SEO gets a bad reputation as being one of the hardest parts of marketing to succeed in.
We’re not going to say SEO is easy but we also don’t want you to think that boosting your SEO rankings is soooo far out of reach. When it comes to your SEO strategy, you can have a long-term, super complex strategy that’s going to land you as the first search result for a search term.
And, you can have a short-term SEO strategy that just helps boost your way up higher in the rankings. It doesn’t have to be overly complex and most of it can be done in a few hours of work.
We’re going to focus on the latter in this article and show you the small ways that you can boost your SEO rankings. These are all tasks that you can fit into a few hours of work and can make a big difference in the future.
Quick tip: Start using these tips on your new content so that you don’t have to go back and add them in later.
Here are 5 small ways to boost your SEO rankings.
#1: Structure Your Content For Readability
Part of a website page’s SEO ranking factor is page duration, a.k.a how long the visitor spent on that page. There are a few ways to make sure that visitors don’t bounce off of your page (we’ll talk about more of those later) but one of the top ways is to make your content reader friendly.
For example, you’ll notice in all of our DigitalMarketer articles that we have headers, bolded text, italicized text, emojis, images, and bullet points. Our goal is to make you want to read our content, not see a wall of text and run the other way.
Bold and italicize text to break up longer paragraphs of text or to highlight a particular sentence
Emojis to bring some color and familiarity to our content
Images as possible so you can see what we’re talking about instead of just reading about it
Bullet points to help show our point without adding unnecessary filler words
All of this helps our website visitors come to an article, sales page, or landing page and be able to skim it over to see if it’s the content they were looking for. If the answer is yes, they’ll stay awhile and read what we have to say.
On top of making our content easier to read for humans, it also helps out with the Google bots who determine SEO rankings. When we use keywords in our headers, we’re able to show Google that we’re talking about the keyword that we’re hoping to rank for. This shouldn’t be confused with stuffing your headers with your keywords, that will just make sure your content feels unnatural and salesy.
You can use how this article was structured as a blueprint for your own article. You can also take a look at our sales page and landing page to see how we’ve structured those to be human and Google bot friendly.
#2: Fix Your Broken Links
This may not sound like a huge deal but if your content is full of broken links that lead to 404 pages, your readers and Google are going to be disappointed in you.
On the reader side, if they want to click-through to read or watch another piece of content that you told them about and the links are regularly broken, you’re creating a bad user experience. For someone new to your brand and in the Engage Stage of the Customer Value Journey, they’re going to make a subconscious judgement that you may not be totally trustable.
At this stage, you want your leads to see you as someone that always follows through with their promises. 404 pages do not tell them that.
On the Google bot side, 404 pages are going to show them your website visitors are coming to your page and leaving immediately. That’s because each time a visitor sees a 404 page, they’re going to hop off that page in seconds. Since there’s no content for them there, they have no reason to stick around.
This tells Google that your website isn’t providing the value that a visitor had hoped for, and your credibility is going to go down. When your credibility decreases, Google favors the other websites with similar content that don’t have high bounce rates.
There are 2 types of broken backlinks that you want to fix:
Internal backlinks from one page of your website to another
Outbound backlinks from another website to your website
#3: Don’t Skip Out On Your Meta Description
While your meta description doesn’t have to do with your SEO ranking in terms of the content that you put into it—it does affect whether people click on your content or not. You can boost your SEO ranking by having a killer meta description that makes people feel like it’s IMPOSSIBLE not to click on your article.
Your meta description is the excerpt that goes underneath the title of your page or post on Google. For example, here’s the meta description for the website for our annual Traffic & Conversion Summit.
The meta description is the section below the title that reads, “The Premier Gathering of Digital Marketers on Planet Earth!”. The goal of this meta description is to create a curiosity in the person that searched for our summit to want to click and learn more. What does a premier gathering of digital marketers look like? Well, they have to click to find out.
A meta description can be for a landing or sales page of your website or it could be for a blog post. If you’re writing a meta description for a blog post, you want to make sure that you’re showing what the reader is going to learn and planting a seed of curiosity so they’re motivated to find out.
Attracting your ideal client doesn’t have to be mind-boggling. With the help of 1 tool, you’ll be able to successfully attract and convert your dream clients.
The title of the article and the first sentence in the meta description tells the reader they’re going to learn how to attract their ideal client and it’s not going to be as hard as they thought. The second sentence that mentions the “1 tool” plants a seed of curiosity that helps them choose our article over the one mentioned below it in the search results.
Use your meta description to grab extra attention and motivate searchers to choose your content over the others.
#4: Update Older Content and Republish
Efficiency is key for every part of your marketing strategy (from content, to SEO, to social). If you have blog posts on your website already, you don’t necessarily need to be writing brand new content on a regular basis. What about that post from a year ago that did kind of well but it’s pageviews are going lower and lower each month?
Instead of leaving it in blog post purgatory bring it back to the front lines.
You can run through old blog posts to see what you can add to them to update the information or to just make them better and then republish them under a new date. To be clear, you don’t even need to create a new post, you can just change the publish date of the post to be the date that you publish it again.
We do this regularly at DigitalMarketer with our long-form Everything You Need To Know About… articles. These are ultimate guides for content marketing, digital advertising, getting clients, etc. Since we’re in an industry where strategies change pretty fast, we keep updating them to be valuable for the current moment.
By updating our Everything You Need To Know guides with strategies working right now, we’re making them super valuable to our readers (they’re a one stop shop for all you need to know on that topic).
And by republishing them we’re showing Google that this fresh new info—not stale old content from 1+ years ago.
#5: Prioritize Your Content
What happens when you read an interesting headline, click the link to read more of the article and are immediately bombarded with a drop down ad, an ad on the side of the content, ads spread out every few paragraphs of the article, and an ad coming up from the bottom of the page?
We rarely think, “Wow, this is a great experience!” We barely even bat an eye before we click back on our web browser.
That website owner can say goodbye to page duration and hello to an increased bounce rate.
While it’s extremelyyyy tempting to put pop-ups, Google ads, or ads for your own products all over your website, it’s a dangerous SEO game to play. You’ll end up losing more than your gaining and that loss surpasses your SEO ranking.
The high bounce rate will have a negative effect on your ranking, but it will also have a negative effect on how website visitors view your brand. If they know that you’re going to bombard them with ads when they’re just trying to read an article, how are they going to feel comfortable giving you their credit card?
When you’re focused on your SEO strategy, you’re usually focused on the first 3-4 stages of the Customer Value Journey. You’re focused on getting people to subscribe or even convert on your tripwire. But if somebody feels like your website page is a digital billboard, they’re not going to think the emails you send them are going to be much different.
They’ll worry that you’re just trying to get the sale, not actually help them solve their problem.
Guess what that does to your click-through rate. Yep, you guessed it.
Always prioritize your content first so you’re building a trustworthy relationship with your new website visitor. This increases your page duration (and SEO ranking) and your chances of turning that visitor into a lead.
As promised, these are all fast ways that you can improve your SEO ranking—without having to spend hours and hours (or dollars and dollars) on getting the results you want.
And remember, these aren’t just tips that you can use on your current website. You can also use them when creating all of your future content so that you’re being the most efficient SEO marketer possible.