10 SEO Best Practices to Improve Your Organic Rankings & Traffic

10 SEO Best Practices to Improve Your Organic Rankings & Traffic

Following SEO finest practices is the important thing to getting extra visitors from Google.

But what are these finest practices precisely? And how do you apply them to your website?

That’s what this text is all about. 

We’ll present you 10 SEO finest practices you should utilize to enhance your rankings and visitors—the identical we use to rank for hundreds of key phrases and drive hundreds of thousands of holiday makers.

Whether you’re a newbie or an skilled, you’ll discover one thing useful and related.

Let’s get to it.

What Are SEO Best Practices?

SEO finest practices are a set of pointers that may enhance a website’s natural rankings. And larger rankings often imply extra web site guests. 


Well, the upper your web page ranks, the extra probably the searcher will click on via to your content material. 

Here’s a graph to illustrate our level: 

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As you’ll be able to see, there’s an enormous distinction between the click-through fee (CTR) for rating first versus different positions. 

What does this imply for you?

You ought to observe SEO finest practices to put your finest foot ahead and check out to rank as excessive as attainable. 

Here are the 10 most essential finest practices you want to know.

Tip: Before you start, create a free Semrush account so you’ll be able to observe alongside.

1. Align Your Content with Search Intent

Search intent (additionally known as “user intent”) is the aim behind each search question. 

Understanding and satisfying search intent is Google’s final precedence. Pages that rank on the primary web page have all handed Google’s check on search intent.

For occasion, check out the search outcomes for “how to make oatmeal cookies.”

The search results for “how to make oatmeal cookies”

The prime search outcomes are weblog posts or movies. Not ecommerce pages promoting oatmeal cookies. 

Google understands that people who find themselves trying to find this key phrase are trying to be taught. Not to purchase. 

On the opposite hand, the outcomes for a question like “buy oatmeal cookies” are product advertisements and ecommerce pages. 

Like this:

The search results for “buy oatmeal cookies”

In this case, Google understands that persons are trying to purchase. Hence, no hyperlinks to oatmeal cookie recipes. 

Which means:

If you’d like to rank on web page 1 of Google, you want to perceive search intent and create content material that matches it. 

There are 4 frequent sorts of search intent: 

  • Informational: when somebody is attempting to be taught extra about one thing
  • Navigational: when somebody is trying to find a selected web page or web site
  • Commercial: when somebody is trying to be taught extra earlier than making a purchase order
  • Transactional: when somebody is intending to full an motion or buy

To rapidly discover a key phrase’s intent, head to Semrush’s Keyword Overview software. 

Enter your key phrase, hit “Search,” and also you’ll see a field labeled “Intent.”

Search intent shown in Semrush’s Keyword Overview tool

Further studying: Search Intent Guide

2. Leverage Primary Keywords

A major key phrase (or “target keyword”) is a key phrase that finest represents the subject of a web page. 

And each web page in your website ought to goal one major key phrase. (If you need it to rank on Google.) 

Where you utilize your major key phrase additionally issues. It helps optimize the web page. 

So, if attainable, add your goal key phrase to components like:

  • The title tag
  • The fundamental headers (particularly the H1)
  • The introduction 
  • The web page’s URL

For instance, the first key phrase for this text is “seo best practices.” And you’ll see it’s included in all these components. 

To select the goal key phrase for a web page, use a key phrase software like Semrush’s Keyword Magic Tool. 

First, take into consideration the principle theme of the web page. Then, plug it into the software and click on “Search.” 

10 SEO Best Practices to Improve Your Organic Rankings & Traffic 1684778117 562 image

You’ll get an extended checklist of associated key phrase concepts. 

10 SEO Best Practices to Improve Your Organic Rankings & Traffic 1684778118 572 image

Your major key phrase is usually the key phrase that finest represents the general theme of the web page and has the very best search quantity. 

In this case, that will be “oatmeal cookie recipe.”

“oatmeal cookie recipe” result highlighted

Further studying: 

3. Write Compelling Title Tags and Meta Descriptions

Your web page title and meta description are two of a very powerful meta tags in your web page. 

Title Tags

Title tags are clickable headlines that seem in SERPs (search engine outcomes pages).

They sign to Google what your web page is about. And they’re basic from an SEO perspective. 

This is what a title tag appears like in Google’s search outcomes:

Title tag example in Google’s search results

Title tags are crucial to giving customers a fast perception into the content material of a outcome. And why it’s related to their question. 

It’s usually the first piece of knowledge searchers use to determine which outcome to click on on. 

So, it’s essential to use compelling titles to your webpages. 

Generally, it’s finest to maintain title tags between 50 to 60 characters. This method, phrases received’t get reduce off on desktop or cell SERPs.

Here are another title tag finest practices to take note:

  • Include your goal key phrase
  • Match search intent
  • Avoid duplicate title tags
  • Avoid key phrase stuffing
  • Keep them descriptive however concise

Meta Descriptions

A meta description is a meta tag used to describe the content material of a web page.

It’s usually displayed beneath the title and URL of your web page within the SERP. 

Like so:

Meta description example in Google’s search results

Meta descriptions ought to typically inform and curiosity customers with a brief, related abstract of what the web page is about. 

They’re like a pitch that convinces a searcher that the web page is precisely what they’re in search of. 

Google sometimes truncates meta descriptions on desktop at 155 to 160 characters.

So be certain your abstract is correct and succinct.

Here are a couple of meta description finest practices to observe:

  • Write a novel meta description for each web page
  • Use action-oriented copy
  • Include your major key phrase
  • Match search intent

Note: Meta descriptions aren’t a direct SEO rating issue. But having well-written, optimized meta descriptions can profit your SEO efforts in different methods. Learn extra in our meta descriptions information.

4. Optimize Your Images

Images play an important position in enhancing a customer’s consumer expertise. 

When used proper, photographs can contribute to your website’s general SEO and increase natural visitors. 

Here are some methods to optimize your photographs:

Choose the Best File Format 

Images are sometimes the most important contributor to general web page measurement and loading time. And web page pace is essential for an excellent consumer expertise.

The first step is selecting the very best file format.

The mostly used picture codecs on the internet are JPEG and PNG

Both codecs use completely different compression methods. Which is why the file sizes between these two will be dramatically completely different.

Like so:

JPEG and PNG image examples

Looking on the distinction in file sizes above, it will be simple to declare JPEG because the winner. But it will be a mistake.

While JPEGs look nice for pictures, PNGs are finest fitted to photographs that include textual content, line drawings, and so on. 

WebP is one other well-liked possibility. It’s a contemporary picture format that gives superior lossless and lossy compression for net photographs. 

WebP lossless photographs are 26% smaller in measurement in contrast to PNGs and 34% smaller than comparable JPEGs, according to Google

Learn extra about how to use WebP on this Google guide.

Compress Your Images

Image compression is a course of utilized to photographs to reduce their measurement with out degrading high quality. 

The bigger your picture file measurement, the longer it takes your web page to load. 

So it’s actually essential to compress your photographs earlier than you add them to your website.

Here are a number of free instruments that may assist:

  • TinyPNG: makes use of good lossy compression methods to cut back the file measurement of your PNG and JPEG information
  • ImageOptim: by far the very best software for compressing photographs on a Mac
  • ShortPixel: an incredible WordPress plugin for mechanically compressing photographs 

Provide Alt Text for Images

Alt textual content (brief for different textual content) is textual content included in HTML code to describe a picture on a webpage. 

It offers context for search engine crawlers and people viewing a web page with a display screen reader.

Despite advances in Google’s means to perceive photographs, including alt textual content to photographs continues to be vital. 

Here are a number of alt textual content finest practices to observe:

  • Keep it beneath 125 characters
  • Include one fundamental key phrase for context
  • Don’t embody “image of” or “picture of”

To discover and repair lacking alt textual content, use Semrush’s Site Audit software. 

Start by making a undertaking after which clicking on the “Issues” tab. 

“Issues” tab highlighted in Site Audit tool

Then, slender down your outcomes by trying to find “alt attributes” solely. 

Like so:

Search results for “alt attributes” only

Now you’ll be able to see precisely which photographs are inflicting the difficulty. So you’ll be able to log in to your website and repair them.

Lazy-Load Your Images

Lazy loading is a way in app and net improvement that defers the loading of non-critical sources (photographs, movies, and so on.) at web page load time. 

Images and movies are loaded solely when customers want them.

Here’s how Google explains the hyperlink between lazy loading and website efficiency:

“When we lazy load images and video, we reduce initial page load time, initial page weight, and system resource usage, all of which have positive impacts on performance.”

5. Optimize Your Site’s Page Loading Speed 

Page loading pace is essential for Google. Especially on cell. 

Which is why we advocate making your website load as rapidly as attainable. 

To benchmark your website’s present loading pace, use Google’s personal PageSpeed Insights software. 

Start by getting into your URL. Then click on “Analyze.”

PageSpeed Insights tool

You’ll see a dashboard along with your website’s general well being. And an in depth report with all of the methods you’ll be able to enhance. 

PageSpeed Insights dashboard with your site’s overall health

To dig deeper, use our Site Audit software.

First, create a brand new undertaking (when you haven’t already accomplished so). Then, search for “Site Performance” and click on on “View details.”

“Site Performance” section highlighted in Site Audit dashboard

Then, see and deal with all of the errors and warnings beneath “Performance Issues.”

errors and warnings highlighted in the “Performance Issues”

These are all the problems in your website which might be stopping it from loading sooner. 

You can even click on on “# issues” to see extra in regards to the problem and the way to repair it. 

If you do, you’ll see an inventory of the affected URLs and their load occasions.

Like this:

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6. Build an Internal Linking Structure

Internal hyperlinks are essential as a result of they set up an info hierarchy to your web site. And assist Google perceive the content material in your web page.

When used appropriately, inner hyperlinks could increase your rankings.

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An SEO finest apply is to add inner hyperlinks from top-ranking pages in your website to pages that want a lift. 

Generally, this implies linking outdated pages (that carry out properly) to new ones. Old pages have a tendency to have extra authority. 

It’s a pleasant shortcut to provide help to use inner hyperlinks with out having to analyze each web page in your website. 

That being stated, it is best to nonetheless look out for inner linking errors. They will be detrimental to your SEO. 

To rapidly discover and repair these errors, use the inner linking report inside our Site Audit software. 

Again, begin by creating your undertaking when you haven’t already. And search for the “Internal Linking” field. 

And click on on “View details.”

“Internal Linking” box highlighted

Then, see and deal with all errors and warnings beneath “Internal Link Issues.”

“Internal Link Issues” tab highlighted

7. Improve User Experience 

Google retains a detailed eye on how customers have interaction with pages. As such, consumer expertise (UX) is a key think about serving to enhance search rankings. 

Page pace performs a key position in enhancing UX. But it’s simply a place to begin. 

Here are a couple of different SEO ideas to be sure that customers have an excellent expertise once they go to your website:

  • Use headers and subheadings. Proper use of headers and subheadings (H1, H2, H3) helps Google perceive your content material higher and makes your textual content extra accessible to readers.
  • Make your content material visually interesting. Visuals assist readers perceive your content material higher. Use related photographs, movies, and screenshots to assist get your level throughout.
  • Avoid utilizing intrusive pop-ups. Pop-ups are annoying your guests. Since 2017, Google has penalized websites that use intrusive pop-ups. So it’s finest to use them sparingly.
  • Use white area. White area is key for good design. According to the Interaction Design Foundation, white area improves legibility, branding, and focus. 
  • Make your website mobile-friendly. Mobile-friendliness is crucial for UX and since Google makes use of mobile-first indexing. You can use Google’s mobile-friendly test to see how your website performs.

8. Make Your URLs SEO-Friendly 

An excellent URL construction provides customers and search engines like google and yahoo an thought of what the vacation spot web page is about. 

Consider organizing your content material in order that URLs are constructed logically. And in a way that’s intelligible to people. 

With that in thoughts, right here is how one can begin creating well-structured URLs:

  • Use brief URLs. A Backlinko examine discovered that brief URLs have a tendency to outperform lengthy URLs in SERPs.
  • Include your goal key phrase. Always embody your goal key phrases within the URL to improve your possibilities of rating higher in search outcomes. 
  • Include classes or subfolders if vital. For instance, when you’re promoting items, you could have a “shop” subcategory. This helps customers navigate your website.
Example of a good and a bad URL

Google acknowledges backlinks as “votes of confidence” from different websites to yours. 

If your webpages have many authoritative backlinks, they’re extra probably to rank properly on the SERPs.

That stated, not all backlinks are created equal. 

Some backlinks can increase your rating for particular search queries exponentially. While others could also be dangerous.

You ought to focus your efforts on constructing high-quality backlinks that may enhance your possibilities of rating larger to your goal key phrases. 

One of the best methods to acquire authoritative backlinks is by replicating your rivals’ hyperlink constructing methods.

To begin, go to Semrush’s Backlink Analytics software.

Enter your competitor’s area and go to the “Indexed Pages” tab. 

“Indexed Pages” tab

You’ll see a desk with your whole competitor’s pages sorted by variety of referring domains (i.e., web sites linking to it). 

Competitor’s pages sorted by number of referring domains

Look for patterns within the prime pages’ subjects, type, size, and format. 

For instance:

  • What does your competitor write about?
  • Is the format extra long-form or brief?
  • Do they use a whole lot of visible property?

The solutions to these questions ought to information your content material technique. Replicate what’s working in a greater or related method.

10. Create Useful Content 

Publishing authentic, useful content material might help you rank larger on Google. 

This isn’t about content material size. That’s irrelevant. 

Instead, attempt to clear up onerous issues, share learnings out of your information, and problem misconceptions.

A fantastic technique is to discover subjects which might be already trending in your business. And then create content material with new angles, information, and views. 

To rapidly discover trending subjects, use our Topic Research software.

Start by getting into the subject you’d like content material concepts for, after which click on “Get content ideas.”

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The software will then present an enormous checklist of potential subjects. Including headlines, questions, and associated searches. 

All conveniently prioritized by search quantity. 

Like this:



What are some frequent finest SEO practices?

Optimizing web site construction and content material, utilizing related and descriptive key phrases, creating high-quality and worthwhile content material, constructing high-quality backlinks, optimizing web site pace and mobile-friendliness, and usually updating and sustaining your web site.

Will my web site mechanically rank properly if I observe all SEO finest practices?

Following SEO practices alone doesn’t assure good SEO outcomes to your web site. SEO is a posh and ever-changing area. Ranking properly relies on many components, together with the standard of your content material, the competitiveness of your business, and the effectiveness of your general advertising technique.

How ought to I prioritize the assorted SEO duties?

Prioritizing SEO duties can rely on a number of components—the web site’s targets, viewers, and competitors, for instance. However, an excellent start line is to prioritize duties primarily based on their potential affect on the web site’s general natural SEO efficiency. 

Some high-priority duties embody enhancing web site pace, optimizing content material for goal key phrases, and guaranteeing web site mobile-friendliness.

What are a very powerful SEO components for my web site?

The most essential natural SEO components could range by sort of web site, business, and different components. But they usually embody key phrase analysis and optimization, creating high-quality content material, constructing backlinks, and guaranteeing that the web site has a user-friendly design and construction.

What are some finest practices for on-page SEO?

Some finest practices for on-page SEO embody optimizing your web page titles, meta descriptions, header tags, and content material for key phrases, utilizing descriptive and SEO-friendly URLs, and optimizing photographs with descriptive alt textual content.

What are some off-page SEO finest practices for 2023?

While completely different entrepreneurs can have completely different opinions about off-page SEO duties, a few of the commonest finest practices embody the next: 

  • Building high-quality backlinks from respected web sites
  • Creating partaking and “link-worthy” content material
  • Promoting content material via social media
  • Participating in on-line communities and boards related to your area of interest

Optimizing web site pace and efficiency, utilizing HTTPS encryption, creating an XML sitemap, and guaranteeing search engines like google and yahoo can correctly crawl your content material are all finest practices associated to technical SEO.

What are the very best practices for native SEO?

Some finest practices for native SEO embody:

  • Creating a Google Business Profile itemizing and guaranteeing it’s correct and up to date
  • Consistently utilizing correct and constant enterprise info (identify, deal with, cellphone quantity) throughout all on-line directories and listings
  • Obtaining buyer opinions on platforms like Google and Yelp
  • Creating native content material that’s related to your audience
  • Using native key phrases in your web site content material, title tags, and URLs
  • Building native backlinks by networking with different native companies and organizations

Here are some finest practices associated to worldwide SEO:

  • Use hreflang tags to specify language and regional concentrating on to your webpages
  • Use country-specific top-level domains (ccTLDs) or subdomains to home your worldwide content material primarily based on nation or area
  • Optimize your content material for the native language and cultural preferences of your audience
  • Optimize your web site’s loading pace for worldwide audiences through the use of Content Delivery Networks (CDNs)

What are some finest practices for SEO content material creation?

Some finest practices for SEO content material creation embody conducting key phrase analysis to goal related key phrases, creating high-quality and authentic content material, incorporating headers and subheaders, optimizing meta descriptions and title tags, together with inner and exterior hyperlinks, and usually updating and refreshing content material.

What inner linking finest practices ought to I take note?

Your inner linking technique will probably be off to an excellent begin when you maintain the next finest practices in thoughts:

  • Link related pages. Only hyperlink pages which might be related to the content material on the present web page.
  • Use descriptive anchor textual content. Use descriptive and related anchor textual content that precisely describes the linked web page.
  • Use pure linking. Links needs to be pure and match inside the move of the content material.
  • Keep it easy. Avoid overloading a web page with too many inner hyperlinks.
  • Use sitemaps. Use sitemaps to cowl any inner linking gaps you could have. (This might help search engines like google and yahoo crawl and index your web site.)
  • Consider consumer expertise. Make positive your inner hyperlinks enhance the consumer expertise by offering further related info. 

What are the very best practices for writing title tags?

Some finest practices for writing title tags embody the next:

  • Keep the title tag size beneath 60 characters
  • Include the goal key phrase of the web page within the title tag
  • Make positive the title tag precisely displays the content material on the web page
  • Write distinctive title tags for every web page in your web site
  • Use title tags to entice clicks from search engine customers

What are the very best practices for writing meta descriptions?

Here are some finest practices to take note while you’re writing meta descriptions:

  • Keep them concise. Meta descriptions ought to ideally be between 150 and 160 characters.
  • Use action-oriented language. Encourage customers to click on via to your web site with energetic verbs and calls to motion.
  • Highlight distinctive promoting factors. Showcase what makes your content material distinctive and why customers ought to click on on it.
  • Include related key phrases. Use related key phrases that replicate the content material of the web page. While meta descriptions aren’t a rating issue, Google could daring them in search outcomes, making your listings stand out.
  • Don’t duplicate meta descriptions. Each web page ought to have a novel meta description that displays its particular content material.

When optimizing for web page pace, what finest practices ought to I take note?

When optimizing for web page pace, take note the next finest practices:

Take It a Step Further 

Now that you understand how to get your basis in place, you’ll be able to dive into new and extra superior SEO approaches. 

Take a have a look at these guides to proceed studying:

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