Let me be clear, SEO is absolutely a marathon, not a sprint. To do it well, it takes a lot of time and effort and needs to be a continuous practice.
With that being said, there are a few low-hanging fruit items that you can address first that can help turn your SEO efforts around (or kick them off) quickly.
Interested in what I’m talking about? Read on.
Focus on keywords with intent
With the way people search online these days, the key to SEO is understanding your user’s intent. What problems, questions, or goals do they have?
Did you know that if you’re already ranking on the first page of Google, providing the best answers within your content to questions your audience is searching for can potentially land you a featured snippet in search engine results pages? That’s huge!
People may express problems in ways that turn into key phrases, so content today has to be customer-focused. To discover your customer’s intent, look at emails that you’ve sent. Talk to your sales or service reps. What questions are they answering?
I also find that tools such as Keywordtool.io and Answer the Public are extremely useful because they turn up actual questions people ask about specific terms, which is one of the best ways to find intent in a search phrase.
In addition to intent-based keywords, looks at the keywords your competitors are using as well and brainstorm ways to target those in order to compete in search rankings.
Use these target keywords within your content to help get found online.
Find and fix broken links
No matter how great your website is, broken links happen. External website URLs changes, pages get taken down, the list goes on. While it’s common, having broken links on your website can have a negative impact on SEO (404 errors are a big issue). It all ties back to Google wanting to provide their users with the best customer experience possible.
If you find a broken link on your website, either remove it or update it to the current link (or swap it out with an even better, more current one).
There are numerous tools you can use to identify these links without having to manually go through each page on your site. One of the tools I highly recommend using is Google Webmaster Tools. With it, you can not only identify broken links, but you can also see how your site looks from Google’s perspective.
Moving forward, if you decided to change any URLs on your site or remove any pages, be sure to set up redirects that drive to an existing page to avoid getting penalized.
Develop a backlink strategy
Link building is the new networking and is essential for your SEO efforts.
When I talk to business owners I often hear that link building is one of their biggest challenges, so they don’t always put a lot of effort into it because it can become burdensome and frustrating for them. Trust me, it doesn’t have to be that way.
They key is to create amazing content (this ties back into your keyword research strategy as well). By creating linkable assets, such as videos, how-to guides, infographics, and podcasts, you’ll be able to attract backlinks from other sites that want to link to that content. Share this content on your social platforms, via email, and with your strategic partners to help them spread the word with their networks.
In addition to creating this amazing content on your site, consider:
- Being a guest on a podcast – check out the numerous benefits of this tactic here
- Guest blogging on a credible site
- Leveraging partnerships – Consider writing testimonials for your partners and include a link back to your site in the review.
- Networking in person – Build those relationships!
- Getting added to citations and directories
Don’t forget to add internal links throughout your site either. This can also help boost your SEO and it’s within your control.
At the end of the day, reputable backlinks will help to keep your site relevant in search engines.
Focus on the basics
It’s always good to go back to the basics and focus on your on-page SEO. Here are some tactics to keep in mind:
- Include your target keyword or keyword phrase in your page title, meta description, H1 tags, URL, and organically within your page (don’t keyword stuff)
- Ensure the page title is less than 65 characters and that the meta description is between 50 and 300 (this limit was increased this year)
- Add internal and external links to your pages and posts
- Label the image alt text with the topic you’re writing about
Additionally, do a review of your blog posts and optimize past content. See what links are dated and update them. Do your keyword research and see if there are newer and better keywords to target for the posts. Swap out old CTAs and replace with new ones. Keep your content current and show Google you’re staying active. It will benefit your SEO efforts.
Lastly, do a crawl of your site to ensure there isn’t any duplicate content. While this may sound like a no-brainer, after you’ve been developing content for a while, it can be difficult to pinpoint what you’ve already written about (it could have been created years ago!). While writing about the same topic is OK, just make sure the content itself is unique from page to page or post to post.
That’s it for today! What low-hanging fruits have you grabbed onto that have produced good results for your business?
Need more tips on search engine optimization? Check out our entire Guide to SEO.