The term “SEO best practices” has bounced around the internet so long that it’s nearly lost all meaning.
Some business owners come to us thinking that if they “do enough SEO,” they’re guaranteed a spot at the top of Google’s search rankings.
Others think its a catchall term for online marketing methods like pay-per-click, targeted landing pages, and whatever other hot technique is trending this month.
Most of the time, though, when clients ask for SEO, they really just mean “will you make sure my website is helping my business?”
To do that, we’ve put together our own list of SEO best practices to make sure all of your content is meeting Google’s rules and won’t drive away your visitors. These rules won’t help you get rich quick, but they will help you establish trust, build an audience, and avoid penalties for poorly constructed web pages.
10 Point SEO Best Practice Checklist
1) SEO Page Title
Every page title includes the focus keyword and scores Yellow+ in YoastSEO.
Why? Google and other search engines look for certain indicators that your website is set up correctly when it goes online. One such indicator is that the page title matches up with the page content, which, in YoastSEO, is set with the focus keyword.
2) SEO Page Description
Every page description includes the focus keyword, Yellow+ YoastSEO results, and an overall score below 2 in Hemingway Editor with 4 or more 0’s.
Why? Page descriptions are the little blocks of text that pop up under links in search results. Like the page titles above, we make sure your page description matches your page content.
3) Structured Copy
10% or more of the words on the page should be transition words.
Why? Transition words connect sentences and paragraphs to each other so that the reader is drawn naturally through your copy. In a world where readers skim through content, it’s important to keep them in the flow.
4) SEO Headlines
The focus keyword is used in the H2 on every page.
Why? Your page content should be clear and relevant to the reader. (See #5.)
5) SEO Content
The first paragraph of every page includes the focus keyword.
Why? Your page content should be clear and relevant to the reader. (See #4.)
6) SEO HTML
Heading and paragraph tags are used correctly on every page.
Why? Search engine algorithms get confused when you use heading and paragraph tags incorrectly on your page. This can lead to missed information on your page and lost credibility for your site.
7) Easy to Read
All pages have a 60+ Flesch Reading Ease score.
Why? Many of our clients are in technical industries and often fall into “The Curse of Knowledge” — assuming that everyone reading knows as much as you, the expert, about your specialty. Focusing on reading ease reduces jargon and complicated phrases so that readers can absorb information quickly and are more likely to convert.
All pages are limited to 1 adverb, 1 use of passive voice, and 1 complicated phrase per 100 words, plus 1 hard to read phrase per 300 words, and 0 very hard to read phrases as scored by Hemingway Editor.
Why? Simple sentences are easier to scan. Web readers value simplicity. We strive to add value.
9) Contextual Content
Supplementary content (testimonials, FAQ’s, videos, etc.) is paired with related copy.
Why? A product video on the wrong product page is a quick way to lose your audience’s trust.
10) Word Count
Each page includes no fewer than 300 words and no more than 900 words.
Why? Pages on your website should add value, and it’s hard to provide valuable information with just a sentence or two. This rule ensures that every page has enough content to give the visitor a reason to be there.