Getting your website ranking well in search engines is almost always a long and well thought-out process, often with up front investment.
However, there are a quite a few quick and easy wins that can help you rank higher.
Today you are going to learn six quick ways to improve your site’s SEO in an afternoon!
If you’re an online business or a blog that relies on generating lots of new customers consistently, chances are you’ll focus on building your organic presence. This is because there are over 3 billion searches every day on Google, and millions more on other search engines like Bing, Yahoo, and DuckDuckGo.
With every one of these searches, there is an opportunity to attract a customer to your site. But, according to data from ClickFlow and Backlinko’s article on click through rates: only 0.78% of Google searchers clicked on something from the second page.
So if you’re languishing at the bottom of page 2, how will your customers arrive at your content? Well, unless you’re spending lots of money on paid search or promoting it on social media, they won’t.
So we’ve established that organic search and SEO is an important aspect in your marketing strategy, but how do you go about improving your Google rankings quickly so you can start getting all this great traffic?
Well, there are actually lots of different ways to improve your Google search engine rankings. In fact, there are over 200 ranking factors that affect where Google decides to position your pages. That’s a lot of factors to keep track of! But fortunately, there are a few that you can learn and implement in a couple of hours so that you can quickly improve your SEO.
1. Run An SEO Audit
An SEO audit can help you identify any errors on your site that might harm a search engine’s attempts to crawl and rank your site. This is a great place to start to easily improve your SEO, as it’ll show you exactly what you need to fix. To run an automated audit, you’ll need to create an account on an SEO tool. The audit will highlight errors such as:
- Duplicate content
- Broken links
- Pages with error codes such as a 404
- Pages that load slowly
- The site’s crawl depth
Most good SEO tools will show you which pages have been flagged with errors, and provide you with good information on how to fix them. In fact, many of the quick SEO fixes you’ll in this article will be picked up by a thorough audit.
Granted, if you have a large site of over 1000 pages, your audit might result in 100s of laborious fixes that need to be made which could take longer than an afternoon. My advice here would be to get the easy wins fixed first, solving just some of these issues will only help to improve how Google and the other search engines evaluate your site.
If you haven’t set yourself up on any software to help your SEO, my recommendation is Semrush– it’s an all in one digital marketing tool that can help you keep on top of your search engine marketing, backlink strategy, and even content ideation.
2. Add Internal Links
As you build out a website, it’s very important to have a good user experience for visitors and for search engine crawlers. You want your site visitors to find what they are looking for as quickly as possible, otherwise, they’ll leave to find their answer on your competitor’s site.
Every page on your website should be no more than 3 clicks away from the homepage. This is easily achievable by using a navigation bar to your category pages, links to important pages in your footer, and the anchor text within your copy. If you’re struggling to rank for a particular keyword on a page, linking to that URL with the keywords in the anchor text will show Google that the page is important for that subject.
Below is an example of how a site’s pages should link to each other. Typically, the further away from the homepage the page is, the less important it will be in Google’s eyes.
3. Add Header Tags To Your Content
Headers within your content are the building blocks for ranking a webpage. A header tag provides context for the content on that page and will influence your rankings by making your webpage easier to read for visitors and for search engines.
A header tag is used to differentiate the headings and subheadings from the regular paragraphs on a page. There are six types of h tag: from <h1> to <h6>.
The most important is the h1 tag, which is used to describe the topic of the page. It is vital that you only use one <h1> tag per page! An <h1> is the only header tag that can only be used once.
An h2 tag is used as a subheading and is the second most important header tag to use. H2 tags help to break articles down into digestible “chapters”. So for example, this article is using an h2 for each quick way to improve your rankings!
An h3 would be used as a subheading within an h2. It’s used to highlight a sub-topic under a heading. If you were to have a subtopic within your h3 paragraph, you may use an h4– and so on until you reach h6.
Using keywords within your header tags will not help to show search engines the context of the page, but it will also help to optimise your content for featured snippets!
4. Check Your XML Sitemap
An XML sitemap is used to tell search engines what URLs to show in the search results. Having an outdated, or worse still, lack of an XML sitemap, then it is more difficult for a search engine to know of any newly added pages.
If you are frequently adding content, changing content on existing pages or your internal linking isn’t as good as it could be, adding an up to date sitemap will meaning Google will be able to index your site much faster.
If you are using WordPress you can simply use Yoast or other popular plugins to manage your sitemap for you. To ensure Google is definitely using your XML sitemap, log in to Search Console and under “Index” select sitemap. You will then be able to submit the URL where your sitemap is located.
5. Update Your Metadata
You may have written some good meta descriptions and titles for your webpages once, but have you considered updating them? Unless you occupy a featured snippet, our title and meta description is the first aspect of your page that entices people to visit your website in search, so it’s very important that they are optimised.
There are two aspects to writing a good title and meta description: using your target keywords and writing alluring copy. One on hand, you need search engines to understand what your page is about, so using keywords is important. But on the other hand, writing a spammy keyword-crammed title and description will put off searchers.
Updating metadata can be surprisingly challenging, but there are several questions you should ask yourself before changing the metadata copy:
- Is the new copy using a target keyword?
- Does the new entice searchers more than the previous copy?
- Does your copy promise to fulfill the searcher’s intent?
By answering these questions, updating your metadata will quickly improve your rankings by raising your page’s click through rate.
The same goes for the images on your site. Ensure you are showing the context and relevancy of your images by giving them a descriptive file name, title, and alt tag.
6. Improve Your Site’s Loading Speed
Your website’s loading speed has a direct influence on your Google search ranking. In July 2018, Google announced that page speed would be a ranking signal for mobile searches. In addition, mobile search now accounts for more than 60% Google searches.
Google found that as your page load time varies from one second to five seconds, the probability of a user bouncing increases by 90%. On top of this, Unbounce found that 85% of mobile landing pages were slower than 5 seconds, meaning the chances of bouncing were even higher!
First of all, analyse how fast your pages load using the Google Page Speed Insights tool. It will give you a score for mobile and desktop and will show you the opportunities to improve.
Aside from these improvements, which could take several days or hours to fix, there are a few simple changes you can make to improve your loading speeds.
- Move to a faster web host provider: this is very important depending on where your customers are searching. For instance, we wanted a host with a UK server, so we chose SiteGround as a high-performance host for our website.
- Optimise your images to increase speed: large and detailed images severely slow down your site. You can easily reduce their size or format by using a script or plugin if you’re using WordPress.
- Reduce the number of plugins or scripts: contrary to the last point, you should try to avoid using too many third-party scripts on your site. If you can, find plugins that have multiple uses to avoid using multiple at a time.
As many people know, improving your Google rankings quickly is challenging. These tips alone won’t make you a champion of the search results.
Ranking higher also means writing great content, creating an amazing user experience and making your website’s performance flawless.
Doing SEO is very much a long term practice, but if you’re yet to get a full strategy together, these tips will help you get started!