Are you struggling to boost your website rankings and organic traffic, despite your best efforts?
Don’t worry, you are not alone. Most websites fail to reach the first page of Google SERP.
So what differentiates the winners from the losers?
The fact that expert SEO professionals know which SEO best practices to follow to get the best results and rank at the top of Google SERP.
And we all know how important that is. After all, the 1st organic search result is 10 times more likely to get a click than the 10th, according to an analysis by Backlinko. The same study suggests that only 0.63% of users get to the second page of search results.
Take a look at the CTR by search result position below.
Image via Backlinko
In this article, you will find tried and tested SEO best practices to get that coveted first position on Google SERP. Let’s get started.
Table of Contents
What are SEO Best Practices?
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) best practices are a set of techniques that can help improve your website’s ranking on search engine results pages (SERPs). Implementing SEO best practices can increase your website’s visibility and drive more organic traffic.
The more visible your website is, the more likely you are to generate qualified leads that convert into customers.
9 SEO Best Practices to Increase Traffic and Rankings
Now that you know what SEO best practices are, are you ready to learn some of the most effective ones?
Let’s explore 9 powerful SEO best practices you can utilize to boost your search engine rankings and traffic.
1. Align Keyword Research with User Intent
Keywords are the foundation of SEO. However, don't just pick any high-traffic keywords and incorporate them into your content. Instead, conduct keyword research based on user intent.
Here’s a brief overview of the various types of search intent.
- Informational: This is when users want to learn more about a specific subject. For instance, “What is SEO?” is an informational intent keyword. Here’s an example of an informational intent keyword and the kind of content that ranks for it.
Image via Google
- Navigational: This is when users are looking for a specific web page or website. For example, when someone searches for “Facebook login”, they intend to find the login page of Facebook.
- Commercial: This is when users are likely to make a purchase but want more information before deciding. For example, when someone searches for “Best laptops for gaming 2024” they want to compare a few options before purchasing.
- Transactional: This is when users intend to make a purchase. For example, “Buy iPhone 14 online” is a purchase-intent keyword. Here’s an example of a transactional intent keyword and the kind of content that ranks for it.
Image via Google
Simply conducting keyword research might not produce significant results. Understanding the intent behind the keywords is the key to providing the most value to your audience.
So, when you write content for your website, make sure you meet the search intent of your target keyword.
Pro Tip: Instead of focusing solely on high-volume keywords, target longer, more specific phrases that align with your content and user intent. Strike a balance between relevance, search volume, and competition.
2. Create High-Quality Relevant Content
What makes your website stand out from the crowd? The answer lies in creating content that provides value to your target audience.
But where do you start?
Here are some best practices for creating high-quality, relevant content:
- Understand Your Audience: Learn your audience’s interests, needs, and pain points and create high-quality content that resonates with them.
- Stick to Google’s EAT Guidelines: EAT means Expertise, Authority, and Trustworthiness. Create content that demonstrates your expertise and authority in a subject and encourages readers to trust you. Use data and research to back your arguments and build trust.
- Use Relevant Keywords: Once you choose keywords during the research phase, incorporate them naturally into your content. Adding relevant keyword phrases makes your content more discoverable and boosts your search engine ranking.
Relevant content attracts users and encourages them to spend more time on your site. High engagement signals search engines that your content is valuable, boosting your SERP rankings.
3. Leverage Local SEO
Do you have a physical store or address? If you do, you can take advantage of local SEO tools and tactics to boost local search rankings.
Local SEO best practices help your site rank for search results for location-specific search queries and can increase foot traffic to your physical stores.
Here are some local SEO best practices to get you started.
- Claim and Optimize Your GMB Listing: Get your business listed on Google My Business (GMB). Ensure your business Name, Address, and Phone number (NAP) information is accurate.
- Use Local Keywords: Identify location-specific keywords relevant to your business and include them naturally in your website.
Here is an example of businesses that rank for the local keyword phrase “best restaurants in Los Angeles” on Google’s local pack.
Image via Google
Businesses that use specific local keywords have a higher chance of ranking than those that use generic keywords.
- Get Customer Reviews: Encourage satisfied customers to leave positive reviews. Many positive reviews can attract more clicks, signaling to search engines that your business is relevant to local consumers.
Pro Tip: Utilize GMB features like photos, insights, and Q&A to enrich your listing and enhance your local presence.
4. Focus on Link Quality Over Quantity
We all know that backlinks are great for SEO.
However, not all backlinks and internal links produce significant results. The key is knowing how and where to incorporate your links. But how do you do it?
Check out these external and internal linking best practices.
- Prioritize Relevance: Link both internally and externally to relevant content. Doing so, helps users discover more information on topics they are interested in, ultimately boosting search engine rankings.
- Use Internal Linking Tools: Leverage the best internal linking tools like LinkStorm to manage and optimize internal links on your website. Such tools provide insights into the link structure and help you optimize anchor texts.
- Get Links from Authoritative Sources: Earn backlinks from authoritative websites by posting high-quality link-worthy content and guest posting. Acquiring backlinks from authoritative sources builds your website’s credibility and authority.
5. Create Captivating Meta Descriptions and Title Tags
Meta descriptions and title tags are the first elements that hook users to your content. They can make or break your SEO efforts. To ensure a reader clicks through to your website, your title tags and meta descriptions need to be compelling enough.
Let’s dig a little deeper.
Title tags or page titles appear as clickable headlines on search results. One of the SEO best practices you should follow is to use title tags to encourage readers to click on your SERP result and visit your website.
Here is how page titles appear on search engines.
Image via Google
Here are some best practices you can follow when adding meta titles.
- Front-load your target keyword
- Ensure the title tag accurately reflects the content on the web page
- Avoid using duplicate titles for multiple pages
- Refrain from keyword stuffing
These are brief summaries that provide a snapshot of a page’s content. While they may not be a direct ranking factor, they can convince users to click on your SERP listing and visit your website.
Here is how they appear on search results.
Image via Google
Here are some practices you can follow to optimize your meta descriptions:
- Craft unique descriptions for each page
- Keep the description concise
- Incorporate target keywords or phrases
- Address search intent
- Keep it short, typically between 150 and 160 characters
6. Optimize Images
While visual content is crucial, large unoptimized images can slow down your website and affect user experience.
So how can you still use images while improving user experience? Here are some best practices you can follow:
- Add Alt Text: An alt text, is a description added to a HTML code to explain what an image is all about. Adding alt text or alt tags allows you to provide more context to search engines about images.
- Compress Images: Large image files can affect your site’s loading speed. Use a good image compression tool to reduce image file sizes without compromising on quality.
- Choose the Right Image Format: Use the appropriate image format. JPEG is ideal for photographs while PNG is suitable for images with more information.
7. Keep an Eye on Your Website’s Loading Speed
How fast does your site load? If it’s not less than 3 seconds, that’s a problem.
A recent study shows that a website that loads in 1 second has a 3x higher conversion rate than one that takes 5 seconds. A slow-loading website can frustrate users and cause them to leave. This sends a signal to search engines that users are not finding your site useful.
Here are several tips to help you optimize your site’s loading speed.
- Use Tools to Check Site Speed: Utilize tools like Google’s PageSpeed Insights and Lighthouse to optimize your website’s loading speed. These tools also help you identify issues and provide solutions to continually enhance user experience.
PageSpeed Insights allows you to analyze your website’s speed and overall health. It also provides useful insights into improving your website’s loading speed.
Image via PageSpeed Insights
Image via PageSpeed Insights
- Optimize Images: As addressed earlier, images can make your website lag. Use the previously mentioned tips to optimize images and improve website speed.
8. Optimize your Site for Mobile Devices
According to Statista, almost half of website traffic globally comes from mobile devices. In fact, mobile devices generated about 58.33% of worldwide website traffic in the first quarter of 2023.
What does this tell you?
Optimizing your website is no longer an option but a necessity.
Here are some best practices to make your website mobile-friendly.
- Use a Responsive Design: Use a responsive website design to create a layout that adapts to a user’s device screen. A responsive design ensures a consistent user-friendly experience across different devices.
- Utilize Mobile-Friendly Navigation: Simplify your website’s navigation for smaller screens to make it easy for users to find what they need.
- Use Legible Font Sizes: If a user can’t read your content, they will simply leave your site. Use a legible font size to ensure your content is easy to read on mobile devices.
9. Improve User Experience
According to a survey by Brainfood, about 53% of mobile phone users abandon a website when it takes more than 3 seconds to load. Additionally, most consumers will abandon their carts if the checkout process is too complex.
A good user experience allows website visitors to seamlessly engage with your content. Furthermore, it signals search engines that your website is trustworthy, which helps improve SERP rankings.
Here are some best practices to improve your site’s user experience.
- Use White Space: Incorporate white space strategically into your website design. White space reduces visual clutter, making your pages look neat. Consider the spacing between paragraphs, images, and buttons.
- Minimize Pop-Ups: Pop-ups can be very annoying. Limit your pop-ups, especially those that appear immediately after a page loads or obstruct content.
- Use Simple Navigation: Employ an easy-to-use website structure. Use clear menus and logical page hierarchies to help your website visitors find information easily.
- Add Clear Calls-to-Action – Use clear and compelling CTAs to guide users to the desired actions like signing up or contacting you.
Pro Tip: You can utilize LinkStorm to seamlessly link related pages and simplify navigation.
Q1. What are the SEO best practices to improve website rankings?
A. Here are 9 search engine optimization best practices you can use to improve your website’s ranking.
- Align keyword research with search intent
- Create high-quality content
- Leverage local SEO
- Focus on getting quality links
- Create eye-catching meta descriptions and title tags
- Optimize images
- Improve your website’s loading speed
- Optimize your website for mobile phones
- Improve user experience
Q2. Is SEO still worth it in 2024?
A. Yes. SEO is still worthwhile. It helps improve your site’s visibility, attract organic traffic, and boost credibility.
Q3. How does Google know how to rank a page?
A. Google uses search engine crawlers and complex algorithms to analyze several factors and rank a page. Some of these factors include content quality and relevance, backlinks, user experience, keywords, and more.
Q4. What are some best practices for on-page SEO?
A. Here are some of the important on-page optimization best practices.
- Optimize title tags and meta descriptions
- Use header tags to structure content
- Add alt text for images
- Prioritize user-friendly content
Q5. What is an SEO strategy?
A. An SEO strategy is a detailed plan outlining techniques for improving a website’s visibility on search engine results pages.
Ready to Boost Your Organic Rankings and Traffic?
And there you have it. Now you are equipped with nine crucial SEO best practices to follow.
Embracing these SEO best practices is just a starting point for increasing organic traffic and search rankings. Implementing search engine optimization practices is a continuous process that requires a commitment to providing value to your audience.
By aligning your strategies with user intent, creating quality content, and using an internal linking tool, you can boost your SEO efforts. Good luck