Organic search performance (SEO) on Google

Building a great organic search strategy is critical for improving your Google organic search rankings. The good news is that the fundamentals are easy to follow and even easier to implement to ensure you show up on the first page in Google search results.

organic search google

Content is king for improving your organic search and writing your content against these 10 best practices will help ensure your content, product and service are found when people are looking for them.

While there are lots of tricks for squeezing the last bit of Google SEO juice out of a page (such republishing old articles), we’re going to focus on the fundamentals:

1. Define a organic search keyword list

What are the key words that people will use when searching for your products and services? Start by writing out a list and then checking it against Google’s Keyword Planner. Google’s Keyword Planner is part of Google Adwords and while it was built to help you pick the right keywords for search ads, you can also use it to pick the right keywords for your organic content too.

Ad group examples for organic search

2. Write great content

While it might be easier to write troves and troves about how great your product or service is, it’s better to write content that helps potential customers. Help educate them on how to be more successful and they are more likely to turn to you for your expertise. Of course, great content has a higher likelihood of being shared as well!

3. Use Standard HTML

When Google indexes your content it is looking through the web page examining the HTML tags to understand what the page is about. Standard HTML tags, such as the header tags (<h1>, <h2>, etc.), should not only be used, but carefully written. Ideally each header should be no more than 70 characters.

4. Optimize page titles

Google considers the <title> HTML tag of your web page to be the second-most important SEO element of your page. A great page title should be descriptive, concise and include several of the keywords targeted for article. The closer the keywords are to the beginning of the title, the better.

5. Optimize the URL

The jury is still out as to how Google views the length of the URL, but it is important to consider what keywords are used and where they are placed. Keywords closer to the domain are considered more valuable than keywords farther from the domain. Additionally, you should use hyphens to separate words.

6. Be social

Building natural search rank requires that people link to your content. One of the best ways to get your content noticed is publishing it on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. However, but thoughtful of the intended audience: Twitter is great for sharing important news, best practices and highlights for both B2C and B2b brands. Facebook is great for content that is useful as a consumer – mostly for B2C brands. LinkedIn is perfect for sharing business articles and other topics that businesses (B2B) will care about.

7. Design for mobile

More than 50% of the web’s traffic is read on mobile devices! “In April of 2015 Google made mobile friendliness as a ranking signal.” If you aren’t optimizing your content for mobile devices you are likely losing search rank. Google also introduced AMP (Accelerated Mobile Page) as a way to write mobile optimized content so that it would load faster.

8. Use SSL (HTTPS) for all content

Similar to boosting mobile content, Google also has indicated that content served securely will receive a search boost.

Use keyword repetition and variation in page content – Creating relevant page content is still the best way to rank high, and a big part of content creation is your use of targeted keywords. Never repeat keywords too often at the expense of good writing, but you should repeat keywords in your content 2-3 times for short pages and 4-6 times for longer pages. Include important keywords in your first 50 words, since early placement can be a signal of relevance.

9. Signup for Google Webmaster Tools and Google Analytics

Both of these free tools will give you a better understand of how your pages are performing and where you can make improvements. Google Webmaster Tools will help you quickly identify problems with your site such as broken links. Google Analytics provides insights into how your traffic is being used.

10. Stay focused and create value

If you are attempting to optimize your SEO for a particular set of keywords you may consider writing multiple pages. Resist the temptation! Instead, stay focused on writing a single authoritative article that focuses on the keywords that are part of your organic SEO strategy. The ensures that organic results for a particular keyword aren’t competing for multiple pages within your website.