Search engine optimization (SEO) is a tactic you can’t afford to ignore.
SEO generates approximately 20x more traffic than paid ads. It’s also a much more sustainable traffic source because you don’t have to continuously spend money for your site to attract visitors.
And while you can still draw traffic without SEO, you’re leaving the opportunity to grow organically on the table. That means missing out on page visits, customers and potential revenue.
But where do you start?
In this post, we’ll go over actionable SEO tips to help get you on your way.
Ready to win in the search engines? Let’s dive right in.
In simple terms, on-page SEO refers to aspects of your site that you can fix from within. These include, but are not limited to, metadata, URL structure, headers, broken links, duplicate content and post quality.
The good news is most of these changes are easy to implement. Yes, you’ll need to invest time to find and fix these issues, however, these are things that you can do on your own.
But how do you know if you have on-page SEO issues?
You can easily uncover problems using an SEO crawler. There are plenty of options online.
Enter your domain, and the SEO crawler will go through all your pages and find errors.
As you work through the list, keep the following in mind: You want your metadata (meta title, meta descriptions and image tags) and headings to include your target keywords.
Now, whenever your page starts to rank on search engine result pages (SERPs), the title and meta description are the first things users see. Therefore, you must write them to compel people to click on your page, as CTR is a rank factor for search engines.
You also want your URLs to be clean and not show random character strings. It’s also vital that all your links work.
For WordPress users, you can install plugins like Yoast or Rank Math to make changes to your on-page SEO.
Google Analytics (GA) will show you up-to-date information on how your site performs on search engines. But as powerful as it is, GA can’t gather data until you connect it.
That means Google Analytics can’t show you search traffic or revenue information from May if you added it in July of the same year.
Creating a GA account is free. The only requirement is an active Google account. If you don’t have an account, you can sign up at Google Analytics.
Just follow the on-screen instructions and provide all the necessary details. Once you’re finished, Google Analytics will give you a tracking ID. You’ll need this ID to connect Analytics to your website.
Some content management systems (CMS) will have a dedicated field in settings where you can add the Tracking ID. For WordPress users, you can install Monster Insights and use its Google Analytics feature to add your tracking ID to your site.
Monster Insights has instructions on how to connect Google Analytics if you need more information.
Aside from GA, you also need to connect your site to Google Search Console (GSC). Using this free tool, you can monitor, analyze and tweak your site to improve its presence on Google SERPs.
You can see what keywords people use to find your site, how many impressions your pages get, the average CTR and search position of your site and more.
It will also alert you of specific issues that arise from your site and could affect its search rankings so you can fix them immediately.
The best thing about Search Console is it works like your usual SEO tool, but the data is from Google itself. Therefore, if you use GSC data to improve your site, expect a direct impact on its performance on Google.
Similar to GA, you can also connect your Search Console account to your WordPress site. Download an SEO plugin that supports GSC integration and enter your verification ID or HTML, which you can see from your dashboard.
Google measures how fast a site loads. The quicker a page loads, the likelier it is to rank higher in the SERPs. The reason is simple: Google wants the best experience for its users. So pages that take too long to load won’t make the cut.
Various case studies confirm the negative impact of slow load times, some of which showed up on Google Developers blog.
If you want to check if your site speed needs improvement, you can use Google’s PageSpeed Insights— a free tool.
So what factors affect site speed?
You can also remove some redirects to ease the response time.
If you upload images in their full size, that could also affect page speed. If you’re uploading high-quality images, you should use a compressor.
Sites like TinyJPG take your photos and reduce the file size while retaining image quality (to the best of its ability).
Page speed is important, but so is mobile-friendliness. This refers to pages loading correctly on phones and tablets.
Again, Google wants its users to have a great experience. With the move to mobile-first indexing, search engines expect websites to work properly on both desktop and mobile devices.
To make a website work on mobile devices, you’ll need to have a responsive site. Fortunately, this isn’t as complicated as it once was. WordPress users, for example, only need to pick a responsive theme from WordPress Themes or through a third-party theme store.
Modern site builders like Wix or Squarespace also offer responsive themes.
Other steps you could take include:
It’s also worth mentioning that just because a site looks great on desktops doesn’t mean it’ll work on phones. For example, using a video background makes sense for desktops, but it’s more of a nuisance on smaller screens.
But if you want to double-down on your site speed, then you can consider Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP).
While it’s nice to use AMP to maximize your site’s organic rankings and traffic, it’s unnecessary. If you’re fine with how your site loads on mobile devices and it also happens to rank high on Google search, further action is not needed.
Keyword research is a phrase you’ll come across over and over when talking about SEO for good reason.
In a nutshell, this step helps you understand a topic’s traffic and income potential based on its most searched keywords. You get to determine how easy or difficult ranking for the keywords are and see the quality of sites vying for the same keywords as yours.
Also, keyword research lets you identify the intent behind the keywords so you can create content that fulfills it.
Finding the right keyword might be a challenge for some. The key to success is to find the right tools and familiarize yourself with your niche.
Many companies offer keyword research, and there are SEO tools available that allow you to do it yourself. If you want to try researching on your own, you could try Google Keyword Planner.
The results will show you what keywords (and related terms) people search for, and how many searches each term gets on average monthly.
While you might be tempted to use search terms with high monthly searches, you’d face fierce competition. That’s because your competition would want to rank for those queries too.
Instead, try finding keywords with mid to high averages, but low competition. Long-tail keywords fit this bill because they are not as competitive compared to other highly searched terms. More importantly, they have a clear search intent, allowing you to create highly-targeted content to users.
The term “high-quality” is subjective, so let’s simplify. You want your posts to engage your audience and offer unique content that is comprehensive, factual and accurate.
Of course, you also want your posts to be grammatically correct if you want to appear trustworthy.
Some users focus too much on adding keywords. This leads to content that appears robotic in tone. You shouldn’t forget that Google favors a positive user experience. So if its users find your content useful and engaging, Google will rank you higher. There’s no need to spam your articles with keywords. If you cover a topic comprehensively, the keywords you want to target should come naturally.
If you’re not confident with your writing skills and can’t afford to work with a content team, you can use tools to improve the quality of your posts.
Grammarly and Hemingway, for example, are tools that check your posts for typos and syntax errors. Once it finds errors, it’ll offer suggestions on how to fix the issues.
Such tools even grade your posts for readability, so you’ll have an idea if they are good enough to publish.
Yes, having a consistent publishing schedule has SEO benefits.
By publishing content on a regular basis you signal to search spiders that your site has the fresh content they love so much.
A publishing schedule also gives your audience a reason to continue coming back if you regularly publish posts about topics they deeply care about.
But publishing new posts every week can be tough, especially if you have a lot on your plate. So build it into your schedule. Create a blog calendar and leverage tools, like CoSchedule, to keep yourself on track.
As you produce more content, be consistent with your topics. Your core audience will not appreciate you switching from topic-to-topic, especially if the content is not aligned with your niche.
Google discovers your pages by crawling your site. So if your inner pages aren’t linked anywhere in your site, Google won’t see them.
That’s why you should link to other pages on your domain when you write a post.
When in-linking, you want to consider the following:
Bruce Clay is an SEO expert that popularized an in-linking strategy called SEO Siloing.
In a nutshell, you create topic clusters from within your site. Each cluster has a page that its supporting pages link to, which shows search engines that a site covers a topic comprehensively.
You can use his blueprint to develop your internal linking strategy and get great results.
Just like internal linking, external linking plays an important role in SEO. When search engines see just how many quality sites link to your content, it determines that your pages offer value.
That’s the reason why sites that are often quoted and linked to rank higher in the SERPs.
But for your pages to qualify, your backlinks should come from authoritative and trustworthy sources.
Getting links from news organizations and educational institutions (especially if they are .org sites) can increase your domain authority and your ranking.
But if your backlinks come from sketchy sources, they can do you more harm than good.
Now here’s the challenge.
Even if you have great content, people won’t find you unless you promote your work. So there is a need to be proactive.
Learn how to reach out to your community. Some blogs welcome guest posting. This is the practice of writing a post for someone in exchange for links going back to the author’s domain.
Keep in mind, despite the effectiveness of guest posting, it can border on the spammy side if you’re not careful.
For example, if you’re emailing a site owner begging him or her to publish your content with a link to your site, then there’s a good chance your request will get shut down.
The key to guest posting is overdelivering to earn a backlink. Focus on creating great content that goes far and beyond the requirements. This way, the site owner will be more than happy to publish your content with a link to your site.
Sites like Ahrefs and Monitor Backlinks let you keep track of your backlink activity. Ahrefs even has a YouTube channel where they teach backlinking basics for those who’d like to learn more about the topic.
There’s been a debate within the SEO world on whether Google uses social signals (likes, shares, etc.) in its ranking factors. Some studies suggest that there is a connection.
In any case, there’s no harm in optimizing pages for social media. In fact, it might help you with your promotion.
You could start by having social media share buttons on your site. WordPress users can use plugins to add social buttons without the need to mess with code.
Don’t be shy about asking users to like and share your posts. If you quoted someone with a huge social media following, tag them in your social media posts. This could motivate them to share your content with their followers.