Most search marketers view search engine optimization (SEO) as a long-term, iterative process, one that requires small updates made consistently over a long period of time to make any progress. And for the most part, it’s true—the most successful SEO campaigns tend to be the ones that apply a quality formula, day after day, for months or years. There’s no shortcut to this, and there’s no way to achieve higher rankings without a consistent, committed strategy.
However, there are a handful of relatively small, one-time updates and fixes you can make to your website to garner a noticeable boost in rankings. If you’re looking for inconspicuous ways to tweak your website and earn higher domain authority and visibility as a result, try one of these quick and easy tactics.
Check for Crawl Errors
Crawl errors are detrimental for your SEO. These errors occur when Google is unable to crawl one or more of your pages. When this happens, your website doesn't get indexed by Google's search robots, thus making it hard for potential customers to find your site.
Diagnosing and correcting these crawl errors is an easy step you can take to maximize your visibility. You’ll need a Google Webmaster Tools account for this. Once logged in, head to the “Crawl” section and click on “Crawl Errors.” Here, you’ll see any number of errors that could be preventing Google from crawling your site, such as:
- DNS errors (the service that turns domain names into IP addresses);
- server errors, which are the result of some server failure;
- Robots.txt errors, which occur when a robots.txt file in your code is blocking Google deliberately;
- or specific URL errors that come about when Google tries to crawl pages in a specific format, such as mobile pages.
Resolve Duplicate Title Tags and Descriptions
It’s easy to leave a duplicate title tag on your site, especially if you use one “master” title tag to apply to all your internal pages unless overridden. Many webmasters implement such a tool to ensure an appropriate meta title on all pages without writing something unique for each one. Unfortunately, this strategy can actively work against you. Scott Langdon, at the SEO Firm HigherVisibility, states, “While having duplicate title tags or meta tags won’t kill your rankings—especially if they’re limited in number—they can hold you back. Take a moment to write a unique and appropriate title and description for every page on your website.”
Improve Your Site Speed
Site speed is another little factor that can improve your authority and rankings. It won’t take you to page one overnight, but maximizing the speed of your site can give you an extra boost.
There are many ways to go about this. The easiest and most straightforward is to take all the images of your site and reduce their file size. You can do this by reducing the image's physical size, as well as stripping the meta data associated with each image.
You can also speed up your site by consolidating your plugins—delete any plugins you use infrequently, and see if you can eliminate redundancy between them. Also, be sure you have a good caching plugin, and delete any unused blogs in your saved drafts.
Obtain SSL Encryption
When Google announced that site security was becoming a ranking factor, many search marketers overestimated its importance. Having an HTTPS site will give you a small boost in domain authority, but it’s nothing earth-shattering.
Still, considering Google will likely increase the importance of site security in the future, it’s a good idea to go through with an update to SSL encryption as soon as possible. It’s a one-time change that will benefit your users and simultaneously improve your rankings—albeit slightly.
Optimize Your Onsite Internal Links
Since offsite link building gets tons of attention, many search marketers neglect the aspect of onsite link building. Including links to related pages of your website is beneficial to users looking for more detailed information, and helps Google better understand the structure and function of your site. The more tightly interlinked your pages are, the more navigable—and therefore more authoritative—your site is seen to be.
You can optimize your onsite links by ensuring they aren’t too cluttered, and aren’t simply a means to an end. Ensure each link is valuable to your users, and surround your link with contextual clues that explain the relationship between the in-text reference and the link destination.
Include Social Integrations
Social media is important for SEO as an external component, but clarifying your relationship can give search engines a better understanding of your overall Web presence. Include links to all your social profiles in the footer of your home page, and more importantly, give your users the ability to share your blog posts and other content on applicable platforms with integrated functionality. Not only will this increase your site’s authority in search, it will also give your customers more opportunities to talk about your brand on social media.
Optimize Your Images
If you’ve already optimized your images for size in order to maximize your site speed, it’s time to optimize them for search engines. Use your images’ alt tags to accurately describe what’s going on in the image, in addition to naming your images appropriately. Don’t use this as a springboard to stuff keywords into your descriptions—just try to describe what the image shows. This will make it more likely that your image will come up in relevant searches.
Optimize for Mobile
The number of online mobile users has skyrocketed, and is still increasing. If you want to show up in mobile searches, your site needs to be optimized for mobile. That’s the bottom line. Google doesn’t care how you optimize for mobile, as long as you are optimized, so you can either create a brand-new page exclusively for mobile, create two coexisting versions that toggle automatically based on how people access it, or create a responsive design that stacks and flexes based on the size of the screen accessing it.
Update Your Content
Google likes to see sites that are regularly updated, and that applies to more than just a blog or a news page. Update the content of your homepage, and your internal pages while you’re at it. You don’t have to completely overhaul your structure, but do make some copy changes.
Use Clear, Easy-to-Navigate URLs
Take a moment to review how your URLs are generated. Instead of allowing your blog URLs to contain a randomly generated series of numbers and letters, make sure your URLs use a phrase that accurately describes the content on the page. Clearing up any non-optimized or confusing URLs can provide an ample boost to your visibility.
For the most part, these strategies can only be applied once, but the cumulative impact they have could do wonders for revitalizing a stagnant campaign or putting a little extra momentum behind your efforts—especially if you haven’t tried them before. Once these fixes are implemented and your overall onsite SEO is in order, put your emphasis on honing and perfecting the recurring elements of your ongoing strategy—your content, your offsite work, your social syndication and your community engagement.
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