What Are SEO Best Practices and 21 Principles You Can Make Use Of

Apr 25, 2023 | SEO

« Insights | What Are SEO Best Practices and 21 Principles You Can Make Use Of
olly kemp blog

15 Minutes Read

If you have a desire to keep improving and a high level of attention to detail, then following these key SEO principles can have a dramatic impact on your organic search results.

Have you ever wondered why some websites consistently rank higher than others on search engine results pages (SERPs) for certain keywords?

Search engine optimisation (SEO) is the answer and it’s a key component of digital marketing.

In understanding what are SEO best practices businesses can begin to improve their website visibility and drive organic traffic to their sites, resulting in more conversions and sales.

You also begin to spot the telltale signs of what your competitors are up to as well.

In this article, we will cover the key principles of SEO and provide tips on how your business can use them to boost its ranking on SERPs.

You will discover there’s a bit more to it than just simply installing a plugin on your website and hoping for the best and how and why SEO aligns directly with content marketing.

seo best practices and guiding principles

What is SEO?

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation and is an important tool used by businesses to ensure their website ranks higher on search engine results pages (SERPs).

SEO involves optimising a website’s content, structure, meta tags and other elements so that search engines can easily crawl the website and understand its content.

This helps your website rank higher in SERP rankings when users perform searches related to your business.

SEO is also important for improving user experience on your website as it helps visitors find the information they need quickly and easily.

By following some of these SEO best practices in this article, you can help boost your website’s visibility and drive more organic traffic to your site, which should lead to increased conversions and sales as you will be popping up in more locations online.

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What Are SEO Best Practices?

In simple terms, these are a set of guidelines that need to be followed, along with an attention to detail, to ensure your website content rank higher up the search engine rankings than your competitor websites do.

In following these principles, you stand a much better chance of ranking in the top 10, than if you don’t follow them.  Over time, the principles change and adapt along with the search engine algoritymns, but some of these principles remain as important today, and in some case more important than ever.

The Benefits of SEO

There are a number of benefits to implementing SEO on your website including:

  • Reaching new customers: SEO is an important tool that can help businesses reach more potential customers and increase their online visibility across search engines.
  • SEO forces you to optimise your content: SEO involves optimising a website’s content, structure, meta tags and other elements so that search engines can easily crawl the website and understand its content.  Of course, you don’t have to do this, but in not doing so, don’t expect to rank highly in search engines.
  • Rank higher for targetted keywords: SEO helps your website rank higher in SERP rankings when users perform searches related to your business.  The higher you get, the more relevant and targeted customers will arrive on your website.
  • You will increase your organic search:By following best practices for SEO, you can get more organic, targeted traffic to your website which leads to increased conversions and sales.  By providing content relevant to your audience, you will increase your organic “free” traffic to your website – ie the traffic you’re not paying PPC for.
  • SEO helps improve your user experience: SEO also helps improve the user experience on a number of levels.  At one level it will help visitors find the information they need quickly and easily on your website as you need to ensure there is a proper structure, but also it will improve the loading time and responsiveness of your website because performance plays an important ranking factor too.

Ways to Optimise Your Website Content for Better SEO Results

how to optimise your website for better seo results

Creating high-quality content is an essential part of any SEO strategy.

Optimising your content with relevant keywords can help search engines better understand the meaning behind each piece of content, resulting in higher search engine rankings.

When optimising a piece of content, make sure to include the target keyword at least once and include other related keywords throughout the text.

Whilst some still believe SEO is all about adding lots of keywords, you should avoid keyword stuffing or using irrelevant keywords as this can have negative impacts on search engine rankings.

Today, much more consideration needs to be placed upon user intents when creating content as it’s important to provide visitors with what they are looking for when they perform searches related to your business.

Creating High-Quality and Helpful SEO Content

Creating quality content is a key factor for any successful SEO strategy.

Quality content has the power to engage readers, keep them on your page longer, and increase conversions.

Quality content should be well-researched and offer value to readers. It should also be written in a conversational, friendly tone of voice that resonates with your target audience.

You should ensure that your content is free of typos, grammar mistakes, and incorrect information.

You also need to make sure your website is not full of thin content.

Thin content is where a page might not have many words on it, perhaps a couple of paragraphs. You need to create helpful content which provides value to stand any chance of ranking high today on search engines such as Google.

Go through your website and highlight any pages where you don’t have much information on them.  This includes landing pages.

You might have to spruce up your design but it will be worth it as you will be adding greater relevancy to the topic you wish to rank for.

Make sure to include relevant keywords throughout the content so that search engines can easily understand what it is about and rank it higher on their results pages.

Without high-quality, relevant content, your SEO will fail.

Recent updates to the search quality and Google’s helpful content update and rating guidelines list the criteria Google looks for when ranking for quality content.

Google has simply upgraded its concept of E-A-T which stands for:

  • Expertise.
  • Authoritative.
  • Trustworthiness.

to E-E-A-T

  • Experience.
  • Expertise.
  • Authority.
  • Trust.

Google’s search quality rater guidelines have been updated accordingly, with insight into how the company instructs quality raters to evaluate a content creator’s expertise.

It’s worth noting that Google now pays a greater focus on Trust on the grounds of whether the content is accurate, honest, safe and reliable.  After all, if your website is spreading fake news, that doesn’t serve Google’s interests and likely will damage your business reputation too.

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You can now probably tell from this why content marketing is also so popular today.

Not only does it force companies to research and provide information which is being asked of potential customers but it also makes them stop and think about what they want to happen when someone lands on their website and how easily they can access information.

If you think about it, if you run a coffee shop, and your website provides little to no information about coffee, yet your competitor’s website does, which do you think is going to rank higher?

Given the importance content marketing now plays in digital marketing, it’s why it’s worth investing in building a content calendar with your team and collaborating with others in your business to generate as high-quality and interesting content as possible aligned to user intent.

Keywords and Longtail Keywords

use longtail keywords

When it comes to SEO, keywords and key phrases are essential to driving organic traffic to your website.

They act as the foundation for any successful SEO strategy. Keywords and key phrases should be carefully selected based on user intents and target audience, ensuring they accurately reflect the content on your page.

You should use them naturally throughout the content without overstuffing or keyword stuffing in order to avoid being penalized by search engines.

You should always keep an eye on trends in search terms so that you can adjust your keyword strategy accordingly.

You also don’t want to make the mistake of creating content that no one is looking for.

Yes, you might rank for it, but if only one person types that keyword in a month then you might be putting in a lot of work for something which won’t increase your traffic much.

This is why with SEO it’s important to build a strategy and to do your research before you start.

By maintaining your SEO standards and following these best practices for selecting and using keywords, you can help improve your search engine rankings and visibility in organic search results.

Understanding Search and User Intent

Search intent is one of the most important aspects of SEO best practices. It refers to the purpose behind a user’s search query, and understanding this can help you create better content aimed at satisfying their needs.

When optimising your content for search engines, it’s important to consider what users are looking for when they make a query.

  • Are they searching for information?
  • A product or service?
  • Or something else?

By understanding search intent, you can tailor your content to meet the needs of your target audience, leading them to visit and engage with your website.

Ensuring that the content matches their intent will also improve your ranking in SERPs as it shows that you have taken the time to understand their needs and created content accordingly.

Avoid Using Duplicate Content

Duplicate content can negatively affect your website’s visibility in search engines and should be avoided at all costs.

It’s important to understand what duplicate content is: any content (text, images, videos, etc.) that appears more than once across the internet.

This could be on different web pages of the same domain or on multiple domains altogether.

Duplicate content can occur for a variety of reasons, such as forgetting to make necessary changes to a page after it has been copied from a previous version, or accidentally publishing the same piece of content twice.

As search engines try to provide users with only unique results, having too much duplicate content can lead to lower rankings and fewer visitors to your website.

To avoid running into this issue, make sure you keep track of all copies of your content and delete any duplicates that appear online.  You should also regularly re-evaluate your existing pages and update them accordingly before publishing them again.

Taking these steps will help ensure that your website remains visible on search engine results pages and avoid any potential penalties due to duplicate content.

Bottom line: Make sure your content is unique and better.

Internal and External Links

internal external links and seo impact

Internal links, or hyperlinks that direct users to other pages within your website, are an important part of SEO best practices.

  • Internal links help search engine crawlers understand the structure and hierarchy of your site, enabling them to easily navigate it and index pages appropriately. They can help boost page rankings by increasing the number of internal links pointing to a given page.
  • External links, on the other hand, are hyperlinks that point users towards websites outside of their own domain. These links can be incredibly valuable for improving your website’s search engine visibility and credibility as they show that you have quality content worth linking to.

It’s important to make sure any external links you include a link to relevant, authoritative sources as this will not only boost your rankings but also improve user experience.

Keep in mind that including too many external links could have a negative impact on your SEO efforts, so make sure you limit them accordingly.

Some Key SEO Content Writing Tips

Writing content optimised for search engines (SEO) doesn’t have to be intimidating.  It should also align with your broader marketing strategy and content strategy too and enable it to work in support of all types of content you promote and produce.

With a few simple tips, you can produce content that will help drive organic traffic and boost your search engine rankings.

  • Do your research first: Identify relevant keywords and phrases to use in your content. Make sure the words you choose are relevant to the topic s that you produce relevant content as this will align with the search terms people are looking for online.
  • Write a compelling title: Make sure you write a compelling title which is no longer than 75 characters.  This will help when your article shows up in the SERP results and help you stand out.
  • Use long-tail keywords: These are keywords which are longer and more specific phrases that tend to have higher conversion rates than broader terms because you are targeting users interested in what you are writing about.  You can also check the average monthly search volume and keyword competitiveness during this stage too.  Longtail keywords are a great strategy for growing your organic search traffic.
  • Focus on user intent: Keep user intent in mind when creating content. Your goal should be to create pieces of content that answer users’ questions or solve their problems. Focus on providing value rather than relying on keyword stuffing or other tactics that could negatively affect your SEO efforts.
  • Focus on high-quality content: You should always focus on quality over quantity. Long-form content is best.  This will get you the best results even though it takes longer.  Writing high-quality content that is both informative and engaging is essential for ranking well in search results pages (SERPs).
  • Research around your content: Do the research around your chosen topic.  It is good practice for example to add some common questions in relation to what people are asking as well about the topic.
  • Keep your content punchy: Keep your paragraphs short and snappy too to allow users to scan your content as they read easily on any device.
  • Use the tools available: To ensure your content meets Google’s criteria, consider using tools like Google Search Console to identify duplicate content or low-quality pieces of writing.
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Minimum Technical SEO Best Practices

minimum technical seo best practices

Technical SEO practices involve optimising your website and content for better visibility in search engine results pages (SERPs).

This includes optimising your site’s structure, coding, and other elements that can affect its performance.

  • To start, make sure you have a secure and fast-loading website.
  • Check for broken links, as well as any coding issues that could be slowing down your page’s speed.
  • Implement lazy loading to ensure images load quickly and efficiently on mobile devices.
  • Use keyword research tools to identify relevant terms people are searching for related to your business or industry. Once you know what keywords to target, incorporate them into titles, meta descriptions, headers, image alt tags and the actual content of your pages.  You can even combine multiple keywords to add greater reference to what your article is about too.
  • Consider adding internal links to related pages on your website – this helps search engines crawl through the entire site more effectively.
  • Check the backlinks pointing to your website from other sites – they should be relevant and come from reputable sources. If not, reach out to the webmaster or disavow them using Google Search Console so they don’t negatively affect your domain authority and overall rankings.

URL Structure, Title Tags and Schema

Understanding how to properly use URLs, HTML tags and structured data markup can help improve the visibility of your website and content in search engine results pages (SERPs).

Understanding URL Structure

URLs are the address of a webpage which should be short, succinct and easy to read. Make sure that they contain relevant keywords related to the page content.  A well-structured URL can make a big difference.

For example, a good URL structure for an article would be:

mywebsite.com/coffee/best-coffee-beans-for-work

vs

mywebsite.com/0562/blog/coffee01-ph-678

You see how the first URL is much easier on the eye and much easier to understand?

The first is user-friendly and provides a logical structure vs the second.  It also incorporates some of the keywords you might need if you were running a local coffee shop.

It goes without saying, that this also improves your internal link structure too and aids search engines when they crawl your website for finding relevancy to search terms.

Using HTML Tags and Title Tags

HTML tags are used to describe the structure and organisation of your web pages.

These include headings (H1-H6), links (anchor text) and meta descriptions which should all be optimised for the keywords that you’re targeting.

Throughout this article, for example, we have used:

  • H1 tag as the title
  • H2 tag as the sub-title
  • H3 tag as a further subtitle.
  • Bullet points and anchor text throughout to break up core concepts.

This adds a clear structure for search engines to understand what this article’s content is about.  You’ll also notice a table of contents built from the HTML or header tags.

Understanding SEO Schema

SEO schema is a form of structured data markup that helps search engines better understand the content on web pages and provide more accurate search results. It is important for SEO practitioners to understand and utilize SEO schema in order to improve their page rankings and organic visibility.

When creating and implementing SEO schema, it’s important to ensure that the structure of the markup accurately reflects the content on your page. This will help search engines better understand the content and context of your page, thus improving its visibility in SERPs.

SEO schema can also be used to optimize images, videos, and other media for search engine results.

By implementing structured data markup for images, videos, and other media types, you can increase their visibility and improve the user experience on your website.

Structured data markup is code that helps search engines understand the context of your content.  The more information a search engine knows about your content, the better.

Page Speed & Lazy Loading

Page speed is an important factor in user experience and search engine rankings.

Slow-loading pages can be a major hindrance to your visitors and can impact how your website is ranked in search engine results.

Lazy loading is an effective way to improve page speed by only loading the content that a user is likely to need when they first visit a page.

This can significantly reduce page load times, resulting in improved user experience and increased organic traffic from search engines.

Lazy loading can help reduce server load which can help you save money on hosting costs. Implementing lazy loading on your website requires some technical knowledge but it’s worth taking the time to learn so you can enjoy the benefits of faster page speeds for both users and search engines.

Mobile Friendliness

Having a mobile-friendly website is essential in today’s digital world. With more and more people accessing the internet from their smartphones and tablets, it is important to ensure your website is optimized for mobile devices.

Mobile-friendly websites should be designed with responsive web design, which means that the content will automatically resize itself to fit any device, whether it’s a desktop computer or a smartphone.

This ensures that users have a seamless experience when visiting your website regardless of the device they are using.

Having a mobile-friendly site can also help improve your search engine rankings as Google now considers mobile-friendliness as one of its ranking factors.

Making sure that your website is easy to navigate and provides an optimal viewing experience on all devices will help you stay competitive in today’s digital landscape.

Analysing Performance & Tracking Results

analysing seo performance and tracking results

Analyzing performance and tracking results are two important steps in any successful SEO strategy. By taking the time to analyze how your website is performing, you can identify areas for improvement and make adjustments accordingly.

To do this, use a variety of analytics tools such as Google Analytics and Search Console which will provide valuable insights into how users are interacting with your website.

Make sure to track your key metrics such as organic traffic, bounce rate, page views, and keyword rankings to see where you’re doing well and where you could be doing better.

This information can help you refine your SEO strategy by targeting specific keywords or topics that are driving more traffic and leads.

As you monitor your progress over time, you’ll gain a better understanding of what’s working for your business and what needs more attention.

This way, you can maximize the effectiveness of your SEO efforts and ensure that they yield the best possible results.

Rankings & Organic Traffic

When it comes to SEO, rankings and organic traffic are two essential metrics that you should be tracking. Rankings refer to your website’s position in a search engine’s results page, while organic traffic is the number of visitors who visit your website as a result of unpaid or free search engine listings.

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Understanding how these factors are impacting your website’s performance, you can make valuable improvements to boost visibility and attract more visitors.

To start, focus on creating high-quality content that is relevant to the topics and keywords you want to rank for. This means avoiding keyword stuffing as well as writing for both users and search engines in order to ensure that your content meets their needs.

Pay attention to user experience by optimising page speed, loading images lazily when possible, using internal links within your pages, and providing clear navigation options so that people can find what they are looking for quickly.

Keep your eye on and monitor, the organic traffic from each piece of content using the Google Search Console tool so that you can gain valuable insights into what works best for your target audience.

Keyword Research Reports

Keyword research reports are a great way to understand the search terms that your audience is using to find your website.

By analysing this data, you can gain valuable insights into what keywords and topics people are interested in and use this information to refine your SEO strategy.

Keyword research reports also allow you to see which queries have the highest click-through rate, which can help you focus on optimising for those specific terms.

They can also reveal any duplicate content issues that may be affecting your rankings or find opportunities to improve user intent by targeting long-tail keywords.

Monitoring search query reports regularly will enable you to make informed decisions about how best to optimize your website for organic search rankings and drive more traffic from target keywords.

Search Console & Google Analytics Integration

Integrating your Google Search Console and Google Analytics accounts can be a great way to maximize the potential of both platforms.

By connecting these two powerful tools, you can gain valuable insights into how users are finding and interacting with your website.

The integration allows you to see which keywords are driving organic traffic to your site, what pages they’re landing on, and how long they’re staying on each page.

You can get an overview of how effective your SEO efforts are by tracking keyword rankings for specific queries. You can also use this data to find any issues that may be affecting your rankings or user experience and take action accordingly.

With all this useful information at your fingertips, you’ll be able to make more informed decisions about your SEO strategy and optimize for better search engine rankings.

Off-Page Factors & Link-Building Strategies

offpage linking and internal linking seo factors

Off-page factors and link-building strategies are essential for any successful SEO campaign.

Off-Page SEO Factors

Off-page factors refer to the metrics that search engines use to measure a website’s authority and trustworthiness, such as the number of external links pointing back to your website from other sites.

Link Building Strategies

Link-building strategies involve creating relationships with other websites and convincing them to link back to your own website in order to increase its visibility in SERPs.

Link building is an important part of any SEO campaign because it not only helps you gain more organic traffic but also increases your domain authority, which can improve your overall search rankings.

Some effective link-building tactics include guest blogging on relevant sites, outreach to influencers and industry experts, creating content assets that people will want to share, and using social media platforms as a way to build backlinks.

If done correctly, these link-building strategies can have a positive impact on your search engine rankings and help you get more visibility online.

Domain Authority & Backlinks

Domain authority (DA) is an important metric that search engines use to measure a website’s trustworthiness and overall ranking potential.

It is calculated based on the quality and quantity of backlinks pointing to your site from other websites. Backlinks are links that direct users from one website to another, which helps search engines determine how trustworthy a website is.

The more high-quality backlinks you have, the higher your domain authority will be. But it’s not just about having as many backlinks as possible; it’s also important to focus on creating backlinks from relevant sites with high domain authorities.

This ensures that your site receives more valuable link juice (the benefit of passing trust between sites) and can help boost your own rankings in SERPs.

You should always make sure you’re using the right anchor text for each link so users are directed to the most relevant page on your site when they click through.

Focusing on acquiring high-quality backlinks with targeted anchor text is key for any successful SEO campaign.

Developing an Effective SEO Strategy

Developing an effective SEO strategy can seem daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. Start by doing keyword research to identify the most relevant and popular search terms users are entering into search engines.

Once you have a list of keywords, create content that is optimized for those keywords—including meta descriptions and H1 tags—and use internal links to help search engine bots navigate your site more effectively.

You should also focus on building backlinks from high-authority sites in order to increase your domain authority and boost organic traffic.

Given the number of people using smartphones today, you must always ensure your website is optimized for mobile devices and has a fast loading speed, as these are key ranking factors that can have a major impact on user experience.

Final Thoughts: What Are SEO Best Practices?

what are seo best practices final thoughts

Optimising your website for SEO has more benefits than just ranking highly within Google or Bing (or other search engines).  You don’t need to be an SEO expert, but it’s important though to grasp the basics so that your website at least ranks for the main target keywords and purpose of your business or service.

It’s also important to understand so that whilst you are building your new website, or improving your old one, you think through what are seo best practices  and principles during the process.

It means you will get a much higher return on investment in the long run.  By ignoring SEO best practices, your site will never perform to its full potential and you could be directing leads straight to your competitor.

  • SEO is a crucial tool for businesses to improve their website visibility and drive organic traffic to their site, resulting in more conversions and sales.
  • Optimising a website’s content, structure, meta tags, and other elements is important for search engines to easily crawl and understand the content, leading to higher search engine rankings.
  • Creating high-quality content with relevant keywords and considering user intent is essential for an effective SEO strategy. Keyword stuffing or using irrelevant keywords can have negative impacts on search engine rankings.

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