Effective SEO can mean the difference between appearing on page one of Googleâ€™s search results and fading into page four.
Ultimately, SEO is about how easily Google can read your page. According to HubSpot, 75% of internet users donâ€™t look beyond the first page of Google, and 60% of all organic clicks go to the top three organic search results, so you really do have to be in it to win it.
While the most successful SEO is woven into your website and content strategy from the offset, there are a number of quick fixes that can be made to significantly improve your search rankings.
Choose your Keywords Carefully
Keywords form the foundation of SEO. They are the words and phrases in your content that make it possible for people to find your site via a search engine, so itâ€™s crucial that you choose the right keywords to identify your organization.
Here are four key things to consider when choosing your keywords:
- Competition: Which keywords are your competitors using?
- Customers: Are people searching this term that are looking for your product or service?
- Clarity: Could the keyword be misinterpreted? Is it a double entendre, or does it share an association with something irrelevant or inappropriate to your business?
- Consistency: Your keywords should be based around what youâ€™re already ranking for. Creating a whole new list of keywords that are inconsistent with your previous content will hinder, not help, your SEO.
You can find out which keywords youâ€™re already ranking for via an analytics tool, such as Google Analytics, and use this as a basis to expand on. Once you have determined your keywords, you need to consider:
- Volume: Include the highest amount of volume per keyword as possible.
- Difficulty: What are your long term SEO goals? What resources are available?
There are a number of (free) tools available to help you to determine the volume and difficulty of keywords, such as:
- Google Keyword Planner
- Google Trends
While â€˜Google Searchâ€™ canâ€™t technically be listed as a keyword tool, running your keywords through a search engine is another great way to test whether or not they are effective.
Seven Quick Fixes to Improve SEO
- Take advantage of your navigation bar.
Google picks up on the words and phrases in your navigation bar, so itâ€™s important that you include keywords.
- Maximise internal links and use proper anchor text.
Never underestimate the importance of internal links! They allow you to associate pages, even if they do not have the exact corresponding keywords. Create internal links using keywords wherever possible, for example:
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- Include keywords in your URL.
URL structure is a major factor in how Google understands your page. Make sure that your keywords are in the URL, clearly separated by hyphens.
- Keep SEO in mind when drafting your headings and subheadings.
Headers are not just stylistic tools, but SEO markers too. Placing keywords in your headings will considerably help your SEO.
Ensure that you utilise html header <h> tags properly, following a hierarchical structure without skipping a level, for example:
Proper header structure:
H1 H2 H3 H4
H1 H2 H2 H3
H1 H2 H3 H2
Improper header structure:
H1 H3 H2 H3
H1 H2 H2 H4
H1 H4 H2 H3
- Use 301 redirects, not 302â€™s.
301 redirects are permanent, so by using them, youâ€™re effectively telling Google that web page B has replaced web page A.
- Watch out for duplicate content!
One of Googleâ€™s many algorithms can detect whether content is duplicated, even if it exists in a pre-production environment. This is particularly important if your website is multi-lingual. To avoid being penalized by Google, declare the language of your page by entering the correct html tag in the title, ie: <html lang=â€œfrâ€> for French.
- Set up a lead management system which tracks the origin of search.
Most lead management systems can do this â€“ HubSpot, for example, automatically detects search origins.
By making these quick fixes, your site will be set up for the SEO long game. Keep the momentum going by posting regular content to your site and sharing via social media channels, using those all-important keywords to continue to drive traffic to your site.