Anyone that knows even a little bit about marketing in the digital world will tell you SEO is not a quick process. It takes consistency, creativity, and time, to see quantifiable and lasting results with SEO.
While the above statements are true, minor fixes in your website and content can dramatically improve rankings overnight. The best part is, these tweaks are universal and work on most websites, and are a great way to hook new clients. Not only would a quick improvement in SEO performance impress new clients, but these would also buy you, as a marketer, enough time to bring about long-lasting organic results.
Let us look at some tweaks that you can make today to improve search performance of any website, pronto:
Internal linking is probably the most overlooked SEO strategy, as most of the times, the importance of internal linking is shadowed by the importance of building backlinks. However, unlike building a strong backlink profile, internal linking can be done within a day and can be used to drive better rankings for underperforming pages.
Think of it like this, by internally linking to one of your underperforming pages from your stronger pages, you are suggesting to the search engine that there is valuable information present on that page. Moreover, a link from an authority page is definitely going to boost rankings. The best part is, you don’t have to approach someone for this, and can do this on your own.
There are a ton of ways to masterfully interlink your pages. Here are a couple of ideas to get you started:
- Navigation Links: In most cases, the homepage is the best performing page on a website. For this reason, linking to other pages in form of navigation links is a great way to promote your underperforming pages. Navigation links also contribute to improving the user experience on a website.
- Suggestion Links: Another great way to use your best-performing pages to aid the performance of their counterparts, suggestions not only drive link juice but also drive traffic to your underperforming pages. This fortifies the idea that these pages have some useful content on them.
Optimising Meta Titles and Descriptions
Optimising meta titles and meta descriptions can have a positive effect on your bounce rates and CTR (Click Through Rates). Post the Hummingbird algorithm update by Google, it is no longer necessary to include all variations of your keywords in your meta title or descriptions.
This saved space, thus, can be utilised to make your meta titles and descriptions more informative and lucrative. For instance, if you are a laptop repair brand, instead of including all possible variations of “laptop repair”, use the extra space to demonstrate your USP, such as, “cheap”, “affordable”, “guarantees” among other relevant terms that will make people choose your link over one that includes variations of “laptop repair”.
Fixing Dead Links
Dead links aren’t only bad for SEO, they are also bad for user experience. Think about it, if a user clicks on a certain link expecting to come across some useful information, but instead gets a 404 error, they are bound to be frustrated. This will also contribute to higher bounce rates and poor search engine performance.
The same can be done using a free tool like Screaming Frog or Google Webmaster. With Webmaster, you can go under the “Sitemap” section where Google will report any links it could not locate. You can then fix internal links with 301 redirects and external links by requesting the website owners to remove or replace the links.
Another great tool to do this is the “redirection” plugin in WordPress, i.e. if your site is hosted on the platform.
However, keep in mind that using more plugins will negatively affect the load speed of your website, which is, in turn, bad for SEO.
Becoming Mobile Ready
The number of mobile users on the internet crossed the number of desktop users in 2016. Mobile devices are making accessing the internet easier than ever, and for the same reason, being mobile ready is paramount if you want to be successful in the digital landscape.
Moreover, Google has made it clear that mobile-friendly websites will rank higher in their search results. For this reason, if your website (or your client’s website) isn’t mobile ready, you may be losing out on precious ranking points, and visitors. Optimizing for mobile can ensure a quick bump in search engine performance overnight.
Especially with the Mobile-First Index rolling in, mobile-readiness has become mandatory. This could mean improving your loading speed, decluttering your pages, optimizing your CTA for easing the mobile experience of the users. Additionally, if you are offering videos to your users, it is essential to optimize them for mobile screens as well.
Contribute to User-Contributed Media Sites
Building a strong backlink profile can take weeks. However, posting on user-contributed media websites is a great way to secure some high-quality backlinks quickly. Posting on platforms such as Medium, BuzzFeed, and Huffington Post can improve the health of any backlink profile significantly.
More importantly, when a potential customer comes across your information or your brand on a website they visit regularly, they get to see your brand in a different, possibly positive light. The traffic that this content will drive to your website will be categorized as referral traffic by the search engines. This can be viewed as a trust signal by the search engine, indicating that there is valuable information on your website, which has the potential of improving rankings.
Bottom line, posting on user-contributed websites can not only boost your traffic, but will also contribute to your backlink profile.
Similarly, if you are working with a budget, consider using paid content placement services like Taboola. It will display your content on high authority websites such as the Huffington Post, which can help drive additional traffic to your website, quickly.
Optimising Local Listings
Claiming your Google My Business listing is usually one of the first steps of any local SEO campaign. The same can be great for driving traffic to your website as the Google local search pack is displayed above all other results on the SERP page.
The chances of appearing in the top results can further be improved by making sure that your NAP (Name, Address, Phone Number) information is consistent across the web. Even a small error in the same can have a significantly negative effect on your SEO endeavors.
It is also crucial to ensure that you persuade your customers to leave an online review for you so it helps you boost your local visibility. When people look for your business online, customer recommendations make a big difference to how these new users perceive your company and its online reputation. This directly impacts your sales.
Testing and Improving Page Load Speed
40% of consumers abandon a website that takes more than 3 seconds to load. A 1-second delay in page load time can reduce conversions by up to 7%. Quick loading pages are not just a ranking factor, but also crucial to a great user experience.
Thankfully, checking your page load time is not a great challenge, and can be done for free, using the PageSpeedInsights tool by Google. While the tool also gives some advice on how page load speed can be improved, there are some common issues that hinder page load speeds, and can be fixed immediately:
- Reduce the number of elements on your page.
- Switch to a faster DNS provider.
- Make sure you have chosen the right hosting option.
- Enable compression for the files on your website using a tool like Gzip.
- Enable browser caching.
- Finally, consider using a content delivery network.
Checking for Duplicate Content
Duplicate content is (and should be) penalized by Google and other search engines. The reason behind the same is obvious. Now, you may be thinking why this is being pointed out here. No, it is not to imply that you have copied your content from another website.
In many cases, copied content is not a result of unethical practices. Your site may have multiple URLs pointing to the same content. Another possibility is having unresolved domain issues. For instance, Google will consider www.myinvention.org and myinvention.org as different websites, but naturally, they will have the same content present on them. A similar possibility can be applied to a desktop website and the mobile version of the same website.
This issue can be easily resolved using a canonical tag. A canonical tag is a short meta-tag, that is included in the <head> section of your HTML code. It tells the crawlers (or search engines) which URL is original and should be crawled. The inclusion of canonical tag is automatic for WordPress websites, and can also be done using plugins such as the Yoast SEO.
Tracking Brand Mentions For Links
Tracking brand mentions is crucial when it comes to maintaining a healthy backlink profile. Doing so has dual benefits for any website- one, it will help make sure the website is not attracting any bad backlinks or mentions, and two, all positive mentions of the brand can be turned into incoming backlinks.
Simply set up a Google alert for your brand name and any variations. This way, if anyone mentions your brand in their content, you will get a notification. Once you start getting these notifications, there are a few ways this information can be utilised:
- Track and respond to all negative mentions of your brand. Doing so will ensure your brand is viewed in a positive light, as a brand that cares about its reputation. The correct way to do this process is to alleviate any grievances that people may be posting related to your brand. If done right, this will help your brand gain loyal and long-term customers.
- Track all mentions and see if each mention is giving you a link. If you find a website that has mentioned your brand but has not linked to your website, simply shoot them an email requesting for a link. On the other hand, if you find any bad backlinks pointing to your website, send an email requesting to take the link down.
Use Schema Markup
While Google has made it clear that microdata is not a ranking signal, using Schema Markup may not directly improve your rankings, it can still help improve the CTR of any website.
Schema Markup is a piece of code which can be embedded within the HTML code of a website. The code let’s search engines understand the information within the site, and return more comprehensive results. The simplest example would be, for this article, without Schema Markup, “Matthew Booth” are simply two words for the search engine. However, when Schema Markup is included, the search engine will understand that its a name, the name of the author of this article.
If you are familiar with rich snippets, you already know what Schema Markup is all about. With more comprehensive information present with your website entry in the SERPs, the chances of improving CTR are enhanced. According to Schema.org, “over 10 million” websites are currently making use of this feature. While this number may seem big, it is less than 1% of the total websites. This means that there’s a good chance your competition is also not using Schema Markup, and it is a good time to start using this great feature to get ahead instantly.
Which SEO is a long-term game and may take time to show results, these simple fixes that drive instant results are often overlooked. Whether you are a business that is just starting their online journey, or a marketer building an online presence for a client, these simple fixes can help you gain the confidence in the decision makers.
Combine these with other SEO strategies and you can ensure the shine of your instant results never dims down. Did I miss any quick fix that you know of? Don’t forget to mention the same in the comments below!