30 second summary:
- There are SEO tactics that you can use even without significant specialist knowledge.
- This tactic is even a bit of the playing field for those who can't hire a large team or outsource to an agency.
- Paying attention to things like images and hosting can give your website a boost.
- There are simple link building tools that are free and easy to use.
- Using this tactic will help you get into the game of SEO and give your website a search boost.
SEO is not easy. In fact, around 200 factors determine where your website will appear in search results. Hence, optimizing your website for searches can be a daunting task. Companies hire full teams of SEO professionals or outsource work to agencies to handle the enormous workload that can come with implementing an effective SEO strategy. However, many companies, like yours, do not have the resources to do this. Fortunately, there are a number of quick wins that you can use to give your website a search boost.
Try these five tactics to get quick SEO gains for your website.
1. Optimize images and graphics
The images and visuals that you put on your website, in articles, on pages, and anywhere can be extremely valuable for easily improving your search rankings.
One example that I want to point out is this picture on the SE Healthcare website.
Image: SE Healthcare Infographic Ranking in Image Search – Source
In collaboration with SE Healthcare on the company's SEO strategy for a new product launch, we geared keywords to the core of burnout among doctors. Over time, we found that this picture actually started ranking. As a result, there were countless searches for “burnout solutions for doctors”. And those searches went straight to that image in an image search on Google.
Clicks on this result resulted in portions of our infographic appearing on social media and significantly improving our search results for related searches. And ultimately, we found that inquiries for related product lines were also increasing.
So, make sure to follow the steps below to use images to easily improve your search results.
Add visual elements on your website
First, adding pictures, infographics, and other visual elements to your website provides a better user experience. Anytime you can replace a visual to explain a concept instead of adding a thousand words of unnecessary text, it can go a long way toward connecting with visitors.
Of course, don't eliminate text entirely, or your SEO will suffer. However, make sure to add pictures in articles to enhance the articles. Add graphics to explain product features. Add high quality pictures of your products. The list goes on, but you get it. Images add a lot of value to your website and can also help you rank in searches. Google and other search engines love images.
Where to add pictures
To get an idea of where to put images to optimize your website, try the following:
Representative Icons – Add representative icons over products and other elements to grab your visitors' attention.
Image: Symbols to represent services – source
Infographics – Add infographics to articles and other pages to visually explain concepts and add more value so readers can stay on the page and scroll.
Image: Example of Value Creation Infographic – Source
Demo Videos – These can improve your ability to make your products stand out by showing them instead of telling them.
Image: Example of a demo video – source
Visual Coupon Codes – This is a great way to highlight discounts and entice buyers to buy on your website. Works great for ecommerce businesses.
Image: Visual Discount Codes – Source
Thumbnails – Make sure to add thumbnail images for your posts. These are displayed as shown below.
Image: Example of using thumbnail images with Posts – Source
Pictures on Blogs – Placing pictures on your blog is extremely important. You can use a header image as well as images throughout the post to illustrate key points.
Image: Example of adding a supporting image that expands the information contained in the text in a blog post – source
These are just a few ideas on how you can use visual elements on your website to improve the user experience and give your website a search boost.
Embedding a YouTube video in your articles or pages can really help improve stats like time on the page and decrease stats like bounce rate. If these statistics point in a positive direction, Google will take notice.
Google loves websites that grab visitors' attention and keep them on the site. A video embedded in the middle of an article can add a minute or more to the time someone spends on your page. And best of all, you don't even have to create the video.
For example, you could write an article about making fall decor from egg cartons. Do a search on YouTube, find an example of someone doing this, then embed it in the middle of the article. In addition to reading your copy, visitors will likely stop and watch the video to keep them busy longer.
Insert alt tags
Google can better read images and determine what they display, but technology has a long way to go. To ensure that Google understands the images on your website, you need to put alt tags describing the image in each image upload. That way, Google can tell what the image is showing and if it relates to a particular search.
Images are very important to improve your website's SEO performance. So be sure to follow the tips above to benefit from it.
2. Improve website security
What is the first thing that comes to mind when you think of cyberattacks? Whatever answer popped up in your head, I bet it had nothing to do with SEO. Many website owners fail to realize the negative effects a cyberattack can have on their website's search rankings.
However, Google pays attention to a variety of reasons. If your website is not secure enough and Google takes note of this, your website can have serious problems.
How Google handles cyber attacks
If Google crawls your website and finds it has been hacked, the search engine giant could actually blacklist your website. When this happens, website visitors will see a notice that says something like "This website may have been hacked". It goes without saying that visitors who see this notice are likely to be navigating away from your website and looking for answers and solutions elsewhere.
People see this warning and click away immediately, which can seriously damage your website's stats. Google will no doubt take note of this and your website could be downgraded. You may not notice anything until you see a sharp drop in traffic or a sharp increase in your bounce rate and decide to investigate. By this point, the damage is fixed and you will need to spend tons of time getting things right.
There are a number of types of attacks that can harm your website. Let's look at some types of cyberattacks that can seriously negatively affect your search rankings.
DDoS stands for Distributed Denial of Service. This type of attack is becoming more common. The cybercriminal is sending a large amount of bot-related traffic to your site, which can result in significant downtime.
This significant downtime can cause your search rankings to drop. Even 15 minutes of downtime can send a negative signal to Google. So imagine what a whole week could do. Because of this, you need to take steps to avoid a DDoS attack in order to keep search rankings from falling.
This includes bad bots crawling your website and scraping content or stealing data. Of course, you want to avoid data theft. Just think of all the major headlines that have been made over the past few years when businesses have been hacked and customer data has been stolen. A lesser known bad bot is the content scraper. These bots essentially scrape your content and place it elsewhere. This detracts from the originality and uniqueness of your website and can cause your search rankings to drop.
These are just a few of the types of hacks that can harm your SEO. There is a lot more to consider. So, you should do your homework and make sure your website is prepared.
How to protect your website
Fortunately, there are a number of proactive steps you can take to keep your website safe and avoid these negative effects on your SEO. Here are some things you should do:
- Make sure you've set up HTTPS
- Install a strong firewall
- Conduct regular tests to uncover potential vulnerabilities
- Use multi-factor authentication for your website logins and even for emails
- Install a security plugin
- Update your website regularly
- Use secure logins and passwords for your team (and update them regularly).
By doing these things, you can avoid the negative SEO effects of a cyberattack and maintain the search rankings you worked so hard on.
3. Speed up hosting
Several studies confirm that faster website speed actually leads to better search results. There are a ton of factors that go into optimizing the speed of your website, but one simple factor that is very easy to control is your website's hosting provider.
Many of the technical measures you can take to speed up your website take time and often require an expert. Fast hosting, on the other hand, simply means making the right choices and then working with the hosting providers to set up and optimize your website.
There are a ton of hosting providers that offer hosting for $ 2.99 per month (give or take), but often it's shared hosting, which can be significantly slower. To get the most out of your hosting and really increase the speed of the website, I recommend looking at the following types of hosting providers.
Managed WordPress hosting
I start with this because 38% of websites are built with WordPress. It's my platform of choice, and for WordPress users, managed WordPress hosting can really help optimize your website and make your website faster. I use a managed WordPress hosting provider for my own website.
Managed WordPress hosting often offers higher levels of support, improved security, and of course, faster page load speeds as I address it here.
The cost can range from $ 50 to more than $ 200 per month. This makes this an affordable option for small and medium-sized businesses.
The name speaks for itself. You will not share this hosting with anyone. It's 100% dedicated to your organization only, which gives you a huge boost in speed. Unfortunately, this option is also associated with an increase in costs.
However, if you are seeing hundreds of thousands of visitors to your website every month, then this option is for you. If you are seeing this level of traffic and your website is optimized for conversions, you can probably afford it.
This option can cost a few thousand dollars. So if you're not quite there yet, consider them for the future.
As you can see from the following graphic in Section.io, website speed can significantly affect your website's bounce rate. Because of this, I emphasize the importance of the impact your hosting provider can have.
If these options don't suit you, there are tons of other options. For example, with shared hosting, you can pay a little more to get faster speeds. And with cloud hosting, you benefit from less downtime.
Whichever option you choose, make sure you speak with the hosting provider and ask questions about the speed of the website and how their platform is helping you improve performance in this area. Having a faster website is an easy way to improve your SEO.
4. Simplified link building
Link building takes a lot of time and effort. You need to do some research in advance and then the execution part, including contacting website owners, can be very time consuming.
However, there are a few methods that you can use to get some simple links and slowly build your arsenal of links.
Let's look at two specific ways you can do link building effectively while saving time and effort.
HARO (help a reporter)
This is a great resource. Help A Reporter Out, known in the industry as HARO, allows you to get in touch with journalists looking for sources for the content they create.
You sign up for an account and receive daily emails with a list of inquiries on the topic you selected. For example, if you run a marketing agency, you can sign up for the business and financial emails. If you run a health organization, you can sign up for the health list.
Once signed up, you will receive emails every day with inquiries from journalists asking you to go to expert sources like yourself to provide your opinion or advice on specific topics. These emails look something like this:
Image: HARO email example
As you can see in the email, a one-liner is displayed highlighting the subject of the query. If you see something that stands out (a subject you think you could answer expertly), you can just scroll through the email and see the full query.
The full query has more details about the publication and what the author is specifically looking for. Only answer questions if you really feel like an expert.
Once you've found something suitable, email the author using the email link in the email you sent. I recommend formatting it like this:
If you use this format, you have a better chance of getting accepted. If you are accepted, the writer will usually add a link to your website from your offer.
If you keep an eye on your HARO emails and try to answer 1-2 inquiries every day, your answers will gradually be accepted, which will give you valuable backlinks, sometimes from websites with super domain authority. I checked links from websites like the Content Marketing Institute (80+ DA) and Forbes (80+ DA), among others.
This is another easy link building win. All you need is the following information. You can then create accounts for different directory pages.
- Elevator space for your company (aka short description)
- Your website url
- Physical address and contact information
- Logo or picture for your entry
Some websites allow you to fill in more information, but you need to be familiar with at least the basics above.
Start with the general websites like Yelp, Yellow Pages, and of course, Google My Business. Get these sites and then dig a little deeper. Your industry will definitely have industry-specific directory pages. So don't forget to fill them out as well.
Filling out directory pages will give you links back to your website, but you will also set up ways to have your profile appear in search on those websites when your website doesn't.
These are just a few easy ways to get started link building. Start with these tools, and once you get started with HARO and your directory pages are set up, you can move on to more difficult tasks.
5. Look for broken links
One thing that can harm your website is broken links on your pages. If you post a lot of content, broken links can easily pass you by.
For example, you link to external posts to provide supporting information to your blog readers. Over time, the owners of the websites you link to can remove posts or damage those pages themselves.
If your content has a lot of broken links it can impact your SEO and lead to a poor user experience.
Fortunately, there are plenty of great tools out there that you can use to check for broken links and then correct them. Here are some options:
- SEMRush – This is a paid platform with a lot of bells and whistles. There are tons of great tools out there. So, if you want to go all-in on SEO, start here.
- Ahrefs – While Ahrefs has a great paid platform, they also offer a simple broken link checker for free. I highly recommend it.
- Dead Link Checker – This is another free tool. Just enter your url and the reviewer will scan your website and point out any broken link issues it finds.
Whichever tool you choose, you'll want to find broken links and either update them with links to new, relevant content, or unlink them. This helps keep your website clean and makes your website search faster.
Using this tactic can help you get a head start in your SEO efforts. While many SEO tactics are very time consuming and very challenging, these four tactics are a bit simpler and can bring you some quick profits.
And best of all, you don't have to be a skilled SEO veterinarian to perform this tactic. For example, anyone can set up a hosting provider. Usually your website will be converted to the new hosting by the hosting provider. So all you need to do is provide some credentials.
When looking at HARO, it can be extremely difficult to connect with reporters for high quality releases. HARO helps create a level playing field and gives you access to reporters in a much easier way.
So, assemble your team and figure out how best to use this tactic. If you stay consistent and focus on the end goal, these tactics can really give your website a search boost.
Anthony is the founder of AnthonyGaenzle.com, a marketing and business blog. He is also the director of marketing and business development for Granite Creative Group, a full-service marketing company. He is a storyteller, strategist, and eternal student of marketing and business strategy.