If you hear “SEO” and immediately get overwhelmed, I have good news for you. There are some fairly simple things you can do to improve your site’s SEO without getting too deep into the weeds. Get started with this short list of tips and fixes.
Hopefully your website’s spelling errors are already minimal, but it’s worth double checking.
The Google webmasters team said the following:
“We noticed a while ago that, if you look at the PageRank of a page (how reputable we think a particular page or site is) the ability to spell correlates relatively well with that. So, the reputable sites tend to spell better and the sites that are lower PageRank, or very low PageRank, tend not to spell as well.”
So while search engines don’t exactly spell check your site, they do favor content that is higher quality, and that means correct spelling and grammar. Misspellings also make you seem less credible. Site visitors are less likely to stay and read your content, which also affects SEO. Spelling errors on the back end of your site could cause trouble for crawler bots and humans alike. Review your content with a fine-toothed comb and correct any mistakes.
Clear headings help search engines crawl and understand longer content. They also help your users scan and find information.
Headings should structure your content in a logical way. You should only have one instance of H1 copy - generally the page title - per page. Subheadings should be H2, and subsections within these are H3 and so on.
Start with your most popular pages and add structured headings. Make them straightforward and descriptive so crawlers and readers know what each section covers.
A strong internal linking strategy also helps boost your SEO. Linking to other pages on your site helps search engines crawl and index and helps establish site architecture. It also helps users flow through to different pieces of content and stay on your site longer.
Read through your website’s top-level pages and look for opportunities to link to other pages. Blog posts also provide ample opportunity for internal links. Use descriptive keywords in the link’s anchor text as opposed to more generic phrases like “click here.”
Search engines like websites that are updated regularly. If you’re not the blogging type, go through static content and make some updates. Small changes, like edits to the footer or link updates, won’t make much of a difference, so focus on updating the main body text.
However, as Moz states:
“The goal here shouldn’t be to update your site simply for the sake of updating it and hoping for better ranking. If this is your practice, you’ll likely be frustrated with a lack of results.
Instead, your goal should be to update your site in a timely manner that benefits users, with an aim of increasing clicks, user engagement, and fresh links.”
Focus on updating the content that will be most beneficial to your users. Information on certain topics may change over time, so look for areas to improve accuracy and relevance.
Title tags are HTML elements that specify the title of each page. These are the headlines that appear on search engine results pages (SERP) and social networks, so it’s important that they’re optimized for the keywords you want to target and that they adequately describe your content.
When you write page titles, avoid overstuffing with keywords; search engines may punish you for this and it’s bad for user experience. Google typically displays the first 50-60 characters in a title. You can use Moz’s Title Tag Preview Tool to see how your title will look on a SERP.
A meta description is an HTML tag that provides a summary of the page’s content.
The purpose of a meta description is to encourage click throughs from a SERP. They should be around 150 characters and include relevant keywords that describe the content. When you write your meta descriptions, focus on including information that will help users better understand what’s on the page rather than thinking about what a search engine might look for. A higher click through rate will, in turn, improve SEO.
SEO isn’t an exact science, but these tips will help you build a foundation of best practices. They’ll also improve user experience, and happier users always translate to a more successful website.