It’s no secret that ranking on the first page of Google and other major search engines delivers the highest quality traffic to websites. It’s also no secret that companies spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on SEO services to get and maintain the #1 spot on search engines.
In order to compete without spending thousands of dollars on advertising, you need to make sure the foundation to your website is solid. Implementing these 5 simple SEO hacks today will help you build that solid foundation which will get your website to rank higher in search results.
SEO Title Tag
The title tag is the most important SEO ranking factor search engines take into consideration. This tag is the first tag search engine spiders see and index. It is also the clickable link on search results pages that users click on to access your website.
Research is required when deciding on a title tag for every web page on your website. Unless you have a paid service for keyword research, try using Google’s Keyword Planner and Google Trends to research your audiences search behavior.
Google Keyword Planner
The 2 key components to look at when using Google’s Keyword Planner is the average monthly searches and the competition. Average monthly searches are just that. Google gives you an estimate of how many times keywords are searched on a monthly basis.
Competition tells you how difficult it will be to rank on the first page for that particular keyword. Look for keywords that are low to medium in competition and have a lot of monthly searches.
The key to finding a great keyword that you can rank for is to find 10 to 15 keywords that are high in monthly search and have a low to medium competition. Once these keywords have been located, head over to Google Trends for further details about the keywords.
Google Trends is a great tool that can help you uncover keywords your competition may be missing out on. With your list of 10 to 15 keywords from Google’s Keyword Planner, paste each keyword into Google Trends. Google Trends will show you how that keyword is trending and related keywords that you may want to look into. Google Trends allows you to see how a keyword is trending on a day by day basis or you can see the keywords trend all the way back to the beginning of search.
The description tag is the snippet of text searchers see under the title tag on search results. Some experts say this tag doesn’t directly impact rankings but they are wrong! Your description tag is what entices searchers to click on your listing. The higher your click through rate, the higher your website will rank in search results. Therefore, description tags do directly impact your ranking.
When writing your description tag, think of it as sales copy. You want the description tag to entice searchers to click on your listing when it appears in search results.
The best way to come up with the best description tags for your page is to Google the keyword you want that page to rank for. When the search results appear, pay close attention to the ads that are displaying.
Companies spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on ads and they spend just as much on research. Top performing ads use specific keywords in their description tags because data shows these keywords increase click through rates.
Study the top ad results and look for trends. Incorporate what other businesses spend thousands of dollars in research on into your pages description and watch click through rates increase.
Schema markup is the latest advancement in search engine optimization. Schema markup, also referred to as rich snippets, allows you to add coding to web pages to give search engines a more in depth understanding of each page.
When done correctly, extra information such as events, ratings, and products show up on search engine results pages. Below are some examples of schema markup at work…
Rich Snippet Ratings
Rich Snippet Events
Adding schema markup to your website is a little bit techy but you should be able to manage. The first thing to do is head over to Google’s Structured Data Markup Helper. Once there, you will need to determine what it is you want to markup. Currently there are 10 choices including local business, event and product.
Once you have decided what type of markup to add, simply input the url of the web page you want to markup and click the “start tagging” button. From there, simply highlight the content you want to tag and tag it with Google’s custom tag codes.
Rich Snippet JSON CodeOnce you are finished tagging your page, click the “create html” button. Google will supply with the html code in microdata form by default. Click the drop down button at the top of the page and switch to JSON-LD and copy the code.
Now, all that is left is pasting the JSON-LD code into the header of the web page. For my WordPress users, I recommend downloading the “Per Page Head” plugin. This plugin allows you to add custom code to the header of each individual web page.
After you have entered the code into the header, head on over to Google’s Structured Data Testing Tool. Paste the url of the web page you just finished marking up to test for errors. If no errors appear you are good. If errors do appear, head back to the Structure Data Markup Helper and make changes until it is error free.
Online reviews play a large role in consumer confidence and should be part of your SEO strategy. Therefore, you need a system in place that systematically gets reviews from your customers for you.
Online Reputation Management Review System
One way to get reviews is to use our Online Reputation Management System. The review management part of the system is basically a landing page you direct your customers to where they review your business. Customers who rate your business 1 to 3 stars are asked to fill out a form that is emailed directly to you. Customers who rate your business 4 or 5 stars are provided with links to review sites like Google and Facebook to leave a public review.
Requesting reviews is so simple and so effective yet many businesses overlook this step as part of their SEO process. Just to give you some insight, nearly 70% of consumers would review a business if the business asked them to. Furthermore, a 1 star improvement in a business’s rating can improve online ROI by up to 9 percent.
On top of a good reputation good reviews can give a business, they also provide search engines with user generated content. Search engines are always on the look out for user generated content and tend to give them more weight than say a blog post written by a business.
User generated content also gives businesses great insight into their customers. A business can learn new things from user generate content such as keywords they are using to describe their product. It can also help you come up with new content ideas for your blog post that consumers will be able to relate to.
Google Search Console
Google Search Console is a free must have tool from Google that every website owner needs to connect to their website. This tool provides access to track both the indexing and crawling stats from Googlebot. It also provides metrics to help optimize a website for organic visibility. This SEO tool is useful to monitor metrics and discover new insights to help increase your organic footprint.
Setting up the Google Search Console takes a few clicks of the mouse. Once you are logged in, simply click the “add a property” button and enter the website url you want to track. From there, you will be taken to a verification page. If you have Google Analytics installed on your website you can verify your website by connecting it with your Analytics account. If not, you will need to copy and paste some code into your website for verification.
There are so many tools in the search console that I could go on for days. However, I am just going to cover a couple of topics that I think are the most important in Google Search Console.
The first section I monitor is the Search Analytics under the Search Traffic tab. This section gives you insight into what keywords consumers are searching and where your website appears in the search results. Once you start collecting data, you can even compare your data on a week over week basis, 30 day over 30 day basis or use custom dates. This tool is great to see how your SEO efforts are doing and for locating long tail keywords for content curation.
Google Search Console Search Analytics
In the Search Analytics section you can also break down your data by region, device and type of search. Furthermore, if you want to see what pages are ranking in search results you can do that to.
Google Search Console Googlebot Crawler
The next tool to familiarize yourself with is the “Fetch as Googlebot” tab under the “Crawl” tab. This tool allows you to send Googlebot to a page on your website. Once Googlebot has read your website, you can click on the url in the report to see how Googlebot reads your website. Using this insight, you can make the necessary changes on your website to improve your SEO rankings.
Once you are happy with how Googlebot reads your web page, you can request Google to index your web page. We use this feature every time we create a new page or publish a new blog post. Requesting Google to index your website will help your new page or post show up in search results in Google faster than waiting for Googlebot to come back to your website organically.
SEO is an ongoing process that requires a lot of attention if you want to rank on the first page of search engines. The 5 SEO hacks above are key components to building a strong foundation to build on. Mastering the ideology and tools above will start you on your way to achieving hundreds if not thousands of organic visits to your website for years to come.