This is the final post in our five-blog series on search engine optimization (SEO) and conversion rate optimization (CRO). Read part four here.
A question we often get asked is: What are some quick SEO hitters I can implement right now?
Well, why not answer you all then? We asked our SEO team for some of the quickest and easiest things you can do right now to your website that will improve your search ranking, haul in more traffic to your website and acquire more customers.
1. Download the Yoast SEO Plugin
Anyone who is anyone in SEO knows this tool is not only required for any WordPress website but absolutely critical for your site’s performance in the search engine results pages (we call them SERPs). Don’t get the premium version. Even our experts say it’s not worth the money.
The free version of Yoast (and the only one you’ll need) allows you to edit the title tags and meta descriptions that show up in Google. If you aren’t familiar, don’t worry — here’s an example SERP from Google for our agency.
2. Run a Traffic Report from Google Analytics
Focus on the pages with the most traffic first. That way, you’re not starting from scratch and you can quickly and easily update them with more accurate keywords and better content.
3. Update Your Title Tags the Right Way
Now that you know what a title tag is, let’s talk about how to update one and update it correctly. Once you download Yoast, it should look something like this (below) but blank.
For titles, you’ll want to keep it between 50 to 63-ish characters, with 60 being the sweet spot. Any characters over, you’re wasting your time and risking it getting cut off by the search engine, which in this case is Google. Yoast helps you do that by that progress bar. Green is good, meaning it is the appropriate length, while orange means it might get cut off.
One thing Yoast doesn’t show you, however, is how good your title is. Remember you must implement your keywords, but you also must make it catchy enough someone would want to read and click.
4. Tune Up Your Meta Descriptions
Equally important, meta descriptions entice the reader to click. This is where you can get your most creative. You want to grab the reader’s attention, while also staying within the comfort of the character limit, which is around 160 characters. In theory, the meta description does not affect SEO. However, in practice, it definitely does, as how catchy (or how boring) yours is can affect your click-through rate (CTR).
5. Check for Broken Links
Broken links are URLs that link to pages that are nowhere to be found; they just don’t exist anymore. For whatever reason, sites tend to acquire broken links. It just happens. However, that doesn’t mean you should leave them there. Nothing is worse for a user to land on a “404” broken link page, and Google will ding your website for it, too.
The fix: use a tool like Screaming Frog (our personal favorite) to find broken links on your site. Find them and either fix them or remove them.
6. Check Your Website’s Speed
How fast or slow your website loads directly relates to the number of visitors you get. Fast sites get more, while slow sites get less. It is also one of the factors that Google uses to rank your site!
There are various tools out there you can use, but Google supplies you with one through your Search Console account called Core Web Vitals, which tests for a bunch of things, including user experience. If you don’t have Search Console, there are several free checkers you can use to test your site. One of our favorites is called Pingdom.
7. Resize Your Images
This is a huge thing people forget to do. Almost always you cannot go from image to webpage — you must resize it. Here are a few general guidelines for photos:
- Use PNGs for graphics
- Use JPGs for images
- Use RBG color mode
- Size under 500 kb (or lower)
The lower you can size images, the better speed your site will have. Therefore, try to get it the smallest size you can. Just make sure the images do not come out blurry on a desktop, which is often the largest resolution your site will be seen in.
8. Add Alt Tags to Images
Small but important, alt tags let the Google robots know what the images you upload contain. For example, if you upload your logo to your site, Google is going to want to know about that. So the alt tag for that particular image would be something like “Integrate Agency logo.”
9. Get an SSL Certificate
Have you ever noticed that websites have a lock (like the one below) beside the URL or use the https:// instead of http://? That means a website has a secure sockets layer (or SSL) certificate, which means it is secure and encrypted.
SSL certificates are a huge deal. Not only do they protect user and data privacy, but Google also prioritizes secure sites over non-secure ones.
10. Check Your Robots.txt File
OK, so what the heck is a robots.txt file? It’s very simple: it’s a file that tells where search engines can and cannot go on your site. For example, if you have a page you are tracking for conversions (i.e. a thank you page), you do not want users to find it in organic search, which can make your data wrong. Therefore, you’ll want to include that in your robots.txt files.
In extreme cases, people can accidentally block their entire site from being seen on Google. Designers, for example, can forget they had one on file and when they push a website live, they forget to remove the robots.txt file. Bad news.
Google makes it easy and has a robots.txt file tester within the Search Console platform.
11. Claim Your Business’s Address on Google My Business
If you’ve got a brick-and-mortar store, claiming your address on Google My Business is an absolute must. Unskippable. You may also want to claim it on Bing Places, Facebook, Apple Maps and Yelp. Not only is it a good way to tap into customers, but it also enhances your SEO.
12. Fill Out All of the Information
After you claim your address, you’re gonna want to make sure your profile is 100% complete. You want to make it easy for customers to find you. Steps such as adding relevant phone numbers, hours of operation, descriptions and business type all help improve your online presence.
13. Publish Content on Google My Business
The question here is: Why not? It’s completely free, and it’s one of the first things people will see when Googling your business.
14. Make Use of Google My Business Data
Finally, you can refine your SEO strategy by reviewing the data given to you by Google My Business. Specifically, it gives you great information about the number of calls, what keywords drove clicks and more.
SEO Doesn’t Win Battles. It Wins Wars.
There is so much to talk about SEO it can be hugely overwhelming to the novice digital marketer or the small business who just wants to get their name out there. However, keep in mind that a lot of this stuff is tiny tweaks here and there.
The thing about SEO is that it is a long-term endeavor. Sure, you’ll see some short-term wins, such as a click on your Google My Business or several calls. But over time, SEO is used by marketers to turn that click into 100 clicks, then 1,000 clicks — and thousands of customers! SEO isn’t a once-and-done deal. Rather, it’s a combination of multiple factors, tweaks, keyword modifications and quality content that is carried out over many months.
So, to the discouraged: Don’t be. Stay the course; you will be rewarded in the end. And if you just can even, you can always chat with our experts. 😉