SEO Best Practices in 2024: A Prioritized Guide

by | Dec 12, 2023 | SEO


I remember the first time I got serious about SEO Best Practices in the early 2000’s. While optimizing websites for search engines was still in its infancy at that time, and Google continues to release hundreds of algorithm updates each year, to a certain degree very little has changed since then. At its core engaging in SEO strategies is a dedicated focus on the customer. An effort to provide the most useful, efficient and comprehensive customer experience when compared to your competition.

Of course, it’s the ways in which Google and the other search engines MEASURE this effort that adds significant complexity. From the technical capabilities of your website, to the content architecture, user experience and link-building, optimizing a site can feel like trying to climb Mount Everest in flip-flops.

In this guide, we’ll cut through the noise and simplify things by prioritizing the SEO best practices that will have the quickest impact – from mastering on-page elements such as title tags and meta descriptions to technical aspects like site loading speed and mobile optimization.

Ultimately, we’ll cover the key SEO best practices that are guaranteed to increase your organic traffic in 2024.

Table Of Contents:

Understanding SEO Best Practices

Navigating the SEO landscape can be tricky, but we’re here to help you make sense of it. Dispel the notion that SEO only involves cramming your material with keywords. It’s not. In fact, as the algorithms have gotten increasingly sophisticated, a high quantity of relevant keywords can actually be a liability (but more on that later). The point is, there’s much more than meets the eye.

In essence, following SEO best practices are like setting up signposts on a digital highway guiding Google and other search engines to identify the content on your site that will be of greatest use to the customer. You need to consider various key factors in SEO such as relevancy of content and user experience.

There are 26 common myths about SEO that often mislead people; it’s time for us to leave them behind this year. With that in mind, let’s dig into the stuff that really matters.


Importance of User Experience in SERPs

You see, our friend Google holds a whopping 92.08% share of the worldwide search engine market – quite popular isn’t he? His main goal is delivering valuable information quickly so users love him even more.

If you want Google to notice you amidst countless websites trying hard for his attention – focus on user experience. Again, the challenge is understanding the way in which Google MEASURE’S user experience. And, while the following guidelines may sound a bit technical, the good news is that there are only a couple of things that really require your immediate attention. You can measure your site for each of the characteristics detailed below by using SaaSQL’s Free Website Grader & SEO Analyzer.

User Experience, as Measured By Google

Mobile Responsiveness: One of the most critical SEO best practices, for good reason. As of December 2023, over 56% of all website traffic is conducted on a mobile device. So, it’s really rather simple: if your website is not responsive to mobile devices (reconfiguring its layout to be clearly readable depending on screen size), then it is providing a negative user experience to more than half of your potential customers. In other words, it’s a perfect example of a website Google does NOT want people to see.

Site Loading Speed: It is commonly understood (and studies have confirmed) that you have roughly 8 seconds to capture a user’s attention on your website before they leave. In other words, first impressions really matter. Site loading speed is a way that Google can measure your website’s ability to capture that attention. When a website loads quickly (ideally in 3 seconds, or less), it becomes a measurable benchmark against your website’s ability to meet the consumer where they are, with content that they may find valuable, quickly. Here again, if it takes your website 8.6 seconds to load (the average load time for websites globally), Google will simply find a faster alternative to display on the Search Engine Results page.


The Role Keywords Play In Your Content Strategy

Once you solve for the technical improvements that improve your Mobile Responsiveness and Site Loading Speed, the next level of SEO best practices is to have a clearly defined keyword architecture for your site. This is a strategic approach towards mapping primary keyword and secondary keywords across your site as a whole, and on individual pages.

You can think of keyword architecture as a blueprint for strategically placing relevant keywords throughout your website. It’s like a map that guides users and search engines to the information they seek. In this way, it’s less about the volume of relevant keywords, and more about the specific way in which those keywords are represented across your site. In other words, we’re back to user experience again.

Here’s what it involves:

  • Identifying primary keywords: These are the broad topics your site covers, like “e-commerce platform” or “sustainable architecture”, and are commonly represented as the “H1” tag on your website pages. H1 is the headline at the top of each page that tells the search engines what each page is about.
  • Defining secondary keywords: These are more specific terms related to your primary keywords, like “Shopify vs. BigCommerce” or “green building materials.” These are commonly tagged as H2 or H3 headlines, acting as support content to the H1.
  • Mapping keywords to pages: You assign primary and secondary keywords to relevant pages on your website, ensuring users find what they need and search engines understand your content.


Example of keyword architecture in action:

Imagine your website is about e-commerce platforms. Your primary keyword might be “e-commerce platform,” with secondary keywords like “shopify reviews,” “bigcommerce pricing,” and “best e-commerce platform for small businesses.” You would then map these keywords to relevant pages on your site:

  • Homepage: Focus on “e-commerce platform” with links to pages about specific platforms.
  • Blog post: Target “shopify reviews” with in-depth analysis and comparisons.
  • Pricing page: Highlight “bigcommerce pricing” with transparent cost structures.
  • Guide: Focus on “best e-commerce platform for small businesses” with decision-making advice.

Benefits of a well-defined keyword architecture:

  • Improved SEO: In terms of SEO best practices, this one is really rather simple: search engines use keywords to understand your website’s content and relevance to search queries. A clear architecture helps you rank higher for relevant searches.
  • Enhanced user experience: Users can easily navigate your website to find the information they need, leading to better engagement and conversions.
  • Content strategy direction: Keyword mapping guides your content creation, ensuring you create valuable content users and search engines crave.Internal linking optimization: You can strategically link pages based on relevant keywords, creating a strong internal linking structure that boosts SEO.

Tools and resources:

Several free and paid tools can help you research keywords and build your architecture, to ensure your site aligns with SEO best practices:

  • SaaSQL’s Free Website Grader & SEO Analyzer: Will show you the distribution of your H1, H2 and H3 tags across your site.
  • Google Keyword Planner: Free tool for keyword research and search volume data.
  • SEMrush Keyword Magic Tool: Paid tool for in-depth keyword research and competitive analysis.
  • Moz Keyword Explorer: Paid tool for keyword research, competition analysis, and difficulty scoring.
  • Ahrefs Keywords Explorer: Paid tool for keyword research, backlink analysis, and competitor research.

Free website grader and seo analyzer

One important thing to remember: a well-defined keyword architecture is an ongoing process. Regularly review and update your keywords as trends and user behavior evolve.


Prominence Of High-Quality Content In Achieving Organic Traffic

While it’s crucial to get the technical and structural elements of SEO right, ultimately, the quality of your content is king. As we circle once more to user experience, creating content that is both high-quality and relevant demonstrates to the search engines that your website provides information and data that is useful to consumers. For these reasons, it’s next on our list of critical SEO best practices.

This is the reason “keyword stuffing” stopped working years ago. As the algorithms have gotten increasingly sophisticated, it’s easy for search engine crawlers to quantify content that will be of real lasting value to the consumer. For these reasons, it has been increasingly measured that content that is long-form, heavily informative and provides deep insights regarding any particular topic will be given primary value within the search engine rankings.

For these reasons, regularly contributing to a high quality long-form blog on your website remains a definitive SEO Best Practice in 2024. While the intention should always be to provide content that is of ultimate value to the end user, your blog posts are as much about optimizing each page of your website. Internal link building is the technical tip / trick that helps make that happen. The process is simple, but provides massive results. It goes like this:

1. Write a blog post about a topic that is LINKED to one of your primary or secondary keywords. It should not be ABOUT your primary of secondary keywords, however. This would cause your blog post to compete for search engine ranking with your web pages.

2. Within the blog post, find an instance in which one of your primary or secondary keywords is written, and LINK that keyword to the page of your website for which it is a primary or secondary keyword.

In doing so, the LINKED page, gains the SEO value of the blog post you’ve written. What’s more, it’s a useful way of guiding the reader to the other pages of the website that may be of interest. An important reminder here: each time you post a new blog, be sure to visit your Google Search Console and request that your new web page be indexed. Until it’s indexed, the content remains invisible.

Next Level SEO Best Practices

Everything covered up to this point represents that critical, absolutely most important SEO Best Practices for 2024. When these technical improvements are made, tactics are deployed routinely, it is absolutely guaranteed that your website will see a significant increase in website traffic. However, for those who want to go deeper, and dramatically accelerate your website’s growth, the following tactics will take things to the next level.

Content Optimization Best Practices

When it comes to SEO, high-quality content is king. But crafting top-notch material isn’t just about writing well – it’s also about aligning with search intent and using target keywords effectively.

No one desires to come across the same thing they’ve already encountered. According to this advanced keyword research tutorial, every piece on your site should stand out in the crowd.


The Power of Regular Content Updates

A static website is a boring website. In this way it may be obvious to say that one of our SEO best practices is to ensure your site isn’t boring!

If you want organic traffic knocking at your door, make sure you’re updating your site regularly. This not only gives people more reasons to visit but also signals Google that your page stays relevant over time. One trick that makes it easy to routinely add content to the pages of your website, is by adding a “digest” section to the bottom of the page you’d like to optimize. This is a section that can be updated each week, with relevant information or insights about your primary and secondary keywords, without interfering with the user experience across the rest of the page.

One SEO best practices power-hack: each time you update the content on your site, be sure to visit your Google Search Console and request that the page be re-indexed. 


Finding Your Topic Clusters

To give users exactly what they’re looking for when typing into web search engines like Google Search, we use something called ‘topic clusters’. These are essentially groups of related posts around a main topic or primary keyword that help establish authority and rank higher in SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages).


The Art Of Keyword Placement

Incorporating keywords seamlessly into our content helps boost SEO rankings without resorting to unsavory practices like keyword stuffing which can actually hurt our standing with Google Rank algorithms instead of helping us implement SEO best practices and get closer towards our goal: To write compelling pieces both humans AND machines love.


Key Takeaway: 

SEO best practices are about more than keyword stuffing; it’s about guiding search engines to your website through relevant content and good user experience. Ditch outdated SEO myths, focus on creating high-quality content that serves your audience, optimize for mobile use and loading speed, and strategically place primary and secondary keywords. With diligent optimization comes improved visibility.

On-Page SEO Best Practices

To maximize visibility on search engines, it is critical to be knowledgeable of and execute effective on-page SEO techniques. This includes the strategic use of title tags, meta descriptions, header tags, internal linking, and alt tags.


The Role of Title Tags in On-Page SEO

Title tags serve as a major visibility factor for your site on SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages). They give users a quick snapshot of what to expect from your content. The key here is to keep them concise yet informative enough so that people click through.

Remember mentioning the main keyword at the top can positively impact Google rankings according to recent studies. So make sure you start strong with relevant keywords but avoid keyword stuffing, which could harm your Google rank instead.


Optimizing Meta Descriptions for Better Click-Through Rates

A well-crafted meta description acts like an ad copy—it should entice readers while giving them an accurate idea about what they’ll find when they visit your page. Make sure it contains primary keywords without sounding too robotic or salesy—after all, we’re aiming for better user engagement.

An important part of writing compelling meta descriptions is understanding how search engine optimization works—not just throwing in keywords randomly but making each word count towards attracting organic traffic.

Technical SEO Best Practices

In the world of digital marketing, we can’t ignore technical aspects like loading speed and mobile optimization. Search engine visibility is substantially impacted by technical factors such as loading speed and mobile compatibility.


Importance of Mobile Optimization in the Age of Smartphones

Gone are the days when users accessed websites from desktops only. A majority of internet usage now originates from smartphones and other mobile devices. It’s important to have a mobile-friendly website. This is not just about user experience but also impacts your Google rank positively.

The faster your site loads, the better it ranks on search engine result pages (SERPs). Plus, no one likes waiting for a slow page to load. So make sure you pay attention to optimizing images and using techniques like lazy loading for improved performance.


Don’t Ignore Image SEO.

We often underestimate image SEO while focusing on text-based content. But here’s something surprising: Google Images is used almost as much as regular Google Search. Therefore, don’t overlook alt tags – they help describe what an image is about and increase accessibility for visually impaired users.

To optimize images effectively, focus on reducing file sizes without compromising quality – compressing images or choosing suitable WordPress themes can be helpful here.


Tackling Broken Links Efficiently

Nothing screams unprofessional louder than broken links. They lead to poor user experience and lower ranking factors too. Make use of free tools available online that scan your website regularly basis for any dead links so you can fix them promptly before they start affecting rankings adversely. Google’s Search Console is one such handy tool.


The Art of On-Site Optimization

Apart from the points mentioned above, there are other on-site optimization strategies you can use. For instance, crafting a compelling meta description that makes people click or writing descriptive title tags that include your main keyword – all these contribute to higher Google rankings and organic traffic.

To conclude, technical SEO might seem daunting initially but it’s nothing more than understanding what search engines love and delivering exactly that.


Key Takeaway: 

it’s essential to routinely check for and fix any broken links on your site. This not only enhances the user experience but also improves your website’s ranking on search engines, making it easier for potential customers to find you.

Off-Page SEO Best Practices

Ever wonder how to rank higher in Google search results? The secret lies not only on your website but also outside of it. This is where off-page SEO comes into play.

The Art and Science of Link Building

If you’re inexperienced with SEO, constructing links could seem like a complex notion. But don’t worry. It’s just about getting other websites to link back to yours. Think of these links as votes telling search engines that your content is valuable.

Here’s an excellent guide for mastering link building techniques. It covers the whole range, from beginner to advanced tactics.


A Local Approach with Global Impact: Local SEO

Moving on, local SEO helps businesses promote their products or services locally. So if you run a coffee shop in New York City, optimizing for local keywords (like “best coffee shop NYC”) can drive more organic traffic your way.


Leveraging Google Search Console

You’d be surprised at what wonders Google Search Console can do when used correctly. This free tool provides insights about your site’s performance in web searches and potential issues affecting its visibility.

This data allows you take necessary actions to optimize further and reach wider audiences.

To understand this better, consider checking out our complete guide on using Google Search Console effectively.

Social Media Signals & Content Marketing:

  • Taking advantage of social media platforms such as Facebook or Twitter boosts exposure exponentially.
  • Publishing high-quality content encourages sharing among users, creating a ripple effect that boosts your site’s reputation.
  • Content marketing involves the creation and sharing of online material (like blog posts) to stimulate interest in products or services. This practice works hand-in-hand with social media signals for an effective off-page SEO strategy.

Emphasizing expertise, experience, authoritativeness and trustworthiness not only bolsters your reputation in the industry but also gives you an edge over competitors. By establishing yourself as a reliable source of expertise, experience, and trustworthiness you can create lasting relationships with users who value your offerings.


Key Takeaway: 

Boost your Google search ranking with off-page SEO best practices. Begin by mastering the art of link building, turning your site into a resource that others want to connect with. If you’re running a local business, it’s crucial to optimize for local keywords. Tools like Google Search Console can offer valuable insights on improving visibility. Don’t forget about leveraging social media platforms and creating high-quality content marketing – they’re essential tools in boosting online presence.

Advanced SEO Best Practices

In the world of search engine optimization, staying ahead is key. Let’s dive into some advanced techniques like using Pagespeed Insights tools for optimizing loading speed and managing duplicate content.


Strategies to Manage Duplicate Content

Duplicate content can be a thorn in your site’s side, impacting its ability to rank higher on Google. But fear not. It’s something we can fix with proper planning and execution.

The first step towards rectifying this issue is identifying it. Tools such as Siteliner or Copyscape are great resources that let you scan your website for duplicate content easily.

To avoid duplicating future material, consider implementing canonical tags or 301 redirects. These methods help point search engines to the original source of information if similar content appears elsewhere on your site or across the web.


Optimizing Loading Speed With Pagespeed Insights Tool

Your site’s loading speed plays a significant role in user experience and hence impacts your google rank directly. The quicker a page loads, the more likely users will stick around and explore what you have to offer.

A free tool called Google PageSpeed Insights, comes handy here. This service gives an analysis of how well a webpage performs on both desktops and mobile devices then provides suggestions for improvement based on best practices from Google itself – it doesn’t get any better than that.

Google Page Speed Insights

Anchoring Your Text Rightly For Better Visibility

The way you optimize anchor text within internal links has implications for how search engines interpret your website’s content and structure. For instance, descriptive anchor text that includes your target keyword can give search engines clear signals about the linked page’s topic.

However, remember to use this practice sparingly to avoid being seen as ‘keyword stuffing’, which could negatively affect your SEO ranking.

The world of advanced SEO is vast and continually evolving – so it’s important always stay on top of these best practices. Let’s make sure our sites are fast, free from duplicate content and perfectly anchored.


Key Takeaway: 

Master advanced SEO best practices by tackling duplicate content with tools like Siteliner or Copyscape, and employing strategies such as canonical tags or 301 redirects. Boost loading speed using Google PageSpeed Insights for a better user experience that aids ranking. Optimize anchor text wisely in internal links but avoid keyword stuffing to keep your SEO healthy.

Measuring and Tracking SEO Success

An integral part of mastering SEO best practices is the ability to measure and track its success. To make the most of your SEO strategy, you need some reliable tools. Let’s talk about Google Search Console.


The Power of Google Search Console

Already referenced a few times in this guide, the Google Search Console offers insights into how your website performs in organic search results. You can analyze important metrics like clicks, impressions, click-through rate (CTR), and average position for various queries.

This tool helps you understand which keywords are bringing traffic to your site—information that’s invaluable when it comes to refining your keyword strategy or discovering new opportunities for content creation. And of course, it’s critical to ensuring that your new content and updated pages are indexed.


User Behavior: More Than Just Numbers

It’s not just about knowing where our users come from; we also want to know what they’re doing once they land on our pages. Tools like Google Analytics, help us quantify the value of our focus on SEO best practices, giving us insight into user behavior such as bounce rates, time spent on page, or even conversions if set up properly.

Diving deep into these analytics allows us to adjust our strategies based on real data—not assumptions—and ensure we’re delivering valuable content that resonates with visitors while meeting business goals at the same time.


A Peek Into Your Backlink Profile

Your backlink profile—the number and quality of sites linking back to yours—is another critical factor impacting your ranking in search engine results. Luckily there are free tools available such as Ahrefs’ Backlink Checker, which provide an overview of top referring domains, anchor text distribution and more.

ahrefs backlink checker

Monitoring your backlink profile can help you identify opportunities for new link-building strategies or alert you to potential issues like toxic links that might be damaging your SEO performance.


Tracking Keyword Rankings: An Ongoing Process

Finally, we need to talk about keyword rankings. It’s crucial that we keep an eye on where our pages are ranking for the keywords we’re targeting.


Key Takeaway: 

When executing SEO best practices, tracking your success is crucial. Use tools like Google Search Console to understand website performance and keyword traffic. Dive into user behavior with Google Analytics, monitor your backlink profile for opportunities or issues, and keep an eye on keyword rankings. It’s all about making informed decisions based on real data.

Wrapping Up

This concludes our definitive guide to SEO Best Practices in 2024. While the later paragraphs covered some deeply technical, and next-level aspects of an SEO strategy, the first half represents that critical elements that have the potential to provide the greatest impact to organic website traffic.

The most important of our SEO best practices: by focusing on user experience, as measured by mobile responsiveness and site load time, you position your site as usable.

The next most important of our SEO best practices: by focusing on high quality content, you position your site as useful.

These two aspects of an SEO strategy provide the quickest pathway to growth and success. Of course, once you’ve executed these effectively, feel free to dive into some of the other SEO best practices. Each little thing you do is like taking another step ahead of your competition.

J.W. Martin

About the Author

J.W. Martin is a marketing expert with 25 years experience developing marketing strategy for local businesses. He can be reached at

NOTE: While all articles are written by our team, to provide the most robust and useful reader experience,  SaaSQL uses A.I. / large language models to assist with various aspects of content development. This includes research, sourcing and other content improvements.  

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