With an entire industry thriving on search engine optimization (SEO), it’s easy to assume you need to be a veteran to effect change.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
Here are seven SEO tricks that you can implement on your site to improve your traffic and your search engine ranking – all without a lick of code.
1. Add alt text to your images
You know when you hover over an image and a little grey box comes up? That’s the alt text.
Change that so it’s descriptive of the image.
For example, if you have a picture of fruit in a basket, change the alt text to be ‘fruit in basket’.
The whole point of SEO is to make it easy for search engines to know what your site is all about. And to do that, you need to make it easy for site crawlers to know what your site is all about.
Unfortunately, site crawlers can’t see, so they rely on image file alt texts to know what a picture actually contains.
Often, this will default to a senseless string of letters and numbers, like when you download an image from Flickr.
Changing it to reflect what the picture actually is helps crawlers understand the webpage they’re crawling.
Bonus: This is a great way to make your site more accessible to visually impaired users.
2. Use an XML Sitemap
XML sitemaps are files that map out your entire site for web crawlers. It gives them a map of your site, rather than trying to find stuff on their own.
It’s like having a map to a new city to find stuff, as opposed to finding stuff by trial and error.
You should submit your XML sitemap to Google (and Bing) via Webmaster Tools, and keep it updated. It means your site is indexed and crawled properly. Most CMS platforms will update it for you automatically.
3. Remember long tail keywords
Long tail keywords are searches that are 7+ words long. So a keyword/phrase might be:
Development Shop Toronto.
A long tail keyword might be:
Development shop for custom app development in Toronto
We tend to zero in on short keywords both when we’re optimizing our site and when we’re buying search ads. That’s because the search volume for short keywords is much higher.
For example, you might bid 30% of your search ad budget on a critical keyword.
Here’s the thing, though: people don’t search just one or two words. People search in complete sentences and phrases.
Granted, long tail keywords are harder to optimize for because they have lower search volume for each one. But they also have higher conversion rates, because each hit is going to be closer to what someone is looking for.
For example, imagine you’re trying to find a gluten free snack for your kids that you can make quickly. If you Google ‘gluten-free snacks’ you’ll get lots of results, but most of them won’t be what you’re looking for. This results in a low conversion rate.
However, if you then Google ‘quick and easy gluten-free snacks for kids’ you’re much more likely to find exactly what you’re after.
Long tail keywords convert more because they lead to more precise results.
4. Produce longer content
Longer content tends to rank better. While this is confounded by a couple different factors (you can read all about it right here) it’s still worth writing 2,000+ words per page.
Longer blog posts are an easy and effective way to do this.
One caveat though: longer content is correlative – not causal – to better rankings. You’re not immediately going to be better positioned just because you wrote more.
Longer content also tends to be:
- More useful
- Generate more engagement
- Get more backlinks
So while Google crawlers are going to like your longer content, it’s not the only thing you have to do.
What we’re saying is: please don’t take a 100-word idea and mangle it into a 2,000 word post. If you’re going to write 2,000 words, you need to write 2,000 interesting words.
5. Guest blog
Google ranks websites based on credibility. And while there are many factors in their credibility ranking, a major one is how many sites link back to yours.
The more sites that link back to you and the more authoritative those sites are, then the more Google thinks that your site is a credible source.
These are called backlinks.
This is also where link farming comes from – paying sites to link to your own.
Unfortunately, you generally end up with about a thousand low-quality links and get punished by Google.The legitimate way to get high quality backlinks is to guest blog.
Writing and posting on other blogs gives you a chance to link back to your own site in references. You can also link back to your own site in the tagline.
For example, we may contribute a guest article to a web design blog and include in our byline, ‘written by Enginess, a digital consultancy in Toronto.’
Using Enginess, Digital Consultancy, and Toronto in the anchor text, we’ve now built quality backlinks.
Google is going to think that we’re an authority on digital shops in Toronto, and rank us higher because of it. (which we are, by the way).
6. Diversify your anchor text
Anchor text is the text that you link to go to another site. For example, if we are linking Enginess to enginess.io, then ‘Enginess’ is the anchor text for that link.
The reasons that you want to try and diversify your links are:
- Google will penalize you if you use the same thing again and again.
- It’s much more natural
For example, Backlinko looked at their own links and found that 66% of them were random stuff. The rest were the brand name, author, and the URL itself.
You’ll want to diversify in the same way.
Now, obviously you don’t have a lot of control over what people use as their anchor text when they link your site. But if you write a guest post, you’re asked to be used as a reference, or you have any say at all, then specify what you need based on your backlink profile.
7. Keep your tags consistent and simple
You need to ensure you keep your tags consistent within each page so that each page is targeting a specific keyword.
When we talk about tags, we’re talking about:
- Title tags
- Meta descriptions
- H1 and H2 header tags
For each page, these should be focused on one of your keywords or key phrases. In an effort to optimise, webmasters can often load their tags with all sorts of keywords.
However, while this might help you in the short term, your conversion rate for that page is going to plummet; since there’s no way that you’re relevant to the wide range of terms you’re tagging.
Instead, focus your tags on one or two keywords. It’s simpler, it looks better to the user, and it’s going to ensure that you rank well for whatever you’re actually talking about.
To wrap up…
- Use alt text for all your images.
- Submit your XML sitemap to Google webmaster Tools, and keep it up to date.
- Optimize for your long tail keywords.
- Produce and post longer content.
- Guest blog…
- … and control your anchor text when you do.
- Keep all your tags consistent.
There are, of course, a million and one SEO tricks and tips that you can implement. These are just seven things you can do to improve your SEO.
It will make your site as friendly as possible for both crawlers and people, which is certain to help your bottom line.