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SEO Do’s and Don’ts – The SEO Best Practices

I like to think at SEO as a game between you and the search engines. To be the winner, you have to follow the rules and be smart when applying various techniques. The rules of the game are often changing and things that used to work a few years ago are obsolete now.

To help you get better at SEO, we’ve created an infographic with the SEO Do’s and Don’ts. Feel free to share it with your audience, if you like it.

seo dos and donts - best practices infographic


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SEO Do’s:

1. Get backlinks from relevant sites

To improve your SEO you have to get more backlinks from relevant websites in your industry. Do your best to get links from the most reputable websites in your niche.

2. Write well-researched and engaging content

Quality content makes the difference between a regular website and one that dominates the internet. Your articles have to be well-researched and have to engage with your readers. Always ask people to write comments and share the articles with their friends on social media.

3. Use keywords in your titles, meta descriptions, and body text

To increase the chances to rank high in Google, you have to put your main keywords in your titles and meta descriptions. It’s also important to have your keywords in the body text.

4. Do keyword research

Each time you start writing an article, do keyword research with Google Keyword Tool and determine what phrases people use to run searches in Google.

5. Become a guest blogger on trusted and reputable websites

Being a contributor on popular sites from your industry will help you reach a new audience and potentially earn new loyal readers. Only write for very reputable websites and make sure your content is at least as good as the one from your website. Your articles have to be outstanding.

6. Monitor your backlinks

Keeping track of your website’s backlinks is at least as important as building them. For SEO success, it’s vital to maintain a clean backlinks profile. Use Monitor Backlinks SEO tool to be up to date with your site’s links.

7. Build internal links

Internal links are one of the easiest ways to build links to your best pieces of content. Internal links are also a Google ranking factor, and they can help search engines easily find and index your content.

Besides the SEO benefits, you also give your readers the chances to discover related content on your site, and keep them to stay longer.

8. Create infographics

Infographics are popular and they help you build quality backlinks and drive relevant traffic to your site. Learn how to build backlinks with infographics.

9. Create a sitemap

Sitemaps will not give you an SEO boost, but it will give search engines an easier way to find and index all your site’s pages. A sitemap is easy to create, and it will increase the index and crawl rate for your site.

10. Make it easy for others to link to your website

While you should never publicly ask for a link to your website, you can encourage webmasters to link to you by creating a small “link to this article” widget.

Make it easy for others to link to your website and you’ll earn more backlinks.

11. Be patient, SEO takes time

You’ll never get results overnight. SEO is a process that can take months or sometimes years. It’s an ongoing process, and you are never done optimizing your site. As long as you are using the SEO best practices, results will come, and your rankings will increase.

12. Make your site user-friendly

Your website has to be intuitive and very easy to navigate.

13. Write long content

Your content should be long and helpful for your readers. The longer your articles are, the more keywords it will have and the more chances to rank for new search phrases. Do your best to write more comprehensive guides than your competitors.

14. Learn from your best competitors

Always study your competition and try to learn from their success. Replicate what’s working for them, and try to build the same quality backlinks.

15. Remove and disavow bad links

To make sure you’ll not suffer from a Google penalty, you have to frequently analyze your site’s backlinks and remove the suspicious ones. With the links you can’t remove, create a disavow report and submit it to Google’s Disavow Tool.

16. Post fresh content often

New articles will show your readers and search engines that you are still updating the website and it has not been abandoned.

17. Make your website mobile friendly

Nowadays more than 50% of the users are accessing the internet using mobile phones. On this basis, Google has released a mobile friendly algorithm that gives an advantage to sites that have a responsive design or a mobile version.

18. Build your website with SEO in mind

If you are just starting your website, you should consider SEO from the beginning. Make the whole search engine friendly and help Google and other search engines easily crawl it.

19. Improve website speed

While not a major factor, your website speed will give you a small advantage for SEO.

SEO Dont’s:

1. Avoid irrelevant links

Links from unrelated websites will get your website penalized. It makes no sense to have links from irrelevant sites, from completely different niches. For example, if you an eCommerce site that sells baby clothes, links from sporting sites will not be useful.

2. Don’t be obsessed with the number of backlinks

The number of backlinks still obsesses many beginners. The truth is, the number of links you have is not important.

3. Don’t use PageRank as a metric to decide a backlink value

Google stopped updating the PageRank toolbar more than two years ago. You should NOT use PageRank as a metric to compare your backlinks value.

4. Don’t do keyword stuffing

You should never use too many keywords in your content. Write for your audience, and not for the search engines bots.

5. Don’t get links from blog networks

Blog networks are a spammy way to increase your search engine rankings. It might work for a few weeks, but eventually, you’ll be penalized. Avoid blog networks with all cost.
6. Don’t use cloaking and doorway pages

Google devalues sites that have doorway pages and use cloaking techniques.

7. Avoid sitewide backlinks

Sitewide backlinks will quickly sound an alert to Google that you are doing something suspicious.

8. Don’t write guest posts for bad sites

Don’t waste your time to write for sites that have a very bad reputation. Never write for sites that have a lower quality than yours.

9. Don’t use hidden text or links

Hidden text and links are from the 90’s. Using this technique today, will get you penalized very quickly.

10. Avoid backlinks from pages with more than one hundred external links

Too many external links are a signal that the quality of the page is not very high. Very rarely a good site will have more than one hundred external links.

11. Don’t build backlinks only to your homepage

When you build backlinks, you have to make the whole process look very natural. Building links only to your homepage can raise a flag to Google.

12. Don’t over optimize anchor texts

Over optimizing the anchor texts of your backlinks will get your site penalized by Google. Most of your links should use your brand name instead of your money keywords.

13. Never buy SEO services from the “offers” you get by email

Chances are you’ve already received one “Cheap SEO Services” email this month. Never consider giving these spammers money. Their outreach itself is a spammy method. Just think how they will spam your site.

14. Don’t spam websites to build backlinks

When you build backlinks, don’t spam other sites. Instead, use smart ways to build quality links. You can check what your best competitors are doing to earn links and replicate their strategies.

15. Don’t “Submit your site to over 1000 search engines.”

You don’t have to submit your site to search engines. Google will crawl it and index your pages naturally, once you get your first links.

16. Don’t buy cheap SEO services

Most of the cheap SEO services providers out there are scammers. You have to understand that SEO is not cheap. If you can’t afford to buy services from a trustworthy company, it’s better to do SEO yourself.

17. Don’t copy other website’s content

Your website has to have unique content. Duplicate content is not something that you should use.

18. Don’t trust “SEO experts” that promise to rank your website first for your main keyword

SEO is not an exact science and no one can guarantee first page rankings. Those that give such guarantees will get your money and then start to spam your site. You’ll be the one to lose because you are the one risking to have your site penalized.

19. Don’t link to penalized websites

Always pay very close attention to what websites you are linking. Linking out to bad sites can decrease the value of your site. Never link to untrusted sources.

20. Don’t do link exchanges

Reciprocal links are outdated, and you should stay away from this technique.

21. Don’t publish low-quality content

While it’s important to have a lot of content on your site, if the quality if low, you’ll be penalized by Panda. Especially if your content is very thin and short.

22. Don’t accept spammy blog comments

Approximately 90% of the comments are spam. You have to moderate all comments prior to approval. Never accept comments without real names. If “cheap design” says that your content was great and leaves a link, hit the spam button as fast as you can.

23. Don’t trust everything you read about SEO

There’s a lot of misinformation about SEO. There are guides that will encourage you to use black hat or gray hat SEO techniques. Before taking conclusions, always do some research and see if other experts agree with what you’ve read.

24. Ads above the fold

Ads above the fold will affect the user experience and Google penalizes sites that have too many ads above the fold. If a user lands on your site for the first time, they shouldn’t see ads.

25. Don’t sell dofollow links

By asking money for dofollow links, you will participate in schemes that are manipulating Google’s results, and you’ll get a penalty



Gaurav Pande

Felix, very nice list of Dont’s.. Honestly speaking, I had done many of them, Except spammy comments . Many of the SEO blogs which I follow were stretching more on Submission to Directories and search engines and guest posts. I tried them but it hadn’t lifted traffic.
I guess high PR links are preferred a lot by Google with every update coming. One gold link is better than 1000 low quality fake links.

Felix Tarcomnicu

Using PageRank as a metric is 100% wrong and it’s one of the worst mistakes beginners do with SEO.

PR is irrelevant because Google has not updated it for almost two years. NEVER EVER buy or build backlinks based on their PageRank.


Very useful infographic – thanks for summarizing it so well. Here’s a question….Under Do’s point # 3, what if your site is focused on fictional content wherein you cannot really include keywords that usually used by your target audience to search for the content they are interested in? For e.g you write short stories on your blog. the main keywords are short stories, short fiction etc based on keyword research . Now including these keywords in the main body content (the short story) would be unwelcome by readers and actually sound stupid. How does one address seo in this scenario?

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