We all know that quick wins in search engine optimisation are hard to come by, in fact, when you speak with expert SEO consultants you will often hear the same advice: be patient!
However, that doesn’t mean to say that there aren’t always smaller, quite simple changes you could make. The SEO checklist below is compiled of small adjustments that you can make today and they may just be costing you that ‘page one’ ranking that you’re after.
These changes will provide you with a smaller, but nonetheless satisfying and fast result and should be maintained throughout the lifespan of your website in order to keep a happy and healthy ranking.
Follow through these next 7 points to see the difference and discover that there is such a thing as quick SEO:
Uh-Oh… 404s & Errors
A user has just found your website in a search and they’ve clicked the link. Excellent!
They’re met with a 404 error page. Not excellent.
The likelihood is, they’ll lose trust in your site, leave and never want to come back, and who can blame them?
If a website doesn’t appear to work at first, your user’s experience is going to only be negative and you can’t expect them to preserve – especially if they can click that ‘back’ arrow and try another site that ranked in their search.
A bad user experience and an increasing bounce rate results in one thing = a poorer ranking. Don’t risk it!
You can then work on turning these 404 errors into 301 redirects to ensure your users reach a relevant page. Not to mention your SEO will improve.
Check your local listings
As we know, Google rules the online world, especially in the UK. However, a shocking number of online businesses don’t have a listing on Google My Business or that listing is not optimised at all.
Whilst the rest of your website may not rank right now, adding a business to Google’s listings gives you a chance to come up before anything else.
Don’t miss this trick – setting it up yourself is easy too, so you have no excuse.
Are you mobile friendly?
If you set your website up yourself or if your website was set up a few years ago, you may find that your website is not compatible with many smartphones. This means when someone visits your website from their phone, they’re not getting the full experience that you intended.
This could be costing you customers but even worse, your bounce rate and other essential metrics will be effected and once again your SEO will be too.
Recent algorithm updates to Google (Mobile-first indexing) have now also evolved to ensure Google prefers mobile friendly sites over desktop only sites, because (and it will come as no surprise) every year a higher and higher percentage of people are using their phones for general online activity.
If you want to test how mobile friendly your website is, go straight to Google’s own tool for this.
Can you run quick enough?
We’re not talking Usain Bolt here. We’re talking about your page speed. How long is it taking people to actually get onto your website and then once they’re there, how long is it taking them to get from page to page.
Check for duplicate content
We all only have so much content, so make sure you use it wisely. Don’t try to reproduce it over multiple pages for the sake of having a larger website.
A common malpractice can also be to reuse the same keywords to improve SEO, but duplicate content will have a negative impact on your SEO.
Google can only rank the most relevant page, so if you have multiple similar pages how is Google to know which is the best.
There are free online audit tools (eg Siteliner, Copyscape etc) that can crawl your site for duplicate content and a quick solution can be to use a 301 redirect on duplicates, consolidate them or canonicalize them and help Google prioritise the more important page.
Give old pages a new lease on life
A lot of website owners are always focusing on new content, but it’s not always about creating, creating, creating! Sometimes re-purposing is the best step.
Go back to your old content, realise the mistakes you made in the past and perfect those already existing pages with fresh content, case studies, insights, images etc. It saves you a job and also helps your SEO.
What can you check on existing pages to ensure you’re following the best SEO house-keeping? Here are the top 3 to get you started:
- Meta data (title & description)
- Headers & body content
- Internal & external linking
There are some SEO online free tools and plugins which can also make suggestions that are specific to your website. Google’s online support can provide you with an HTML improvements report, too inside Google Search Console.
Avoid killer phrases
You may or may not be aware but there are some bad practices that can raise a red flag for Google’s crawlers. As I said above, repeating the same words over and over is a common malpractice and while a lot of users think they’re doing the right thing, they’re actually doing damage to their sites. This sort of text, known as anchor text, needs to be rife with description and personality, so that Google trusts you.
Anchor text that is vague like “click here” or extremely over-optimised can also get you into the bad books. Change “click here” links to something like “Do you want to try our new bacon?” or “Why don’t you give our game a go?”
Not only does it help in building brand voice and personality but it is also better for your SEO.
Lastly, remember, if you want to ensure you are helping your SEO improve on a long-term basis you need to maintain these 7 pointers and also continue to make further tweaks that are specific to your business’s needs.
However, if your business is growing quickly and you don’t have time for your website or if you just can’t get your head around the digital technicalities, seek out our services and we’ll help find a package that suits you.
How did you get on? Is there something else you think we could add to the list? Let us know in the comments.