If you want to improve your business website’s search engine rankings, avoid tricks and shortcuts and focus on creating long-lasting results through sustainable search engine optimization (SEO).

Take a look at these 11 SEO best practices that will help you build a website that appeals to search engines and your customers.

You’ll learn how to research keywords, pick up some SEO content writing tips, and get up to date on mobile-friendly SEO.

11 SEO best practices for your website

Below, you will find 11 SEO best practices that are easy to implement on your small business website:

  1. Research your keywords.
  2. Create great content for your website.
  3. Make your website mobile friendly.
  4. Understand metadata and use it properly.
  5. Avoid duplicate content.
  6. Showcase reviews and testimonials.
  7. Understand backlinking.
  8. Don’t play tricks.
  9. Measure success.
  10. Submit your sitemap.
  11. Speed up your website.

Use these tips and tricks to improve your website’s SEO rank and start getting more organic traffic.

Editor’s note: If these tips seem daunting or you don’t have time to focus on SEO, the experts at Express Media Web Hosting Zimbabwe can help! With SEO Services, our experts will make sure your website stands out using SEO best practices. All you have to do is tell us about your business and goals and our team gets to work. Sit back, relax, and watch the results come in.

1. Research your keywords

Research keywords that are valuable and appropriate to your business. It’s important to know what your customers are looking for, and then to use that knowledge to deliver what they need.

You can attract your customers to your site by using those keywords in informative blog posts.

Use a tool like GoDaddy Search Engine Optimization to identify the right keywords for your niche.

While we’re on the topic of keyword research, you should also take some time to understand the concept of long-tail keywords and how to use them. Long-tail keywords usually consist of three to five words in the phrase.

Long-tail keywords are highly specific and often easier to rank for than short keywords.

In the long run, long-tail keywords have higher potential of bringing you more high-quality traffic and visitors that are already primed to make a purchase.

You can learn more about researching website keywords in this guide.

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2. Create great content for your website

Create useful, current, relevant and interesting content.

When writing text for your website pages, consider what visitors want to know, not what you’d like to tell them.

Put the customer’s needs first, and you’ll get the chance to say what you want after you cultivate loyalty.

As you’re creating content, be sure to use the keywords you researched naturally throughout your post or a page. However, don’t keyword stuff as search engines are quick to pick up on it and will penalize your site for it.

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3. Make your website mobile-friendly

Google has been emphasizing the importance of mobile-friendly websites for quite some time now, and with the introduction of mobile-first indexing, it’s more important than ever to have a website that looks and works great on mobile devices.

That’s why it’s important to master mobile-friendly SEO.

You want your website to perform and look as good on users’ smartphones and tablets as it does on their desktop computers. No pinching and squeezing!

You can test if your website is mobile-friendly using Google’s Mobile-Friendly tool. If you get a negative result, consider redesigning your website or using a CMS like WordPress along with a mobile-friendly and responsive theme.

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4. Understand meta titles and descriptions and use them properly

Meta titles and descriptions can show up on the search engine results pages when a visitor searches for a particular keyword, phrase or a term. That means they’re your chance to convince people to click through to your website.

To follow SEO best practices, your meta titles should be under 60 characters and include at least one keyword that is related to the content for that page.

Your meta descriptions should be 150 to 160 characters and provide more information about the content of the page. Explain to readers the benefit they will get by clicking through to your page.

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5. Avoid duplicate content

Recycle, don’t copy. Search engines penalize websites that have pages with duplicate content.

Avoid using another website’s content or having the same content on multiple pages of your website.

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6. Showcase reviews and testimonials

Take advantage of social media and local review sites.

The more online visibility your business has, the more traffic your site will generate.

Incorporating social media and review sites (like Yelp and TripAdvisor) will help improve user engagement and credibility.

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7. Understand backlinking

Backlinking refers to getting other websites to link to your blog posts and pages.

Getting backlinks from relevant, reputable websites and blogs is a major ranking factor so create great content that other people will want to link to.

Don’t be afraid to link to other reputable websites that are related to your industry.

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8. Don’t play tricks

It isn’t about working the system. If you try to fool the search engines, your organic online success won’t last long. It’s best to avoid questionable shortcuts. Do your research to find out if what you’re doing will truly improve your site.

Tip: The Moz blog is a great resource for staying on top of current SEO best practices.

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9. Measure success

Track your site’s performance. With website analytics programs, you can track the number of visitors to your website, conversion rates and more — and thus your marketing success.

Sign up for Google Analytics and add your website as a property so you can easily keep track of important SEO metrics.

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10. Submit your sitemap

A sitemap helps search engines crawl and index your website faster.

Start by using a tool like XML sitemap generator to build a sitemap.

Once the tool is done building your sitemap, upload it to your website. Then, head to Google Search Console and Bing Webmaster Tools and submit your sitemap’s URL.

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11. Speed up your website

Nobody likes a slow website, search engines included. If your site takes longer than two seconds to load, including on mobile, you could be losing out on sales. Your ranking in the search engine results will definitely suffer.

Use a tool like Google Page Speed Insights or Pingdom Tools to find out how fast your website is and then follow their recommendations to improve the loading times.

Editor’s note: Need some help with search engine optimization for your website? The experts at Express Media Web Hosting Zimbabwe can help you work less and rank higher.

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