10 SEO Best Practices to Increase Organic Traffic & Rankings

SEO best practices are guidelines to boosting your organic traffic. 

The better your SEO, the higher your search ranking, which means more people will see and click through your content.

So, what do you need to do?

Follow these 10 SEO best practices to rank as high as possible and increase your organic traffic.

10 SEO Best Practices

1. Align Content with Search Intent

Since Google Hummingbird was released in 2013, google has become more focussed on search intent and less focussed on keyword matching.

Why? Because Google’s top priority is to produce the most useful and relevant content for its users.

Search intent covers 4 key areas:

  • Informational: someone seeking to learn more about something
  • Navigational: someone searching for a specific page or site
  • Commercial: someone looking to learn before making a purchase
  • Transactional: someone intending to complete an action or purchase

Think of it like this, if someone searches for “what is SEO” they’re not really ready to buy, but instead are seeking more information. This falls into the ‘informational’ category.

On the other hand, someone who searches for “SEO agency near me” is actively looking for an agency. This has a more ‘commercial’ intent.

Point is, you want to align your content with search intent, so the right people end up consuming your content.

For a given keyword, you can find its search intent using this Semrush tool.

2. Primary Keywords

A Primary keyword is a keyword that best represents a topic or page, and every page should have one, and only one. You want to make sure that your primary keyword is included in the following:

  • Title tag
  • Headers
  • Introduction
  • URL

With this article for example, you’ll notice “SEO best practices” has been included in each of these elements. You’ll also notice that it’s not been forced unnaturally (also known as keyword stuffing).

If you are looking to choose a target keyword, use Semrush’s keyword magic tool or Ubersuggest. You’ll want to find one that best matches the overall theme of the page, and if there are a few options to choose from, try and find one that balances high search volume with low competition.

3. Title Tags and Meta Descriptions

Title Tags

Title tags are clickable headlines that appear in SERPs. They tell Google what your page is about and are crucial from an SEO perspective.

When a user comes across your title tag, it gives them a quick insight into the content of your page and why it’s relevant to their query. Make it compelling because it’s one of the primary pieces of information that make people click on your page as opposed to others.

Best practices include:

  • Make it compelling
  • Keep between 50 to 60 characters
  • Include target keyword
  • Match search intent
  • Avoid duplicate title tags
  • Avoid keyword stuffing
  • Keep it descriptive and concise

Meta Descriptions

Meta descriptions are used to describe the content on a page. While they don’t affect SEO directly, they do indirectly because the better your meta description the higher your CTR, which gives Google information about how clickable your site is.

Best practices include:

  • They should inform and interest users with a short, relevant summary of what the page is about
  • Keep between 150 to 160 characters
  • Include your primary keyword
  • Each page should have a unique meta description
  • It should match search intent

4. Optimise Images

Images play an important role in SEO. They can either help or hinder.

Images are often the largest contributor to overall page size and loading time, so it’s important you optimise them. Here are a few ways to do it.

Format

The most commonly used formats are JPEG and PNG. Both use different compression techniques, which is why file sizes can vary.

As a general rule, JPEGs are best for photographs and PNGs for logos, images that contain text and where transparency is required.

WebP formats are a popular option nowadays too, providing superior lossless and lossy compression for web images. According to Google, WebP lossless images are 26% smaller in size compared to PNGs and 34% smaller than JPEGs.

Compress

Image compression makes files smaller without making them look worse.

The bigger the file, the slower it loads. That's why it's crucial to compress your images before putting them on your website.

There are a few tools that can help:

  • TinyPNG: It's smart and shrinks PNG and JPEG files without losing much quality
  • ImageOptim: It's the top choice for compressing images on a Mac
  • ShortPixel: This WordPress plugin is fantastic for automatically compressing images

Alt Text

Alt text, short for alternative text, is added to HTML code to explain what an image is about on a webpage.

It helps search engines understand the image and assists people using screen readers to grasp its content.

Here are some tips for writing alt text:

  • Keep it short, under 125 characters
  • Include one main keyword to provide context
  • Avoid phrases like "image of" or "picture of."

Tools like Semrush Site Audit or Ubersuggest can help identify and correct missing alt text.

Lazy Load

Lazy loading means delaying the loading of less important stuff like images or videos until users actually need them.

This helps make pages load faster and use less computer power, which is good for performance.

5. Page Loading Speed

Google considers page loading speed crucial, especially for mobile devices.

You can check your site's current loading speed using Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool.

This tool is crucial for finding out why your site might be slow, so you can fix the problems.

6. Internal Links

Internal links are vital because they set up the structure of your website.

This structure helps Google figure out what your page is about.

When done right, it can improve your rankings in search results.

Here are some best practices:

  • Use anchor text that includes keywords
  • Link to important pages within your site
  • Regularly check and optimise internal links using Google Search Console
  • Place links prominently on your page
  • Ensure links are set to "follow" for optimal search engine crawling
  • Strategically link from your homepage
  • Avoid excessive linking

7. Optimise User Experience

Google closely monitors how users interact with web pages.

As a result, user experience (UX) significantly influences search rankings.

While page speed is important for UX, it's just the beginning.

Here are additional SEO tips to enhance user experience:

  • Organise your content with headers and subheaders
  • Create visually engaging content
  • Minimise intrusive pop-ups that disrupt user experience
  • Use white space effectively for readability
  • Ensure your website is optimised for mobile devices

8. Make URL SEO-Friendly

An effective URL structure communicates the content of the destination page to both users and search engines.

Organise your content to ensure logical construction of URLs.

Here's how to craft well-structured URLs:

  • Keep them concise: Research by Backlinko indicates that shorter URLs generally perform better in search engine results pages (SERPs)
  • Incorporate your target keyword
  • Add categories or subfolders as needed

9. Establish High-Quality Backlinks

Google sees backlinks as signs of trust from other websites to yours.

If your webpages have lots of trustworthy backlinks, they're more likely to appear higher up in Google search results.

But not all backlinks are the same. Some can really help improve your page rank, while others might hurt it.

Overall, the more high quality backlinks you have, the better your ranking in search results. Aim for both high quality and volume, but if you can only choose one, opt for quality.

10. Great Content

Creating unique and useful content can boost your Google ranking.

Forget about how long your content is, that doesn't matter.

Instead, focus on creating great content that helps people in a unique way.

A smart move is to spot popular topics in your field and add your own fresh ideas, data, and viewpoints.

You can easily find what's trending using tools like Answer the Public or Google Trends.

SEO Audit Checklist

If you have a website and want to boost your organic traffic and search rankings, then download this free SEO audit checklist.

Takeaways

  • By implementing these 10 SEO best practices, you’ll be well on your way to boosting search rankings and organic traffic.

If you’re looking for a great website that meets your organic traffic and sales goals, check out our web design and digital marketing services.

Then contact us for a FREE consultation.