Key Points

Here is your ultimate SEO best practices checklist:

  • Identify the Right Keywords
  • Optimize Your Title Tag
  • Use Proper Heading Structure
  • Master Meta Descriptions
  • Get the Right Keyword Placement on Page
  • Develop an Effective Linking Strategy
  • Always Focus on Content Quality
  • Watch Page Load Speed
  • Stay Up to Date on Changes
  • Utilize the Right SEO Tools

Search engine optimization (SEO) is an essential element of growing your online presence. Without it, your carefully crafted content simply won’t reach an audience. 

But, the world of SEO is dense, complicated, and ever-changing. 

Whether you’re an SEO expert or a fledgling publisher just starting their optimization journey, there are a few SEO best practices you need to follow to ensure your site starts moving up the rankings.

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SEO Best Practices to Follow

Getting to the first page of Google is a big deal. In fact, less than 1% of searchers even click on the second page of Google search results. While crafting great content might be your main priority, you can’t neglect to build up your SEO chops.

But don’t worry; Playwire is here to help. Let’s dive into our SEO best practices checklist. 

Master each one of these tasks, and you’ll be on your way to the top of the search engine results page (SERP) in no time!


It all starts with the right keywords. 

Target keywords are the key to on-page content optimization. Your goal should be to rank for relevant keywords that match your content. But it’s not as easy as going for the top-quality keywords.

Everyone in your niche is competing for the same keywords, so fighting off the big names is tough. Consider the following data points to help you land on the right ones for your site:

  • Intent: The type of search intent or motivation behind the query. These can be informational, commercial, transactional, etc. 
  • Volume: The monthly number of searches for the target keyword. The higher the number, the more eyeballs you’ll get.
  • Keyword Difficulty (KD): This is how hard it will be to rank for a specific keyword, often given in a percentage. For example, a target keyword with 75% KD would take a lot of work to rank for.

Use tools like Semrush or Google Keyword Planner to get started.


The title tag is how the page title appears in a search result.

It’s a big deal. You’ll want to make sure your title tag includes your primary keyword and maybe some secondary keywords. But don’t go overboard with this as keyword stuffing, putting too many keywords into content so it seems unnatural, can backfire.


Headings and subheadings are an essential element of not only a better reading experience but also make it easy for Google’s crawlers to scan your content.

Much like your title tag, you want to make sure your headings reflect your keywords and your content. It’s a balance of giving your readers a roadmap to your web page and pleasing the search crawlers. 

Use H1 tags for your title, H2s for your main content headers, and H3/H4s sparingly and when appropriate to further break down the content on the page.


Your meta description is the little block of text that appears beneath the title tag in a search result.

This is your chance to give users a little snapshot of what the page is all about. Much like headers and the title tag, using your keyword research effectively can make all the difference. As a note: If you don’t write your meta descriptions, Google will often do it for you.

Generally, you want your meta descriptions to sit at around 120 to 155 characters long. This will reduce the risk of Google cutting your content short in the SERP.


Keyword placement is critical for effective on-page SEO optimization. As we touched on earlier, you should optimize your title tags and headers with your primary and secondary keywords. 

But that’s just the start.

Within the body of your page, you also need to use your keywords. Your primary keyword must appear in the intro section of your page, in the first paragraph, if possible, as well as in the conclusion. 

Just be wary of overusing keywords because it could affect your search engine ranking. When you can, use related keywords and LSI (latent semantic indexing) keywords. For example, if your primary keyword is the car, you might use another relevant keyword like engine, motor, automobile, etc. 

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Another key element of on-page SEO optimization is an effective link-building structure.

Links are either internal, leading to other pages on the same domain, or external, leading to other websites. Each is important.

When it comes to internal links, make sure you’re using relevant pages. The goal is to provide readers with additional information on a similar topic. Don’t just link to random pages; that just won’t work.

External links are a bit trickier. First, you only want to link to sites with high domain authority — not just anyone can cut it. Second, you don’t want to link to competing websites.

There’s also a proper anchor linking structure. Anchor links are the text that is attached to the link. You want to mix exact match (the exact title of the linked page), partial match (only some of the title), branded (your site/business name), related (not exact or partial, but similar), and others.


At the end of the day, what really makes or breaks your SEO strategy is the quality of your content.

Google is always adjusting its search algorithms to get users the content they want and fast. In most cases, it’s looking for high-quality content that gets right to the essence of the query. It's what they call “helpful content.” 

The Helpful Content System rewards content that leaves visitors satisfied. 

So, while all these SEO best practices are important, there’s just no point in optimizing a web page that will leave readers heading back to the SERP for a better experience. 

Here are a few things to watch:

  • Content accuracy
  • Originality
  • Length
  • Readability
  • Formatting
  • Tone of voice


Now, this is more of a technical SEO tip, but still incredibly important. 

Page speed is how quickly your page loads. The slower the speed, the higher your chances of getting knocked by Google. But it’s not just the algorithm you need to worry about.

Users demand fast page load speeds. Just a second or two past their expectations, and they bounce. 

If you’re using ads, be sure to always keep an eye on page load speed metrics. Use tools like PageSpeed Insights to check how your website loads on both mobile and desktop.


Google is always changing its algorithms. Every few months or so, there’s an update that rocks the SEO world. 

Unfortunately, while Google sometimes gives out the details on how to survive their updates, sometimes they don’t. It’s up to you to understand how these changes affect your content and search engine ranking.

In most cases, though, these updates all support the same goal: getting users the content they need.

If you’re crafting high-quality content, not participating in any not-so-great SEO efforts, and following general best practices for SEO, you shouldn't have too much to worry about. But always keep an eye on your metrics to see how and if these updates will have an effect.


You don’t have to go it alone; there are plenty of tools out there to help you master SEO.

Some you have to pay for, others you don’t. In the free category are Google's own tools: Google Search Console, Google Analytics, and Google Keyword Manager. If you're just starting out, this should be your first stop.

Beyond these free tools are a plethora of paid ones. 

A lot of them accomplish the same tasks, so it’s all a matter of preference. Popular SEO tools include:

  • Semrush
  • Surfer
  • Ahrefs
  • Moz Pro

The list goes on!

There is also a whole array of new SEO tools that leverage the power of AI to assist in keyword research, analysis, and even content optimization. Find a few that work for you and dive deep. These tools will become part of your everyday SEO workflow, so you’ll want to familiarize yourself with every nook and cranny.

Stay a Step Ahead with Playwire

So there you go, an SEO best practices checklist you can come back to time and time again during your optimization journey. Once you’ve got SEO down and the traffic is pouring in, it’s time to shift your focus to monetization. 

On that front, there’s no better partner than Playwire. We have the ad tech tools and team you need to optimize your revenue without sacrificing any piece of the user experience. 

Get in touch with the team today to learn more about your options!

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