SEO Done Right. A Full SEO Guide + 15 Best Practices

In today's competitive online landscape, optimizing your website for search engine rankings has become a necessary step. Approximately 68% of online experiences begin with a simple search query, mostly on Google. SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization and the goal is to rank at the top of Google’s Search Engine Results Page (SERP).

On the SERP you compete against specific SERP features. Common search features are snippets, ad listings, knowledge graphs, local listings, image packs or video listings. Being at the top of search results drives massive traffic to your site and boosts credibility.

SEO requires ongoing effort, but is very rewarding once you achieve a high ranking on Google’s first page.

In this full SEO guide, you will learn why SEO is important, how to do SEO the right way, and 15 actionable tips – that you can use and implement right away - to help your site rank at the top of search engines like Google.
Why does SEO matter?
Increased credibility
Improved UX
Reduced cost
Increased traffic

Why does SEO matter for your website?

Implementing SEO strategies from the start has many positive effects on your website and brand. These include:
Increased credibility
A SEO-friendly website helps you establish your brand as an authority in your niche, as users often view the top search result as the most credible.
Improved user experience
Search engines like Google consider user experience to be a crucial ranking factor. By optimizing your website for SEO, you can enhance the overall user experience.
Reduced costs
SEO is a cheaper way to generate leads and sales than in any other way. By reducing your reliance on paid ads and other marketing tactics, you will save money in the long run.
Increased traffic
Websites that are optimized for SEO rank higher in search engine results and attract more traffic. The top result typically receives around 32% of all clicks.Ignoring the importance of SEO means dropping out on the opportunity to make your website a more valuable asset for your business.

That’s why you should always make search engine optimization a priority in your online marketing strategy.
Resources to build a successful business
15 best practices for effective SEO
Use keywords
Use header tags
User friendly URL structure
User helpful content
Keyword rich anchor text
Mobile friendliness
Optimizing images for SEO
Fast page load times
Backlinks via social media
Using free tools to improve SEO
Cleaning up your website's code
Using internal links
Meta tags optimization
Using images and videos
Regular content updates

Best practices for effective SEO

Creating a SEO-friendly website requires ongoing effort due to frequent changes in search engine algorithms. It is also important to mention that SEO always takes time. If you compare it to sports: Ads are like a sprint, where you get results fast. In contrast, consider SEO as a marathon, as it takes quite some time to rank within Google.

In this section, we’ll explore 15 strategies to help you get your website to the top of the search engine results pages.
1. Incorporate keywords into your content
Incorporating relevant keywords into your content is crucial for improving your website’s position on search engine results pages. To rank on the first page, you need to know what key phrases and words your target audience is typing into Google’s search. Your goal is to align the words you are using on your website with the keywords people are searching for.

Use tools like Google Trends and Ahrefs to gain a better understanding of popular topics and your audience’s search intent. Google Trends allows you to compare the popularity of different search terms over time, while Ahrefs provides more advanced metrics like keyword volume and traffic potential.

Once you’ve identified your target keywords, it is important to use them naturally and strategically in your content. A strategy that was punished by Google years ago was “keyword-stuffing”. This means to artificially use keywords excessively within your content to lure Google into thinking your content is relevant for that specific topic.

Remember this:
Do not include keywords without taking their context and readability into consideration as this leads to a negative impact on the user experience and minimizes your chances of ranking at the top of the SERP.
The best keywords are relevant to your business, have low competition and high search volume

What makes an ideal keyword?

The best keywords balance three key factors:
High search volume
The keyword should be something that people are searching for.
Low competition
Targeting the most popular keywords can be challenging, as websites with higher authority will outrank you. Rather, check for keywords with lower competition.
Relevant to your business
Only use keywords that are relevant to your business and that make sense in your website.

By considering these factors when choosing your keywords, you drastically improve your chances of ranking higher on the search engine results page.
Fat-head vs long-tail strategy

Which keyword strategy should you use?

For SEO, there are two strategies you can choose: fat-head or long-tail keyword strategy. When using SEO as a marketing channel, it’s important to decide which strategy makes the most sense for your business.

• Fat-head keywords are popular words with high search volume, such as “Marketing” or “SaaS”. While these keywords bring in a lot of traffic, the competition for them is strong, making it difficult to rank. Additionally, the conversion rate may suffer because a single keyword provides limited information about the customer’s search intent.

• Long-tail keywords are more descriptive and specific, such as “Marketing for SaaS companies”. These keywords are easier to rank for and result in higher engagement with your content because they provide more information about the customer’s search intent.

Tools for finding the best keywords

Here are five tools you can use to find promising keywords for your website:

• Google AdWords:
Use this tool to find out the search volume and competition for specific keywords.

• Google Trends:
See if a keyword is trending and compare its popularity to other phrases.

• Google Search:
Use this tool to understand what people are searching for and discover new phrases and keywords.

• Link Explorer:
Use this tool to find out your own page and domain authority.

• MozBar:
This tool helps you determine the page and domain authority of other websites.

By using these tools, you can gain valuable insights into the keywords that are most likely to drive traffic to your website.
2. Using header tags
Proper use of header tags is another way to make your website more SEO-friendly. These HTML elements provide structure and meaning to your web page’s content, helping search engines understand what it’s about.

Header tags range from <h1> to <h6>, with <h1> and <h2> tags used for the content’s title and headings. To optimize your headers for SEO, list your keywords and include them in these tags where appropriate.

Once you’ve optimized all of your <h1> tags, try to include relevant SEO keywords in other headers as well. By applying this method whenever you publish new content, you will improve your SEO rankings.

As a result, search engine crawlers will be able to accurately index your site for relevant content and improve your page ranking on SERPs. This will help you reach the relevant targeted audience.
Structure your page with headings
3. User-friendly URL structure
Having a clean and SEO-friendly URL structure is essential for creating an SEO-friendly website. A SEO-friendly URL should be easy to read, simple to understand, and relevant to the page’s content.

Search engines use URLs to crawl and index websites, so including your target keyword in the URL helps them understand what each page is about. For example, a page about pet grooming tips might have a URL like this:

Avoid using long query strings with numbers, as this makes the URL harder to read and less SEO-friendly. Instead, aim for short and descriptive URLs that reflect the content of each page.

By using SEO-friendly URLs, you help search engines crawl your website more efficiently, improving your site’s position in relevant search results.
4. Create user-helpful content
Search engines are constantly evolving to keep up with the fast-paced world we live in. As a result, valuable, relevant, and unique content has become the most important factor for SEO.

Content can include images, videos, and text - anything that is compelling to your web visitors and meets the expectations of search engines. However, it’s not enough to have just any kind of content. You need high-quality content that answers questions and meets the needs of your visitors.

After conducting keyword research, incorporate the words that people are searching for into your content to answer their questions. It’s important to write in a natural and human way, as search engines are recognizing and rewarding content that is written for people rather than for search engines.

In 2022, Google Search introduced the "helpful content update" to improve the quality of search results by prioritizing original, helpful content written for people. To ensure success with this update, content creators should focus on creating people-first content that provides a satisfying experience for visitors.

SEO best practices can still be used in conjunction with people-first content, but content created solely for search engines will perform poorly.
Always create meaningful, helpful content
5. Using keyword-rich anchor text in your links
Anchor text is the clickable text that takes users to another page or section of your website when clicked. Using SEO-friendly anchor text helps search engines better understand your content and rank it higher in search results.

To create SEO-friendly anchor text, focus on using keywords that are relevant to your website and the content you’re linking to. For example, if you’re linking to a page about SEO tips, you might use anchor text like “Learn SEO tips” or “SEO strategies.”

It’s important to ensure that your anchor text is relevant to the linked page and provides search engines with an accurate idea of what the content is about. Avoid keyword stuffing in your anchor text, as this negatively impacts your website’s SEO score.
6. Optimizing your website for all devices
Creating a SEO-friendly website involves more than just optimizing your content - it’s also important to ensure that your website is mobile-friendly.

In Q4 of 2022, mobile users accounted for nearly 59% of global website traffic. As a result, search engines like Google consider a website’s mobile-friendliness to be an important factor in their ranking algorithms.

To make your website mobile-friendly, ensure that it loads quickly on mobile devices and has a responsive design that adapts to different screen sizes. Many ready-to-use themes for platforms like WordPress come with built-in mobile versions.

Also, use tools like Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test to check if your site meets current standards for mobile-friendliness.
Make sure your website is responsive
7. Optimizing your images for SEO
Optimizing your images for SEO increases your overall website’s visibility in search engine results. There are several steps you can take to make your images more SEO-friendly and boost your SEO performance.

• First, give each image an appropriate filename that includes relevant keywords. This will help search engines understand the content of the image and improve its visibility on SERPs.

• Second, reduce the size of your images before uploading them to your website. Large files slow down your page and harm your SEO performance. Consider compressing your images to reduce their size while maintaining their quality.

• Third, don’t forget to add alternative text for each image. This is a piece of HTML code that describes the content of the image and appears if the image fails to load properly. Adding alt text helps search engines understand the context of your images and improves your SEO performance.

• Consider adding short captions under your images to provide additional context and improve the user experience.
8. Ensuring fast page load times
Search engines prioritize websites that load quickly and provide a good user experience. A slow website harms your SEO efforts, reduces customer satisfaction, and makes it harder for search engines to crawl your content.

To optimize your website’s load times, take these steps:

• Optimize HTTP requests by cutting down the server response time
• Compress images and other media files to reduce their size
• Use browser caching
• Upgrade to a better web hosting plan with higher bandwidth.

Also, use tools like Google’s PageSpeed Insights to check if your site meets current standards for page load times and get suggestions for improving its performance.
Make sure your page loads quickly
9. Using social media to promote your content to get backlinks
Promoting your content on social media can help improve your website’s SEO by reaching a wider audience and generating more backlinks. To effectively grow your brand on social media, it’s important to have some knowledge and skills in this area. Also, it is important to understand which platforms are most effective for driving traffic in your niche.

For example, while Pinterest and Instagram may not drive as much external website traffic overall, they can be effective for promoting content in specific niches like fashion and food.

Don’t forget to include referral links and calls to action (CTAs) in your social media profile and posts. Well-crafted CTAs with clear messages help drive more traffic to your website.
10. Using free tools to improve your website’s SEO
Analyzing your website’s core metrics is an important part of creating a SEO-friendly website. You can use various analytics tools, including Google Search Console and Google Analytics, to get this information. Many of these tools are available for free.

With Google Search Console, you can monitor your website’s performance in Google search results. You can use this data to understand how Google views your content and which queries people use to find it. The tool provides an overview of your organic traffic and offers guidance on improving your website’s visibility based on Google’s guidelines.

Google Search Console also provides detailed reports on any errors found in your website’s content and helps you identify issues that might affect your search engine rankings. These include problems like duplicate content, incorrect meta tags, or broken links.

While not directly related to SEO, Google Analytics is also a useful tool for improving your website’s performance. It provides metrics like bounce rate that can help you identify and fix issues on your site.
Google Search Console and Google Analytics are free tools for improving SEO
11. Organizing and cleaning up your website’s code
Your website is made up of numerous lines of code that perform various functions. As your website grows, these lines of code can become disorganized and interfere with each other. To prevent this from happening, it’s important to clean up and organize your site’s code regularly.

Not only does this help with the search engine indexing process, but it also improves your site’s loading speed. Both factors play a crucial role in your website’s SEO performance.

Your website’s code may include different programming languages such as HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. Each of these languages has its own way of being organized.

Thankfully, there are tools available to help you with this process, including Dirty Markup, HTML Cleaner, and JS Beautifier.
12. Optimizing your website with internal links
Internal linking means adding hyperlinks within your website’s content to other pages or posts on your site. This creates a network of interconnected content and helps search engines understand the structure and relevance of each page.

Internal links can be added to elements such as text, images, or buttons. It’s important to consider the relevance of each page or post you want to link to in order to ensure that your internal links are effective.

Strategic internal linking helps reduce bounce rates by making it easier for visitors to find the right content and navigate your site. Linking to related content on your blog posts encourages visitors to explore and engage with your website more.

However, it’s important not to overdo it. Too many internal links make your content look cluttered and negatively affect the user experience.
Link from the content your website to other pages on your site
13. Meta tags optimization
Title tags and meta descriptions are HTML elements that provide a context for a page’s content. Title tags appear as clickable headlines on search engine results pages, while meta descriptions offer brief summaries of what readers can expect to find on the page.

• When creating a title tag, it’s important to include the focus keyword for the content. This helps align your content with the search intent of your target audience and improves its visibility on search engine results pages. Title tags should be between 50-60 characters to ensure that they display properly on search engine results pages and are more likely to attract readers.

• Meta descriptions provide more space to introduce your content to potential readers. While there is no strict limit on the length of a meta description, keep in mind that Google SERPs typically only display between 155-160 characters.

Each meta description should be unique and provide relevant information for your target audience. Including long-tail keywords also helps improve its search engine friendliness. When writing your meta description, aim to create a compelling copy that shows the value of your content to potential readers.
14. Enhancing your content with images and videos
Incorporating visual elements such as images and videos into your content can make it more engaging and appealing to readers. Visuals like graphs and charts also help you present data and communicate messages more effectively.

In addition to improving the user experience, adding images and videos to your content can also boost its SEO-friendliness. Media files allow your content to appear on the image and video tabs of Google search results, increasing its visibility and the likelihood of attracting clicks. Your content may also appear as a rich snippet, which displays even more information.

To maintain a fast-loading website, it’s important to use optimized images and videos. This involves compressing their size and adding appropriate alt text.
15. Keeping your website fresh with regular content updates
Regularly creating new content is an effective SEO strategy. However, it can sometimes be challenging to come up with fresh ideas for content. In these situations, updating older content can help improve your website’s SEO.

Alternating between updating old content and creating new content helps keeping your website fresh and attract both returning and new visitors. It’s important to create content that is relevant to current issues in order to keep your target audience engaged.

Remember that excellent SEO strategies alone are not enough if your content doesn’t provide value to your visitors. Write high-quality content that brings value to your audience and helps build your brand’s reputation.
Resources to build a successful business
3 SEO practices to avoid
Search engine blocking
Changing permalinks
Built in SEO settings

SEO practices to avoid

While there are many effective SEO strategies that improve your website’s search engine rankings, there are also some practices you should avoid. Here are three SEO practices to avoid:
1. Search engine blocking
Blocking search engines from accessing your website prevents them from indexing your content and negatively affects your search engine rankings. Make sure that your website is accessible to search engines and that you are not inadvertently blocking them.
2. Changing permalinks
Permalinks are the permanent URLs of your website’s pages and posts. Changing them will cause broken links and negatively impact your search engine rankings. If you need to change a permalink, set up a redirect from the old URL to the new one.
3. Don’t use themes with built-in SEO settings
Some WordPress themes come with built-in SEO settings. However, these settings are often limited and may not provide the same level of customization and control as dedicated SEO plugins. It’s better to use a dedicated SEO plugin rather than relying on a theme’s built-in SEO settings.

By avoiding these common SEO pitfalls, you ensure your website is optimized for search engines and that you are following best practices for improving your search engine rankings.

Final thoughts

Search engine optimization is a crucial component of any successful marketing strategy. By following the tips and strategies outlined in this article, you can create a SEO-friendly website that attracts more traffic and improves your search engine rankings.

Don’t forget to strategically use keywords, select a mobile-friendly design, boost loading speed, take advantage of Google’s free tools, and keep your content up-to-date. At the same time, avoid common SEO pitfalls such as blocking search engines, changing permalinks without setting up redirects, and relying on themes with built-in SEO settings.

By implementing these best practices and avoiding common mistakes, you will improve your website’s SEO and attract more visitors to your business. Remember that good SEO takes time and effort, but the results are well worth it in the long run.
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