SEO is not an easy task. Requiring a deep understanding and practical application of techniques to see considerable results, organizations often have a dedicated team focusing solely on SEO. It’s not easy to rank in the #1 spot on Google. It takes an established content strategy, on and off page optimization, and continual analysis and adjustments. Fortunately, there are some easy SEO basics that can have a significant impact on your site. These tips don’t take months or even weeks to implement but often only a few days. Here are a few small changes you can make to improve your SEO.
1. Add Meta Titles
One of the easiest things you can do to improve your SEO is adding meta tags to your web pages, especially titles and descriptions. Meta titles and descriptions are snippets of text that describe the content provided on a particular web page. These meta tags don’t show up on the page itself, they only show up on the page’s code.
One of the most significant meta tags for improving your SEO is the title tag, which Moz notes is the second most important on-page SEO factor, only behind content. The title tag should be concise, informative, and accurate. This is the first impression of your site, so you want to make sure your title is compelling and stands out. For a great title tag, keep the length under 55 characters. A longer title tag increases the chance of your title being cut off, especially on mobile devices. If it feels natural, it’s a good idea to add in a keyword to your title. This won’t improve your rankings, but it can signify to users that the content is relevant to their query.
So, adding or optimizing your meta titles are fairly easy ways to improve your SEO. If you are looking for a way to boost your rankings without putting in large amounts of time and effort, take a look at your meta titles. Check the lengths, check for keywords, make sure each page has a unique title, and most importantly, make sure the writing is informative, accurate, and compelling to users.
2. Utilize Appropriate Header Hierarchy
One of the simplest changes that will improve your SEO is ensuring that your header tags are being used correctly. Your headings and subheadings help break up your content, making it easier for users to understand and read. Header tags also help Google understand the structure of the page.
The most important header tag is the H1 tag. This header will be the title of the page, and should only be used once. It introduces the reader to the page and what the content is about. Very similar to meta titles, try to make the H1 tag unique and informative. If you can include a keyword naturally into the language, even better.
You can use other header tags more than once, but they should follow numerical order. For instance, you shouldn’t have an H1 followed by an H3. However, you can go back and use a header again. Below is an example of proper header structure.
H1: Jewelry Trends for 2019
H3: Bright Colored Bracelets
H3: Charm Bracelets
H3: Silver Necklaces
H3: Diamond Necklaces
H3: Layered Necklaces
H3: Bold Earrings
If you notice that your headers are not following the correct structure, it usually only takes a few days for you to go in and fix it, depending on how many pages your site has. Having correct header hierarchy is a basic SEO technique that will help Google understand your content better. Also, with some HTML coding, you can change the font size, color, and style of your headings, making it easier to read on mobile devices. You will want to keep the same format throughout your site though, to ensure consistent branding.
3. Set Up Google My Business
Setting up Google My Business (GMB) is another easy way to improve your SEO. Optimizing your Google My Business increases your chances of showing up in Google’s Local Pack, Local Finder, and Google Maps. Google’s Local Pack is displayed above the organic results and makes it easy for users to see businesses nearby that match their search query. Getting placed in the Local Pack will give your site more visibility, which can lead to more conversions.
It is free to set up a profile, and you can add information like your business address, phone number, business hours, and more. To fully optimize your GMB listing, consider adding more than just basic information. For example, with the GMB posts feature, you can share daily specials or updates on your GMB profile. Or, you can post the latest blog from your site. The post feature is a great way to stand out to customers and help them learn a little bit more about your business.
Google My Business also gives customers a chance to read and post reviews about your business. Online reviews are becoming increasingly more important. Reviews and ratings can help search engines determine value, relevancy, and authority. Encourage your users to leave reviews on your Google My Business profile, and make sure you are responding to any reviews left. This SEO tip doesn’t take much time or expertise but can have a big impact on your site visibility.
4. Add internal and external links
If you have researched SEO basics at all, you have probably heard how important links are. Crawlers follow links on websites to index pages, and links can send signals to Google about a web page’s authority and expertise. Backlinking is the most valuable form of linking, but it takes a lot of knowledge, time, and effort to attain valuable backlinks. Internal and external linking, on the other hand, is fairly straightforward and can help improve your SEO.
Internal linking is linking to another page on your own site. Internal linking can lead users to other pages on your site they might be interested in and helps them navigate your site. You want to lead the user from page to page, ultimately ending in a conversion. Make sure you are using quality links. You want to link to appropriate pages that will continue to provide the user value and guide them down the buyer’s funnel.
External linking is linking from your site to other independent sites. When using external linking, you will want to link to high authority websites. Think Google, Apple, and The New York Times. Sites that get a lot of traffic, have high-quality content, and are considered leaders in their industries. When you link to these types of high authority sites, it passes along credibility to your site. It is important to diversify your links- if you only ever link to Forbes it will start to look spammy. Additionally, just like internal links, make sure you are linking to pages that are relevant to the page from which you are linking. External and internal linking are great SEO techniques to improve the crawlability and credibility of your site.
5. Optimize Images
Another small change that can improve your SEO is image optimization. Google works by “crawling” websites. Crawlers use links of text to move from one page to another, gathering information on the content of the page. However, Google’s crawlers cannot read images. In order to allow Google to “read” your images, you have to manually add things like titles and alt text. This will help further inform Google to the purpose of the page. Plus, users with visual impairments can get a better understanding of the page as well.
First things first, make sure your images have an appropriate file title. This will help Google and users better understand the purpose of the image, as opposed to just naming it IMG000364. Then, using alt text, you can further describe the image to Google and users, giving them more context. Try to keep it short, but informative, describing exactly what the image is portraying.
Helping Google understand and read your images through supplemental text is only the first step. In order to fully optimize your site for images, you also need to make sure your images aren’t hurting your site speed. Site speed is a major ranking factor for Google, so make sure your images are optimized for speed. First, choose the best file type that will balance the best compression with the least reduction in quality. JPEGs are usually the best format for photographs, whereas PNG’s are best for illustrations, or simpler images. You will also want to pay attention to the file size of your images and leverage browser caching. With these simple image optimization tips, you should be able to improve the SEO of your site.
Although SEO is complicated and constantly evolving, these are some quick changes that you can make today to improve your SEO. If you are looking to heavily improve or maintain your rankings, consider partnering with us. We do all of the heavy lifting for your SEO, providing more advanced and technical solutions than you can find in a blog post. Contact us today for more information on our premium SEO services.