Jan 15, 2015

16 Quick and Dirty SEO Tips

Search engines love it when your site is easy to read and full of content that users find relevant and interesting. It makes them both more likely to present your site as an option to users, and more likely to show your site higher in its rankings.

The best advice we can give you is to add fresh, unique, relevant content. But with the caveat of ‘It won’t happen overnight, but it will happen’ (HT to Pantene), we’ve put together 16 quick and dirty SEO tips to get you some search engine love.

 

1. Make sure every page title leads with the most potent keyword.

Lead with the most potent keyword in the page title

This is what appears at the top of the browser window, and also in the blue link text in Google's search results. The title should be readable, as it’s often what will engage a ‘searcher’ to click through to your site.

Recommended reading: Moz

2. Sign up with Google Webmaster Tools

Sign up with Webmaster Tools

Webmaster Tools shows your site's overall performance, and identifies any issues such as duplicate content. It also allows you to call Google to index your site after you make changes.

Recommended reading: Google Webmaster Tool

3. Get rid of Flash

Get rid of Flash

Search engines find Flash difficult to read because there isn’t usually a lot of text or metadata, which is what they use to index sites. Also, iOS devices don’t support Flash, which is a substantial chunk of the mobile market in Australia.

Recommended reading: WooRank

4. Check that every page has a relevant H1

Check that every page has a relevant H1

Google reads pages top down, and left-to-right, so ensure that your main heading matches the page title and includes the keyword near the start.

Recommended reading: Search Engine Journal

5. Make sure that your site header logo links all point to the same domain

Send all links from logo to the same URL

If your header is not a template, some links from the logo at the top of your page may be leading to different versions of your home page, such as http://www.mysite.com.au/index.php, or http://www.mysite.com.au/default, or http://www.mysite.com.au. It's best practice for all those links to be absolute URLs that go to your direct URL - that is, http://www.mysite.com.au

Recommended reading: Search Engine Land

6. Use Google Tag Manager instead of individual event and tracking tags

Use Google Tag Manager to consolidate event tagging

Google Tag Manager allows you to track analytics and events (like button clicks) with a small amount of code. This is optimal for page speed and reduces in-page code, which helps your content/code ratio.

Recommended reading: bwired

7. Mine your existing search queries for new or more relevant keywords and use those in your content.

Mine existing data for keywords

You can also find some of these terms in Google Analytics. It’s considered bad form to just throw keywords in haphazardly though; they need to be relevant, and fit in with your current content. An overabundance of words that don’t seem to make sense is called “keyword stuffing”, and it’s considered unethical, and can harm your ranking.

Recommended reading: Google Webmaster Forum

8. Check for any broken links, and fix them

Fix broken links

Broken links provide a bad user experience, and that in turn can affect your ranking. Commonly misspelled URLs should be given a 301 redirect to the correct page; content that should be up should be republished or replaced; and true, dead content should return a 404 page.

Recommended tool: Dead Link Checker

9. Optimise internal links

Optimise links in your site

Internal links are when you link to a different page or section on your own site. Make sure that all pages are linked to at least one other page – search engines need this to be able to index (that is, find) your pages. Use unique, descriptive language when you’re linking as well – this makes it easier for Google to recognise what the link refers to.

Recommended reading: SEO Mark

10. Change permalinks to be human-readable and include keywords

Make permalinks readable

Permalinks link off to an individual page or post. Often when content management systems create pages for you, they include various folder names, maybe the date, or perhaps just a random sequence of numbers. If it’s available, choose the option to use “pretty” or human-readable permalinks, so that someone who sees the link can, in essence, read it as if it were text.

Recommended reading: Word Tracker

11. Add alt tags to all of your images

Add alt tags to describe your images

Search engines can “read” images, but the functionality is still on training wheels. To help them along, add alt tags (alternative tags) to your images that describe what the image is about. Not only is this beneficial for search engines, it’s also an important factor in accessibility (e.g. people with vision-impairment).

Recommended reading: About

12. Add an XML sitemap

Add an XML sitemap

A sitemap is a list of all the pages on your website. It helps search engines know what they need to crawl, and shows them the hierarchy so they ‘learn’ about your site.

Recommended reading: Google Webmaster Forum

13. Specify a canonical link

Specify a canonical link in your header

Search engines can get led up the garden path with the information on your site. You might have a home page that ends in /, and index.php, and index.html. That can be confused as three different pages. Specifying exactly which URL you want them to focus on means that they won’t identify those pages as duplicates.

Recommended reading: Google Webmaster Forum

14. Ensure your site address is on all your social media platforms

Add your site's URL to all your social media profiles

It improves your branding, and if you’re active on social media, the platforms often appear high in the search engine rankings. A missing link to your site is a missed opportunity.

Recommended reading: Search Engine Watch

15. Check the web for unlinked brand mentions and ask them to link to you

Brand mentions can provide valuable backlinking opportunities

You can set up alerts on your brand and get have them automatically emailed to you. When another trustworthy (this is key– you don’t want dodgy sites linking to you) site backlinks to you, it can improve your standing in the eyes of the search engines.

Recommended reading: Moz

16. Check that there is no duplicate content

Remove duplicate content

Duplicate content goes against the overarching SEO tip mentioned in the opener – fresh, unique relevant information. Even if it’s just an error, and you haven’t deliberately copy-pasted chunks of your content on to other pages, that’s difficult for Google to identify. Your content should be unique, where possible, from copy used by competitors, suppliers, and even other pages within your own site.

Recommended reading: Hubspot

Conclusion

These on- and off-page SEO tips will help your site on the path to a better relationship with search engines. A good way to measure your improvement is to do a keyword benchmark report, which can show you where you're at now, and where you are post implementing your changes. Give it a couple of months to see the effects. In the meantime, your job is clear - compelling content!

Further reading19 Powerful (and Actionable) SEO Tips For B2B Companies

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