SEO Best Practices Guide

SEO Best Practices Guide
Article by Bisera Stankovska
Last Updated: February 15, 2024

Effective search engine optimization (SEO) practices can improve your website's visibility and increase organic traffic. With proper optimization, you could gain potential customers and revenue, while without a solid SEO strategy, your website will hardly live up to its full potential.

There are ten SEO best practices you should implement to improve your website's search engine ranking, from keyword research and content creation to on-page optimization and link building. Let’s dive in!

1. What Are SEO Best Practices?

SEO best practices are strategies used to optimize websites for search engines and users to increase visibility, traffic, and engagement, as well as improve user experience (UX).

Some of the most common SEO practices include keyword research, interlinking, backlinking, optimizing website loading speed, making it responsive on all devices, and monitoring results.

Agency description goes here
Agency description goes here
Agency description goes here

2. Find the Right Keywords for Your Niche

Keyword research helps identify the words and phrases people use to search for information, products, or services related to your business. Knowing which keywords to target optimizes your website's content and improves your chances of ranking higher in SERPs.

To conduct keyword research, follow these simple steps:

  • Brainstorm a list of potential keywords that describe your business, products, or services. Your potential customers may think of those words, too.
  • Use keyword research tools like Google Keyword Planner, SEMrush, or Ahrefs to find related keywords and their search volume.
  • Using the same tools, analyze the competition to discover which keywords they rank for.

If you're new in the industry, choose long-tail over short-tail keywords, as they are easier to rank for and bring more qualified leads. Choose the most relevant keywords and incorporate them into your website's content.

3. Mention the Primary Keyword Early in The Article

Mentioning the target keyword early in the content can improve the relevance and visibility of the page for the given keyword.

When search engine crawlers go through a page, they gauge the content’s relevance based on various signals, including the text on the page. By placing the target keyword near the beginning of the content, you are signaling the page’s topic to search engines, which can help it rank higher in search results for that keyword.

On the user side, when someone searches for a particular keyword, they are more likely to click on a result that includes it in the title or earlier in the content, as this confirms the page is relevant to their search query.

Include the target keyword in the following:

  • Page title
  • Meta description
  • The first paragraph of the content

However, avoid over-optimizing or stuffing the keyword unnaturally, as this can harm UX and the page's ranking potential.

4. Publish High-quality Content

Good content can improve your website's authority, engagement, and relevance, important factors that search engines consider when ranking pages.

When you publish original and insightful content that provides value to your audience, you establish your brand as an expert in your industry. Consequently, that builds trust and credibility with your audience, which brings higher engagement, backlinks, and social shares.

Also, if users find your content useful, they're more likely to spend more time on your website exploring other pages and return for more content in the future.

Lastly, copying someone else's content is not good SEO practice; it can harm your website's authority, engagement, and relevance. Search engines may penalize your website for duplicate content, resulting in lower rankings, reduced visibility, and users losing trust in your brand.

5. Interlink Your Content

When you interlink pages within your website, you create a logical and intuitive structure that allows users to navigate between pages and find relevant information easily. This way, you improve the overall UX and reduce bounce rates typically caused by user frustration.

Interlinking pages with relevant anchor text helps users discover related content they may be interested in, which increases their engagement and time on site. Interlinks with appropriate and descriptive anchor text also help search engines understand the context and relevance of each page within your website, which can increase rankings on SERPs.

Here are some best practices for interlinking in 2024:

  • Use relevant, descriptive anchor text that accurately describes the linked page's content.
  • Refrain from having too many interlinks.
  • Don't interlink to irrelevant pages because you will harm the UX. Users will feel betrayed if your link misleads them.
  • Regularly review and update interlinks to align with your content strategy and user needs.

6. Build Valuable Backlinks

When other websites link to yours, it can signal to search engines your website is an authoritative and trustworthy source of information. The website that passes you link juice helps you increase your website's domain authority and improve your rankings.

Users who click on a backlink to your website are referred from the linking website to yours, which increases your website's referral traffic and potentially leads to new leads or customers.

When building backlinks, you could be tempted to make as much as possible, but remember to focus on quality over quantity. Here are some backlinking best practices:

  • Aim for backlinks from authoritative and relevant websites in your industry or niche, including websites with high domain authority, popular blogs, news sites, and social media influencers.
  • Avoid acquiring backlinks from spammy or low-quality websites, as these can harm your website's reputation and potentially result in a penalty from search engines.
  • Regularly monitor and analyze your backlink profile to identify any potential issues or opportunities for improvement.
Looking for the best SEO companies?

7. Optimize Images

Optimizing images can reduce file size without ruining image quality, improve website speed, and, thus, reduce bounce rates caused by slow loading. Optimized images that load quickly can improve the overall UX. Satisfied users usually engage more and spend more time on the site, which sends search engines positive signals that your website provides a positive UX.

Descriptive file names and alt text are also an important part of image optimization, helping search engines understand the context and relevance of the image. Having descriptive and relevant file names and alt texts can improve search engine visibility and accessibility.

To optimize images for SEO, follow these practices:

  • Compress images to reduce file size.
  • Use file names and alt text that accurately describe the image’s content and context.
  • Use the appropriate image file format. For example, JPEGs are best for photographs, while PNGs are best for graphics and illustrations.
  • Resize images to the appropriate dimensions.

8. Ensure the Website is Responsive

Responsive design provides a consistent and easy-to-use interface across all devices, which increases engagement, and reduces bounce rates.

Google has moved to mobile-first indexing, which means that the search engine primarily uses the mobile version of a website for indexing and ranking purposes.

Responsive design can also improve website speed, an important ranking factor for search engines. You can optimize website load times and reduce bounce rates by designing a responsive website for different devices.

9. Improve the Website’s Loading Speed

More than 53% of users abandon websites that take more than 3 seconds to load. Therefore, a good website loading speed should be 2.5 seconds or less.

Slow loading times can frustrate users and lead to higher bounce rates, negatively impacting UX and engagement. Loading speed is an important factor for search engines, and slow-loading websites fall on rankings, which negatively impacts visibility and traffic.

To improve website loading speed:

  • Optimize images.
  • Minimize HTTP requests.
  • Use a content delivery network (CDN) to distribute content quickly across multiple servers worldwide.
  • Use caching to store frequently accessed data in a temporary storage area.

Loading speed can vary depending on website complexity, design, user device, and internet connection. Regularly monitor website loading speed and adjust to provide the best possible UX and improve search engine rankings.

10. Monitor Results

Analyze your website's SEO performance and visitors using free or affordable tools like Moz, Ahrefs, SEMRush, and Google Analytics. These tools will provide you with various information, such as the devices visitors use to browse, their geographical location, and how much time they spend on each page.

11. Be Patient

SEO doesn't produce immediate results — it takes time and patience. Depending on your niche, seeing the full benefits of your SEO efforts can take months or even years. Still, once you achieve results, assuming you'll continue working on your SEO strategy, they’ll be long-lasting.

12. SEO Best Practices - Final Thoughts

Implementing the best SEO practices can help improve your website's visibility, traffic, and engagement. Each of the abovementioned practices is important. Done separately, they may improve some aspects of your website, but together, they will refine your overall online presence.

Reading about the best SEO tactics can be confusing, but practicing them and measuring the success of your efforts can be much more challenging. If you need help on any part of your SEO journey, don't hesitate to contact some of the best SEO agencies we listed for you.

13. SEO Best Practices FAQs

1. What are the benefits of SEO?

The benefits of SEO include the following:

  • Increased website traffic
  • Improved user experience
  • Higher brand credibility
  • Better conversion rates
  • Enhanced visibility and ranking
  • Long-term marketing strategy
  • Cost-effectiveness
  • Competitive advantage
  • Mobile-friendliness
  • Access to customer data and insights

What are some common best SEO practices?

Some of the common best SEO practices include:

  • Finding the right keywords
  • Mentioning them early in the content
  • Publishing high-quality posts
  • Interlinking
  • Building quality backlinks
  • Optimizing images
  • Ensuring responsiveness
  • Improving the website’s loading speed
  • Monitoring outcomes
  • Being patient because SEO doesn’t provide instant results!
We’ll find qualified SEO agencies for your project, for free.
Subscribe to Spotlight Newsletter
Subscribe to our newsletter to get the latest industry news