In this article, we will cover the top 5 super-easy SEO tactics that you can implement yourself.
Perhaps you are simply curious about SEO at this stage, or COVID hit your business hard and you don’t afford to hire a professional SEO consultant. Whatever the reason, these next set of quick-win tactics might be enough to give you an easy uplift in organic traffic on your site and hopefully even start seeing some business results as well.
You will not need to pay anything (completely free) and you will also not need a lot of time to get these done. Better yet, you can be absolutely new to SEO as zero knowledge is required.
There is obviously much more than this that goes into full-scale professional SEO work. This set of tactics serves as a DIY kit to give you the ability to build SEO value yourself for your sites.
Disclaimer – you might still need a hand from your web developer here and there if you don’t have access to your site yourself, but this should be minimal. In these cases, your incurred costs will also probably be minimal (and worth it).
One Last Thing Before We Jump in
The Value of SEO
If you are not yet aware, Search-Engine (organic) traffic is incredibly valuable for almost any business and converts visitors into sales better than most other forms of web traffic.
This is due to the relevant, timely and inbound nature of this traffic acquisition; where people are looking specifically for something they want and need right now (or very soon).
How to Get the Full Value of These SEO Tactics
To implement the full set of tactics covered below, you should ideally install GSC for your site. “I thought he said zero knowledge required” I hear you say, but fear not, this is easier than you think. Here is a quick run-through without going into too much detail.
How to Set-up Google Search Console
For full and detailed instructions on setting up Search Console, which are useful if say you have your website split onto multiple sub-domains – subdomain.yourdomain.com etc - put a link here
For the easy setup that will work for most cases, these are the simple steps.
- Sign-in, using your Google account (like you use to sign-in for your Gmail or other Google product) to Google Search Console [https://search.google.com/search-console].
- Click on Add Property. You can see this after clicking in the search properties field in the top left corner.
- Use the Domain Property (covers all aspects of your domain – http, https, subdomains etc) and simply enter your domain name without www or http/https, as seen below.
- Verify your domain (so Google knows it really belongs to you) by adding the TXT record to your DNS.
- If you know how to and have access to do this yourself, go ahead.
- If you do not know how to do this or don’t have access, you can ask your website provider or contact the support team of your domain registrar (example GoDaddy) and they will help you with this. It is a very short and simple task that takes under 1 minute to do.
- Click on the Verify button and you’re done. You will now have access to performance data of your website on Google Search, including keywords you are showing up for, how many clicks and impressions you had on each, your ranking position, traffic by country, technical problems and much more.
Now that you are all set up, we can start looking into our quick wins.
1. Optimize your “Click Through Rates” using Search Console
The easiest thing that you could do yourself and that is most capable of adding traffic to your site quickly, is to increase the percentage of people clicking on your webpages from Google’s page 1 results. This percentage is called the “Click-Through-Rate” (CTR) and could easily be boosted if:
- You have never paid attention to your meta titles and descriptions
- You already have some keywords ranking on page 1 (most sites usually do, even if only a small number)
This Click-Through-Rate is increased by improving your meta titles and meta descriptions. These are the title and description for your webpages that show up on Google’s search result pages. These can be managed on your website.
Do you need your web developer for this?
Most sites nowadays offer a back-end system where you could manage these titles and descriptions per page yourself. If you do not have this (perhaps the site is old), you may need to contact your web-developer for support.
How to decide what to work on first?
Find the pages that could be improved by following the next 8 steps.
- Go into your Google Search Console account and select the website you want to look at from the property list (you can keep the date range for the last 3 months)
- From the left menu select “Performance”
- Click on the tabs at the top to ensure they are all switched on; clicks, impressions, CTR and Position
- Scroll down and select the Pages tab so that you can see results for every webpage on your site
- Click on the filter icon on the right-hand side
- Select “Position” and set this value as “Smaller Than” 11 (this shows page 1 rankings – since there are 10 webpage results on every Google page 1 of search results)
- In the resulting table, click on the “Impressions” title to sort by impressions from high to low. Impressions are the number of times you have showed up in search results.
- Roughly your CTR percentages should be in the ranges shown below and if not, they should be improved (they can go even higher than this in many cases)
- Position 1: Minimum of 20% (especially for searches including your brand name)
- Position 2-3: Minimum of 10%
- Position 4-5: Minimum of 5%
- Position 6-7: Minimum of 3%
- Position 8-10: Minimum of 1%
If a page has for example 1200 impressions, a position of 2 and a CTR of 0.1%, that means that the page has come up on search results 1200 times, on average it showed in the number 2 position (at the top of the results page) and was only clicked 0.1% of the time, losing all the rest of the opportunities.
How to improve the CTR for these pages
1. Check which keywords that page is ranking for:
- Click on the webpage in the table on Search Console. This creates a filter (at the top of your Search Console screen – which you will close/remove before moving on to the next page)
- Switch back to the queries tab (these queries are the keywords used by the people that had your webpage on their Google search results page)
2. On your website, re-write your meta titles and meta descriptions by making them:
- Related to what the user is looking for and what content you are offering on the page (based on the queries you are seeing on Search Console)
- Clear and concise – show why they should click on your link (your value)
- Include important keywords where possible that you are seeing on your queries list for that page
- Make it short enough to fit for mobile devices (78 characters for title and 120 characters for description).
It is important to note that including keywords in your meta title will help the rankings of that keyword directly. This means that queries with high impressions already showing on page 1, might be pushed further up on page 1 (automatically increasing CTR and clicks) if they are included in the meta title.
2. Improve your rankings for “low-hanging-fruit” keywords. Update content on key pages for quick wins
Now that you know which keywords are showing up for which web page, you can take this a step further by improving the rankings of these keywords directly. This would in turn improve the CTR and therefore the clicks you get from those searches.
2 quick-win tactics you can use:
- Improve the rankings of queries showing on page 1 (the closer to position 1, the higher the CTR)
- Improve the positions of queries showing up on page 2 (positions 11 to 20) to get them hopefully to page 1 (positions 1 to 10). Page 2 results get as low as 2% of the clicks between all of them, meaning that being anywhere on page 2 is losing you 98% of all clicks)
Do you need your web developer for this?
As mentioned earlier, most sites allow you to manage multiple aspects of your pages through their back-end system (especially if using WordPress). If not, your web-developer might need to help you.
This should only incur very minimal costs though since the changes suggested are vey superficial and do not require structural work.
How to find these opportunities
- Use the same technique as we used above to improve your CTRs
- Change the filter on Search Console to “Smaller than” 21 instead of “Smaller than” 11 (this will include page 2 results as well)
- Sort by impressions (for priority) and select page by page, each time switching over to the Queries tab to see which queries are showing up
How to improve the rankings yourself
You can improve the rankings by doing these quick win tactics on your website:
- Try to include your most important keywords (in a natural way, not by simply “stuffing” the keywords into the page content) in your:
- Meta title
- H1 title
- H2 and other titles
- Paragraph text
- Image alt texts
- Try to include multiple terms in your meta titles in a way that still makes sense to maximize the impact for more than one keyword.
- Use, wherever possible, rich content, such as:
- Lists and bullet points
- Google Map (embedded) if applicable
You will need to give Google some time to discover the changes made on your site before any improvements start to show. These changes, however, should be able to give you at least a small strategic push in rankings and an uptick in valuable traffic.
3. Improve Rankings Further using Internal linking
Internal linking refers to hyperlinks created within our own site between one page and another. This allows Google to understand the relation between your content on different pages. It also enables you to rank better for different keywords by strengthening the “relevance” of individual keywords and topics on your pages and giving them a boost of “authority” that powers them up towards higher rankings.
The topic of internal linking is a much longer and more complex one to cover in any detail in this article, but I will simply cover a few principles here since you will be using them:
- If you create a hyperlink between page 1 and page 2, page 1 will strengthen the authority (ranking power) of page 2, based on the level of authority that page 1 already has. This comes from the number and authority of other, external websites linking to page 1 (what is known as backlinks).
- If the hyperlink between page 1 and page 2 above, uses the hypertext (the text itself that is clickable to take you to page 2) “rental cars” as an example, page 2 will become more “relevant” for the term “rental cars” and will have a better chance of ranking higher. This is always assuming that page 2 talks about a topic related to “rental cars”.
- your home page is the strongest (has the most authority) page on your site because most of the links and references to your site, coming from other websites (backlinks), typically point towards your home page. This means that whenever you create a hyperlink from your home page to another page, that page will get a push of authority passed from the home page.
The following tactics can provide you with another strong boost when applied. For this example, let us assume we want to rank the page mysite.com/car-rental better for the term “car rental”.
Take the “quick-win” keywords that you had identified in the earlier steps above and for each of them:
- Type on Google Search site: mysite.com/car-rental keyword - this will give you a prioritized list of which pages on your site Google considers the most relevant for that keyword
- Take the top 3 pages that come up and find within them, naturally occurring opportunities for the keyword that you want to strengthen (in this case “car rental”).
- Change that term on the page into an anchor link (hyperlink) pointing to the page you want to rank (in this case mysite.com/car-rental)
- If you do not find the exact term, you can add some content to the page and create the keywords in this new content. You can also change some existing keywords to match what you want (example changing “rental service” to “car rental service”). It is very important to keep the content natural and useful for the user. Do not change words simply to accommodate your needs unless they still retain their quality.
- Use the home page to point to your biggest opportunity keywords and ideally towards the main topics of your site
- In your main site menu (navigation), remove any unnecessary items and if possible, try to use the text in the menu items to reflect the main keywords you want to rank on that page
4. Acquire Backlinks from “Partner” Sites
Now that you have laid out a stronger foundation for your keywords to rank, you can give them an extra push by building some backlinks (links from other websites). This builds the strength and authority of your domain and allows it to rank higher for all searches that you are showing up for in the Google search results.
Link-building is another big topic and when done incorrectly, can have negative impacts on your site. For this reason, we will only do a few techniques that are completely within Google’s rulebook and that do not present risks of disturbing the balance or trustworthiness of our site.
You can use this approach to build strong, relevant backlinks that are free of charge and could do wonders for your rankings.
- Find people and businesses that you already work with. These could be clients, partners, colleagues, friends, or someone you might have collaborated with or helped in the past.
- Let them know that you are working on your Google rankings and ask them whether it would be OK to include a link to your site from a page on theirs. This could be any page that they are comfortable with and the context in which the link is placed should also be discussed with them of course. You may also offer them some form of reciprocation as thanks for this if needed BUT do not reciprocate with a backlink from your site to theirs (this would be link-swapping and is not something Google will appreciate).
- You can then ask for a backlink to your home page using the domain name of your site as anchor text (such as yoursite.com, yoursite.com, yoursite, https://www.yoursite.com etc).
- You can also create a link (if this makes sense within the context of the linking site) to an internal page you want to rank, such as com/car-rental and use your focus keyword as anchor text “car rental”. This is known as an exact-match backlink, and you should not overdo it with these types of links as they require further understanding of SEO. Perhaps create one or two for your most opportunistic keywords.
5. Do a quick Technical SEO Check for your site
The most essential thing any site needs before it can continue building organic (SEO) traffic is a healthy technical setup. Of course, we will not go into this vast subject here, but you can very easily gauge the overall health of your site yourself, with zero SEO knowledge.
Method 1 – Using Search Console
- Go into your website property on Search Console and navigate (from the left-hand-side menu) to “Coverage”.
- Switch between the tabs and check whether in the tabs called 'Excluded' and 'Error', you can see any pages that are valuable to you and should show up in search results. Some examples of these issues are: Not Found (404), Pages with redirect, Excluded by ‘noindex’ tag and so on.
Method 2 – Without needing Search Console
The following is a quick and simple tactic without using any Seo tools or Search Console. It will show you whether your web pages are “discovered” or “known” by Google (indexed, as we SEO geeks call it). It will also show you at a quick glance whether there are high-level, critical issues that will stop your progress from the beginning.
- Go on Google Search and type in site:yourdomain.com
- You should get a list of your web pages on the search results. Observe these and note whether:
- Your pages are coming up in the results. If not, then Google has never even discovered your pages, and this shows that there are major issues on your site. Most probably you will not have this problem in this age of web development but if you are unfortunate enough to do have them, then you will need to stop here and fix these as without them there is no SEO. Contact your website developer or someone who can improve your website’s quality.
- If your home page is not showing at the top
- If your pages are showing http URLs instead of https, or if both http and https versions are showing for the same pages
- if you have too many or too few pages in your search results, compared to your website size (if you have an online shop with thousands of products then you should probably see a corresponding number, while a site with basic company information for example, would have a much smaller number).
If you are spotting any issues as mentioned above, you will need to contact your web-developer to investigate these and fix them, as these will impede your rankings on Google directly. Most issues will probably be minor in nature and not require too much work and cost but there might be some that are more structural in nature and require overhauling of website architecture.
Don’t have the time to do all this?
We can help you do all of these and much more for your Google rankings. Be sure to head over to our seo services malta page and Schedule a quick call and we can guide you through everything that is needed to start getting monthly traffic from search engines for your business.