SEO, or search engine optimization has been a much discussed and debated topic. IMO, I think it will continue that way, for as long as there are search engines and most importantly when users continue to make use of them. There are studies all over the place, where results indicate that when someone is looking for something, they start generally by “searching for whatever it is” online. SEO is not dead as many would like you to believe, but it is constantly changing and as new factors come into play, others go. In addition, SEO is just a piece of the puzzle, now included in a much larger scale called “inbound marketing” (more on that later).

Best SEO Practices For 2012

As I mentioned before, the best SEO Practices have not really changed that much, as the most important ranking factors pretty much remained unchanged. At its basics, you need to know that there are only two essential elements for good SEO, on-page and off-page. On-page SEO are those that you as a publisher/webmaster can control directly, while off-page SEO essentially relies on user behavior, social engagements, visitors, and other publishers, although there are some cases where you too can control part of it.

Now and understandably, you might be a complete newbie to this whole SEO thing. If that is the case, I strongly suggests you to read the following, before anything else. While these material may have been published for a while now (not entirely – new updates included), they all provide a lot of information that are valuable. It will definitely introduce you to the basic concepts of content optimization for search engines and a bit more :).


On-Page SEO Ranking Factors and Important Elements

Essentially, you will need to address the following – Content, Code and Site Architecture. Let’s put aside the need for quality content as that is the only one that is a given.

Best On-Page SEO Practices For…

Content Creation

Quality content is really what you should aim for, as this is what it takes to enhance or improve users experience. I won’t be discussing posting frequency as it depends a lot on your topic or niche and how often you can generate good content. If you ask me, it is way better to post a great article 2 –3 times a week than shooting for useless and low quality daily content. That won’t cut it. You should know however that search engines, and in particular Google, is now looking for “fresh”  content. Obviously, if you are talking about something that is “hot” or trending , the more updated the information is, the better. Otherwise, find a frequency that suits you best and stick to it.

Is freshness an important signal for all sites? (Update 10/2012)

To clarify a bit what QDF or Query that Desrves Freshness is all about, Matt has published this video that porvides some helpful tips and advice about “content fresshness”. Note to what he mentions about “evergreen” content.

Now, you may be asking what is quality content? Oh boy, we can stay here forever, but to keep this short, anything that can be helpful and enhanced peoples lives or experience is what quality is all about. Do not refrain yourself to just writing “text” posts. You can make use of all content creation methods such as Videos, Infographics, Videographics, Images or a combination of all. You can even be a great content curator, if you know how to do it properly, and having a hard time to self-create content. Read the “Quality Guidelines” as outlined in this article and you will know what it takes to have a quality website.


This is nothing more than the language that you use to generate “signals” for search engines bots. Content creation is geared for your readers, visitors and users in general, while the “code” is the part where you optimize your site and content for search engines. This is where you put in practice the proper use of words (known as keywords) in your title, description and body of your posts (no keyword stuffing please). Proper use of words here means that you are using the most relevant keywords that best describe your site or a specific posts. Words are important for your SEO campaign and while it is not “everything”, it is a very important piece of the puzzle. On a later stage (hopefully next week), I will provide the best SEO tools (and best SEO plugins), that you can use to assist you in optimizing your content, among other things. Watch out for that?

And let’s not forget about the theme you are using. For SEO purposes, one of the best recommended platforms is WordPress. Even Matt Cutts recommends it, and for a good reason. Why? Because according to Matt Cutts, WordPress takes care of about 70% of the technical issues required for your SEO. The remainder, or 30% of on-page SEO can be complimented by using the best SEO plugins and whenever possible using WordPress SEO optimized themes. Don’t get fooled by the later. There are many that will say that their themes are SEO optimized. Do some research first just to make sure. The only two SEO optimized themes that I know of, because I use them, are Thesis and Genesis (aff links). You should give them a try :).

Site Architecture

Also known as usability, site navigation, etc.. Having quality and optimized content is great, but your site should also provide the best of user experience and accessibility for search engine bots. Page speed, Link structure (broken links are bad) and easily allowing for search bots to crawl your site are all but important ingredients to wrap up your on-page SEO. In addition, you may want to seriously consider setting up the authorship markup on your site, as this is one way of Google knowing about you as the author. Excellent way to “prove” that you are the original creator of a certain piece of content, while providing exposure, building credibility and trust.

The guides above, my SEO Tips, along with the great information out there, should give you an idea of how and what you need to do to accomplish this objective. Take page speed for example. If you are on WordPress, reading how to make your WordPress site load faster will provide you with a step by step instruction on how to achieve this.

Recommended articles and video for more Best SEO Practices and Tips

SEO for startups in under 10 minutes (Update: July 2012)

Maile Ohye from Google advises your startup as if she had only 10 minutes as your SEO consultant.

Off-Page SEO Ranking Factors and Important Elements

Once upon a time, the only critical element to off-page SEO was basically link building. Essentially the more quality links you can amass and point to your site, all the better. This was achieved in many ways, including but not limited to link exchanges (include wheels), article marketing (so, so), directory submissions, etc. These were effective back then, but as the game changes, search engines are now giving more and more importance to “quality and natural inbound links” and other external SEO factors, such as social engagement, trust factor of a website, etc.. These are the ones that we essentially do not control and have to rely on users, other publishers, to help us build credibility and trust. Hence, why it is now very important to have great content, build relationships and engage actively on the social sphere.

Best Off-Page SEO Practices For…

Links or Link Building

As I mentioned above, inbound links are still very important, the only difference being that search engines now favor “quality” over “quantity”. The more natural, trusted and authority sites links to you (domain level), the better. This is why it is equally important to monitor and track backlinks. In addition, inbound links are further strengthen with the use “again” of proper words, also known as anchor text. The more relevant your anchor texts are, the greater you chances of ranking well for that particular term. If you do find a link pointing to your site that you feel does not have a proper anchor text, politely ask the webmaster to change it, if they can. If you have “other” sites where you can control the links and anchor text, remember to use relevancy, over “spammy” like keywords.

high quality sitesOther ways of how to get backlinks and traffic generation techniques exists and a bit of research can help. However, not all methods are considered “white hat” or ethical, and with “Google Panda” continuing on its path on “removing” useless stuff from their index, you want to make sure that you are doing the acceptable thing. One great form of link building is via guest posting. Start with this list of awesome sites that you can submit your guest post for consideration.

On a side note, here are some articles that you may want to consider reading

Social Web

Ahh! The social sphere. What is there to say about it? A lot actually, but let’s focus on SEO and how the social web can help your site rank better. Basically it all boils down to your online reputation, the trust and authority of the people who share your content, the amount of “votes” you obtain from influential people to your content, and the level of engagement and interaction you perform on the major networks. Search engines are now heavily looking at you and your content on social networks. It is believed that the more trusted and authoritative people share your content, the more your content could be considered of high quality and value. At least that is what is perceived.

I won’t put too much details as to what you should and should do on social networks. The important part is that you know that they are now important and you should not ignore being a part of the major ones, such as FaceBook, LinkedIn, Twitter and now Google+. I don’t want to seem pushy, but I really encourage you to be a part of Google+ and also build your Google+ page, if you have not done so already. Results from Google, specially when a user is logged in any Google account, are now showing relevant results from your circles first, before anything else. Here’s a great and free guide (PDF) on everything you need to know about Google+ (excellent).

There you have it. These are the best SEO practices that you should seriously consider for your SEO campaign. The above are all part of a “big” pie and while some factors are indeed more important than others, do remember that there is not one single factor that guarantees you top rankings.

Worst SEO Practices For 2012

Yep! There are also SEO techniques that you should avoid. While some may give you a sort of instant boost in your rankings, they will, in due time, not only hurt your rankings but may cause other unexpected negative impact on a lot of things. Your reputation, brand, among other things that are at risk. So think again and avoid, copying content, posting shallow or useless articles, excessive use of repetitive words (stuffing), link cloaking, bad redirections, any attempt to falsely manipulate PageRank, and yep, paid and spammy links. All these are frowned upon and is bad for user experience.

Stay on the right path. Avoid shortcuts as they may only result with your sites demise and whenever possible, be sure that you are in compliance with Google’s Webmaster Guidelines and Bing’s webmaster tools.

And finally…

5 common mistakes in SEO (and 6 good ideas!)

Maile Ohye from Google covers the five most common errors she finds in SEO, and then concludes with six quick tips to make sure you’re on the right track.

Wishing you all success in your online endeavors on 2012!


DiTesco is a Business and Inbound Marketing Consultant, and founder of iBlogzone's main objective is to help startups and small business owners achieve success in their online ventures. | More About Me and my Digital Marketing Services in SP Brazil.

71 thoughts on “The Best SEO Practices and Tips 2012

  • well, thank you for sharing us, DiTesco. It’s good to know that there’s not much change in seo practice this year. Anyway, i think that if we have nothing to do with poor content and black hat seo technique, we’ll have nothing to worry about, whether it is the year 2012 or 2052.

    • Hi Alex. Having quality content is first and foremost the most important and so you are right that you need not worry too much if you are providing only quality content. However, do not neglect your SEO though as this is one way of standing out 🙂 Thanks for stopping by

  • With the google panda update quality links are most important when doing SEO. Nice tips.

    • Thanks and you are welcome..

  • Hi DiTesco
    Absolutely interesting and worth’s reading! Very effective method! I agree with the fact On-Page SEO and off page practice is very necessary and it great information for me.

    • Hi Bhupendra. Thank, I am glad you found this useful. Good luck with your SEO efforts 🙂

  • I think basic link building work will be same like directory, social bookmarking, article, blog commenting, forum etc… You mention here all factors that will be help to remind me those things. Also, I think Social Media trends will be increase. Because Google trying to give high quality sites content and removing low quality site from top position, so need to make great content…thanks

    • Well said Kumar. Google wants to remain in its position of being the best and dominant search engine, so it is but understandable that they only want to provide users with the best experience and separate the good from the bad .. thanks for stopping over

  • DiTesco,
    Warm wishes for the New Year to you! Your post is very informative and valuable especially to people like me who are not experts on SEO. I like it that you included 5 links to content optimization. I think that this will be a great guide to use. I intend to do well for 2012 and I am glad that I found your site and your post. Thanks for sharing.

    • You are welcome. Those guides will take you a long way and you have a lot of information to digest. The essential part of it is to “implement” what you learn from those guides and once you do, I can almost guarantee that you will stand out from the rest of those that don’t…

  • Hi,

    Nice article and i am using some of the tips which you mentioned in your blog post an i got good response for my business and i will try to continue these all techniques in my seo work for much better response.

    • Welcome. Keep doing what you are doing and it will eventually pay off. I am glad that some things are already working well for you 🙂

  • Hi DiTesco

    When I began building my new site and learning more about SEO I was amazed that some of my lavender posts had ranked so well lol

    I have learnt so much with SiteSell and Brankica helping me along the way. I agree that Google are starting to punish the BlackHats and the poor quality content seen around the blogosphere and from many comments from experienced and honest marketers it was certainly needed.

    With what I learnt, I rewrote many of my lavender posts so that they would still contain the content I had researched but were more SEO friendly. Keeping Google as well as my readers satisfied.

    Thanks for reminding us of a very important element of our business model especially with building our blogs/websites.

    Patricia Perth Australia

    • Hi Patricia, Good to see you here and welcome back to the “online” world 🙂 I see you got things under control, lol. Actually I think you are on the right track Patricia. I would really like to see more people like you, determined and putting in the effort to succeed. I am sure that you will and wish you all success in the future

  • Great Stuff i believe that Seo is a must for all bloggers who wants to be competitive looking forward to what this year will bring great article worth the read will feature in my next Round Up

    • Thanks Gary. I totally agree with what you said and I do hope that everyone who reads this gets the message that it is equally important to “back up” quality content with “quality” SEO.. Thanks for stopping by

  • Really awesome tips for one page and off page. I found guest blogging is one of the best techniques for link building. Google loves this method the most.

    • Hi Pritam. You are right. Guest blogging is one of the most powerful link building campaigns that we as bloggers can do, as the links in a post carries more weight that anything else. Obviously, as with everything, care should be taken and ensure that the “site” you are guest posting on is equally of good quality or it won’t really matter. Thanks for stopping by

  • Francisco, another great tips from you. SEO is a great help in marketing. It’s nice to know that they will change some practices for the better. This will be a big help to all the internet marketers out there.
    Happy new year!

    • Thanks and a happy new year to you too!

  • Great tips and I like the worst SEO practices, I never know one could manipulate page rank!

    • Hi Lisa. Yep, there are those who try to manipulate PageRank by using many methods that are frowned upon by search engines. Fortunately, as search engines become more “clever”, those who practice these kinds of methods will eventually get penalized.

  • Google is getting better at finding or detecting bad practices. I don’t know that they will ever catch it all, but as fast as things change now I am surprised they keep up with everything they do. Should be interesting to see if Google has any surprises for us in 2012.

    • Hi Ray. I agree with you and I am all eyes and ears as to what Google and other search engines are up to for 2012. It would be a very interesting subject to closely monitor, that’s for sure. My guess is (and its just a guess), that Google+ and other type of online engagements will play an important role in rankings. We’ll see? What do you think?

  • I Found this very useful im in process of seo with my own website it seems to be working always on the look out for more ideas.
    Thank you

  • I think in 2012 we will see an even bigger shift towards social networking as this is becoming an increasing factor in SEO. There will also be an increase in mobile SEO as more and more users are using their mobile devices to browse around the web.

    • Thanks. Certainly agree with you on your comment, specially the part of “mobile SEO”. Mobile SEO, IMO starts with using the right platform to serve your pages and make them mobile friendly 🙂

  • You offered us so many interesting ideas and thoughts, that I have to think a little bit about this stuff. Generally saying, I agree with everything you mentioned, especially about content creation

  • Those SEO starter guides have proven to be very beneficial. Overall, this is a very cohesive post. Good work, Francisco.

    • Thanks Pete. those guides are almost “evergreen” if you ask me. The core of SEO is essentially the same and that is the information that those guides provide. Somewhere along the way, we just have to adapt and implement what works better and keep monitoring our results.

  • Hi Francisco,
    That’s a great guide for SEO, actually as you said the most effective methods have not really changed that much, as the most important ranking factors pretty much remained unchanged and of course the number one way to rank high in the long term is to provide quality and informative content to your visitors (something that you do in every post of yours) thanks for sharing…

    • Hi kostas. thank you for your nice words. That really gives me that added “boost” in inspiration. Glad you found this article worth your while. Thanks for stopping by and good luck with your SEO campaign…

  • Hi DiTesco
    I am a mobile car mechanic from Sittingbourne. I run my own website and I‘m just learning SEO. Thank’s for the information that you have provided. This and other information that I have found on yours and other
    websites has enabled me to start getting to grips with the need to include social networks as part of my seo strategy and also the importance of authorship mark-ups.

  • Provision of good content is key to success. There is no substitute for good content. As you have mentioned, going after shortcuts will not be smooth and there may be negative impact also. The information provided in this article is very useful.

  • Hi DiTesco,

    SEO always and forever will be changing. Though some principles will stay the same (e.g. high quality content, building links), techniques in conquering search engines will continue to evolve as to keep up with their (search engines) algorithm shifts. Great article – this serves as a reminder of doubling our white-hat SEO efforts and staying away from black hat ones.

  • And let’s not underestimate the importance of “guest blogging” to SEO 😉

  • Really very well written article for those who want to know about the SEO and mainly for the on-page and off-page SEO. as you said that SEO is realy important and there will be no time when people stop using search engine. the tips which you have provided is really very useful like link-building, guest post and all.
    Thank you.

  • This is what I really need as an SEO beginner 😀
    Thanks for sharing Ditesco.

  • Nice article, On page and off page SEO is really important for organic traffic. I have some success when my blog move prom PR0 to PR3 in 3 months, but still learning on these things.

  • These are indeed terrific SEO tips. Very nice and helpful way to start my new business 2012!

  • Ultimately i think it comes down to trying to make the web a better place. If you feel what you putting on your site is making things better for the reader then i’ll bet most likely Google will too. Google is ultimately looking for good, well written relavant content that gives the user what they are looking for on the first or second try. So bottom line is give Google what Google wants and you’ll be on the WHITE path. I wonder how Google feels about CommentLuv? I think its great and have it on my site as well. I do try to weed out the spammers. They really can bring down a site’s ranking fast.

  • The internet is being bombarded with content from all corners. With the anvil of bloggers, there is no dearth of information and point of view on any given topic. So its all about having useful, quality information on the website if anyone is looking to enhance their presence on the internet. Everything else is mere detail…

  • I personally wish that Google would take on a more content based algorithm similar to the one Bing uses. There are simply too many websites that offer very little information or content but maintain high rankings simply through an incredibly big link profile. I think this will be the case in the near future as Google wants to give more relevant information. Content is king, and it should be regarded so.

  • It would be really difficult for Google to completely ignore backlinks as their main algorithm is based on links. And I think it is the only factor which really determines the popularity of content. This is the reason why a great quality content might not be visible on SE’s if it does not have any links. To root this problem completely, Google will have to re-write all its algorithm which is not at all possible.

    So, yes Keep building links and avoid spamming 🙂

    IM Den

  • No doubt, gone are the days when the rank of website was decided on the basis of quantity of backlinks. Today quality of backlinks and content matters the most. One should lay emphasize on maintaining fresh and flawless content on website. Therefore, I have hired expert content writers at

  • DiTesco, appreciate knowing that organic practices for building incoming links are gradually gaining favor. Sometimes I wonder if I’m really missing the boat by not using more aggressive methods to build backlinks.
    Hey, just a heads up I’m getting a ComLuv error message:

    “Error. Parsing JSON Request failed. error! not authorized (try doing a hard refresh of the page ctrl + F5)

    • Hi. Sorry about the CL error. It sometimes does that due to “cache” issues I think. I have asked Andy to take a look at it and if there is a problem, hopefully it will get fixed soon. I take that it is an error that does not occur frequently (I hope). Thanks for the heads up anyway. All the best

      • DiTesco, whatever the issue, it appears to have cleared. Always appreciate CommentLuv. 🙂

  • Some very important advice, Francisco.

    It is far better to stay in Google’s good graces, rather than run the gauntlet of having our sites, whacked!
    Google has a penalty system(if I read it correctly a while back) whereby there are ranking penalties(around 50 places deduction).
    Also, other ways of hurting sites, both in the rankings and in turn, in the site owners pocket.
    When I first started out online, I had no idea what Black hat, white hat or blue hat SEO was at all.
    What is a little bit confusing is that a number of sites have ads for selling links(get 200 PR 8 links for $) I would have thought that this would have been a big no no in the eyes of Google or is it(Whoever buys the most high quality links wins)?
    Without a doubt, I am seeing sites out there who go from almost nada links one day, then a huge bunch of high end links(edu, gov, etc) out of nowhere, almost instantly.
    I have visited an Authority site that also says traffic exchange type affairs are “A okay” if the sites are related to your niche.
    It’s this contradiction in what is considered acceptable, that can sometimes leave many new bloggers, and possible just as many the more seasoned campaigners, a little confused.

    So I avoided the traffic exchanges, and gave the ” buy 10’000 PR? links, the big ” heave ho”(miss).
    Though, seeing that quite well known sites in the Blog world, are saying that these practices are perfectly acceptable, kind of throws a spanner in the works.

    • Nothing replaces good and ethical SEO Daniel. Some things change and while “quantity” was once an important factor, the weight has shifted a bit towards “quality”. Buying links (if someone wants to go that route) should be made with caution and 10K links all over the place will not cut it. Better to have 10 – 20 links from high authority sites 🙂

  • It appears that the job of a seo professional is reducing every year. I suspect there will be one day when a webmaster will just care about his content and audience – completely unnecessary to remember search engines. That day these engines will be most intelligent to do its job by itself. Hey what will be the job of SEO expert then?

  • I love everything SEO and never get bored reading about it. My motto is “Content is not king but good content is”. I like to concentrate on something I have control of such as ‘on page seo’, great content, and search bots friendly architecture design. I do not care about the amount of traffic I get to my website for I rather get 5 prospects or customers a day than 10,000 hits a day, therefor, I do my best to create rich content pages and not just content.

  • I’ve seen been reading a lot about Google clamping down on over optimisation too! They are even going to warn you with notifications in Webmaster Tools. Just stick to the best practices in this article and we should all be safe from these scary notifications 😉

  • Really it’s a great stuff for me which i need for my seo practice and it will help me in my seo work. with this i can do more efficiently seo job and i think everyone should have to follow best whether it is seo and other.

    Thanks for sharing

  • Very informative information about SEO…it is really helpful for newbies. I love to read all your articles.

    Keep it up!!
    Very nice

  • Hi
    Thanks for the article, I have been doing some SEO work to my site and have successfully moved up a place or two on page one of Google. What I don’t understand is what do SEO companies do to peoples websites if you are saying that you should engage in guest posting, social media, writing articles yourself etc ?

    These companies can charge an arm and a leg so what do they do? What do they know about your company and subject area they clearly can’t be engaging in the above as the content wouldn’t be genuine. If it ain’t genuine then that is kind of spammy in my opinion.

    • Hi Colin. Good question and indeed, DIY SEO is perfectly plausible. SEO companies or consultants, provide pretty much the same service but in most cases on a much larger scale, and on an organized manner. Examples of why you may want to consider outsourcing your SEO or in a more modern “term” – inbound marketing – is simply, because you don’t have the time to do it, because you don’t have a clue on how to optimize and make proper use of social media channels, because you have other business to attend to, because you don’t know how to analyze stats and consolidate data properly and how to use these information, because you don’t know how to measure if a site that you will guest post on or build links with, are authority sites, because you don’t know how to properly conduct keyword research, because you are not tech savvy and don’t know basic html coding, and the list can go on. Also, given that the Inbound Marketing agency you are using is credible and professional, they can be held accountable for your results. Just don’t expect the “serious” ones to guarantee you top placements in 15 days. In can be done, but it is most likely for a very short term. Hope this helps a bit 🙂

  • Hi,

    Thanks for the source.
    Many website owners are not able to hire “an SEO guy” terakir frustrated with this situation.
    Great content, something that sounds great and lots of shouting, but certainly not easy to make it happen. (I think it would be very good for a fair competition) we all love competition…..
    (It’s really long to talk about 😀 )

    The main thing that should always to keeping in mind, is there are no shortcuts in SEO.

    I love very much the point of this article about ON-page 😉

    • Hi Deny. Glad you found the post useful. I really think that SEO is not easy, but it also is not complicated. With so much going on, Panda, Penguin and all that, the bottom line is basically to stick with “ethical” techniques 🙂 Thanks for stopping by.

  • I’d choose DIY SEO over hiring SEO “experts” any day. I’ve tried outsourcing SEO for several of my sites back when I was still new in IM. Though most of them reached the first page of Google, they easily disappeared from their spots a few months after I stopped paying for SEO. I now do my own SEO and I’m saving a lot more and getting great, steady results at the same time.

    • Hi Karen. No doubt that DIYSEO is better, that is if you know what you are doing 🙂 Not only is it “affordable”, you are at least sure that what you are doing is in accordance with good practices. The problem however is not everyone has the skills or the time required to do it, so they rather invest money for someone else to do it for them. I don’t have anything against that, on the contrary. Key is to know how to choose the right “people” to work with.

  • Good post! Thanks for sharing. There are many SEO tools that help to generate traffic to your site. The main aspect is in writing genuine and quality content. In addition to it, the SEO’s success depends upon the choice of keywords and page download speed. There are many different ways of creating links- article writing, link building, guest posts, commenting.

  • Keywords, META tags, inbound links or backlinks and URL structures are the prominent ingredients for Google optimisation, I think.

  • To me, SEO isn’t a difficult task… its just consistency that is required and time consuming thing. You have mentioned some good tips abt how to do SEO. Hope i can use them in future! 🙂 i just cant find the time 🙁

  • great tips man , these tips are not only for 2012 but they are green forever!

  • Hi Ditesco,

    Thanks for putting these resources together in a single post. We’ve been designing websites for years and are making our forays into the SEO/SEM digital marketing world. So far your post has been one of the most valuable we have come across. Just a small kudos and thank you.

  • I am glad that I came across this post. Need to evaluate all the off-site and on-site factors for my site. I already experienced that the authorship markup is very important, it boosted one of my articles. Luckily my site is optimized for mobile, which may become increasingly important as it appears from the above discussion (comments 27 and 28).

  • My site should show up in every relevant search. Its a dream every webmaster has. I’m no exception. With your post I see lot of gaps that I have overlooked during creating my site. Now the question is should I rework on every post I have created or work on few of them that could lead users to other posts on my site. Reworking on every post makes me avoid even the changes that are manageable. Damn even ethical hacking seems easier to SEO now 🙂

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