Best SEO Practices

Last updated


Daniel Wade


November 23, 2023

Key Takeaways

  • SEO is essential for improving a website's visibility and rankings on search engine results.
  • On-page and off-page SEO strategies are crucial components to enhance performance.
  • Effective linking contributes to better search engine ranking and increased organic traffic.

This article may contain affiliate links where we earn a commission from qualifying purchases.

Unlock the potential of your site with the best SEO practices: precise keyword optimization, site speed, mobile-friendliness, and quality backlinks.

The best SEO practices you should know are:

  • Title and meta descriptions
  • The use of images
  • Provision of proper content and keywords
  • Mobile optimization
  • Internal linking
  • Backlink building
  • Understanding user intent
  • Avoiding duplicate content
  • Incorporating user-friendly URLs, among others

With years of steering sites to the top of Google, I've learned this: SEO isn't just algorithms and keywords—it's understanding your audience. Let me guide you beyond the basics to where quality content and smart analytics translate to real growth.


Table of contents

Best On-Page SEO Practice

On-page SEO is crucial to help search engine crawlers understand your content and rank it accordingly in search engine results pages (SERPs). There are several factors to consider when optimizing your web pages, which we'll discuss in the following sub-sections.

1. Title and Meta Descriptions

The title tag is one of the essential on-page SEO elements that defines the title of a web page and appears in search results. Optimizing the title tag with relevant keywords can improve the search engine's ability to index the page correctly and improve its ranking in search engine results.

In addition to main keywords, include long-tail keywords and relevant phrases to match user intent. Meta descriptions are short summaries of your web page content that appear under the title in search results.

A well-crafted meta description may not directly impact rankings, but it can encourage users to click through to your page from search results. As Neil Patel notes, meta descriptions are important because search engines consider them when determining where pages should rank, and users rely on them to understand what pages are about before clicking.

While meta descriptions alone won't boost rankings, optimizing them can improve click-through rates which search engines then use as an indirect signal.

2. Using Images

Images are crucial for breaking up content and adding visual appeal to your web pages. However, search engines can't understand images like they do text. To improve SEO, use descriptive alt text for your images so crawlers can identify the content of your images, leading to better search engine rankings.

Also, choose image formats like WebP or PNG that offer better compression without compromising quality, and compress your images to reduce file size and improve page load times.

3. Content and Keywords

High-quality content is the foundation of all SEO best practices. Create engaging, informative, and easy-to-read sources describing your products, services, or expertise.

Use keyword research tools to find target keywords and base your content on answering user queries and demands. Sprinkle these keywords throughout your content to enhance its relevance without overstuffing.

4. Blog Posts and Videos

Keeping your users engaged is key to keeping them on your site longer, increasing their chances of converting. Publishing blog posts and videos that are interesting, informative, and relevant to your target audience helps boost your reputation and trust with search engines.

Additionally, these content formats can be optimized with keywords and semantic phrases to rank higher in search results.

5. Website Design

Your website's design, including its layout, color scheme, and navigation, has a significant impact on your SEO efforts. Search engines consider user experience (UX) a crucial ranking factor, so improving your site's design can result in better organic rankings.

Use tools like Google's Pagespeed Insights to identify areas to improve your site's loading speed, and consider implementing responsive designs, CDNs, and lazy loading for optimal performance on mobile devices.

6. Technical SEO

Technical SEO optimizes your site's structure and code to ensure search engine crawlers can efficiently navigate, index, and rank your web pages. To enhance your technical SEO, validate and correct your site's markup, improve URL structures, fix broken links, and optimize internal linking for better navigation.

Monitor your site's performance with Google Search Console to address any issues and implement SSL (HTTPS) for a secure browsing experience.

Optimizing your on-page SEO elements like title tags, meta descriptions, images, content, user experience, and technical aspects will contribute to better search engine rankings and, ultimately, increase organic traffic to your site.

7. Header Tags

Header tags denoted as H1, H2, H3, etc., are used to structure the content on your web pages. These tags help search engines understand the hierarchy and importance of different sections of your content.

  • H1 Tags: Typically, the H1 tag is reserved for the main page title or headline. It should contain your primary keyword and provide a clear indication of the page's topic.
  • H2 and Subsequent Tags: These tags are used for subheadings within your content. They help organize the content and indicate subsections. Including relevant keywords in these subheadings can improve SEO.
  • Semantic Structure: Properly nesting header tags (e.g., H2 within H1, H3 within H2) creates a semantic structure that makes it easier for search engines to interpret your content's hierarchy.

8. Internal Linking

This is the act of linking to other pages within your website from the current page. It serves multiple purposes, including improving SEO and enhancing user experience.

  • Relevant Anchor Text: Use descriptive and keyword-rich anchor text when linking to other pages. This helps both users and search engines understand the context of the linked content.
  • Establishing Hierarchies: Internal links can establish hierarchies and guide users through your site's structure. It also distributes link authority (PageRank) throughout your website.
  • Reducing Bounce Rate: Well-placed internal links can keep users engaged and encourage them to explore more of your content, reducing bounce rates.

9. Mobile Optimization

With the majority of internet traffic coming from mobile devices, it's crucial to ensure your website is mobile-friendly for both user experience and SEO.

  • Responsive Design: Implement a responsive web design that adapts seamlessly to different screen sizes and devices.
  • Mobile-First Indexing: Google primarily uses the mobile version of your website for indexing and ranking, so prioritize mobile optimization.
  • Page Speed: Optimize page loading times on mobile devices by minimizing large images, using efficient code, and leveraging browser caching.

10. User-Friendly URLs

Clean and user-friendly URLs not only make it easier for visitors to understand the content of a page but also contribute to better SEO.

  • Descriptive URLs: Create URLs that reflect the page's content. Avoid generic or cryptic URLs.
  • Keyword Inclusion: Include relevant keywords in your URLs, ideally near the beginning, to make them more SEO-friendly.
  • Hyphens and Avoiding Special Characters: Use hyphens to separate words in your URLs, as they are more readable than underscores or special characters. Keep URLs simple and avoid unnecessary parameters.

11. Core Web Vitals

Core Web Vitals are various metrics that Google uses to assess your website's speed and user experience.

Adhering to these benchmarks can help improve your site's search engine performance:

  • LCP: Measures the time it takes for the largest content element on the web page to load. Aim for an LCP of 2.5 seconds or less.
  • FID: Captures the time between a user's first interaction and the browser's response. Try to keep FID below 100 milliseconds.
  • CLS: Assesses the visual stability of the page during loading. Maintain a CLS score below 0.1.

Use tools like Google Search Console and PageSpeed Insights to evaluate your site's performance and identify areas for improvement.

12. Structured Data

Implementing structured data, or schema markup, can help search engines better understand your content and enhance your search listings. Adding structured data to your web pages can result in rich snippets, which are more visually appealing and informative search results.

Examples of structured data include rating stars, price information, or event details. Check out Google's Structured Data Testing Tool and for resources to help with implementing structured data.

13. Screen Readers and SEO

Ensuring your website is accessible to screen readers not only benefits users with visual impairments but can also improve your SEO.

Screen reader compatibility involves several elements, such as

  • Providing descriptive alt text for images.
  • Using semantic HTML tags.
  • Including descriptive text for links.

By making your website more accessible to screen readers, you improve the overall user experience, which can lead to better search engine rankings.

14. Audience and SEO

Understanding your target audience and creating content to satisfy their needs is crucial for successful SEO. Perform keyword research using tools like Google Keyword Planner and Moz Keyword Explorer to discover the most relevant search terms for your audience.

Create high-quality content that addresses your audience's search intent, concerns, and interests. Engaging content is more likely to be shared on social media and linked to by other websites, both of which can help improve your search engine rankings.

15. Visibility and SEO

Your site's visibility on search engines plays a significant role in determining the amount of organic traffic it receives.

Some ways to improve visibility include:

  • Submitting your website's XML sitemap to search engines like Google and Bing
  • Ensuring your website is mobile-friendly, as mobile search dominates today's search queries
  • Regularly monitoring your site's search console for errors, broken links, and crawling issues

By implementing these additional SEO best practices and focusing on your target audience's needs, you can improve your search engine rankings and increase organic traffic to your site.

Best Off-Page SEO Practice

Off-page SEO refers to the tactics and strategies that help improve your website's search engine ranking outside your site.

This includes building backlinks, understanding citations, focusing on user intent, and avoiding duplicate content. In this section, we'll dive into these crucial aspects and highlight their importance in achieving higher search engine rankings.

1. Building Backlinks

Backlinks are incoming links from other websites to yours. Acquiring high-quality backlinks is a powerful way to establish credibility and authority for your website.

These backlinks signal to search engines that your content is valuable and worth sharing. Some effective strategies for building backlinks include:

  • Guest posting on reputable websites
  • Developing shareable content (e.g., infographics, blog posts)
  • Building relationships with influencers and industry professionals

Remember, obtaining backlinks from credible, relevant sites will improve your off-page SEO efforts much more than links from low-quality sites.

2. Understanding Citations

Citations refer to mentioning your business name, address, and/or phone number (NAP) on other websites, such as business directories or social media profiles. Consistent and accurate citations help search engines validate the legitimacy of your business.

They also improve local SEO by proving to search engines that your business exists and operates in a specific location. Ensure your NAP information is consistent across all platforms to avoid confusion and potential negative impacts on your off-page SEO.

3. Importance of User Intent

User intent, or search intent, defines the purpose behind a user's search query. By understanding user intent, you can create and optimize content that matches what users seek, ultimately improving search engine rankings.

There are four main types of user intent:

  1. Informational: Users seek information on a specific topic or question.
  2. Navigational: Users want to find a specific website or page.
  3. Transactional: Users intend to complete a transaction or purchase.
  4. Commercial investigation: Users compare products or services before making a decision.

Identifying the intent behind users' search queries allows you to produce content that effectively addresses their needs, contributing to a better overall user experience.

4. Avoiding Duplicate Content

Duplicate content appears on the internet in more than one place, either on the same website or on different websites. Search engines can penalize websites with duplicate content, as it decreases relevancy and can negatively affect user experience.

To avoid duplicate content issues, make sure to:

  • Create unique, original content for your website
  • Use canonical tags to indicate the preferred version of a web page
  • Implement 301 redirects if necessary

5. Social Media Engagement

Engaging with a diverse range of social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn is essential for off-page SEO. By sharing valuable content like blog posts, images, videos, and infographics, you can not only increase your online visibility but also drive traffic to your website.

Building a loyal community of followers and regularly interacting with them can boost brand loyalty and establish your website's authority in your industry.

6. Online Reputation Management

Managing your online reputation is crucial for maintaining a positive brand image. Monitor online reviews and ratings closely, responding promptly to both positive and negative feedback.

Consistently publish positive and informative content about your brand to counteract any negative press and bolster your online presence. Building relationships with media outlets and influencers can also help shape and improve your brand's image.

7. Guest Blogging

Guest blogging is a powerful off-page SEO strategy. By collaborating with authoritative websites in your niche, you can contribute valuable content and include backlinks to your website.

This not only expands your reach but also showcases your expertise and builds credibility. It's a strategic way to acquire high-quality backlinks from reputable sources.

8. Influencer Outreach

Partnering with influencers can significantly impact your off-page SEO efforts. Identify influencers in your industry with substantial followings and engage your target audience.

Collaborate on content creation, such as reviews, interviews, or endorsements, to gain exposure to their audience. Ensure that these partnerships align with your brand values for authentic endorsements.

9. Forum Participation

Engaging in online forums and communities that cater to your niche is another valuable off-page SEO tactic. Find forums where your target audience discusses topics related to your industry or products.

Participate by offering helpful solutions, advice, and insights, positioning yourself as an industry authority. Use forums to strategically share links to your content or website when relevant, but always prioritize providing value over self-promotion.

Off-page SEO is essential for improving website rankings and visibility. By building quality backlinks, maintaining accurate citations, understanding user intent, and avoiding duplicate content, your website will be better positioned to rank higher in search results and attract more organic traffic.

Best Linking Strategies for SEOs

In search engine optimization (SEO), having a solid linking strategy is vital for achieving higher search engine rankings and organic traffic. In this section, we will discuss internal linking, understanding indexing, and related searches and SEO.

1. Internal Linking

Internal linking refers to creating hyperlinks within a website that connect one page to another. These links are essential for improving user experience, site navigation, and establishing a hierarchy of information within a website.

Some of the best practices for internal linking include using descriptive keywords in anchor text and linking relevant pages to each other. This not only helps users find related content but also helps search engines crawl and index your site more efficiently (Moz).

2. Understanding Indexing

Indexing is the process through which search engines record and store information about web pages in their database. When a page is indexed, it becomes eligible to appear in search engine results pages (SERPs) for relevant queries.

Ensuring your site is properly indexed involves adhering to SEO best practices, creating high-quality content, and using internal links. Additionally, using tools like Google Search Console can help monitor your site's indexing status and resolve any issues that might be preventing proper indexing.

3. Related Searches and SEO

Related searches are the suggestions at the bottom of a search engine results page, offering users additional queries to explore. These suggestions are based on search intent, user behavior, and semantic relationships between keywords (Semrush).

Optimizing your content to cater to related searches can help improve your site's visibility in search engine results, demonstrating that your content is relevant to a wider range of topics and queries.

To take advantage of related searches for SEO, it's crucial to conduct comprehensive keyword research and identify long-tail variations of your main keyword. Creating high-quality content that addresses multiple related search queries will not only boost your site's relevancy but also improve user engagement and click-through rate.

4. Backlink Building

Backlink building is a crucial strategy in SEO. It involves getting other reputable websites to link back to your site. These incoming links, also known as backlinks, serve as a vote of confidence in the quality and relevance of your content.

Search engines like Google consider backlinks as a signal of authority and trustworthiness. High-quality backlinks from authoritative sources can significantly boost your website's rankings in search results.

5. Social Media Sharing

Social media sharing is another effective linking strategy for SEO. By sharing your website's content on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest, you can increase its visibility and reach a broader audience.

While social media links themselves may not directly impact your search engine rankings, the increased traffic and engagement they generate can lead to more natural backlinks and improved brand recognition, which can, in turn, enhance your SEO efforts.

6. Guest Blogging

This revolves around writing and providing high-quality, informative articles for other websites in your niche or industry. In exchange for your content, you typically get a byline with a link back to your site.

This is essential in building backlinks and also establishing yourself as an authority in your field. To make the most of guest blogging, choose reputable websites that align with your niche and focus on producing valuable, original content that resonates with your audience.

7. Broken Link Building

Broken link building is a white-hat SEO technique that involves identifying broken or outdated links on other websites in your industry and reaching out to the website owners or administrators to suggest replacing those links with links to your relevant content.

This strategy not only helps you secure valuable backlinks but also aids webmasters in maintaining the quality of their content. It's essential to be polite and provide genuine value when conducting broken link-building outreach.

8. Nofollow Links

Nofollow links are hyperlinks with a "nofollow" attribute in their HTML code. When a link is marked as nofollow, it tells search engines not to pass any SEO value or authority to the linked page.

While these links don't directly boost your rankings, they can still be valuable for SEO. Nofollow links can drive traffic, increase brand visibility, and diversify your link profile. Additionally, they can protect your site from potential penalties associated with low-quality or spammy backlinks.

When engaging in partnerships or collaborations, consider using nofollow links to ensure a balanced link profile.

Understanding SEO

SEO, or search engine optimization, improves a website's visibility and ranking on search engine results pages (SERPs). The main goal of SEO is to drive more organic traffic to a website by increasing its visibility for relevant search queries. SEO is an essential foundation for any online marketing strategy and involves several best practices. This beginner video illustrates how to use SEOs.

One of the key aspects of SEO is keyword research. It involves understanding the terms and phrases people use to find information, products, or services similar to your website. By incorporating these relevant keywords into your website content, you can better target your audience and improve your search engine rankings.

Another fundamental aspect of SEO is providing high-quality content that is engaging and relevant to the users. Search engines prioritize websites with rich, valuable content that answers users' queries effectively. This content should be well-structured, easy to read, and updated regularly to keep visitors engaged and coming back for more.

In addition to content quality, user experience plays a crucial role in SEO. Ensuring that your website is user-friendly, fast-loading, and easy to navigate will help search engines index and rank your web pages higher.

A good user experience contributes significantly to keeping visitors on your site longer and encouraging them to explore other relevant pages, which can lead to better search engine rankings.

Another crucial aspect of SEO is staying informed about industry trends and algorithm updates. Search engines, especially Google, continuously update their algorithms to provide users with the best search results. By staying up-to-date on these changes and adapting your strategy accordingly, you can maintain and improve your website's rankings.

Understanding SEO is crucial for building a successful online presence. By focusing on keyword research, content quality, user experience, and staying informed about industry trends, you can create a strong foundation for your website and improve its organic traffic. Implementing these best practices will help you achieve better search engine rankings for your site.

The table below shows the SEO metrics to track:

Metric Tool Why It Matters
Organic Traffic Google Analytics Measures SEO effectiveness
Click-Through Rate (CTR) Google Search Console Indicates title/meta description appeal
Bounce Rate Google Analytics Suggests content relevance & user engagement
Domain Authority Moz Predicts website's ranking potential
Backlinks Ahrefs, Majestic Signifies website credibility
Page Speed Google PageSpeed Insights Affects user experience and rankings

Effective SEO Strategies and Keyword Optimization

Keywords play a crucial role in search engine optimization (SEO) as they help search engines like Google understand what your content is about. By conducting keyword research, you can determine the most relevant words and phrases for your target audience.

Including these keywords in your content efficiently helps search engines index your web pages and improves your rankings on search engine results pages (SERPs). This video clearly shows how Keyword selection is important.

Choosing the Right Keywords

To identify the best keywords for your content, you'll need to perform thorough keyword research. This can be done with the help of keyword research tools, such as Google Trends, SEMrush, or Ahrefs.

These tools can provide valuable insight into your target keywords' search volume, competition, and relevance. Be sure to prioritize a mix of short-tail and long-tail keywords for a more comprehensive SEO strategy.

Optimizing Title Tags and Meta Descriptions

Once you've identified your target keywords, it's essential to include them in your page's title tag and meta description. Your title tag should be concise, compelling, and accurately represent your web page's content. Incorporating your main keyword can improve your search engine rankings and click-through rates.

Meta descriptions serve as a summary of your web page's content and should also contain your target keywords. Both title tags and meta descriptions should be unique for each page on your website and not exceed the character limits set by search engines.

Avoiding Keyword Stuffing

While it's important to include keywords in your content, overusing them might lead to keyword stuffing, negatively affecting your SEO.

Keyword stuffing is the practice of unnaturally adding keywords to manipulate search engine rankings, and it's frowned upon by Google. To avoid being penalized, make sure your keywords appear naturally and at an appropriate frequency throughout your content.

Adapting Your SEO Strategy

SEO best practices and search engine algorithms constantly evolve, so it's crucial to stay informed and adapt your SEO strategy accordingly. Regularly monitoring your website's performance with tools like Google Search Console can help you identify areas of improvement and apply changes to stay competitive in the SERPs.

This table shows the keyword optimization strategies:

Keyword Intent Strategy Tools to Use
Informational Long-form blog posts Google Trends, AnswerThePublic
Navigational Landing page optimization SEMrush, Ahrefs
Transactional Product page SEO Moz, Google Keyword Planner
Commercial Ad copy optimization Google Ads,

Incorporating the right keywords in your content, optimizing your title tags and meta descriptions, and avoiding keyword stuffing is essential for maintaining high search engine rankings.

Stay informed and adapt your SEO strategy based on current best practices to help your website succeed in the ever-changing landscape of search engine optimization.

Best SEO Practices


Daniel Wade

Daniel Wade

After working for multiple digital advertising agencies and managing hundreds of client accounts and spending millions of dollars via Google Ads, Facebook Ads, Native Ads and Direct Media Buying, I took things out on my own and started SparrowBoost. Now, my tight-knit team and I continue to get smarter and more efficient at running our own campaigns and we share our knowledge with you.

Learn more about SparrowBoost