When I first started blogging and publishing back in the 2000’s, SEO was a much different industry. More of a dark arts than a science, a lot of website owners trying to “optimize” content commonly practiced black hat SEO strategies like keyword stuffing, link farming, and duplicating content.
I remember the Google Panda update in February 2011 was a major game changer, and Google began ushering in real quality-of-life changes that would help make Search a more reliable, useful tool. Things like H1 headers, meta descriptions, and keyword focus became crucially important. Content creators all over the world began creating better, more focused content that actually helped people.
But as the Greek philosopher Heraclitus famously said some 3,000 years ago: “The only constant in life is change.”
SEO has continued to evolve in ways no one foresaw. Now in 2023, SEO practices seem more different than ever; we’re experiencing a revolution in AI-generated content, muddying the waters of everything we’ve been told about content. Things like optimized metadescriptions and alt tags don’t matter nearly as much as simply writing great content and giving users what they want.
It can be hard for publishers, content creators, and website owners to know what to focus on in 2023 when it comes to SEO. But don’t worry — Ezoic is here to help. Here are some of the best practices and basic SEO principles for 2023, made with the help of Robert Karow and Zachary Ashmun, some of the SEO experts here at Ezoic.
First, let’s talk about great ideas for revising/updating content and creating new content:
Ensure You Target the Exact Keyword Via Your H1, Title, and URL
When it comes to optimizing your content for search engines, targeting the exact keyword through your H1, title, and URL is crucial. To rank higher in search results, it’s essential to align your H1 and title tags with the focus keyword.
Let’s say you wanted to rank for the keyword Why do dogs howl, you would want your H1 and title tags to be (something like) Why do dogs howl — A Comprehensive Guide and the URL to be /why-do-dogs-howl. These three areas are some of the most prominent identifiers for Google Search Engine Crawlers to identify what your content is about. Ensuring each of these areas target the focus keyword is a crucial practice.
Furthermore, optimizing your URL structure plays a critical role. Incorporate the focus keyword directly into the URL, such as “/why-do-dogs-howl.” This user-friendly link reinforces the relevance of your content, making it easier for search engines and users to understand what your page is about.
While targeting the exact keyword is essential, it’s vital to prioritize readability and user experience. Search engines value high-quality content that provides value to users, so avoid keyword stuffing or over-optimization. Maintain a natural and engaging writing style that seamlessly incorporates the focus keyword. This approach ensures your content remains informative and appealing to both search engines and users.
In addition to targeting the focus keyword, incorporating magnetic words in your headings can significantly enhance your content’s visibility and click-through rates. “Guide” and “How to” are two magnetic words that attract more organic traffic than others. Studies have shown that headings with “Guide” attract three times more organic traffic, while those with “How to” attract 1.5 times more.
By strategically including these magnetic words in your headings, you can capture the attention of users actively seeking comprehensive information or practical instructions. These words convey value and usefulness, compelling users to click on your content and explore further. Remember to deliver high-quality and relevant content that fulfills the promises made in your headings, as this builds credibility and encourages engagement.
In short: targeting the exact keyword through your H1, title, and URL is a vital SEO practice. By aligning these areas with your focus keyword and incorporating magnetic words, you enhance your content’s visibility, relevance, and click-through rates.
However, it’s crucial to maintain a balance between optimization and user-friendliness, ensuring your content provides genuine value to your audience. By following these strategies, you can drive organic traffic and boost your website’s performance in search engine rankings. Start implementing these techniques today and experience the benefits of effective keyword targeting and compelling headings.
Provide an FAQ Section With FAQ Schema
FAQs are an important aspect within search results. In almost every Google search query, the people also ask section is one of the top results. Providing an FAQ section somewhere on your page will add to your overall content and provide additional value to your readers that other sites are not doing. Furthermore, including FAQ schema with this strategy can increase your odds of producing a rich result, as shown below.
Here are some resources to get you started:
In the realm of search engine optimization (SEO), implementing an FAQ section with FAQ schema has emerged as a game-changing tactic. Let’s talk about the benefits of utilizing FAQ schema, empowering you to optimize your content and improve your chances of generating rich results.
FAQs hold immense value within search results, particularly through that “People also ask” section. By including an FAQ section on your webpage, you provide additional content and enhanced value to your readers, setting yourself apart from competitors. This user-friendly approach not only boosts your SEO efforts but also establishes your website as a reliable source of information.
Integrating an FAQ section offers several advantages that enhance user experience and encourage engagement. Firstly, it allows users to find concise answers to common questions quickly, saving them time and effort. By addressing their queries directly, you build trust and credibility, establishing yourself as an authoritative voice in your niche. Moreover, an FAQ section demonstrates your commitment to catering to your audience’s needs, resulting in improved user satisfaction and increased chances of repeat visits.
To further optimize your FAQ section and increase your odds of producing a rich result, it is essential to implement FAQ schema markup. FAQ schema provides structured data to search engines, enabling them to display your FAQs prominently in search results. This not only enhances your visibility but also makes your content more appealing and informative to users. Rich results, such as rich snippets and featured snippets, can significantly improve click-through rates and drive more organic traffic to your website.
To summarize this, here’s a step-by-step guide to maximize the impact of FAQ schema:
- Structured Formatting: Format your FAQ section using proper HTML tags, such as <dl> for the question and <dd> for the answer. This structured approach enables search engines to comprehend your content better.
- Relevant Questions and Answers: Include relevant and valuable questions that users frequently ask about your products, services, or industry. Craft concise and accurate answers that address these queries comprehensively.
- Schema Markup Implementation: Add the appropriate FAQ schema markup to each question and answer pair using JSON-LD or Microdata. This markup provides search engines with explicit information about the structure of your FAQs.
- Regular Updates: Keep your FAQ section up to date by adding new questions and answers as they arise. This demonstrates your commitment to staying current and provides fresh content for both users and search engines.
Incorporating an FAQ section with FAQ schema is a powerful SEO strategy that elevates your website’s visibility, user experience, and credibility. By providing valuable information in a user-friendly format, you differentiate yourself from competitors and establish authority within your industry. Leveraging FAQ schema markup further enhances your chances of generating rich results, driving organic traffic, and boosting click-through rates.
Implement these best practices, and watch as your website becomes a go-to resource for users seeking relevant and concise answers to their questions.
Utilize Image and Video Content on Each Article
Image and video content are among the most important aspects of your webpages. Articles that include 7 or more images garner 116% more traffic versus those that lack them. Additionally, articles with one video attract 83% more traffic than those without, and articles with three or more videos receive 55% more backlinks.
In the ever-evolving world of SEO, integrating image and video content has emerged as a crucial strategy for enhancing your webpages. By harnessing the power of images and videos, you can elevate your content and optimize your website’s SEO performance.
Image content plays a vital role in captivating your audience and improving user experience. Images not only enhance the visual appeal of your content but also break up text, making it easier to read and digest. Incorporating relevant and high-quality images within your articles engages users and encourages them to spend more time on your webpage, reducing bounce rates and signaling to search engines that your content is valuable.
Video content is a highly impactful medium that can significantly enhance your article’s performance. Articles that include at least one video experience an impressive 83% increase in traffic compared to those without videos. Videos provide an engaging and immersive experience for users, allowing them to consume information in a dynamic and visually appealing format. By incorporating videos that are relevant to your article’s topic, you capture the attention of users, increase their dwell time, and improve the overall user experience.
In addition to driving traffic, video content also plays a vital role in attracting valuable backlinks. The engaging nature of videos makes them highly shareable, encouraging other websites and content creators to link back to your article. These backlinks not only contribute to your website’s authority but also improve your search engine rankings, further increasing organic traffic.
To optimize the impact of image and video content in your articles, consider the following best practices:
- Relevance and Quality: Ensure that the images and videos you incorporate are relevant to your article’s topic and of high quality. This enhances the overall user experience and maintains the credibility of your content.
- Optimize File Sizes: Compress your images and videos to optimize loading times and prevent slow page speeds. Faster-loading pages improve user satisfaction and contribute to better search engine rankings.
- Captions and Alt Text: Provide descriptive captions and alt text for your images and videos, incorporating relevant keywords where appropriate. This helps search engines understand the context of your visuals and improves accessibility.
- Hosting and Embedding: Consider hosting your videos on reputable platforms like YouTube or Vimeo and embedding them on your website. This ensures optimal playback performance and provides an additional opportunity for your content to be discovered on these platforms.
Integrating image and video content into your articles is a powerful strategy for enhancing your website’s SEO performance. By incorporating visually appealing and relevant visuals, you can attract more traffic, increase engagement, and generate valuable backlinks.
Remember to optimize your images and videos, provide descriptive captions and alt text, and utilize reputable hosting and embedding platforms. Embrace the power of visuals and unlock the full potential of your content, taking your SEO efforts to new heights.
Create an In-Depth H Structure on Your Page
In the realm of search engine optimization (SEO), utilizing advanced headings (H2, H3, H4) has emerged as a powerful technique for enhancing the performance of your articles. By leveraging advanced headings, you can elevate your content and position it for success in search engine rankings.
Advanced headings play a pivotal role in improving the overall performance of your articles. Research indicates that 47% of articles that incorporate advanced headings (H2, H3, H4) belong to the top group of performing organic content. These headings provide a clear structure and hierarchy to your content, making it easier for both search engines and users to understand and navigate. By organizing your article into logical sections, you enhance readability, engagement, and ultimately, your website’s visibility in search results.
Conversely, articles that lack an H2 heading often experience lower performance. Statistics reveal that 39% of such articles fall into the lower-performing category. Without an H2 heading, your content may appear disorganized and less informative, potentially leading to reduced user engagement and lower search engine rankings. Incorporating an H2 heading signals the relevance and structure of your content, enabling search engines to better comprehend and categorize your article.
Structured content consistently outperforms unstructured content across the board. Incorporating a clean and in-depth heading structure ensures that your article is organized, comprehensive, and user-friendly. Structured content enhances readability, allows users to scan and find relevant information quickly, and improves overall user experience. Search engines value structured content, as it facilitates the indexing and categorization of your article, increasing its visibility in search results.
To optimize the impact of advanced headings in your articles, consider the following best practices:
- Utilize H2, H3, and H4 Headings: Incorporate a logical hierarchy of headings to divide your content into sections. Use H2 headings for major sections, H3 headings for subtopics, and H4 headings for further subheadings. This creates a clear and organized structure for your article.
- Keyword Relevance: Ensure that your headings accurately reflect the content within each section. Incorporate relevant keywords where appropriate to signal the focus of each section and improve search engine visibility.
- Consistency and Formatting: Maintain consistency in your heading structure throughout your article. Follow proper HTML formatting, such as using the appropriate heading tags (<h2>, <h3>, <h4>), to ensure search engines correctly interpret the hierarchy of your content.
- Comprehensive Content: Each heading should introduce and summarize the section it represents. Craft well-written and informative content within each section, addressing the topic in-depth and providing valuable insights to your readers.
Incorporating advanced headings (H2, H3, H4) in your articles is a crucial SEO practice for improving organic performance. Structured content that utilizes a clean and in-depth heading structure outperforms unstructured content. By incorporating a logical hierarchy of headings, you enhance the readability, engagement, and search engine visibility of your articles. Embrace the power of advanced headings, adhere to best practices, and watch as your content rises to the top of search engine rankings, attracting more organic traffic and boosting your overall SEO success.
Create Long Form Content
Long form content is another great strategy in SEO. Google is looking for the most holistic piece of content that answers the most amount of queries. That is why it is important to include an in-depth header structure and FAQ because these strategies encourage long-form content.
Long-form content has emerged as a highly effective strategy for capturing search engine attention and engaging audiences. By incorporating an elaborate header structure, leveraging FAQs, and increasing word count, you can amplify your SEO efforts, attract more traffic, and enhance social sharing.
Long-form content aligns with Google’s goal of providing holistic answers to user queries. By offering detailed and comprehensive information, you increase the likelihood of satisfying user intent and improving search engine rankings. Google favors content that thoroughly covers a topic, as it provides value and meets the needs of users seeking in-depth knowledge. Embracing long-form content allows you to position yourself as an authoritative source and enhance your website’s overall SEO performance.
An integral component of long-form content is a well-structured header hierarchy. In-depth header structures, including H2, H3, and H4 headings, break down the content into logical sections, making it easier for search engines and readers to navigate. Properly structured headers not only enhance readability but also signal the relevance and organization of your content to search engines. By utilizing a comprehensive header structure, you improve the overall user experience and optimize your content for improved search engine visibility.
Incorporating FAQs within your long-form content provides additional value to both users and search engines. FAQs address specific questions that readers may have, offering concise and relevant answers within your article. By including an FAQ section, you demonstrate a thorough understanding of your audience’s needs and establish yourself as a reliable source of information. This encourages longer dwell times on your page and enhances the chances of satisfying user intent, leading to improved SEO performance.
Word count plays a significant role in the success of long-form content. Articles with 3,000 words or more receive a staggering 138% more traffic compared to articles with 500 words or fewer. Long-form content allows you to provide in-depth analysis, comprehensive insights, and valuable information that attracts and engages readers.
Furthermore, shorter articles with only 500 words tend to have lower social sharing rates, with 78% of them receiving minimal shares. By investing in extensive word count, you increase the chances of capturing readers’ attention, encouraging social sharing, and expanding your online reach.
When creating long-form content, it is crucial to focus on delivering value and meeting the intent of your readers. Rather than solely aiming for a specific word count, prioritize offering comprehensive and actionable information that fulfills user needs. Consider the various aspects and perspectives related to the topic, addressing common queries and providing insightful solutions. By understanding and catering to user intent, you enhance the overall quality and effectiveness of your content, further solidifying your SEO success.
Creating long-form content is a powerful strategy for boosting your website’s SEO performance. By incorporating comprehensive header structures, leveraging FAQs, and increasing word count, you provide value to your audience, attract more traffic, and encourage social sharing. Embrace the opportunity to deliver in-depth insights and address a wide range of user queries.
By focusing on quality, relevance, and meeting user intent, you establish yourself as an authoritative source in your industry and optimize your website for long-term SEO success.
Create Unique Infographics
In the digital landscape, where competition is fierce, finding unique ways to differentiate your website is essential. Personalized infographics offer a powerful solution to stand out from your competitors. Let’s talk about the significance of infographics in setting yourself apart and provides insights into tastefully placing your logo and utilizing free tools like Canva.
By incorporating personalized infographics, you can create visually engaging content that captivates users and captures the attention of search engine crawlers, ultimately boosting your website’s visibility and distinguishing your brand.
Personalized infographics provide a creative and compelling visual element that sets your website apart from the competition. By crafting infographics that align with your brand’s identity, you create a unique and memorable experience for your audience. Infographics have the power to convey complex information in a visually appealing and easily digestible format, enhancing user engagement and understanding. This distinctive approach to presenting information helps establish your brand as a leader in your industry.
Strategic placement of your logo within your infographics reinforces brand recognition and strengthens your brand identity. Placing your logo tastefully in the top left corner or another prominent location ensures it is easily visible to users. This not only enhances brand visibility but also helps users associate the valuable information provided in the infographic with your website and brand. Additionally, search engine crawlers recognize your logo, facilitating better identification and association of your content with your brand.
Creating visually appealing infographics doesn’t have to be complex or time-consuming. Free tools like Canva.com offer an intuitive platform that enables you to quickly and easily design professional-looking graphics for your articles. With Canva’s user-friendly interface and pre-designed templates, you can customize colors, fonts, and layouts to align with your brand’s identity. This empowers you to create eye-catching infographics without the need for graphic design expertise or expensive software, saving you time and resources.
Infographics play a crucial role in increasing user engagement with your articles. Visual content, such as infographics, breaks up textual information, providing a visually stimulating experience for readers. By incorporating infographics within your articles, you create an immersive and interactive environment that encourages users to spend more time on your website. This increased engagement sends positive signals to search engines, indicating that your content is valuable and relevant, potentially improving your search rankings.
To maximize the SEO benefits of infographics, consider the following best practices:
- Relevance and Information: Ensure your infographics provide valuable and relevant information to your target audience. Address common queries and provide insights that resonate with your readers.
- Keyword Optimization: Incorporate relevant keywords in the infographic’s title, headings, and alt text. This helps search engines understand the context and relevance of your graphic, increasing its visibility in search results.
- Shareability: Include social sharing buttons with your infographics, making it easy for users to share them on social media platforms. This amplifies the reach of your content, driving more traffic to your website.
Creating personalized infographics is a potent strategy to set yourself apart from competitors and enhance your website’s visibility. By tastefully placing your logo and utilizing free tools like Canva, you can effortlessly create visually stunning graphics for each article.
Infographics captivate users, foster engagement, and contribute to improved SEO performance. Embrace the power of personalized infographics to elevate your website above the competition and leave a lasting impression on your audience.
Create a table of contents at the top of the page.
Creating a table of contents at the top of your page is highly beneficial for SEO purposes for your blog. It provides several advantages that contribute to a better user experience, improved readability and scannability, enhanced SEO structure, targeted keyword optimization, increased chances of featured snippets, and improved internal linking and site structure.
A table of contents offers a clear and organized overview of your content, allowing users to navigate directly to the sections they find most interesting. This improves the user experience, keeping visitors on your page longer and reducing bounce rates, which can positively impact your search engine rankings. Blogs often contain lengthy articles with multiple sections, and a table of contents enables readers to quickly scan the content and locate the specific information they need.
In terms of SEO, search engine crawlers rely on well-structured pages to understand the content and relevance of a webpage. By providing a table of contents, you help search engines identify the main sections and subtopics covered in your blog post, aiding in properly indexing and categorizing your content. Additionally, incorporating targeted keywords in the table of contents and optimizing anchor text can further improve your search engine rankings.
Moreover, a well-structured table of contents increases the likelihood of your content being featured in rich snippets, which are prominent search results that provide concise answers to user queries. By providing a clear and organized overview of your content, you enhance the chances of your blog post being considered for featured snippets, ultimately driving more organic traffic to your site.
Furthermore, a table of contents facilitates internal linking, allowing you to connect different sections of your blog post. This internal linking is essential for search engines to understand the hierarchical structure of your website and the interconnections between pages and content. By linking to relevant sections within your blog post, you improve the overall site structure and make it easier for both users and search engines to navigate your content.
In conclusion, incorporating a table of contents at the top of your page brings numerous SEO benefits. It improves the user experience, enhances readability and scannability, aids search engine crawlers in understanding your content, allows for targeted keyword optimization, increases the chances of being featured in rich snippets, and enhances internal linking and site structure. By utilizing a table of contents, you can optimize your blog for better search engine visibility, attracting more organic traffic and establishing a strong online presence.
Include an E-A-T section.
If you are unfamiliar with E-A-T, this acronym stands for expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness. E-A-T is one of the many guidelines Google uses to determine whether your content is valuable to readers and whether or not it should rank well.
To explain this topic more thoroughly, here is a helpful article from Semrush that provides a lot of great details and insight.
A strategy to improve your EAT is by adding a small section to the bottom of your page that is dedicated to your expertise and credibility, like my example right here:
To enhance your EAT (Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness) and improve the credibility of your website, implementing a dedicated section at the bottom of your page that highlights your expertise is a valuable strategy. By adhering to Google’s guidelines and focusing on EAT, you increase the chances of your content ranking well and providing value to readers.
The concept of E-A-T has become increasingly important in search engine optimization. Google utilizes E-A-T as a criterion to evaluate the quality and relevance of content. Websites that demonstrate expertise in their respective fields, exhibit authoritativeness, and establish trustworthiness are more likely to rank higher in search engine results pages.
Including a dedicated section that emphasizes your expertise and credibility is a practical way to boost your EAT. This section should highlight your qualifications, professional experience, certifications, awards, and any other relevant credentials that establish you as an expert in your field. It is an opportunity to demonstrate to your audience and search engines that you possess the necessary knowledge and proficiency to provide valuable information.
When creating this section, consider the following SEO optimization strategies:
- Concise and Informative: Craft a concise yet informative section that clearly communicates your expertise. Use language that is easily understandable to both experts and laypeople. Provide a brief overview of your qualifications and highlight specific areas of expertise relevant to the content on the page.
- Structured Format: Organize the section in a structured format, using headings or bullet points to present information clearly. This enhances readability and makes it easier for search engine crawlers to identify and interpret the content.
- Relevant Keywords: Incorporate relevant keywords related to your expertise throughout the section. This helps search engines understand the context and relevance of your content, improving the chances of ranking for relevant search queries.
- Back up Claims: If possible, include links to external sources or references that support your expertise and credentials. This adds credibility and demonstrates that your claims are backed by reputable sources.
- Testimonials or Client Examples: If applicable, include testimonials or examples from satisfied clients or customers. This further enhances your credibility and provides social proof of your expertise.
Remember, E-A-T is not just about showcasing your expertise; it also emphasizes authoritativeness and trustworthiness. To further strengthen your EAT, consider incorporating elements such as:
- Author Bio: Include a brief bio or author profile that highlights your background, experience, and expertise. This adds a personal touch and establishes you as a credible author.
- Trust Signals: Display trust signals such as certifications, affiliations with reputable organizations, client logos, or industry awards. These signals instill confidence in your audience and contribute to your overall credibility.
By implementing a dedicated section that emphasizes your expertise and credibility, you enhance your EAT and improve the overall quality of your content. This strategy aligns with Google’s guidelines, increasing the likelihood of your content being recognized as valuable and ranking well in search engine results.
By focusing on E-A-T, you not only improve your website’s visibility but also provide users with trustworthy and authoritative information that meets their needs.
SEO Tips & Tricks
Here is some great information found from Semrush’s Anatomy of Organic Traffic article.
Each of these bullet points are great ways to improve content.
- Articles with 3K words or more receive 138% more traffic than articles with 500 words or fewer. In the same vein, 78% of 500-word articles have not been shared. The key, however, is to cover the topic fully and to consider the intent of the reader.
- 47% of articles with advanced headings (H2 + H3 + H4) are in the top group of performing organic content. In contrast, 39% of articles that lack an H2 are lower performing. Structured content performs better across the board, so it is always in your article’s best interest to have a clean and in-depth H structure.
- Articles with one or two lists per 500 words garner 68% more organic traffic than those that don’t. I would recommend including list form content in any future article to take advantage of this metric.
- Articles that include 7 or more images garner 116% more traffic versus those that lack them. Additionally, articles with one video attract 83% more traffic than those without, and articles with three or more videos receive 55% more backlinks.
- “Guide” and “How to” are magnetic words for headings. They attract 3 and 1.5 times more organic traffic than others, respectively
The SEO landscape has evolved significantly over the years, and it continues to change in 2023. While traditional SEO practices like targeting keywords and optimizing meta descriptions remain important, the focus has shifted towards delivering high-quality content and providing a great user experience.
Targeting the exact keyword through H1, title, and URL is crucial for higher search rankings. However, it’s important to prioritize readability and user experience while avoiding keyword stuffing. Incorporating magnetic words in headings, such as “Guide” and “How to,” can attract more organic traffic.
Utilizing an FAQ section with FAQ schema is a game-changing tactic. It provides additional value to readers and improves search engine visibility. By structuring FAQs with proper formatting, relevant questions and answers, and schema markup implementation, publishers can enhance user experience and generate rich results.
Image and video content play a vital role in enhancing articles. Including relevant visuals improves engagement and user experience, while videos attract more traffic and backlinks. Optimization of file sizes, captions, alt text, and hosting/embedding platforms further enhances the impact of image and video content.
Creating an in-depth H structure with advanced headings (H2, H3, H4) improves article performance. Well-structured headings provide a clear hierarchy, making it easier for search engines and users to understand and navigate the content. Consistency, keyword relevance, and comprehensive content within each section are important considerations.
Long-form content has become a powerful strategy in SEO. Google values comprehensive content that answers user queries, making it crucial to incorporate in-depth header structures, FAQs, and increase word count. Long-form content establishes authority, satisfies user intent, and improves search engine rankings.
By implementing these best practices, publishers can optimize their SEO efforts in 2023 and drive organic traffic to their websites. Embracing the evolving SEO landscape and focusing on delivering high-quality content will lead to improved visibility, engagement, and success in search engine rankings.
These tips and best practices will continue to change, and in most cases it’s the publishers who are flexible, agile, and open to change who see the most success.