5 simple ways to improve your SEO ranking
SEO has a bad reputation as one of the most difficult areas of marketing in which to achieve success.
We don't want to say that SEO is easy, but we also don't want you to think that increasing your SEO rankings is sooooo far out of your reach. When it comes to your SEO strategy, you can have a long-term, super-complex strategy that will show you as the first search result for a keyword.
And, you can have a short-term SEO strategy that will only help you push yourself higher in the rankings. It doesn't have to be overly complex, and most of it can be done in a few hours of work.
We're going to focus on the latter in this article and show you the small ways you can improve your SEO rankings. These are all tasks that you can fit into a few hours of work and that can make a big difference in the future.
Quick tip: Start using these tips for your new content so you don't have to go back and add them later.
Here are 5 small ways to improve your SEO ranking.
#1: Structure your content so that it is readable.
Part of the SEO ranking factor of a website page is dwell time, which is how long the visitor spent on that page. There are a few ways to make sure visitors don't bounce off your page (we'll talk more about that later), but one of the most important ways is to make your content reader-friendly.
For example, in articles that rank well, you'll notice that we have headings, bold text, italicized text, emoticons, images, and bullet points. The goal is to make sure our content wants to be read and visitors don't see a wall of text and run the other way.
- H2, H3 and H4 headings
- Bold and italicized text to break up longer sections of text or to emphasize a particular sentence.
- Emoticons to bring some color and familiarity to our content.
- As many pictures as possible so you can see what we're talking about instead of just reading about it
- Bullet points to make our point without adding unnecessary filler words
All of this helps our website visitors get to an article, sales page, or landing page and skim it to see if it's the content they're looking for. If the answer is yes, they'll stay a while and read what we have to say.
Not only does this make our content easier for people to read, but it also helps with the Google bots that determine SEO rankings. When we use keywords in our headers, we can show Google that we are talking about the keyword we hope to rank for. This shouldn't be confused with filling your headers with your keywords, that just makes your content feel unnatural and salesy.
#2: Repair your broken links
This may not sound like a big deal, but if your content is full of broken links that lead to 404 pages, your readers and Google will be disappointed in you.
If your readers want to click through to read or view another piece of content you've told them about, and the links are regularly broken, you're creating a poor user experience. Someone new to your brand and in the Engage phase of the customer journey will subconsciously make a judgment that you may not be fully trustworthy.
At this stage, you want your customers to see you as someone who always delivers on their promises. 404 pages don't tell them that.
To the Google bot, 404 pages will show that visitors are coming to your site and leaving it immediately. This is because every time a visitor sees a 404 page, they will bounce from that page within seconds. Since there is no content there for them, they have no reason to stay there.
This shows Google that your website is not providing the value that a visitor was hoping for, and your credibility will decrease. When your credibility decreases, Google will prefer the other websites with similar content that do not have high bounce rates.
There are 2 types of broken backlinks you want to fix:
- Internal backlinks from one page of your website to another
- Outbound backlinks from another website to your website
Test your site for broken links. Here is a tool for that: www.backlinktest.com/deadlink.php
#3: Do not skip your meta description
While your meta description has nothing to do with your SEO ranking in terms of the content you include in the meta description - it does affect whether or not people click on your content. You can increase your SEO ranking by having a killer meta description that makes people feel that it is IMPOSSIBLE not to click on your article.
Your meta description is the excerpt that appears under the title of your page or post on Google. The goal of this meta description is to spark a curiosity in the person to click and learn more.
E.g. "What does a top-notch digital marketer meeting look like?" Well, they have to click to find out.
A meta description can be for a landing page or sales page on your website, or for a blog post. When writing a meta description for a blog post, you want to make sure you show the reader what they will learn and plant a seed of curiosity so they are motivated to find out.
Use your meta description to attract extra attention and motivate searchers to choose your content over the others.
#4: Update and publish older content
Efficiency is key for every part of your marketing strategy (from content to SEO to social). If you already have blog posts on your website, you don't necessarily need to write brand new content on a regular basis. What about that post from a year ago that was doing kind of well, but whose page views are dwindling by the month?
Instead of leaving it in blog post purgatory, bring it back to the front lines.
You can review old blog posts to see what you can add to them to update the information or just make it better and then republish it under a new date. To be clear, you don't even need to create a new post, you can just change the publish date of the post to match the date you republish it.
#5: Prioritize your content
What happens when you read an interesting headline, click on the link to read more about the article, and are immediately bombarded with a dropdown ad, an ad in the margin of the content, ads scattered every few paragraphs of the article, and an ad popping up from the bottom of the page?
We rarely think, "Wow, this is a great experience! We barely bat an eye before clicking back on our web browser.
This website owner can say goodbye to page duration and hello to an increased bounce rate.
While it's extremely tempting to place pop-ups, Google ads, or ads for your own products all over your website, it's a dangerous SEO game. You end up losing more than you gain, and that loss trumps your SEO ranking.
The high bounce rate negatively impacts your ranking, but it also has a negative impact on how website visitors view your brand. If they know you're going to bombard them with ads when they're just trying to read an article, how will they feel about giving you their credit card?
When you focus on your SEO strategy, you usually focus on the first 3-4 stages of the Customer Value Journey. You focus on getting people to subscribe or even convert via your "trip wire". But if someone feels like your website is a digital billboard, they won't think the emails you send them will be much different.
He'll be worried that you're just trying to get the sale and not actually helping him solve his problem.
Guess what that does to your click-through rate? Yep, you guessed it. 📉
Always prioritize your content first so you can build a trusting relationship with your new website visitor. This will increase your page duration (and SEO ranking) and your chances of converting that visitor into a lead.
As promised, these are all quick ways you can improve your SEO ranking - without spending hours and hours to get the results you want.
And remember, these aren't just tips you can use on your current website. You can also use them when creating all your future content so that you become the most efficient SEO marketer possible.
And who doesn't love the sound of these tips?