While there are several aspects of an inbound program that can take weeks or months to see results from, don’t let that discourage you. There are also several “quick wins” you can earn by making minor tweaks to your website and content. In our Quick Marketing Wins 101 series, we’ll share some of the simple changes you can make in order start seeing better results – almost overnight.
If you’re just launching a new site or it’s been a while since you’ve done an earnest SEO audit, don’t let the tall task of optimizing your site for search discourage you. Combing through your site page-by-page and optimizing your on-page SEO might seem like a daunting, tedious job, but there are some “low hanging fruit” and easy levers your personas can pull that will make a noticeable difference in the search engine results pages. To help you earn those quick wins right away, here are several on-page SEO best practices for seeing fast results:
Make Your Website Secure
Apart from the more obvious benefits of making your website safer and more secure for visitors, enabling Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) security technology also increases your visibility in search engines. Google prefers sites that are SSL-enabled these days, and you don’t have to worry about losing your domain authority by switching to https://. Better yet, it’s a move you can make without going through each page of your site! You can enable SSL through a number of online certificate authorities, like DigiCert or GeoTrust, and they offer several different certificates at different price levels. To learn more about how to enable SSL on your site, follow these steps from SSL.com.
Optimize Your Keywords
At the cornerstone of every on-page SEO strategy is keyword optimization. It’s crucial that you identify the keywords your personas are searching for, particularly long-tail keywords, and incorporate them naturally throughout your site’s copy. To help you do this efficiently, here are some tips:
It’s been shown that 82% of domains ranking for high-volume keywords have the keyword in the body of their text. Once you’ve identified the core set of keywords you want to target, try to write (or edit) your site’s copy and content around them, being sure to include other topics that directly relate to those keywords. Ideally, you would design pillar pages around the main keywords you’re trying to target, but until then, just be sure to frequently include keywords naturally in your site’s copy.
Did you notice how I stressed the importance of using keywords naturally in your copy? That’s because you can get penalized for keyword stuffing. If you’re trying to include the keyword in every other sentence, Google will recognize this, lower your search ranking, and even hit you with a ban.
HTML titles and title tags are what help search engine crawlers identify the content on each of your site’s pages. On search engine results pages, the title tag is the blue link you see in the listing of each result. Be sure to include relevant keywords in these places to not only boost your ranking, but also help visitors know what content will be covered on each page when they click your link.
Located below the title tag in the image above, the meta description also helps crawlers identify the content on your site. Try to include relevant keywords here; however, it’s more important that your meta description accurately reflects what your page is about rather than whether it has a keyword.
Include Internal Links to More of Your Content
Another quick way to boost your on-page SEO is by internally linking to other relevant content on your site (as you probably noticed we've done throughout this article). Go through the copy on each page and look for keywords or phrases that you could link to a blog article or other resource to provide more context. Not only does this make it easier for search engines to crawl everything, but it also helps keep visitors engaged longer.
Reduce Image File Size to Increase Page Load Speed
If you’ve ever landed on a web page that takes forever to load because of an image, video or GIF, you know how frustrating it can be to wait. You might even just leave the site altogether. To help increase the page load speed and reduce your bounce rate, it’s important that you’re considerate of the file size of all the media on your pages. A good rule of thumb is try to keep image sizes under 70kb for the best load speeds.
Optimize Your Image Alt Text
If you aren’t familiar with alt text, it refers to the word or phrase that can be attributed to a picture file to help it be indexed for search. Think of it as a title tag for your photos. If you haven’t optimized the alt text of your images, you can edit the description or alt text to make them more search engine friendly. It also helps visitors with visual impairments using screen readers know what you’re describing, so keep them in mind when writing or editing the description.
Last but not least, if you’re looking to make the biggest impact with your on-page SEO audit, start by analyzing the pages that generate the most traffic for you (e.g., homepage and blog) and look for areas of improvement. Are there large images that are taking a long time to load? Are there broken links? Here are some other quick fixes to look for:
Make sure all pages have titles and meta descriptions
Make sure all pages have h1 tags
Check that the main images have alt tags and include keywords
Check for any 404 errors or pages that have broken links
Double check for keyword optimization
Once you’ve gone through and checked all these things on your busiest pages, you can start to worry about the pages that aren’t generating as much traffic. While you do this, it’s also important to check and make sure that all the information on your site is current and up-to-date. You’d be surprised how many companies have contact pages with links to email addresses that are no longer valid.
For more information about on-page (and off-page) SEO best practices, make sure you check out our SEO Survival Guide, available to read here.
Posted by Jonathan Stanis An engineer by training, Jon focuses on the technical delivery of an effective inbound marketing program. He builds client website plans that solve for conversion potential and utilize smart user experiences. He is also responsible for analyzing and monitoring the success of inbound projects. Jon fits the definition of being a "whole brain marketer" because he is both a strong writer-designer and a deeply analytical thinker.