SEO best practices for 2022
If you are performing professional SEO for a real business, you are going to have to think like a Google Search Quality Rater AND a Google search engineer to provide real long-term value to a client.
When making a site for Google you really need to understand that Google has a long list of things it will mark sites down for, and that’s usually old-school tactics which are now classed as ‘webspam‘.
Conversely, sites that are not marked “low-quality” are not demoted and so will improve in rankings.
Sites with higher rankings often pick up more organic links, and this process can float high-quality pages on your site quickly to the top of Google.
So the sensible thing for any webmaster is to NOT give Google ANY reason to DEMOTE a site.
You need to tick all the boxes Google tells you to tick, so to speak.
Here are some accepted SEO best practices in 2022:
Use canonical link elements on web pages
QUOTE: “The canonical link element is extremely powerful and very important to include on your page. Every page on your site should have a canonical link element, even if it is self referencing. It’s an easy way to consolidate ranking signals from multiple versions of the same information. Note: Google will ignore misused canonicals given time.” Shaun Anderson, Hobo 2021
Check your website loads as fast as possible
QUOTE: “The mobile version of a website should ideally load in under 3 seconds and the faster the better. A VERY SLOW SITE can be a NEGATIVE Ranking factor. There is no set threshold or speed score to meet, just to make your page as fast as possible.” Shaun Anderson, Hobo 2021
Check your website is mobile-friendly
QUOTE: “There’s no best screen size to design for. Websites should transform responsively and fast on multiple resolutions on different browsers and platforms. Mobile-friendly and accessible. Design for your audience, first.” Shaun Anderson, Hobo 2021
Write descriptive title tags
QUOTE: “To maximise usability across devices, stick to a shorter concise title of between 50-60 characters. Expect Google to count up to 12 words maximum in a title element. There should only be one page title element on a page.” Shaun Anderson, Hobo 2021
Write descriptive alt tags
QUOTE: “Keep ALT Attribute text on web pages to between 80-125 characters maximum for accessibility purposes. Expect Google to count a maximum of 16 words (approximately 125+ characters) as part of your ALT text that will be a signal used to rank your page for a relevant query.” Shaun Anderson, Hobo 2021
Write descriptive meta description tags
QUOTE: “Create a 50-word (300 character) summary of your page using short sentences. Add it to article and repeat it in the meta description. Avoid repetition. Be succinct. Do not keyword stuff. Make meta tags unique to the page. Review your SERP snippet. Programmatically generate meta descriptions on larger sites.” Shaun Anderson, Hobo 2021
Write descriptive headings
QUOTE: “Heading tags have influence when it comes to ranking in Google. Though it doesn’t matter to Google, I stick to one ‘H1’ on the page and use headings ‘H2’, ‘H3′ were appropriate. Keep headings in order. Avoid using headings for design elements. Write naturally with keywords in Headings if relevant. Avoid keyword stuffing.” Shaun Anderson, Hobo 2021
Write descriptive URLs
QUOTE: “Keywords in URLS are a tiny ranking factor and user-friendly. Keep under 50 characters to display fully on desktop search. Long URLS are truncated. I use them on new sites. I avoid changing URLs on an otherwise perfectly functional website.” Shaun Anderson, Hobo 2021
Ignore keyword density
QUOTE: “There is no “best” keyword density. Write naturally and include the keyword phrase once or twice to rank in Google and avoid demotion. If you find you are repeating keyword phrases you are probably keyword stuffing your text.” Shaun Anderson, Hobo 2021
Avoid keyword stuffing
QUOTE: “Keyword stuffing is simply the process of repeating the same keyword or key phrases over and over in a page. It’s counterproductive. It’s is a signpost of a very low-quality spam site and is something Google clearly recommends you avoid.” Shaun Anderson, Hobo 2021
Use unambiguous dates
QUOTE: “The date should be unambiguous and easy to understand for maximum accessibility, hence why I always include the month in words rather than only numeric values. If I did rely only on numbers for dates I could end up displaying modification dates as 11/11/11.” Shaun Anderson, Hobo 2021
QUOTE: “DD/MM/YYYY is hard to misunderstand and it’s easy to parse.“. Gary Illyes, Google 2020
Fix broken links on your site
QUOTE: “Broken links are a waste of link power and could hurt your site, drastically in some cases, if a poor user experience is identified by Google. Google is a link based search engine – if your links are broken, you are missing out on the benefit you would get if they were not broken.” Shaun Anderson, Hobo 2020
Use descriptive anchor text links
QUOTE: “Internal link building is the art age-old of getting pages crawled and indexed by Google. ” Shaun Anderson, Hobo 2020
Use external links
QUOTE: “I regularly link out to other quality relevant pages on other websites where possible and where a human would find it valuable.” Shaun Anderson, Hobo 2020
Use nofollow links appropriately
QUOTE: “Google recommends that webmasters qualify outbound links so that these type of links do not artificially affect rankings. Simply: Use rel=”sponsored” or rel=”nofollow” for paid links. Use rel=”ugc” or rel=”nofollow” for user generated content links.” Shaun Anderson, Hobo 2021
Create accessible web pages
QUOTE: “It makes sense to create websites that are accessible to as many people as possible…. The W3c lay down the general guidelines for websites that most people adhere to.” Shaun Anderson, Hobo 2020
Get rich snippets
QUOTE: “Google Search works hard to understand the content of a page. You can help us by providing explicit clues about the meaning of a page to Google by including structured data on the page. Structured data is a standardized format for providing information about a page and classifying the page content; for example, on a recipe page, what are the ingredients, the cooking time and temperature, the calories, and so on.” Google Developer Guides, 2020
Test how your page works on different browsers
QUOTE: “Your website CAN’T look the same in ALL of these browsers, but if it looks poor in most of the popular browsers, then you might have a problem.” Shaun Anderson, Hobo 2020
For more information, read Hobo’s Professional search engine optimisation services next or Hobo’s How to get Google to crawl and index your entire site.