SEO Best Practices: 9 Tips To Boost Google Rankings & Traffic

Boost your organic search rankings with 9 website SEO best practices! Learn strategies and tools for higher brand visibility.

Written by
Monique Lorette
September 19, 2023

Online visibility is a priority in digital marketing, and SEO is the key to success. The best time to ensure your website is optimized for SEO is when you're starting a new site. However, there's always an opportune moment to begin. Whether starting a new website venture or refining your existing online presence, these top strategies and resources will help improve your brand's organic rankings in search engines like Google. And a higher ranking ultimately translates to more website visitors.

Here are the nine most important SEO best practices to put your best foot forward when launching a new website and to rank as highly as possible.

What is SEO?

SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, is a set of best practices and strategies to improve a website's visibility and ranking in search engine result pages (SERPs).  

The primary goal of SEO is to increase organic (non-paid) traffic to a website by making it more appealing and relevant to search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo. By making content more attractive to search engines and aligning it with the target audience's intent, SEO helps drive organic traffic, improve visibility, and boosts your brand's digital impact.

What is Organic Traffic?

Organic website traffic refers to the visitors who find your brand through unpaid, natural search engine results rather than paid advertisements. These users stumble upon your website because it aligns with their search queries, indicating your website achieves a high ranking for particular keywords or topics.

1. Choose The Right Domain Name

Selecting a domain name is critical when setting up your new website, the foundation for your SEO efforts. Your domain name serves as your online address and plays a role in establishing your brand identity. While having keywords relevant to your business in your name can be beneficial, it's not necessary. There are many domain registrars and web hosting companies you can explore that allow you to check the availability of your desired domain name.

Common Platforms Include:

2. Conduct Keyword Research

Gaining traffic can be challenging when your target keywords aren't being searched for in Google. Identifying the keywords and phrases that potential visitors might use to search for information, products, or services related to your website is a crucial aspect of SEO.  

Here's what's involved in keyword research:

  • Begin by brainstorming a list of potential keywords relevant to your website's content, products, or services. Think about what terms your target audience might use to find what you offer. Excel or Sheets are helpful for this!
  • Research your competitors and see which keywords they are targeting. This can provide insights into what keywords are relevant to your industry or niche.

Use free or premium keyword research tools like Google Keyword Planner, SpyFu, Semrush, and Ubersuggest. These tools provide data on search volume, keyword difficulty, and related keywords.

3. Ensure Your Website Content Aligns With User’s Search Intent

When crafting new website content, keep the search intent in mind – the purpose behind each user query. Search engines like Google prioritize satisfying user searches; thus, higher page rankings mean you meet the criterion.

Vary your keywords across pages, aligning with the services or content offered. A resort's blog may incorporate informative keywords regarding the destination, while the booking page emphasizes commercial and transactional terms. Narrowing down the search intent will enable you to decide your content type, structure, and more.

Here are four common types of search intent:

  • Informational: someone wants to gain general knowledge
  • Navigational: someone has a specific page or website in mind
  • Commercial: someone wants information on a future purchase
  • Transactional: someone wants to buy or take action

4. Utilize Primary Keywords In Your Content

After establishing your content's purpose and identifying keywords aligned with your brand, select the primary target words to implement within critical website elements. These keywords should be integrated thoughtfully, avoiding excessive use or keyword stuffing. Strategically place the primary keywords into title tags, meta descriptions, primary headers, introductions, and page URLs.

5. Write Compelling Title Tags & Meta Descriptions

Within seconds, a user decides whether to visit your website or a competitor's site. The title tag, or the clickable headline on the search results page, holds immense importance in SEO and engagement. They signal to Google what your page is about and are critical to giving users a quick insight into the content of a result.

It's often the primary information searchers use to decide which website result to click on. So, it's important to use compelling titles for your web pages. Aim for 50-60 characters to suit desktop and mobile SEO requirements.

Another critical aspect of a new website is meta descriptions, the detailed snippet of the page content. Below the title tag and URL, these offer a comprehensive snapshot or brand pitch. While these influence rankings less than they used to, they significantly impact click-through rates and brand visibility. Aim for 155-160 characters for desktop and mobile optimization.

Title tag and meta description best practices:

  • Create unique meta descriptions and title tags for each page
  • Encourage action through descriptions
  • Incorporate your primary keywords
  • Align with user search intent
  • Try to avoid keyword stuffing

6. Optimize Your Images

Optimizing images for SEO is essential to improve your website's performance, enhance user experience, and boost search engine rankings.

Here are steps to optimize images for SEO:

  • Use widely supported formats like JPEG for photographs and PNG for images with transparency.
  • Resize images to the dimensions they will be displayed on your website. Large images can slow down page load times.
  • Compress images to reduce file size while maintaining acceptable quality. Tools like TinyPNG and ImageOptim can help with this.
  • Rename image files with descriptive, relevant keywords that reflect the image's content. Avoid generic file names like "IMG12345.jpg"
  • Implement lazy loading to ensure images load only when visible on the user's screen, improving page load times.
  • Use responsive design techniques to serve appropriately sized images based on the user's device and screen size. This improves mobile performance.

Another strategy to strengthen your website is creating alt text SEO for all images. These should be concise and accurate, providing vital information about what the image contains.

Here are some image alt text SEO best practices:

  • Keep image alt text under 125 characters
  • Accurately explain what the image depicts
  • Provide enough detail without giving too much
  • Include your primary keywords if appropriate  
  • Don’t include descriptors like “picture of” or “photo of”

7. Focus On The User Experience

Google and other search engines want to avoid sending users to a complicated page they cannot navigate. User experience (UX) is a prominent factor in improving search rankings. Aside from accurate keyword research and page loading speeds, below are some general SEO best practices to remember.

  • Utilizing headers and subheadings: This helps with page hierarchy, making content more accessible to readers, and is an excellent place for your primary keywords.
  • Make the design appealing: Incorporate images, graphics, and videos to improve your content and make it more engaging.
  • Always optimize for mobile: Google uses mobile-first indexing due to the percentage of people who use phones.
  • Provide sufficient detail without overwhelming: White space is your friend in website design to improve readability.

8. Utilize Tools To Analyze & Optimize Page Load Speed

Page loading speed is essential for Google. Especially on mobile. Whether building a new website or enhancing an existing one, the process requires detailed analysis and testing of your SEO strategy and page loading speeds. You can gain invaluable insights and fine-tune your approach for optimal results by integrating website SEO tools.

Consider incorporating the following tools into your toolkit:

9. Avoid Black Hat SEO Strategies

Mastering best practices for website SEO is the cornerstone of a successful and sustainable online presence. However, it is crucial to be aware of unethical practices that violate search engine terms of service. These methods, known as black hat SEO strategies, may work in the short term but can result in removed pages and flagged content over time. Here are some SEO dos and don'ts for building a new website.

By incorporating website SEO best practices and being mindful of potential pitfalls, your new website can rise through the page rankings. Remember, SEO is an ongoing effort, so stay committed to improving your website's visibility and user experience over time.

Many other factors impact rankings, but this is a solid starting point. Want guidance from the experts? Explore Delicious Digital Marketing's website SEO and development services and contact us to steer your brand’s website toward organic visibility.