How To Improve Your SEO
Search engine optimization is all about optimizing your website for organic search traffic. It’s how you get good search rankings on Google today.
SEO is something that is often overlooked because of the amount of time, commitment, and cost that is required to make it work.
For this reason, when it comes to SEO, a lot of people just don’t know where to start.
Supplement Your Paid Ads With SEO
Unlike Google ads or Facebook ads where you’re paying for a specific placement, SEO works by generating organic traffic, which can be hit or miss.
Although SEO is a competitive field that is sometimes finicky, ultimately, having a robust SEO campaign helps bring down your cost if you’re doing any sort of paid advertising since you will start generating passive organic traffic at no added cost.
SEO vs Paid Ads
The biggest difference between SEO and paid ads is that SEO is not guaranteed.
You could end up on page one or page 10 after your SEO efforts.
Realistically, if you’re not on page one or two, you might as well not be there at all.
So, the question now is, “How to improve your SEO?”
How To Improve Your SEO Step 1 – Building A Great Foundation
Building your SEO and content strategy is like building the foundation of a house. You’re not just going to throw down some random bricks and concrete and heap something together.
You have to start with a solid foundation.
If you really want to know how to improve your SEO, make a solid gameplan and have a goal that you want to see achieved in a given amount of time.
For instance, you might decide you want to generate 1,000 organic visits to your website per month.
This is an ambitious goal but a good one nonetheless. Clearly defined goals are always helpful since they give you purpose and a direction.
How To Improve Your SEO – Making A List of Your Objectives
Always make a concrete list of the exact things you want to accomplish. This will help!
How To Improve Your SEO Step 2 – Technical Issues Relating To SEO
If you really want to know how to improve your SEO, then we suggest focusing on the technical issues your website is facing.
Fixing technical issues is your foundation.
If you have technical issues on your website (for instance, if things aren’t coded correctly) or if you don’t have the correct headings and your images aren’t tagged with proper meta data, your SEO efforts will suffer.
Forgetting to update your technical SEO means you’ll be doing a lot of work and putting yourself at a disadvantage.
Because it’s going to take a lot more work to get the same results as if you had just started with a good foundation.
How To Improve Your SEO – Work With A Web Developer To Fix Your Technical SEO
Fixing your technical SEO can be tricky. Our advice is to work with an expert to help you…if you don’t have the time to fix the issue yourself.
If you do have the time, then we suggest digging into all the information available online that shows steps for fixing technical SEO issues.
How To Improve Your SEO Step 3 – SEO Health Check
You should think of addressing your website’s technical SEO issues as a health check.
You go in, take a look at your site, and make sure you don’t have pages on there that you don’t need any longer. You also make sure that your site is able to load fast and that it’s mobile friendly.
How To Improve Your SEO – Focus On Mobile
Oftentimes businesses only look at their websites on desktop because they only access their sites during business hours.
But what about mobile?
If your customers are looking at your site from their mobile devices, it’s smart to make sure that your site looks good on mobile.
In fact, regardless of what devices your customers are using, it’s crucial to be mobile-friendly today since Google rewards sites that are mobile-friendly.
How To Improve Your SEO – Make Quick and Helpful Fixes
Even if you’re not tech savvy and SEO savvy, try digging through some of the issues on your website and finding what you can fix.
Fixing your critical issues as best you can, even if that’s all you do, will help your site.
How To Improve Your SEO – Web Hosting
Believe it or not, web hosting plays a significant role in the health of your website. If you have inferior web hosting, check out our blog post about why good web hosting is important.
How To Improve Your SEO Step 4 – Start With A Basic Site Audit
We recommend starting with a basic audit just to see if your site loads correctly.
Beyond this, here are some steps you can do by yourself if you have the time and energy.
1. Optimize Your Loading Time
Optimizing the loading time for your blog or website is one of the easiest fixes that you can do, and it’s one that people often overlook.
This is ironic since Google flat-out says that faster pages rank higher.
How To Improve Your SEO – Use Page Speed Tests
There are all sorts of web page speed tests available today.
But Google has one that shows different errors called PageSpeed Insights.
In order to get your website to reach the 100 mark with PageSpeed Insights, you would pretty much have to come up with a one-page site with no images.
With that said, you want to make sure that your score does not fall below 30.
2. Compress All Your Images
Sometimes our clients will load massive images (10 MB, 15 MB) on their sites.
Most WordPress sites compress their images automatically, but if a customer is trying to load your website on mobile and has a slower internet connection, it’s still going to take a lot longer for huge images to load.
This may result in the customer leaving your site and moving onto something else, which will increase your bounce rate and hurt your SEO. (Google wants to see lower bounce rates).
How To Improve Your SEO – Image Compression Is Easy and Convenient
Image compression is easy and convenient and doesn’t require you to jump through a lot of hoops.
Best of all, it doesn’t reduce the quality of your images.
It’ll certainly make your image files smaller by getting rid of unnecessary metadata, but it won’t decrease their quality.
There’s a lot of metadata stored in images, like the type of camera that was used, the shutter speed, or the geolocation. It’s all this data on the back-end of a camera that increases your file size and slows your image load times.
Unfortunately, many people don’t use the plugins that are available to mitigate this issue.
3. Make Sure Your Site Is Indexed
You can use Google Search Console, a free service through Google, to make sure that Google is indexing your site.
You’ll want to make sure that your website is found, because if it isn’t, it’s not going to show up anywhere on Google.
If you’ve tried SEO but haven’t started getting any traffic, your site might not even be getting indexed.
How To Improve Your SEO – Taking Your Site Out of Development Mode
You may not know that there’s a default development setting on most websites that keeps them from being indexed while in development.
Oftentimes, we see people say, “I can’t get any organic traffic despite my best efforts!”
To solve this problem, we will go in (it takes us two seconds to look) and check whether they ever took their site out of development mode.
4. Fix Your Broken Links
Oftentimes people will recklessly change pages on their website without realizing there are consequences to doing so.
For instance, let’s say you’ve written a guest post for another site and then link the post back to a resource page on your website.
Now, if your resource page suddenly gets renamed, switched, or combined with another page, people will encounter a broken link when trying to visit your page.
When changing an important page, many website owners think all they have to do is just change the link. The problem with this is that Google might still have your old link.
So, your old link might be ranking on page two and when someone clicks on that link, they end up going to a 404 error page.
This can look terrible to the customer and spoil their opinion of your company.
This is why it’s important to make sure you don’t have any links or redirects that don’t work anymore.
How To Improve Your SEO – Use Screaming Frog
Services such as Screaming Frog help with crawling your website and ensuring that you don’t have any broken links.
As a website owner, you’ll also want to pay attention to redirects.
Let’s say you own a restaurant, and you made a dessert menu and uploaded it to your website. Then later, you took the menu down and uploaded your dinner menu instead.
The problem is, by this point, your dessert menu might have ranked on Google, but when a customer clicks on it, the page won’t be there. Instead, they’ll end up on a dinner menu page.
5. Check Your Server Response Time
Server response time is important.
There’s nothing necessarily wrong with using a shared server from one of the big box hosting providers—depending on the type of website you are running.
However, when you’re on a shared server, you will experience the issues that people who have shared hosting plans encounter, sometimes with annoying drawbacks and consequences.
How To Improve Your SEO – Understand The Downside of Big Box Web Hosting Providers
With one of our clients selling products to the military, we once spent a few months developing their website, which had probably 150 to 180 different military-grade products.
And we put in a few hundred hours of development time into the site, getting it just right.
After we were finished, we said to the client, “We wouldn’t recommend using HostGator or another big box hosting provider for this site. We’re telling you, don’t do it. A site like this wouldn’t do well on a shared hosting environment.”
They didn’t agree.
So, we ended up transferring their domain to a big box hosting provider, and the result was very slow loading times.
How To Improve Your SEO – Do Right By Your Website With Excellent Hosting
Our client spent all that time, money, and effort to develop a premier website and ended up limiting the potential of their website by skipping out on quality hosting.
Regarding big box web hosting providers:
There’s a reason it’s so cheap to use these providers. And there’s a reason they only charge $10 a month to host.
They take your site and add it to 20 other people’s sites in one shared server space.
The drawback to this approach is that, if someone doesn’t maintain their WordPress site (perhaps they let their plugins get hacked, or they don’t update their back-end), the problems with their website will impact every other site on the server.
The problems that can spread among websites in a shared server are numerous, but probably the most common problem is slow loading times.
When one website gets compromised and starts eating up data on a shared server, this will slow loading times for every other website.
Learn more about the importance of great website hosting and why you likely need more than just a place to store your files.
How To Improve Your SEO – Maintain Your Plugins
By the way, good web hosting is only one part of running a website properly.
You also need to consider maintenance of plugins and other basic stuff that you should be doing on an ongoing basis to ensure that your site is running optimally.
How To Improve Your SEO Step 5 – Hire A Web Developer
Certain things you can do yourself if you have the technical background. If not, you can bring up your wants with your developer.
A word to small business owners:
If you do not have a technical background, just remember that you should focus on getting your big items fixed first.
Do not overthink the small issues. Don’t ignore them, but some things are more important than others.
For example, you want to make sure that:
- You’re leveraging browser caching
- You’ve minified any sort of server resources or file resources
- You’re using a firewall to prevent bots from taking up your bandwidth
- Your CSS is written clean, and it’s used over some sort of content delivery system.
You also want to make sure that you’re prioritizing the visible content to load first.
How To Improve Your SEO – Remember That There Are Tools That Help Enhance Your Website
Did you know that there are tools available to help enhance your website?
These tools aren’t extremely costly, but you have to know the right ones to use and how to integrate them into your website for them to be effective.
You have to understand how to get them to play well with the other things on your website to ensure that everything stays healthy.
If you’re not familiar with what to do here, feel free to reach out to us or speak to your developer, and they can certainly help.
How To Improve Your SEO Step 6 – Create A Content Strategy
Once you have your website’s foundation structured and you’re good with the technical aspects, you next need to figure out what type of content you actually want to put together to make your efforts pay off.
The goal here is to organically get people to your site and get your website ranking on page one on Google.
Getting onto Google’s first page is not a guaranteed or automatic thing. It takes a lot of time and hard work.
The good news is that search engine optimization that is designed to get you seen on Google works well when it’s carried out correctly.
How To Improve Your SEO – Focus On What’s Important
So, what can you do?
As a business owner, you need to be looking six to nine months out and asking yourself, “What’s important for me to focus on?”
Let’s say you own a closet company, and you’re starting to put together a content strategy.
First ask yourself, “At what point would people most likely be looking to redo their closets?”
You’d want to tailor your content strategy accordingly.
Here is an additional resource to learn more about Professional SEO Management.
How To Improve Your SEO Step 7 – Start Writing Quality Content
To write high-quality content, you want to tailor your content to your audience.
Let’s say you would like to focus on reaching out to new homebuyers. A great place to start content-wise is to create a long-form piece of content that is well-optimized in Rank Math for your target keyword.
If your target keyword, for instance, is “new homebuyers,” Rank Math will give you suggestions that will help optimize your content for that phrase.
What Is Rank Math?
Rank Math is a popular SEO optimization tool. It is the one that we currently use since it is very easy to follow. Other optimization tools certainly offer great benefits, but they are more complex and time-consuming.
Rank Math makes the optimization process fast so that you can focus on other things.
Being Specific With Your Writing
When creating SEO content, you’ll want to be specific with your writing.
Let’s say you start writing to a new home buyer.
You might include the following:
- How to find an affordable home
- 5 example homes that are listed at an affordable price
I think you get the idea. Whatever you add, you just want to be specific.
The content you write also needs to be written for a specific segment and for a specific person.
How To Improve Your SEO – Local SEO Resource
We put together an article about how to improve local SEO, so please check it out!
Nail Down One Specific Goal For The Content
The more concentrated your topic is, the better.
In our case, when we write content, here are some of the topics we cover:
- How to rank in the top 10 of Google on the first page.
- How to have your content included in some sort of industry publication.
- How to get 50 signups for a mailing list off the bottom of your form.
- How to get X number of page visitors.
There’s not a right or wrong answer here when it comes to what topics you pick, but you do want to have a specific end goal for why you’re spending the time to write the content.
How To Improve Your SEO Step 8 – Start Optimizing Your Post
Now that your post is written, the next step is to start optimizing it, assuming your site has no technical issues and the new article or page is able to get indexed by Google.
There are many types of optimizations that you can perform, whether through Rank Math or another optimization tool.
You can also update your content to keep up with new styles, new trends, and new technologies that come out.
You could address these topics and build on them.
Ultimately, you just want to make sure that your post is relevant.
Be Careful Not To Delete Your Post Pre-maturely
You definitely don’t want to delete your post randomly or without careful thought.
You would want to update it and maybe add another trend that you find that people are asking about.
Adding content to an already existing post helps you avoid what’s called thin content, as in a blog post that’s only two to three paragraphs.
Longer form content ranks better. You have more keywords, you’re able to get your organic rankings to be higher.
Add Checklists and Answers New Questions When Optimizing
Now as you’re trying to optimize, you can always answer a question.
You can add in a checklist somewhere in the middle, maybe 15 things that people tend to forget about in their closets.
Or if you’re a lawyer, you could do five things you need to know about your rights at a DUI checkpoint.
If you’re a contract attorney, you could make an article that says, “Don’t forget these 10 items that need to be in every single contract.”
Those numbered checklists are very valuable.
Use How-To Tutorials
You could also include a sub-article of a guide or a how-to tutorial.
All these things make for excellent content, but you always want to make sure that whatever you’re putting into the content is providing value to the user.
That’s the most important thing and I think that often gets overlooked.
It’s all about value.
It’s about (again speaking directly to your ideal customer) who you’re speaking to in that article and providing the most value that’s possible and over time and adding to it.
I think that’s all really great.
You want to add links to other pages on your site from that article, but you need to give it time. A few months.
One reason why SEO takes time is that:
Google needs to understand who’s visiting your post, what actions they take, and what content is on it.
Optimizing a post to make sure it’s relevant is important, but it’s not something that should be done on a weekly basis.
Perhaps you could edit it if you have a handful of posts.
When To Optimize Posts
There’s nothing wrong with editing it monthly or bimonthly or quarterly.
You probably don’t want it to go a year, but to do it a couple times a year is probably a good practice for most businesses.
Once this content is done, and it’s optimized, and you’re in your flow.
How To Improve Your SEO Step 9 – Outreach and Link Building
For those thinking about buying paid links to their websites, keep in mind that Google is very, very good at being able to understand what is a paid link and what isn’t.
Don’t Buy Links On Fiverr and Other Websites
Going on a site like Fiverr, paying someone five bucks to get your website on 20 pages of various sites, isn’t going to move the needle that much.
In fact, if Google sees that you’re doing paid links, they may remove your website altogether.
Meaning you will never be found. That’s the worst case scenario.
Best case scenario, if they see you’re doing paid links, is they’ll say those links are worthless.
Meaning, you’re wasting your time and money trying to get someone to do paid placement.
There Are Better Ways To Get Links
And there’s a lot of good ways to ask for a position, and there’s many good ways to ask for a potential link from someone else.
Again, if I was a closet company and I had a good blog post for new homeowners, I would start reaching out to real estate agents or construction companies.
Show that you have a good blog posts that adds value, that does not oversell your business, that they could then use to use free content to promote on their site.
If I was a real estate agent, at some point I’m going to get tired of writing about selling houses or a specific neighborhood.
They could do a feature and use their content to promote.
They would promote it to their audience, you could promote at specific a realtor or brokerage to your audience and you have the cross mix.
Now you have a link. And over time Google starts to evaluate the links.
Now, certainly a link from HGTV is going to carry much more weight than some random no-name blog.
Quality Over Quantity
But at the same time, they also know that if you get X amount of links from various smaller blogs, it’ll begin to start to carry more weight.
It’s not necessarily about the numbers, it’s certainly about the quality of the blogs.
You wouldn’t want to post a blog on some sort of accountant’s website, but if it’s relevant and the people who would read that blog posts, potentially it could cross over to different verticals or the industry, it would prove to be a very valuable link for that specific business.
You can always cross promote on LinkedIn and social channels. There is weight, but not a ton.
Writing a blog post and sharing it on your Facebook isn’t going to get you on page one.
But potentially, you could spend time and find relevant blogs that would be of value that you think your customers might be looking at and reach out to them to get them to share it and more often than not many people if you have a quality article, they’ll often say, “Sure, no problem.”
Examples of Good Outreach
It can be a simple email. “Hi, I’m Michael. I have this closet company. I wrote this blog post about things that new homeowners should look for when custom designing a closet. I think your audience would get a lot of value. I would appreciate you posting this if you find it of value.”
Simple, couple of lines, introduce yourself, make the connection, you can sign off on, “Love to catch up or talk about other opportunities.”
And leave it at that. Nothing crazy, just something short, simple, straight forward.
You certainly don’t want to write someone a book if it’s the first email.
And reach out to them and that’s probably the best place to start for something like that.
These are all really good actionable things that can be done to improve your SEO.
Can it all be done by the average person without a lot of experience? No.
However, being educated on the matter and being able to ask pointed questions to the developer or the marketing agency brings a lot of value still.
The more knowledgeable and the more up to date the owner of the website is, the better.
Even if they themselves are not going to be doing the work, they can see the value in it, understand the value in certain things being done, and then give instructions for those things to be done on their behalf.
And if all else, you’re not looking to do the SEO or the technical elements as a small business owner or manager yourself, these are the things that you certainly need to look for when looking for someone who potentially would do it for you.
We wish you much success on your journey!
How To Improve Your SEO – Final Thoughts
We understand that improving your website’s SEO is not a simple task. It takes months if not years to see the results and reap the hours and hours of hard work.
However, if we look into the long-term goal of your business, we all agree that SEO is crucial to your business’s online success.
The better your SEO the greater the traffic and the more chances you can get to win your customer and make a sales conversion.
How To Improve SEO On Website – Contact Us
If you want to get started with your SEO campaign, schedule a free consultation with us today.