Whether your website is new or been around for awhile, it needs SEO (search engine optimization). Looking for an SEO to work on your website can be a challenge, just wading through all the different types of SEO is a bit nightmarish.
Then you have to look at the service offerings and attempt to decipher if they are appropriate for your website and if they will give you the types of results you need for your business.
Before you hire someone, here are twelve actions you can take on your own to improve your site. These actions do not require a lot of technical knowledge. At the very least, you will need to be able to access the backend of you website to complete all of these tasks.
1. Claim and Optimize Your Google My Business
Your Google My Business listing tells Google and people searching for your business all the essential information about your business. For most businesses, the GMB listing is the hub for appearing in the local pack on Google search engine results pages.
Photography is an easy way to let people experience your business without making a commitment to calling or visiting.
Business and Holiday Hours
Keep your business hours up to date on GMB to build trust with your customers. Seeing that you are off on a holiday or have reduced hours due to COVID-19, will give people searching for your business confidence in contacting you.
Use the Post feature
For most businesses (not hotels for some reason) Google allows you to post and link to information. This is a great way to showcase new products and services or new initiatives. Think of it as a way of directly communicating with a potential customer who wants to do business with you. What kind of incentive can you offer them? What kind of assurance can you provide that you are the right choice?
2. Set up a Facebook Page for Your Business
Easy to set-up, a Facebook Page is another easy backlink to your website that Google expects legitimate businesses to have. This is another place to engage with potential customers and existing customers. Facebook is a social media channel that once activated needs to be kept active (weekly postings at least) or else it gives the appearance of being abandoned.
Setting up a Facebook Page for your business is simple if you follow Facebook’s directions.
3. Set up a Twitter Profile
Twitter is another key social media channel, but it isn’t right for every business. Due to the ephemeral nature of tweets, keeping the Twitter channel active requires more content and more effort. A Twitter profile should be claimed for your business but if you will not be able to keep it active, then a pinned tweet should be created directing visitors to the social media platforms you are actively using.
Publish Your Content, Share Other’s Content, and Engage with Your Community
Don’t fill your Twitter feed with tweets promoting your own website and business. Share articles related to your industry, related to your community, and engage with your followers. Show you are listening and not just expecting to be listened to.
4. Set up Your Business on Linkedin
LinkedIn is another easy to set up page for your business that helps build legitimacy and trust. It is also another great backlink to your website. Take the
Publish Blog Posts
The simplest way to use your LinkedIn business page is to publish your blog content to get it in front of more people. No one expects (or wants) a firehose of content on LinkedIn so if you aren’t aggressively publishing content, then LinkedIn still has value to you. You don’t need much to keep it active.
5. Use Google Analytics
There are many good reasons not to use Google Analytics as your analytics provider, but unless you have one of those good reasons, then you should by using Google Analytics. It is easy to put onto your website. With it, you begin to get insight on how people are arriving at your site and what they are doing while one your site.
6. Set Up Google Search Console
The companion piece to Google Analytics is Google Search Console. Setting up Google Search Console after you put Google Analytics on your site means you will get valuable performance information. What are people searching for that brings your site up? How are your pages ranking in organic search? Does your site have any errors or malware? Google Search Console provides all of this as well as some practical tools, like submitting new content to Google to be indexed.
7. Set Up Bing Webmaster Tools
Nobody uses Bing! Well, that is sort of true, but Bing is still a search engine and in some cases, it can send your site traffic that Google isn’t. Bing Webmaster Tools have gone through some different changes, but it is now super easy to set up. Bing Webmaster Tools allows you to import your Google Search Console site. Now you get some additional data to help improve your optimization.
8. Map Keyword Topics to Page
Every page on your website needs to be devoted to a specific topic. That topic has different search queries related to it. Mapping these keywords to your webpages will help keep your content focused. If you have a page all about the history of bagels and then you want to add information to your site about the history of muffins, you know that appending it to the bagels page probably isn’t the best place for it.
That may be a weak analogy, but the point is if the purpose of the page is about one thing, keep it about that one thing. Keep the pages as specific as they need to be. If the page is about breakfast pastries, then go ahead and add muffin information to it.
Once each page has a topic you will also be able to determine the purpose of the page. What role does the page have in the sales process for your business? Now you have an expectation for that page. Should it be converting people into customers or is it an informational page, helping guide them in the purchase decision?
9. Internal Linking
Links are powerful. Links from other high authority sites to yours improves your site’s authority. Internal links, links from one of the site’s pages to another page on the site is also important in helping Google figure out which pages on your site are authoritative.
Take the really weak breakfast food analogy I mentioned above. If I have a page about bagels and I mention their doughnut shape I am confusing Google. Is this page relevant about doughnuts? If I have another page on the site that is about doughnuts, linking doughnuts on the bagel page to the doughnut page will tell Google you don’t expect this page to be relevant to doughnuts.
The anchor text of the internal link let’s Google understand how your site values each page. Every time you are linking to another page on your site, choose that anchor text carefully. Make sure it reinforces the topic of the page you are linking to and does not diminish the authority of the page it is on. If the page is about bagels and your internal anchor text link is also bagels, then you are telling Google there is another page on your site you think is more relevant to the topic of bagels.
When you add new content to your site, one of the decisions you get to make is what the URL of the page is. Ideally, you want the URL to contain the keywords related to the topic of the page.
Literally as simple as that with one catch. You want the URL to be as short as possible. Learn more about great URL structure from this Moz article.
One of the best ways of making sure Google and other search engines understand the content on your website is by using sitemap.xml. If you have a small site (under 500 pages) you can use a free sitemap builder like https://www.xml-sitemaps.com/.
Once your sitemap is built, you can load it onto your site and then submit it to Google using Google’s Search Console.
12. Index optimization
In Google, type site:yourwebsiteurl and hit enter. This will bring up every page of your website that is in Google’s index.
Use a tool like Screaming Frog to crawl your site and get a list of every page on your site.
Now compare the two. On larger sites, it is possible to have pages that don’t get indexed. Locate any page that isn’t in Google’s index and determine if it should be. Sometimes you don’t want a page to be searchable so it is okay if it isn’t in the index. Most of the time, though, you want every piece of content on your site to be indexed in order to maximize your site’s exposure in search.
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