Search engine optimisation (SEO) can be complicated. So complicated, in fact, that analysts predicted that the industry was worth an eye-watering $65 billion a year. And, as the internet becomes ever competitive, companies are spending more than ever on improving their organic search engine results page rankings. Although mastering the art of SEO takes time, patience and skill, there are some simple fixes you can make to improve your website’s SEO that don’t require a great deal of technical skill.
What is SEO?
Before we delve into the quick fixes you can make to improve your website’s SEO, let’s take a quick look into what SEO actually involves. As Google writes, SEO is “the process of maximising the number of visitors to a particular website by ensuring that the site appears high on the list of results returned by a search engine”.
Simply put, the more work you do behind the scenes to make your website more visible and accessible to search engines, the higher your website will rank for specific terms relevant to your industry, and the more organic traffic you’ll enjoy as a result. Both multinational corporations and the local corner shop can benefit from SEO, as Google’s algorithms are centred around providing value to the end user. Therefore, the better quality content you create for your readers and potential customers, the higher you’ll rank on search engines.
How to improve your website’s SEO
If you want to improve your website’s SEO, you may decide to work with a digital marketing agency or SEO expert to do the job for you. It is possible, however, to make some quick fixes that will give you a quick boost to your website’s SEO. Read on to find out more.
Install an SEO plugin on WordPress
One of the simplest ways to improve your website’s presence on search engines is to install a WordPress plugin called Yoast SEO. As the world’s most popular SEO plugin, Yoast allows you to add a keyword and meta description for each of your web pages, increasing your chances of climbing to the top of search results for your specific term.
If you own a top hat company in Manchester, for example, and have a page on your website about finding the best top hat in Manchester, then you could choose a keyword such as Manchester top hats, and include that keyword in your content and meta description.
It sounds technical, but getting your head around the basics of search engine optimisation, keywords and meta descriptions, will allow you to make an impact without spending any money. If all of this technical jargon has gone over your head, then watch this in-depth tutorial from Darrel Wilson, who’s ‘dummified’ Yoast SEO for absolute beginners.
Cache your website
A couple of years ago, Google announced that it would be giving websites that loaded quickly a slight SEO boost. It was Google’s latest attempt at improving the web – if websites load faster and use fewer resources, then more people will be able to access more content, and we’ll all live happily ever after.
There are a number of reasons why your website could load slowly – from server performance and location to the build of your website and the software you’re using. If you want to improve your website’s SEO, then you should aim to make your website run as quickly as you can – and the best way you can do that is to cache your website.
Download a plugin such as W3 Total Cache for WordPress, and you should see a noticeable difference to your website. Such cache plugins mush down the size of your content, like HTML files, CSS files and images, meaning that there’s less to be delivered to your end users. Another option to consider is a content delivery network such as CloudFlare, which delivers content across multiple servers depending on the location of the user.
Update your content to include relevant keywords
Take the time to find the right keywords for your business. Doing so can be challenging, but put yourself into the head of a potential customer and think about what they’re likely to type into Google. Word Stream has put together a great post on finding keywords in your industry or niche, and you can also take advantage of tools such as Ahrefs and SEMrush if you want to find the data behind your keywords (such as the number of times your keyword is typed into Google and how much competition the keyword has).
As soon as you have found keywords for your website (stick to one or two if you want to increase your likelihood of ranking well), update pages, meta descriptions and blog posts to ensure your chosen keywords are included. If other websites are linking back to you or you write blog posts on third-party websites, change your links to include the new keywords.
Implement a content marketing strategy
We’ve talked about the importance of content before, but there’s no harm in mentioning it again in this post. It’s essential that you write quality, in-depth content on your website that offers value to your users. Not only will your customers benefit from your expertise, but search engines like Google will use this fresh content to help you rank for new terms.
If you run a dog grooming business and write a blog post about how to trim your dog’s nails, for example, then users who search for trimming their dog’s nails will come to your website. From there, it’s up to you to convert them from a visitor to a customer, which you can do by adding a mailing list, promoting a special offer or directing them to other parts of your site.
Buy an SSL certificate
Security is an important part of any website – especially if your customers are going to be inputting personal data like their address, phone number and bank details. And, with 51% of consumers worried about their cyber security and concerned over identity theft, it’s important that you do your bit to create a website that’s safe and secure at all times.
An SSL certificate is a digital certificate that encrypts data, meaning that both hackers and website owners can’t directly access details like passwords, card details and other personal data. Google now offers a slight ranking boost to websites that are encrypted with an SSL certificate, so it’s essential if you want your website to rank ahead of your competitors.
What’s more, Google’s own browser, Google Chrome, will soon display that a website is not secure if it is not encrypted with an SSL certificate, which could mean a loss of trust or a drop in website traffic. The sooner you can install an SSL certificate on your site, the better.
SSL certificates can be difficult to get your head around, but some web hosts have integrated Let’s Encrypt, a free SSL service, into their control panels to allow you to add one to your website with a single click. If your web host doesn’t offer this service, just send them an email and tell them that you’d like an SSL certificate on your website. You may need to pay for this, but certificates are relatively inexpensive and can be picked up for less than £20 per year.
Now it’s your turn to improve your website’s SEO
These quick search engine optimisation tricks are bound to help you improve your website’s SEO. Make sure that you’re always staying up-to-date with the latest in SEO by following this blog, and let us know if you have any other simple SEO tips on social media. Good luck!