Search engine optimization (SEO) has grown to become a household name in the business world. While the name has been making waves for a long time, many continue to be confused about how SEO works. In fact, it is normal to feel as such, especially since SEO is constantly evolving and search engine algorithms are always updating. Just when you thought you have Virginia SEO figured out, you will be surprised to hear about a new term or concept.
With SEO changing every now and then, it can be difficult to keep up. However, knowing the important practices is critical to ensure your strategy is effective and suitable to meet your objectives. Implementing SEO is essentially a matter of boosting your online presence by means of Google’s ranking factors. Achieving a higher ranking can be a game-changer for any business and give you leverage over your competitors.
That said, Google has evolved significantly over time, so it now uses several ranking factors to determine search ranks. Generally, you have off-page, on-page, and technical ranking factors to think about. While there is no single factor that will change the results of your Virginia SEO efforts, some factors are particularly important and thus worth paying more attention to.
No matter what SEO trends pervade the marketing space today, high-quality content will remain as one of the top-ranking factors. Google prioritizes web pages with fresh, original, and unique content that provide value to readers–that is, content that answers readers’ questions and matches their search intent. Avoid duplicating content from other sites as this will slow down the crawling and make it harder for Google to find your site.
In terms of content length, studies show that word count also serves as a ranking factor. Pages found on the first page of results tend to have between 1,000 to 2,000 words, but the number can vary significantly for each case. Generally, there is no hard rule as to how long your content must be. However, long-form content can typically earn more backlinks, get more shares, and provide more user satisfaction. Thus, it may be worth creating longer content.
Page Loading Speed
Technical SEO consists of many practices related to your site’s user experience and interactivity. Among the many ranking factors that Google examines, page loading speed is perhaps one of the most important. This 2021, Google will be updating its algorithm by including Core Web Vitals as a ranking factor. One of its metrics has to do with loading, which measures a site’s responsiveness and loading speed.
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Having quick loading times is essential to avoid getting high bounce rates and keep users engaged. Even if your content is valuable or your website is well-designed, users may not be inclined to see this if your pages take too long to load. Make sure to check your analytics to keep loading speed at a minimum. Practices like optimizing images and pre-loading main elements can help reduce it.
Since 2019, Google has shifted to a mobile-first indexing algorithm, thus prioritizing websites that respond well to mobile devices. Back then, Google would use desktop versions of sites for indexing, but after the change in 2019, the search engine shifted to mobile versions. As such, making your website mobile-friendly is essential. After all, the majority of Internet users rely on their mobile devices when making searches, so your site must be easy to view and navigate with them.
Search intent is becoming more and more important in Virginia SEO, especially now that Google looks out for content that answers search queries accurately. Every time you create content, you must match it with users’ search intent to ensure you provide them with the information that they need. Understanding how search intent works allow you to choose the right content format and determine the pain points that you need to address for readers.
Similar to high-quality content, keyword optimization is one of the standard SEO practices and one that can help boost your ranks. Before anything else, you must target the right keywords to reach your desired audience. Once you have them, you can incorporate them into your title tags, meta description, image alt text, URL, and overall content.
When doing this, it is important to maintain natural language and avoid keyword stuffing as you do not want the keywords to reduce the quality of your work or detract from its message. Likewise, as mentioned in the previous factor, search intent must also be considered to address users’ concerns.