If you’re looking for a tutorial that takes you on a deep-dive journey to discover the right keywords for your website, this isn’t it. Instead, let’s cover five easy ways to improve your website SEO. No coding or keyword planners are required.
Knowing which keywords are valuable for your business, leads, and sales are important, but this is a tutorial for those looking to turn the dial up a notch and optimize their existing site and content without going back to square one.
I’ll be the first to admit that it takes a minute to figure out who you are and who you attract. You can build a site and come straight out of the gate with a spreadsheet full of keywords, but it’s not until you’re able to see which content is resonating and which clients come knocking that you fully understand the right language and keywords for your business.
So while you’re on that journey called, Experience, here are a few best practices you can tackle in mere minutes to clean up and recalibrate your website.
1) Find your site’s #1 search query
Let’s say two years ago you pivoted your business from wedding photography to brand photography. All of your current copy and content is centered around brand photography, but when you peek inside your analytics dashboard you realize the search engines are sending visitors to your site after searching “Virginia Beach Wedding Photographer.”
Next, you check out which pages are receiving the most traffic, and realize a blog post you wrote three years ago about the best venues in VA to tie the knot is receiving hundreds of views a day. Yikes!
You now know the wrong people are coming to your site, which affects your overall analytics (bounce rate, pages viewed, time on site…) Armed with this knowledge you can figure out if you need to delete irrelevant pages and content or ramp up your efforts to raise the stats of your preferred keywords.
Favorite tool: Google Search Console (for finding your top search queries) and Google Analytics (for diving into your top pages and content.)
2) Fix Broken Links
Truth be told, most of the broken links on your site come from outbound links or links pointing people to resources outside of your site. Despite the commonly held belief that you shouldn’t encourage people to leave your site, outbound links are not inherently bad. They are an important part of your on-page SEO strategy when done correctly.
Google is scanning your site to pick up context clues in order to create the ultimate profile about your site and the type of traffic (people) to send your way. You should aim to link to content or resources that are relevant or reinforce your subject matter area of expertise. And preferably from reliable industry sources or sites.
(For further reading, you can check this article from Moz about why outbound linking is important for SEO.) #seewhatididthere?
So, if you’ve got a broken link, try and replace it with another relevant source before deleting it entirely.
Fave tool: AtomSEO. Pop your URL into the search bar and watch it scan and prepare the list of links that need repairing. Plus, they have a handy Chrome plug-in to help you locate those links that need lovin’.
3) Find the low-hanging fruit (quick fixes!)
Not everything needs to be a complicated analytics deep-dive. Sometimes you just need someone to tell you exactly what to fix
Fav tool: Verify SEO. Pop in the page URL (say, your homepage) and the keyword you want to rank for (ex: ‘website copywriter’) and let VerifySEO tell you exactly what you need to do to fix your page like, “none of your headers contain your keyword” or “you have too many commas in your headers” or “you have a wicked fast page and Google loves that about you.” (I might be speaking from experience here…)
4) Update your metadata and alt-text
The good news is, just about every website platform has a dedicated settings option to manually write your page titles and page descriptions so you can control which keywords you’re putting front and center. Do it. Then, go check every blog post and do it there too. Then, take things one step further by renaming your image titles with good alt-text.
Ex: headshot.jpg → courtney-fanning-website-copywriter.jpg
Fav tool: In addition to this post here about metadata and alt-text, if your platform doesn’t optimize your images automatically, use tinypng.com to squash large file sizes without losing image quality. (Google hates a slow loading site.)
5) Create a targeted action plan
Pinpoint a few opportunities to tackle over the next few weeks. This could include deleting a page, updating a page, committing to creating more content targeting a specific keyword you wish you ranked for, and so on.
Fav tool: SEO for Copywriting Checklist. Let me walk you through: Keyword Prep Work (creating a master keyword list), Metadata (page title dos and don’ts, URL slugs, how to write a meta description Google loves, character counts…,) Headers, Copy Best Practices, and Linking Strategies for SEO-enriched copy that still sounds human.