seo best practices

9 SEO Best Practices That Will Help You Outrank the Competition

The battle for SEO rankings is intense and ranking high gets harder as the years go by. I remember back in the early 2000’s when SEO best practices were keyword stuffing and producing low-quality content daily was enough to get you a decent flow of organic traffic.

Content marketers, SEO’s, and business owners focused on writing for robots—not humans—but Google realized that this lead to poor user experience. As one of the most innovative companies in the world, they decided to improve their algorithm to provide the best and highest value content to their users.

This changed everything. Due to Google updates throughout the years (RankBrain, Hummingbird, etc.), on-page SEO became more difficult. Though no one knows how Google’s search algorithm actually works, we do know a couple of factors that affect your search rankings.

At Ferzy, our goal is to help you rank higher on Google and other search engines. In this article, we’ll be sharing SEO best practices that will help you outrank the competition.

Continue reading below to start creating better, high-value SEO blog posts that Google and your audience will love!

1. Choose Keywords Wisely

The first SEO best practice is to choose keywords wisely. Choosing the wrong keywords would do you more harm than good. Targeting the right keywords can help you bring your article to a relevant audience—people who are actually looking for answers your article has.

We won’t explain how keyword research works in this article, instead we’ll be showing you the best keyword research tools you can use. If you want to get better at keyword research quickly, check out our 5-day Keyword Research Crash Course.

Here are two keyword research tools you can use:

Google AdWords Keyword Planner

seo best practices

Probably the most popular keyword research tool out there, Google AdWords Keyword Planner offers a quick, easy solution to content marketers and business owners looking for keywords to use.

It’s a great tool from the largest search engine in the world, Google, and you can even look for keywords related to your product or service.

You get to see the competition and average monthly searches for each keyword but take note that Google doesn’t give exact search data.

Great for most people but if you’re trying to rank higher than your competitors, it would be better to use a tool with accurate search data and more relevant data you can use.


seo best practices

Ferzy is a user-friendly yet powerful keyword research tool that can help content marketers and business owners like you find profitable and easy-to-rank keywords. Our users describe our platform as “the easiest way to do keyword research, hands down” and you’ll say the same once you try our tool.

With Ferzy, you can easily do advanced keyword research. We provide up-to-date data such as keyword SEO difficulty, related keyword suggestions, and actionable data of your competitors (domain age, page authority, domain authority, links, linking domains, estimated visits, and more).

Unlike Google AdWords Keyword Planner, Ferzy shows a more exact search data and competitor information that’s crucial to building an effective SEO strategy.
If you’re interested in learning how to use Ferzy, read our quick tutorial page.

2. Create Long, High-Value Content

SerpIQ conducted a study that proved longer content dominates Google’s top search results. Out of 20,000+ keywords, the average word count for top search results was 2,416 words. Also, the 10th spot had an average word count of 2,032 words.

seo best practices


Even Neil Patel found that writing high-value blog posts with 4,000+ words has made his blog get at least 100,000 visitors per month in a year.

The reason? Google wants to bring the highest-value content in front of their users. This increases their user experience, which is what they’ve been focusing on ever since. If your blog post provides answers that your audience is looking for (and maybe even more!), Google will reward you with a higher search engine rank.

If you used to believe that 500-word articles are enough, we’re telling you now that no longer works. We recommend that you write blog posts with at least 2,032 words but keep in mind to focus more on value.
Here’s the golden truth:

It’s better to publish high-value content less often than to publish low-value content frequently.

3. Focus on Creating Actionable Content

Some years ago, Dr. Jonah Berger from the University of Pennsylvania conducted a study to discover what made content go viral.

He found that highly actionable or practical content was 34% more likely to go viral than regular content. This is why most content marketers and industry experts out there are starting to create content with practical tips readers can apply as soon as they finish the article.

If you’re not creating actionable content for your blog, you should start creating right now.  

4. Optimize SEO Titles and Descriptions

According to Wordstream, Google’s algorithm, RankBrain, measures how users interact with your site and ranks your page according to user experience signals. The article mentioned a correlation between CTR (organic click-through rate) and SEO rankings.

They found that content with a high CTR outranked pages with a below average CTR:

seo best practices Source:

When users search for a keyword you target for and click on your link, this tells Google that your content is relevant and valuable to its users. This is why sites with a higher CTR get better search rankings on Google.

This leads us to believe that RankBrain most likely considers CTR as a key ranking factor in its algorithm. Additionally, Larry discovered that pages with a bounce rate lower than 76% tend to rank higher. You’ll want to lower your bounce rate as well.

So how can you maximize your organic CTR while minimizing your bounce rate? Here are SEO best practices when it comes to improving your SEO titles:

1. Make your SEO headline and description as clear as possible

Make sure that they specifically target the readers you want to attract. Truth be told, many content marketers and SEO’s neglect this because it doesn’t directly affect SEO but it does affect organic CTR and bounce rates.

2. Include numbers in your title

Ever wondered why local magazines almost always have numbers on their cover? It’s because numbers are attention-grabbing! According to a study conducted by Conductor, headlines with numbers get 36% more clicks than regular, number-free headlines.

seo best practices


3. Add brackets and parentheses in titles

According to HubSpot’s study, they found that, after studying 3,000,000 headlines, brackets and parentheses in titles boosted CTR by 33%. It’s a very interesting study and probably the reason why a lot of industry experts and content marketers are now using brackets and parentheses in titles as well.

seo best practices


SEO titles and descriptions are often neglected by content marketers and SEOs. Make sure never to make this mistake again and optimize SEO titles and descriptions for all your blog posts!

5. Add Multimedia in Content

Adding multimedia in your content may seem like a golden rule that most people already know but it wouldn’t hurt to mention it again. Using images, videos, and/or charts in your content will make it easier and more pleasing to read.

The logic is simple: Multimedia in your content = better user experience

With Google, it’s all about user experience and they tend to penalize sites that offer poor user experience (ex. high bounce rate and a low dwell time). We’ve recently published a blog post about why dwell time matters and what you can do to improve it, so make sure to check it out!

In our experience, infographics get shared the most, around 230% more, compared to other content types. People like infographics. They present even the most complicated information in bite-sized, engaging pieces.

You can use a tool like Canva to create stunning infographics—even if you know nothing about Photoshop.  

6. Use Your Keyword Naturally and in the Right Places

Another golden rule we just couldn’t stress enough. Keywords are placed strategically throughout your content—that’s just how on-page SEO works—but we do not spam keywords and write content that reads like it was written for search robots.

Use your chosen keyword naturally throughout the content. Yes, don’t overuse it. Just make it flow naturally. This is one of the best SEO practices you shouldn’t ignore.

Aside from having the keyword sprinkled throughout your blog post, your keyword should ideally be in the following places:


  • The first 100 words of your blog post
  • The blog post title
  • The blog post url
  • At least one subheading
  • The alt text of your images


It’s not really that hard to follow but most people forget where their keyword should be. Keep this in mind and it will definitely help your content rank higher than the competition.

7. Short URLs

One of the most neglected SEO best practices today…

According to Moz, shorter URLs are definitely better and they often outrank longer URLs. Having URLs with less than 50 – 60 characters is advised but don’t ever make the mistake of having a URL with 100+ characters. That’s just plain overkill!

It’s really easy to create short URLs nowadays since most blogging platforms like WordPress allow you to easily customize a blog post’s URL and make it shorter.

Oh, and don’t forget to add keywords in your URL because it’s still a good thing for SEO…

8. Outgoing and Internal Links

Reboot conducted a study that aimed to show a positive correlation between outgoing links and search rankings. The company started by creating 10 new websites that targeted the same keyword—with the keyword being made up and having zero searches on Google.

Each site had the similar but unique content and tag structure but only five sites included outgoing links to high authority sites. Reboot monitored the results for a 5-month period and finally ended with a conclusion:

“Outgoing relevant links to authoritative sites are considered in the algorithms and do have a positive impact on rankings.”

Apparently, the five pages that contained outgoing links to high authority sites ranked higher than the websites with no outgoing links at all. This study alone shows how important it is to include outgoing links to high authority sites.

As we’ve mentioned before, Google is all about user experience. Showing that your blog post is well researched and has information coming from high authority sites will tell Google that its users would find your blog post valuable.

Now, what about internal links?

Internal linking helps you website pages get higher search rankings because it increases user experience, makes website navigation easy, increases dwell time, and decreases bounce rates.

We advise you to link to 2-5 older blog posts whenever you create new content. But never make the mistake of adding too many internal links in your blog posts as this can decrease user experience. You should strategically pick the best internal links to add to your content.

If you want to learn more about the best practices when it comes to internal linking, check out Kissmetrics’ blog post about the seven commandments of internal linking

9. Use the Skyscraper Technique to Build Content That’ll Outrank the Competition

Probably one of the most powerful SEO best practices in this blog post, the “Skyscraper Technique” is the secret of most successful content marketers, industry experts, and SEOs. If the term sounds familiar to you, it’s because a lot of people talk about it nowadays but very few people actually implement the strategy.

The basic concept of the skyscraper technique is to look at the top results of the keyword you choose to rank for, make your blog post better than the top three results combined, and email sites that have linked to websites you found and convince them to link to your site instead.

Sounds like a sketchy plan that wouldn’t work but it does work!

According to Backlinko’s link building case study, they were able to double the organic search traffic to their entire site in just 14 days. Guess how they did it… The skyscraper technique!

seo best practices



A lot of sites are trying to promote that the skyscraper technique doesn’t work (mostly due to selfish reasons) but our team at Ferzy wants you to get higher search rankings. Anyway, the results above are solid proof that the skyscraper technique is effective.

Here’s how you can use the skyscraper technique to build content that’ll outrank the competition:

1. Look at the top content for the keyword you want to rank for

All you have to do is enter the keyword you want to rank for on Google and choose the top content in the first search results page. Observe the quality of the competition’s content. If you’re confident you can produce something better, then move on to the next step.

2. Start writing better, higher value content

Now it’s time to create awesome content that’ll beat the competition. You need to do a lot of research and follow all the SEO best practices mentioned in this article as well to make your content super valuable to readers.

But the most important part to creating high-value content readers will love is that site owners will more likely want to link to your content too.

3. Email high authority sites to link to your content

High-quality backlinks contain two elements: authority and relevance.

It should be from a site trusted by Google and it should also be related to the content you just created using the skyscraper technique. Getting the attention of the most authoritative sites relevant to your content can be hard. But there’s a solution!

The easiest way to get high-quality links is to look for sites that are linking to your competitor’s’ content. Use a tool like Site Explorer by Ahrefs to see a web page’s backlinks so you can literally “steal” them from your competitors.

Pick your competitors’ best backlinks and send an email that you have just published an improved guide that would be perfect for their page. You can also mention any broken links on the page, which can improve your success rate as well.

According to Backlinko, they landed 17 high-quality links out of 160 emails (11% success rate). Take note that these are high-quality links that have more weight in Google’s search algorithm—quality of links over quantity.

4. Wait for the ranking magic

It may take longer for most of you but Backlinko got results in just 14 days. Patience is important, my friend. It can take months or even years to get high search rankings using the usual method.

The skyscraper technique can really get you results fast—if you do it right!

Start using Ferzy and these SEO best practices to beat the competition!

Securing top search engine results can mean two things for your site: organic traffic and more income.

If you’re really serious about ranking higher in search engines like Google, follow these SEO best practices and use a keyword research tool that comes with features that will help you get higher search rankings.

Actionable data is the key to ranking high. With Ferzy, you can easily do advanced keyword research and actionable data such as keyword SEO difficulty, related keyword suggestions, and your competitors’ domain age, page authority, domain authority, links, linking domains, and estimated visits.

Try Ferzy today for free and outrank the competition!


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