7 SEO Easy Wins You Can Implement Today
Everyone knows that ranking on the first page of Google search results for your keywords is the best way to drive traffic to your site and grow your business.
But when you’ve got to wade through hundreds of emails, write that report to present to the CEO this afternoon and make sure your – already stretched – team are happy, when the hell have you got time to delve into the rabbit hole that is SEO strategy?
Breathe, calm, I got you.
You don’t have to read 25 articles with 75 tips, all giving strategies that take weeks to implement.
This post is designed for busy business owners. All of these tips are easy wins that can be implemented in a spare 15 minutes. And are all based on my experience and the latest trends in SEO.
Before we dive into the actionable tips, here’s a quick refresher on some SEO fundamentals.
What is SEO?
Search Engine Optimisation is any way in which you make an effort to get your site up the search rankings for certain keywords. It is about increasing the quantity, but also the quality of your traffic. And it refers to organic traffic, rather than paid traffic generated via advertising.
It’s all about thinking from the point of view of your ideal prospect. Making sure your site is appearing at the top of the page for what they’re searching for.
As Google (constantly) changes its algorithm, marketers have to keep up with the trends, but fundamentally SEO is about creating useful, relevant content, as opposed to the keyword-stuffed posts of old.
A clearly thought-out content strategy is key to long-term SEO success. This takes careful planning, lots of research and means writing a bunch of useful, targeted posts. It’s gonna take a while and keep your team extremely busy.
For these long-term projects, it’s better to hire an industry expert. Someone who’s been there and done it, who can offer a fresh perspective.
But finding a good writer content strategist is another headache.
Don’t worry, there are a number of quick and easy ways to improve SEO. Simple, easily achievable wins that have a massive impact over the short-term. Read on for the top 7 tips which you can achieve in a 15-minute window between meetings.
Then give me a shout when you’re ready to implement a longer-term content strategy!
7 SEO Easy Wins You Can Implement Today
1. Register with Google Search Console
Let’s start nice and easy. If you want to rank on Google, you want to register your site with its Search Console. This free tool monitors the Google search activity involving your site and offers tools, tips and insights to help you strategise and improve your search engine ranking.
It offers search analytics, checks your mobile optimisation, allows you to add sitemaps (see below for more on this) and much more. Get your site set up and then jump in and start exploring all of these features.
Head over to Google Search Console to get started. Sign-in with your Google account and it will walk you through how to connect your site to your Console account.
Once you’ve verified your site, you can jump right in. For more details check out this comprehensive guide from QuickSprout.
2. Enable Yoast SEO Plugin (Wordpress only) Or Similar
Tools like Yoast SEO are awesome! Yoast walks you through the tedious parts of SEO like adding meta-descriptions, alt-text, keywords etc. to blog posts and web pages. Based on the latest best-practice. The plugin rates your SEO efforts for a given post or page with a traffic light system and teaches you how to do better.
I actually use Squarespace, but here’s a screenshot from some client work that demonstrates what I mean:
As you can see there are lots of green ticks, and some yellow and red crosses, indicating where I’ve done well and where I need to improve.
Having everything laid out for you in this way makes the whole process much more manageable. For each post or page, Yoast SEO prompts you to enter the keywords you want to rank for. It scans your text and tells you if the keywords appear frequently enough or close enough to the top.
It walks you through writing a meta-description, making sure it’s the right number of characters and contains the keywords. It just takes the hassle out of SEO. These days there are a bunch of specialised versions of the tool for different industries and needs. It’s well worth the $15-20 a month subscription fee in my opinion. Imagine what you’d pay an SEO agency to do all of that!
If you want a more in-depth look at using Yoast SEO, check out this comprehensive guide (then come back here and read on!)
3. Optimise Your Page Title Tags
This is one of the easiest things to do that will have an immediate impact. Title tags are like headlines for each page on your site. They give you the opportunity to add keywords for each page, specifically targeting the right traffic.
Page title tags show up in search results for each page, so they should be designed to entice the reader to click. But in order to get clicks, they have to impress Google’s bots sufficiently to appear in the results in the first place, so the challenge is to write for both algorithms and humans.
Don’t worry it’s not so hard. The title tag should simply explain what your business does and who it serves. Keep it short and snappy so people and bots can take in the information with a quick scan.
My title tags are simply:
Homepage: Sam Sinha: Freelance Copywriter Helping Food Tech Brands Grow
This explains who I am, what I do and who I help in the fewest words possible.
Blog: Sam Sinha Blog: Content to Help Grow Your Food Tech Brand
Contact page: Sam Sinha: Get In Touch to Grow Your Food Tech Brand
Here’s a great example, as it appears in the results:
And here’s what you want to avoid:
You see what I mean? This title is too long for the search results and doesn’t sum up the benefits for the user.
Whereas in the first example, the keywords are there, the copy is concise and everything is optimised to fit into the tight character count.
4. Add Headings and Subheadings to Your Content
Headings are really important to help readers and search engines digest your content.
Online readers tend to skim content. They are looking for something and will scroll up and down scanning the text until they find it. Providing a clear structure allows them to quickly find the information they need, which means they find your content useful and hopefully stay for more.
If visitors read anything, it will be the headings, so they should be clear and informative signposts for your content. That goes for your web pages and your blog posts.
Clear headings are also great for SEO. Search engines crawl your page and look for h1, h2, h3 tags. Apart from indirectly affecting SEO by making your content more useful, headings are also an opportunity to put your keywords in a prominent position for the crawlers to find.
Here’s how to use them:
This is the title of your page, blog post or other content. It is the broadest category.
This is the main sections of your page or post. These are the three broadest sections within the post.
This breaks up the main sections into sub-sections. So in this list format, each item on the list has a Heading 3 tag. Any sub-section of the Heading 2 section will fall under Heading 3.
If there are specific points to cover within your Heading 3 section that would benefit from their own section, in comes Heading 4.
And so on…The more detailed the post or page, the further down you will need to go.
On Google Docs, a handy feature allows you to take a look at the heading structure of your post. Go to View - Show Document Outline.
Here’s what that view looks like as I’m writing now:
So next time you create a piece of content or write web copy, add in some headings. Not only will it help your readers and search engines devour your content, but it might also help you organise your thoughts onto the page too!
5. Add a Google-friendly Site Map
Site maps are the kind of obscure, nerdy things that make you just give up and say what’s the point! Well, that’s how I used to feel anyway. Then I realised how easy it is to set one up and the SEO boost it brings.
Site maps are a necessity for SEO.
They act like GPS for search engines. If you don’t have one you risk the search engine not finding your content, not looking at your keywords, and not ranking you very high.
What’s more, site maps are fairly easy to set up.
First, create your site map. If you’re any good with HTML, you can map out your site map and code it yourself. But we’re in this for easy wins and there’s a tool which does the hard work for you.
Assuming your site is laid out in a sensible way to begin with, just head to a free tool like XML-sitemaps.com and type in your URL.
Download your SML sitemap once it has done its thing and volia!
Next, you’ll need to add your site map to your site. If you’re using Squarespace it is automatically added using the sitemap.xml extension on your URL. On Wordpress, just download the Yoast SEO plugin and turn on sitemaps. It will walk you through the process.
Next, head to Google’s Search Console. You should register if you haven’t already.
Click on sitemaps on the left-hand side.
Then enter your sitemap URL and BOOM. Site map added.
6. Optimise Meta Descriptions
To the uninitiated, Metadata can sound like some developer word that you don’t want to go anywhere near. Fear not! It simply means data about other data.
A meta description is a 155-160 character blurb that summarises the purpose of your site.
In real terms, it is a way of talking to search engines and telling them what to display in the results. It’s the difference between each of the following search results.
In the screenshot above: the first result has a reasonably good meta description. Well, at least there is one. It’s not optimised for the available space though. It is too long and doesn’t sum up what the website is about.
The second result is what you want to avoid. There is no information to display which doesn’t look pretty and will not entice clicks. Also, Google doesn’t like search results with no information, so having no description will also affect rank in the first place.
The third result is a great example of a meta description. It clearly summarises what GrubHub is all about and who they serve and encourages the user to go right ahead and click through.
A good meta description isn’t about keyword stuffing anymore. It is about making your search result more appealing to the reader to increase the CTR (click-through-rate). The aim is to make it relevant to the audience you want to attract, and accurate so they’re not disappointed when they do click through.
7. Alt Text For Images
Google image searches are an often-neglected channel to drive traffic to your site. The alt text tells Google what is depicted in the image so that people can search and find what they are looking for.
So an easy win to drive more traffic is to make sure you add alt text to your images, as well as relevant titles.
The alt text might be different from the image title because it will be about the visual appearance of the image ie. what people will search for if they want to find the image, rather than the topic or what the image represents.
This Doritos product page shows the alt text as it appears in the code on the left.
The alt text should describe what the image depicts without attempting to stuff in keywords. It should relevant and fully descriptive.
If the alt text was simply ‘Doritos bag’, that’s okay. But it doesn’t tell the whole story. The alt text in the image above tells us a lot more. Although search engines have sophisticated AI technology that can ‘read’ images and determine the content, it’s not that sophisticated.
It might tell you that this is an image is of a man eating a hotdog. What it won’t tell you is that man is George Clooney. That’s a big difference when that’s the first thing a human would notice about the image.
Alt text is important for two reasons. Firstly, to directly help your image show up in more relevant searches. More importantly, it helps with your ranking score. Google appreciates your efforts adding alt text and rewards you with an SEO juice boost.
Put These Easy Wins into Action Today
Now it’s one thing reading about how to improve SEO, and quite another putting the tips into action. I suggest trying to action one of these in the next slice of time you have available. Just signing up for Google Search Console or enabling Yoast SEO, for example, will set on the road to ranking higher for your keywords.
For a longer-term SEO strategy to attract the right leads, engage them with your content and get them to take action, you’re going to want to hire someone in.
I specialise in helping food tech brands grow using the latest SEO best practice and content marketing strategy. For a free consultation of your needs, get in touch today.