11+ SEO Best Practices You Need to Know

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The SEO landscape changes with each algorithm update. But no matter what, SEO best practices remain. Strategies like using the right keywords, getting backlinks, and creating quality content will always be the keys to winning Google searches. 
How do I know? 
Well, Google won't tell us specifically how marketers  rank for search terms. But we can infer many things. 
  • Put yourself in Google's shoes for a second: they want to give users the best results for their search queries – otherwise, people will end up with Bing or Yahoo. Therefore, they are interested in showing the best results from the most reliable sources. 
As such,  best practices are all about creating great, user-friendly content or building authority signals. This article is the ultimate list of SEO best practices you need to know. The rest of the SEO world is constantly changing. Best practices are not. 


What are SEO Best Practices? 

11+ SEO Best Practices You Need to Know

More than 90% of websites have no search traffic. Follow these 12 best practices and you won't be one of them.

1. SEO Keyword Best Practices 

Google's crawler analyzes every web page on the internet to determine which pages to rank for a given query. Google itself says: “When  a crawler finds a web page, our system displays the content of that page, just like a browser. We  note  key signals - from keywords to site freshness - and  track them all in the search index.

12 SEO Best Practices You Need to Know

Yes, keywords are  really important. , They are especially important in a few key places: 

  • Your page title: 47% of visitors immediately exit the page. Web crawlers are also fickle. Set your website title to include keywords related to the search query. Plus, your page title will show up in the Google Search Engine Results Page (SERP) by default — another great reason to include your keywords.
  • At the top of your content: For the same reason, your keywords will also appear at the top of your written content. Like searchers, Google places more weight on the top portion of a web page. 
  • E-commerce product pages: E-commerce product pages should also highlight your target keywords. Even if your product is called "McCartney Flowy Garment", you should add "long green dress" on the product page so  Google knows what your product really is. 
  • Your Homepage: Your homepage should include keywords that bring the entire site together. If you have a website dedicated to auto parts reviews, then you will be in a better position to rank for long tail keywords in your posts and pages if you use “cars”. ” and “reviews” on its homepage. This is  another signal that tells Google what your site is about. 

Google's natural language processing can understand searcher intent. So don't feel like you have to "stuff" keywords, but  aim to use your keywords (and semantically similar keywords) in your content. 

2. URL Best Practices

The URL tells the user and Google what the page's content  is about. In fact, Google's John Mueller bluntly stated that URLs help Google understand the content of a page.

12 SEO Best Practices You Need to Know
Source: Ahrefs

While URLs aren't the most important ranking factor, there are some best practices to follow: 
  • As with your other content, you should use meaningful keywords in your URLs. if possible. 
  • Shorter URLs tend to be better than long URLs (source). Take this lightly, but you should aim to include just enough information in your URLs without losing much meaning. Remove stop words like "a", "and", "but", etc.
  • Use hyphens (-) not underscores (_) or anything else to separate words in your URLs.
  • Use a logical directory structure. If you have an e-commerce site, consider nesting men's products in the /men directory and women's products in the /women directory (or use a different structure that works for your use case). Note: You don't need a directory structure, but if you have a complex website with lots of categories that's to your advantage. 

You should also make sure to use redirects if you're not using old pages. If a product is out of stock or your blog post isn't very good, you can disable that page, as long as you then redirect it to another page on your linked site. If you are using WordPress, tools like Yoast will make it easy for you to perform redirects. Shopify, Wix, and many other website builders have built-in URL redirects. 

3. Site Speed ​​

53% of mobile users abandon a website that takes more than 3 seconds to load.

12 SEO Best Practices You Need to Know

Site speed is an important factor in SEO. Slow websites are not only frustrating for users, but also negatively impact  rankings. Especially since updating the  Page Experience algorithm in 2021, Google has taken site speed very seriously. 
The good news is that most modern websites and servers are pretty fast. If you're not sure where your site is ranking, run a Google Lighthouse Audit - this will give you a score to help you determine if speed is an issue.
If so, there are a few simple solutions: 
  • Upgrade your hosting plan: Most web hosts like GoDaddy, Bluehost and others come in faster tiers . Usually, the lowest tiers are "shared hosting" setups where you share servers with other sites. You can also host the site yourself if you want! 
  • Delete Items: If you are not using plugins and templates, you should delete them. Removing them will reduce the load on the server.
  • Memory: You can increase the memory of your website so that more scripts can be run concurrently. This can  be done in your website settings or through your web host. 
  • Images: Compress images before uploading with a tool like ImageOptim. 
  • Use a CDN: If you have a lot of images, you might consider using a content delivery network to dynamically deliver your images, for better speeds. 

4. Optimizing Your Images 

People are intuitive. Images are a great way to showcase your product or give your readers richer context. Image optimization best practices  are quite similar to keyword best practices. You want to use your keywords in the filename, title, and alt text. That's it.

So, before you download this image titled "Screen Shot 2022-01-18 at 10.06.01 AM", consider renaming it  something  more descriptive with keywords. 
Most modern website builders (including WordPress and Shopify) also allow you to add alt text to images. Alt text is image description text  for non-image browsers  and for visually impaired web browsers. While this is a minor ranking factor, it would be remiss if I didn't mention the alt text. 
Image optimization is especially important for ecommerce SEO. About 27% of all searches are image searches — and many of those are people looking for clothing, furniture, home appliances, and other e-commerce products. Be sure to optimize! 

5. Optimizing Your Content 

Content is the backbone of almost any SEO strategy. Especially if you are a blogger, content is the most profitable. When we surveyed our 20,000+  email audiences, 65% said content creation is the #1 ranking factor for SEO.

12 SEO Best Practices You Need to Know

From my experience writing over 500 blog posts, I know there are a few rules you need to follow if you want to rank: 
  • Start strong: Again, the  bounce rate is high and you need to grab your visitor's attention immediately. With the exception of some YMYL categories (like healthcare), I find that starting with my own personal anecdotes or  thought leadership often gets people reading further than the first paragraph, or both. . 
  • This will change: dense paragraphs can be difficult to read, especially on mobile devices. The best sites use a mix of paragraphs, different sentence lengths, bullets, numbered lists, images, and more. to make their blog posts more readable and engaging.
  • Organize clearly: Use headings and spaces to divide  your content into readable sections. It's counter-intuitive, but skimming keeps people on the page. 
  • Provide detailed information: general information is not possible. You need to tell the reader exactly what to do and how to do it. Use data, screenshots, and anything else to be able to answer a user's query fully in an authoritative manner.
  • Length: Most blog posts that rank are very thorough – and long. In most search fields, longer posts perform better. Longer posts keep people on your site longer and signal to Google that your post is extremely comprehensive. Use a tool like GrowthBar to determine exactly how long your content will rank.

6. Update Your Content

Updating old content is more important in some search areas than others. But in general, your content should be fresh enough to satisfy searcher intent. 
For e-commerce products, new content really isn't a big deal. Similar product pages for  white t-shirts will work  fine today, tomorrow, and five years from now. But a news site can't get away with showing yesterday's headlines on its homepage.
To find out if you're in an industry that values ​​novelty, simply scan Google's SERP. Are your competitors updating their content? Do you see the current year in parentheses (e.g. "[2023]") on each search result? These are easy  to find indicators. 
Either way, Google likes live sites, so updating older content from time to time isn't a bad thing. Every time Google crawls your site, it looks for new content; Actively updated sites  are newer. Also, frequently updated web pages are crawled  more often by Google, which means your content will rank faster. 

7. Sitemaps Best Practices 

An XML sitemap is a document that contains the structure of your site. Sitemaps are used by Google to organize and understand your website. A sitemap is simply a list of all  the URLs on your site. It doesn't have to be, but it certainly helps Google understand more precisely how your site should be read and cataloged. 
If you have a website built on Shopify, Wix, or WordPress, you probably already have a rudimentary sitemap by default - so you probably don't need to worry. WordPress SEO plugins like Yoast and Rank Math can create more comprehensive sitemaps. 
To view your sitemap, try entering your domain name, for example: https://growthmarketingpro.com with the following extensions 
The most common sitemap problems in custom sites. If you have a custom website and don't have a sitemap, you can follow these steps to create one. 

8. Site security and reliability 

Have you ever visited a website and been greeted with the dreaded "your connection is not private" warning? If your security is compromised and you are penalized or de-indexed, it can wreak havoc on your SEO. The most important sign in any website security is an SSL certificate. 

The SSL certificate allows websites to switch from HTTP to HTTPS, more securely. An SSL certificate contains the website's public key and its identity, along with associated information. This is basically a signal of trust for Google. They don't want their user information compromised, so you should make sure you have  SSL. 
The good news is that getting SSL is super easy. Most reputable web hosts have a simple add-on for  SSL licenses. For just a few dollars a month, you can make sure your website is safe for internet users and Google.

9. Manage Your Appearance In Google Search Results

Meta description is not a ranking factor. But they are a way to bring people to your content. As long as there is a Google SERP, making your Google listing as strong as possible will bring people to your site. This is why top SEOs edit their meta descriptions to make them clickable. 
Most platforms like Shopify and WordPress allow you to edit the meta description after you create a post or upload a product page. Browse  the Google SERP to see what other users in your space are doing with their meta descriptions. 

They can include keywords in the description, they can include the year or proof of recent updates (date). They may even have stars or other structured data for more comprehensive and clickable results. Structured data sounds complicated, but it's not. 
Structured data is a standardized format for providing information about a page and categorizing its content; e.g. on the recipes page,  ingredients,  cooking time and temperature,  calories, etc. Or on a review site, the number of stars out of five that you consider a product  to be. Structured data allows Google to understand 100% of the content of the page.

12 SEO Best Practices You Need to Know

Although structured data is included in the code, most website builders have numerous plugins  that  you can use to add structured data to your pages. Note: Structural data only applies to certain page types. It is most commonly used on ecommerce websites, product reviews, events pages, local businesses, and a few other use cases. 
Structured data isn't necessarily important for search rankings, but it's definitely a way to stand out in the SERPs. 

10. Plan Your Navigation and UI/UX 

Yes, your UI and UX are really important for SEO. Sites with great user experience and  interface are fun to use. Think about the last time you were at Airbnb, Amazon or the New York Times. Having trouble finding what you were looking for? Probably not.
Websites that are particularly user-friendly tend to rank high in Google's SERPs. They allow users to stay on the site longer, are more reliable, and provide a significantly better user experience. When it comes to SEO, there are some UI and UX best practices: 
  • Use a logical site hierarchy: Yes,  URL structure is important. As explained in the URL section of this article, the logical hierarchy makes it easier for users to navigate, so they stay on the page longer. 
  • Use the menu: There is a “rule of 3” when it comes to a website’s UX. It takes no more than three clicks for a user to get to any page on your website. While this is a very general rule, it illustrates the importance of clear menus and  user paths. Without a menu, users can get lost and  likely leave your site in search of greener pastures. Using 
  • Breadcrumbs: When you're on the page, it's nice to be able to go back. Breadcrumbs are  clickable links, usually located at the top of the page, that allow for easy navigation. For example, on many e-commerce sites you may see something  like CLOTHES > MAN > MEN'S SHOES > ADIDAS SHOES. All this helps the user to move from one place to another in an easy and hassle-free way. 

UI and UX are the foundation of product-centric SEO. Answering questions like "How do you find us?" and "How will you use our website?" will guide you on the right path to create a great search engine user experience.

11. Links, Links and Links 

Links are how Google's crawlers move from  page to page when it's indexing content and creating a map of a web page. The more links Google sees (up to one point) on your site, the richer and more  authoritative it will be with your content - and the faster it will index. There are three types of links that are most important to SEOs. 
An external link is a link from your website to other websites. They are most often used in lengthy content to cite sources or provide users with other useful information that is not available on your site. While pushing users away from your site may seem counter-intuitive, Google likes it. 

Quite simply, if you link to other sources, Google knows you care more about quality than your own selfish SEO desires. I find posts that  I link to extremely reliable sources perform better than posts that I don't link to. Authoritative sources include those with first-party research (.edu, medical journals and financial data) and other prominent and reputable sources. Use domain authority as a proxy for the authority. Most SEO tools provide a Domain Authority score for every site on the web. 
SEO Internal Linking is the practice of linking to relevant content on your own website to increase the visibility of that content with search engines. Like external linking, internal linking is a way of providing hyper-relevant information to users. It's also  a good way for Google's crawlers to continue to index all of your content, new and old. Additionally, strong internal links can send users to pages that generate revenue for your business. 
Backlinks are the engine of an effective SEO campaign. Backlinks are the type of links that most marketers consider when thinking about link strategies. Google considers backlinks a vote of confidence. 

Think about it: are you more likely to trust a site that has been cited by thousands of other sites, or a site that has not been cited by anyone? Especially in the age of fake news, Google considers backlinks to be one of the most powerful ranking signals. Backlinks are a topic for more discussion than this blog post allows. So read this article if you want the whole backlink enchilada. 

12. Using Google Search Console 

Google Search Console is a free tool that provides information on how your website appears on Google. You can use Google Search Console to see where Googlebot finds problems with your site, including non-indexable pages, pages  blocked by robots.txt, and unreachable URLs.

12 SEO Best Practices You Need to Know

Search Console contains a lot of information. You can see: 
  • Know if Google is having trouble indexing your site (due to technical issues) 
  • View  queries  driving traffic to your site 
  • Ask Google to set up partial re-index 

I like  to use the Dashboard search to locate articles  at the bottom of the first page  of the SERP. This is a ripe time to optimize, as the effort will likely pay off with  more traffic. Going from position 10 to position 1 will increase your traffic 10 times. But going from position 20 to position 10 won't have that big of an impact.
Search Console the best practice is here to stay. Most sophisticated SEOs use it for good reason. Also, it's free! 



Google is consistent in its mission to show  users great content. All of the best practices listed are important for appeasing Google now and in the future. You can take it to the bank and none of this will change anytime soon. 
  • Make sure your website is quickly and easily accessible, through SSL certificate and speed optimization. 
  • Make sure your content has keywords in the right places and is fresh, easy to read, and fully responsive to user queries. 
  • Make sure to use backlinks and internal links to create a  content network that Google can easily monitor to index your pages. 
  • Finally, make sure your site is navigable and indexed by Google through strong UX/UI and sensible sitemaps.

Getting an SEO tool is a great way to boost your efforts and take care of some of these best practices. Consider a tool that will help you with keyword research, content creation, and link sourcing. Good luck with your SEO journey. Let me know if you have any questions in the comments!

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