Do you want to start 2017 with better results in search engines? Not only that but do you also want to receive better results from the traffic you get from search?
If either or both answers are yes, then you will want to run through this list of quick SEO fixes every website needs to make now in order to be prepared for changes to the SEO world to come.
For some of you who may not be as technically inclined, these may not seem as “quick” as you would like them. But for others, it may be a list they go through, say “done it” about 15 times, and then see that one thing they might have forgotten to do.
And a small change might make a world of difference.
1. Think of the phrase you want to be associated with.
Google is a search engine. Facebook is a social network. Toyota is a car manufacturer. Dr. Suess is a series of books for children. Every brand can usually be summarized in a sentence with one main keyword phrase. Your job is to find out what your’s is and put it everywhere.
- In your website’s SEO title tag and meta description.
- In your website’s main hero graphic and that image’s filename, ALT text, and title text.
- On every social profile, author bio, local business listing, etc. that links back to your website. You don’t even have to use the keyword phrase as the anchor text. Link your website to your company name and just have your keyword phrase nearby.
- On every print medium that references your business messaging is consistent.
Why is this so important? Not only is it amazing for branding purposes, but it also lines you up for the best editorial links possible. Each time someone thinks about you, your products, or your business, they’ll automatically remember that phrase and include it nearby or anchored to the link to your website.
The best part? Google is teaching the machine to notice those kinds of things – related references instead of the anchor text. How a particular brand or person is recognized or referenced, like Roger Federer is the GOAT (Greatest of All Time) in tennis.
You might discover that you don’t want to be just another social media consultant or auto mechanic. You can always add something unique while preserving SEO search volume of your keyword phrase. For example, your business could be the social media marketing wizards or the auto mechanic that makes engines purr again.
You can brainstorm such keyword phrases yourself or use a tool like Rank Tracker to get long lists of suggestions, aligned with the expected SEO search volume.
Ultimately, if search sees that both you, bloggers, journalists, newspapers, credible certification authorities, etc. always reference you around that specific keyword phrase, then when someone searches for that keyword phrase, you’ll have a much better chance of appearing higher in search results.
2. Make sure you have installed and configured these analytics tools and integrations.
The best way to ensure that your website is performing well in search (both paid and organic search) is by spending time with your analytics. So the key fixes here are to ensure that you have both Google Analytics and Google Webmaster Tools (Search Console) installed on your website and that they are both set up on the same account as your company’s YouTube, AdWords, Tag Manager, and other Google business tools.
Google Webmaster Tools offers a lot of free tools to help analyze your website for problems that might affect the way it appears in search results. You can also use the free or premium tools like WebSite Auditor, which will go even more in-depth in terms of scanning your website for changes that will help improve its overall status in search results.
Why are Google Analytics and Google Webmaster Tools both critical to your website’s SEO? Simple. With Google Analytics, you can run a simple Organic Search Traffic report (under Acquisitions > Campaigns > Organic Keywords). There, you can change the date range and compare that range to the previous period. That will quickly show you if you are showing signs of growth or decline in organic search traffic.
For those who connect their Google Webmaster Tools and Google Analytics, they can try to fill in the (not provided) blanks with the Queries report (Acquisition > Search Console > Queries).
If yours shows a high percentage of (not set) queries, you may have a disconnect between your Google Analytics and Google Webmaster Tools to investigate. Or a simple message from Google Webmaster Tools that a misconnection has occurred.
While the search queries won’t match up with your Google Analytics conversion data, it is convenient to have them in one place. You can use the Organic Keywords report from earlier to show conversions from organic search as a whole, and then use the Search Queries report to figure out which keywords were most likely to drive a client inquiry.
3. Capture every link you can get, even after the fact.
Depending on your industry, you may or may not be familiar with those email requests asking for your opinion on a particular topic to be combined with 50 other experts in a colossal roundup post. If it’s going to a legit site (Entrepreneur versus a site no one visits), you can respond in a template email like this:
Hi [INSERT NAME HERE],
Thanks for inviting me to participate in your post! Here’s my answer.
[INSERT ANSWER HERE]
Here’s my standard bio and image. Feel free to adjust if needed.
Not getting invited to do roundups? Here’s another route. Create Google Alerts (or Awario alerts for those who like alternatives) for your company name, unique product names, and names or popular people who might be mentioned in relation to your company. Whenever they pop up without a link or mention to the company, politely email the editor of the publication and see if you can squeeze one in. The worst you’ll get is a no. The best you’ll get is your link!
And of course, there’s being a guest contributor on quality publications in your industry. Not the ones anyone can write upon and half the articles are worthless. But quality publications where you know you will learn something from each post.
Guest blogging may be dead as a link building tactic, but it’s not if your goal is to build a positive reputation for yourself and your company. It’s simply a matter of choosing the right publication and sending them a great piece of content for their audience. And in your author bio, you get to promote yourself and your company with that great sentence and keyword phrase you came up with earlier.
By this point, you know you need a responsive, mobile friendly website. You know you need it to load quickly. You know you need great content. I hope these tips helps you make a few extra quick decisions that will get your SEO on the right track for the upcoming year!