Actionable SEO Tips — The ones you might not think of

A few months ago I did a popular round up on SEO. This one is different.

That was a “why it’s important” and this one is more of a roll up your sleeves and do stuff article.

This one is a tips list of things most anyone can do that will improve your organic search results.

How many of you have ever wondered, “How do I get my site to rank?”

You and millions of others, me included, until I went to work on finding us some practical tips.

We have been asking the wrong question. Sites don’t rank, pages do.

This means that each page on our site or hanging out in inter-space waiting to capture leads, must have certain specific elements in order to be considered worthy of Google’s favor.

That means keywords, right? Yes and, the most important thing is relevant, valuable, content. All the well keyword-laden title tags and image alt tags in New Jersey alone will not get you good page rankings.

Oops, I’m throwing jargon around, aren’t I? It’s hard to escape in the world of online search optimization, so I’ve got a resource for you if you are going to take on optimizing your pages for search. It’s Moz’s SEO glossary.

Tip #1 — Make sure all of your content is well written, interesting to your audience, and stands out in a sea of same-old.

It should answer your prospects questions. You have to know how people are searching. If you are a business coach your people might ask, “How do I get to six figures?” or “I need leads for my business.”

These kinds of queries lend themselves to the most popular of all article formats, the tips or “How to” formats.

Tip #2 — Check out the competition for your keywords, the ones with the highest rankings.

Assess the look of the page as well as the content. What type of post is it? What can you borrow to improve an existing post of yours or the next one?

Next up is the user experience, or UX, of the page you want to rank for.

Tip #3 — Test your page speed with one of these free tools.

You’ll get a clear picture of what’s slowing it down so you can fix it. I am not an affiliate for any of these they just came up in my search. GTmetrix.com, SolarWinds Pingdom.

Before you do that you might want to read this article by Kinsta, a company that provides premium WP hosting, who says we are all doing speed tests wrong and how to get a more accurate one.

Tip #4 — Formatting matters

Ever get to a page that’s one big block of text in a small font or white font on a black background, or worse, on a purple one? This not only chases away visitors, it guarantees that you won’t be found for your keywords and phrases; there’s just too much clutter in the way of spidey doing his crawl thing.

Text size and color; did you know that Google recommends 16-point font and above to minimize the need for “pinching and zooming” on mobile?

Headlines are helpful for scanners, those who won’t read the whole thing but want to get the gist.

Bullets, paragraph breaks, and images or gifs: all of these elements matter not just to the reader but to Google’s bots.

Best practices for your page URLs.

You may not have given much thought to your pages URLs since you bought your domain name but this is an important and easy way to become more search engine friendly.

Tip # 5 — Review all of your page urls within these guidelines:

  • When organizing pages, be sure to nest appropriately.

    Rather than greg.com/chickens/wading pools, when I write an article about how hens can benefit from wading pools in hot weather I’d use greg.com/chickens/hot weather or /health; it makes more sense to the search engine, not to mention someone searching.
  • How many characters is too many? Shorter is preferred according to researchers, but having a descriptive url is more important than how long or short it is. Be as succinct as possible to get the point across.
  • Hyphens and underscores. According to Moz.com; “Not all web applications accurately interpret separators like underscores (_), plus signs (+), or spaces (%20). Search engines also do not understand how to separate words in URLs when they run together without a separator (example.com/optimizefeaturedsnippets/). Instead, use the hyphen character (-) to separate words in a URL.”

    Oh, and don’t make a URL case-sensitive.

Tip # 6 — HTTP vs HTTPS

Google recommends that all sites have a “secure” protocol; that’s what the s stands for in HTTPS. You may have hosting that automatically provides it or you may have to purchase an SSL — secure socket layer — and install it. I’ve had an issue getting this installed on my site for unknown reasons using Godaddy.

Since Google Chrome, as of July 2018, flags sites without it as “not secure” I’m upgrading my hosting to comply. “Not secure” sends the message that we are not trustworthy and that’s no way to start a relationship.

You are now armed with slew of ways to boost your organic search results, one page at a time. I used to think great copy was enough and paying for traffic was the best way to get people to my pages. I have seen the light.

Copy that connects, engages prospects, or answers their questions still has a leading role, but dressing it up and getting it ready for the big stage — Google’s first few pages — is just as important.

Go forth and rank!

Greg

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