Is the World Wide Web still the Wild Wild West for SEO marketers? During the early days of the internet, SEO felt a bit like an untamed frontier, with many SEO professionals trying to trick Google into pushing their prospects to the top. These days, however, Google and subject matter experts have published guidelines and best practices for SEO that make it easier to formulate an effective SEO strategy.
A good SEO strategy can help you create, maintain, and market a site that Google understands well enough to rank highly. So, what should your SEO strategy consist of? SEO is often divided into three pillars: technical, content, and authority, all of which are crucial elements for improving search performance and organic results.
Let’s look at some tips to consider for your SEO strategy in 2024 as you build on these pillars.
SEO Strategy Pillar #1: Technical SEO
Speedy to the Core
Google’s Core Web Vitals are an important ranking factor, here to stay, and likely to keep evolving. Sites should be mindful of each page experience signal, including Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) and Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS)—without jeopardizing user experience. But there’s a change coming in 2024: starting in March, Interaction to Next Paint (INP) will replace First Input Delay (FID) as a Core Web Vital. First Input Delay (FID) only accounts for a user’s first interaction, whereas INP considers all page interactions.
To analyze and improve your Core Web Vital scores, visit the Core Web Vitals tab in Google Search Console or run your site through Page Speed Insights and follow the recommendations provided.
If your sitemap directs crawlers to thousands of low-quality pages, search engines interpret these pages as a sign that your website is probably not one people will want to visit—even if they are necessary pages, such as login pages.
Instead, use your sitemap to direct bots to the most important pages on your site. Before listing every single page on your site, consider the intended role of your sitemap:
- To ensure that new content is discovered quickly and obscure content is eventually found: A smaller sitemap containing only recently updated pages could be checked more frequently by Google.
- Do you use sitemaps to debug indexing issues in Google Search Console and for hreflang? You’ll need an exhaustive sitemap listing every page.
SEO Strategy Pillar #2: Content
An easy way to create great content consistently
The relationship between good content and SEO is the web’s greatest love story. They go hand-in-hand, work together, and benefit from each other. You’ll want this power couple in your corner for ongoing organic success. It’s essential to create content that hits the mark and keeps site visitors coming back. So, how can you do this? Create a content strategy that caters to the needs, wants, and interests of your target audience.
Content creation is time-consuming, but there are ways of making your content work harder for you, such as revisiting and relaunching your most successful pieces. Instead of rushing to create your next infographic, eBook, or blog post, spend some time updating your top content with new information, media, statistics, or research, and recirculate it to keep gaining traction. For example, we’ve just updated this piece you’re currently reading (originally published in 2022) with some updated info for 2024. While you’re at it, repurpose your SEO content for email marketing, too.
Also, make sure you’re monitoring Google Search Console data regularly. You can gain a wealth of information that will inform your content strategy, including:
- Search queries driving traffic to your site
- Search queries for which your site ranks but doesn’t get clicks
- Most popular organic search landing pages
Understanding the queries that are—and aren’t—driving traffic to your site will help you come up with new ways to answer users’ questions and generate business leads.
Take a look at those title tags
Another top tip for 2024 is to pay renewed attention to your title tags, which are the titles that appear in search engine results pages, like this:
In 2021, Google began implementing title tag rewrites to remove fluff and make title tags more direct. You can’t stop these rewrites from happening, but you should note Google’s preferences so that you can rewrite and create new title tags that make a good first impression.
A few don’ts:
- Don’t make title tags too long
- Don’t stuff them with keywords
- Don’t use repetitive or boilerplate language
- Don’t neglect to add and optimize page titles
While you’re at it, make sure that your meta-descriptions (the descriptions below the titles) are also clear, enticing, of the correct length (160 characters max), and contain target keywords in a natural way. Remember that these are read by humans, too!
Make your posts easy to read
Who likes to read big chunks of text? Not me! I usually like to scan and draw out the most pertinent or applicable points of the article I’m reading. Here are some formatting tactics to enhance the readability (and thus the popularity) of your content.
- Break up lengthy paragraphs
- Vary sentence lengths
- Use sub-headings to enable readers to quickly scan and grasp the content of your article
- Use bullet points (like this list) when listing three or more items
- Incorporate white space
- Intersperse your content with relevant media like photos, videos, and graphs
SEO Strategy Pillar #3: Authority
Link building is an off-page SEO tactic, which means that SEO marketers have less control over this important factor. Nevertheless, link building remains essential for building website authority and improving rankings. Again, great content is the perfect pairing for your link-building efforts. When you create content that appeals to those who come across it, they’re more likely to find it credible enough to link back to it on their own sites.
Content that people love linking back to includes:
- Unique, valuable, authoritative articles and infographics that contain original research and data
- Pieces that curate resources by compiling related research into one place
- Content that is geared toward beginners who may be searching for how-to information
While we’re on the topic of linking, remember to use an internal linking strategy to pass and distribute the value of your backlinks to your pages and help users navigate to the content most relevant for them. See the hyperlinks in this blog post? That’s internal linking at work.
Leading SEO from pillar to post
Taking charge of your SEO efforts need not become an overwhelming task. The team at Brighter Messaging are on hand to offer digital marketing support that serves your SEO and gets your business noticed in 2024 and beyond. Get in touch to learn more.
We know that a lot of small businesses don’t know where to start when it comes to SEO, so we’ve created a free eBook: 5 Things Your Small Business Can Do Right Now to Improve SEO. This free eBook contains five actionable things that you can do right now to start improving your website authority and ranking. The book also includes a checklist you can use to keep you on track and manage your progress.
Originally published in May of 2022. Updates added on September 25, 2023.