SEO is hard. It’s a vast subject and managing it is a full time job. If you don’t have time to immerse yourself into the world of SEO to learn all the do’s, don’ts, best practices and guidelines. But there are simple things you can do to create a decent foundation for your website to perform in the organic search results.
Without further ado, let’s dive in.
Use Google Search Console
In my experience this is a highly under-utilised tool. It’s free, straightforward and gives you a direct insight into how Google is understanding your site. You can see the queries your website is ranking for, its average position in the search results and see how many people are clicking through to your site (as a percentage).
With this data, you can make decisions on how to change your website to improve rankings and drive more traffic to your website.
Beyond your website’s performance in the search results, you can also see how Google is reading and indexing the pages on your site. It’s critical to know which pages Google is crawling and indexing: what if some of your most important pages were inaccessible? Google Search Console is the place to check.
Use Google My Business
If you have a physical store or presence, Google My Business is an absolute must. Not only does it help people find and interact with your website (and business), it’s also a strong factor for local searches. Use it to post images, repurpose your blog posts and interact with your customers via the Questions & Answers section. For ideas and inspiration, see what your competitors are doing. Check out this complete Google My Business optimisation guide here.
Get Your Website Healthy
Your website is the lifeline of your business, so you need to keep it in good shape. Here’s a quick checklist of things to check, fix and monitor.
- Broken pages – pages with a 404 error are broken. Be warned – these pages can still rank in the search results. Any broken page needs to be 301 redirected to the most relevant, working page on your site. You can see any broken errors in Google Search Console.
- Keep it looking good – your website needs to look good, but more importantly function correctly, on all devices. Check your menus, buttons and pages to ensure they can easily be clicked and navigated, especially on mobile.
- Is it fast? – ensure your website loads as quickly as possible. People hate waiting for websites to load, and Google respects that. If you site is slow, you’re already behind. Use Google Page Speed Insights to see how your website performs against others in your niche.
- Make sure Google can read it – there’s not much point in a website if search engines can’t find, read and index it. A quick way to check is to Google: site:https://www.yoursite.com. That will return all the pages on your site that are in Google’s index. You might be surprised; Google never forgets a URL!
Forget Keyword Research
Almost every article about SEO stresses the need to research the best keywords for your niche. And it is valuable. But it’s easy to get lost in it and then, you become overwhelmed. Often, it’s counter-productive. So, don’t bother with it. You know your business, your products, your services. Just write about it naturally, make sure there’s plenty of useful content on your site, and the keywords will come naturally without even trying. Google is smart enough to understand the topic and rank it accordingly for searches. Use Google Search Console for guidance.
Get Your Brand Out There
To reach position 1 in the search results, your website needs links. Chances are you don’t have time for outreach – but the chances are you have relationships with other website owners. The company that built your website, a happy client, a friend in a similar niche. Offer them a review for their website and include a link to yours. Make sure your business is listed on local directories, and any specific niche directories – such as capterra for software companies. Search and you will find.
Do these things and you’re on your way to improving your SEO. Remember, it does take time – and whenever you’re doing anything with your website, SEO should be a consideration. Don’t stress too much about it though. Focus on providing value and a great experience for your users and the organic results will come.
If you do want to dig more into SEO, check out the beginner’s guide to SEO by Moz and Search Engine Journal’s SEO guide.