SEO Practices You Should Be Following (Regardless of What Google Say)

Many businesses view their search engine rankings as the be-all and end-all of their online presence. However, it’s important to note that while SEO is a key part of any business’s online marketing strategy, you also need to be thinking about your audience and how they are relating to the content you put online. In this article, we’ve described a number of practices that every business should be following, whether it’s recommended by Google or not.

1. Creating Longer Content

John Mueller, the senior webmaster trends analyst at Google, has publicly said that Google doesn’t take note of the length of content when determining how valuable it is. However, this doesn’t mean that you should take this at face value and create a lot of short content that provides no value. The most important thing to consider with content is ‘does it create value?’. If you can write 300 words of content that does what a reader expects it to, that’s fine. However, if you need to write 2,000 words to cover a topic as extensively as possible, this is what you should be doing.

2. Targeting Keywords in URLs

In the old days, companies would fight over domain names that contained keywords as they provided an easy way to rank at the top of the search engines. While this is no longer the case, and Google no longer advises including keywords in URLs, this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be doing it. For example, if you perform a Google search for the phrase ‘extreme sports’, you’ll see that the top results all have the phrase ‘extreme sports’ in the URL. So, while Google may not focus on keyword URLs, they are still clearly beneficial to users (if they are relevant to what’s on the page).

3. Not Obtaining an HTTPs Certificate

Back in January, news reports circulated that Google planned to drop any site that didn’t upgrade to an HTTPS certificate. This was quickly dismissed by John Mueller who said that HTTP sites would continue to be indexed by the search engine. However, this does not mean that you should neglect to upgrade your site. HTTPS lets your visitors know that your site is secure, and it’s something that many are now looking at before deciding to shop with a company. No matter whether Google pays it any attention, do your visitors a favour and ensure your website is secure.

4. Optimising Image Alt Text

In the past, many SEO companies advised optimising the alt text of any images on a site. However, in recent years, search engines have begun paying little attention to this when ranking content. This does not mean you shouldn’t do it, however. Whatever the big G may say, you aren’t going to experience anything negative from optimising your image alt texts, and in fact, may actually be helping some people to understand what images are on your site – those with certain disabilities for example. It’s possible that alt text may be obsolete in the future, but right now, there’s no reason not to play it safe.

5. Keyword Matching in Domain Names

Google says using keywords in a domain name has a minimal effect in deciding where your website ranks. However, a quick search for some key phrases soon reveals that Google does look at keywords in domains when deciding where a website fits. For some key search terms, many of the top website listings contain keywords in the domain name. For example, if I search for “top tax accountants”, many of the listings feature the word “accountant” in the domain name. So, before you dismiss the idea of using keywords in your domain name, do a little research first. At the very least, it helps visitors decide whether your site is worth checking out, which should reduce bounce rates.

If you are struggling with your SEO, and are confused by all the misinformation online, it’s definitely worthwhile contacting a local company to advise you. WSI Digital is a top choice for those who need help with SEO in Belfast, for example.

At the end of the day, it’s important to think about your readers and customers. Don’t purely focus on the search engines and their guidelines unless neglecting to do so could harm your site.

If you have any questions, please ask below!