

4. Email Marketing

  • Email marketing is an effective way to drive SEO results.
  • Focus on inbound links, content promotion, on-site engagement, drive to RSS, reputation building, brand recognition, and social media engagement.

5. Live Videos: Facebook, YouTube, Periscope, Instagram

  • Live streaming is extremely popular for businesses to directly connect with followers.
  • Better brand exposure, richer content, and creating urgency are all benefits of using live streaming in your marketing arsenal.
  • Facebook and YouTube are continually innovating and improving their live streaming features and capabilities. Assess what platform is best for your own business in regards to where your target audience is likely located. 

6. YouTube Ads

  • YouTube has more than 1 billion unique users every month.
  • YouTube advertising is in the form of Pay Per Click advertising through Google AdWords for Video.
  • Ability to precisely target your ideal customers.

7. LinkedIn Ads

  • Regardless of what industry that you’re in, your business audience is most likely on LinkedIn.
  • With LinkedIn ads, you’re able to increase your visibility, and improve the know, like, and trust factor.

8. Facebook Ads

  • High conversions on mobile, call-to-action button options, data capture, are all advantages of creating targeted Facebook Ads.

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9. Voice Search

  • Voice search has become one of the fastest growing types of search. 55% of teens and 41% of adults use voice search using their mobile devices on a daily basis.

 

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