So you have a website and things are going okay but you’re not quite where you want to be with your SEO. What can you do to get your site and content on the first page of a Google search result?
Well, the short answer is that there’s no real quick fix to get your site up to the top spot in searches organically. Anyone who tells you they can do that is giving you a big red flag. Search engines are really protective of their algorithms and changing them all the time.
But there are a few best practices that can help your site get closer to those goals. I can’t guarantee they’ll get you to the first page (I’m also not an SEO expert), but they will have a positive effect, both on your SEO and your visitors.
So if your goal for the new year is to help your site’s SEO, here are some quick, and free, things you can do.
Make sure your theme’s markup and site structure is good
One of the quickest ways to boost your SEO is to make sure that the markup and structure for your website is correct.
So double check the theme files and make sure it’s using HTML the right way. It should make sense what and where everything is. There should be a header, navigation, main content area, sidebar (if one exists) and a footer. If you can’t understand what’s going on, then chances are a search engine indexer can’t either.
And inside your posts, make sure you’re using heading 2 or H2 tags for your post headings and heading 3 or H3 tags for subheadings. These are picked up by search engines and are used to help rank your website.
It also means making sure your site is utilizing structured data with Schema.org. This is essentially a set of HTML tag attributes that tell search engines what an element is, like a blog post, article, header, etc. That makes it easier for them to sort your content and to present it better.
Tell the Story of Your Small Business With a Website
Every small business has a story. And every small business needs a website to help tell it. A website allows people to find you online, serves as a home base for any marketing effort and can help you tell the story of your business. So if you’re ready to give your business its first website or are ready to take your site to the next level, let’s get started on making that happen.Let’s Get Started on Telling Your Story With a Website
Blog and blog often
Another quick way to boost your SEO is to blog and to try to blog often. Google and other search engines love when new content is posted to your website. It shows that you don’t just have a static website, and they’re more likely to index you site and rank it higher.
I found that it really helps to have a schedule for blog posts. For example, I try to post a new blog post on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Depending on your situation and time, you might not be able to commit to that type of a schedule, but trying to get a new post published once a week is a great way to get started.
And be sure to write about topics that are related to your business or interests. If you run a hockey shop, don’t write blog posts about candles (unless the candles somehow relate to hockey).
Also, make sure to add links inside your blog posts to your own content and to other helpful resources. Don’t go too crazy with the links or search engines might suspect that something is up. But adding just a couple of outbound links and links to within your own site will have a positive effect on your rank.
Try out Yoast SEO
Finally, if you have a WordPress website, it’s a good idea to use the Yoast SEO plugin on your site. Before I get too far along, I want to say that I am not affiliated with Yoast SEO in any way other than I use the free version on my website. I just like using it, and I think others can benefit from using it as well.
Yoast takes care of all of the backend work to get your site SEO ready such as adding meta descriptions for search engines to pick up and adding images with the right tags and attributes so that social media sites like Facebook and Twitter use your featured image when your post is linked on their website.
It also helps make sure your content is SEO ready by telling how well the post is written (using active voice, sentences, paragraphs and sections aren’t too long, you’re using transition words, etc.) and how well the SEO is (you have a meta description, you have outbound and internal links, the slug is short and sweet, etc.).
I know some people complain about the bloat that Yoast adds to websites, which, yes, it can be a problem. But I think, in the end, it’s worth it. It’ll be a big benefit for people who might not be super SEO inclined, and it will at least point you in the right direction.
So, if your goal for 2019 is to increase your site’s SEO and search rank, take these couple of free tips and run with them. Again, nothing will 100 percent guarantee your website reaches the top of the searches you want, but these practices will help get you closer to that goal.