Stop Saying You Don’t Have Time for SEO: 15 Things You Can Do in Under an Hour
Most people relate SEO to a tedious task that is both mentally challenging and physically exhausting. Sure, it can be difficult, but if you understand the fundamentals of search engine optimization you can run a campaign without much headache.
There are three main parts of SEO: on-page, off-page and technical. On-page refers to things like URL structure, page titles and content. Off-page is links and mentions, while technical refers to things like website speed, broken internal links and re-directs.
Sure, some things can be a pain in the rear, like fixing technical issues, but there are plenty of things you can address quickly, which will help improve your SEO. When you do enough of these “little” things it has a nice impact on the overall results.
In order to help you fine tune the smaller, yet important parts of the SEO success puzzle, I put together a list of fifteen things you can do that will take you an hour or less.
1. Make sure your internal linking is strong.
Internal linking is something that many websites fail to practice, and they miss out on two key benefits. Number one, it can help you keep your visitors on your website longer, by linking to other resources and pages on your website. The longer you keep them on your website, the greater the chance of them converting into something useful, whether that’s a lead submit form or an actual purchase.
There is also a strong SEO benefit, as websites that are linked together internally tell Google that there is a lot of value to be found on your website. Thin pages that don’t have any internal (or external) links appear to be weak and of lesser value in Google’s eyes. If you use WordPress you can use the search function when linking to identify suitable pages within your website to link to.
2. Improve your website’s speed and load time.
If your website loads slow you are in trouble for a couple reasons. First, Google doesn’t like slow websites and load time is something their algorithm takes into consideration. Their goal is to provide their users with the best options in the search results. Sending someone to a website that loads slowly isn’t exactly the best user experience.
Second, if people do land on your website and it loads slowly they will click the back button, causing your bounce rate to skyrocket and your average time spent on site to plummet. There are plenty of online tools to audit your speed, but Google’s PageSpeed test is solid and GTmetrix gives you plenty of feedback in regards to what you need to fix and how to do it.
3. Boost up all of your Google page #2 results.
This is the easiest way to really watch your incoming traffic numbers jump up. Use SEMRush and get a list of all the keywords you rank for. Then, collate them and identify everything that’s in position #11 through #20.
This is the low hanging fruit that you can quickly push to page #1 and the number of eyeballs that will see your website in the SERPs will be much greater. You can often shoot these pages up quickly by improving some on-page elements and firing one or two high quality links at the page. This is something you should do every month, as new content will start to rank if you are constantly publishing on your blog.
4. Audit and optimize all of your directory listings.
Many people spend time and money to secure local business directory listings, but then ignore them. You can use services like Yext or Moz Local to manage your listings. It’s a good idea to constantly check them to make sure information is correct and uniform across each listing.
If your website represents a local business, the information in these listings plays a huge role in how you appear in the SERPs. If there are listings with different information Google will assume it’s not accurate or that maybe your business has moved or even went out of business. Again, they want to deliver the most accurate information to their users, so take the steps to insure that all of your directory listings are 100% correct.
5. Reply to HARO queries 3X daily.
Using Help a Reporter Out is an easy way to get high quality authority links for your website, but most website owners never take advantage of this because they are lazy. HARO sends out a list of queries three times a day, and you have to reply right away, with a relevant and well thought out reply in order to stand a chance of being quoted as a source.
As soon as you receive the email, stop what you are doing and read through the opportunities. If there is one that is a good fit for your business and expertise, respond right away. Some days you won’t have any opportunities and you will spend 5 minutes reading. Other days you will reply to several queries. If you are consistent, you will start to earn a lot of high quality links that help your domain authority and SERP results.
6. Identify link opportunities via Google search.
The majority of high quality links are acquired through relationships. The link sellers have built up relationships and leverage them in order to get your website linked on the popular websites, and if you are attempting to secure links on your own, the same theory applies.
So, if your budget is limited and you can’t afford to hire an SEO agency to build links, you will want to start harvesting some relationships. Use Google search to search out some of your top keywords and see what authority websites pop up. Then, find out who is writing the content related to your niche and start to make introductions. Simply offering to be an information source will get your foot in the door. Spend an hour doing this now and then and watch how many new contacts you make than can open the door to valuable links.
7. Set up a Google My Business profile.
I’m shocked at how many websites don’t have a Google My Business profile set up, or they have an incomplete one. When Google is looking for signals that your website is trustworthy, don’t you think they are going to look at their own directory to see if your website is listed? You would be a fool to think they don’t weigh their own directory heavier than others, when it comes to their algorithm.
Even if you think uploading several images is a waste of time, do it. If you are having trouble writing content to describe your business, hire someone to do it. If your website represents an offline business, there is no reason to ignore this simple task. It’s the top directory listing you can secure.
8. Set up a Bing Places profile.
Just like with Google above, Bing’s Places is a listing that no local business should avoid. It plays an important role in Bing’s local results, and also gives you a citation that will help your position in the other search engines as well. This is a no-brainer. If your website represents a real business, these listings take mere minutes to set up.
9. Audit and fix your website’s mobile friendliness.
It doesn’t matter if you are using a pre-made website theme or had a custom design done, there is a good chance that not all of your pages are mobile-friendly. When most people run a mobile-friendliness test they run the homepage through the test and assume they are fine if they receive a passing score.
You need to manually check every page, because there is a good chance that you have some contact forms or other page elements that will not pass. The most common offenders I see are contact pages and checkout pages, which are the most important when it comes to mobile user experience!
There are a lot of sloppy developers out there and low cost themes that weren’t made 100% responsive. Take the time to check each page and then made code changes to get all pages mobile-friendly.
10. Set up Google Search Console and activate its features.
I’m so sick of hearing “experts” advise business owners to avoid Google products, like Analytics and Search Console because they will use them to spy on websites. With millions of websites out there and thousands more going live every day, Google doesn’t have time to look into what you are doing.
Avoiding these products puts you at a severe disadvantage. When it comes to Search Console, it shows you what pages are indexed and also what search terms are causing your website to show up in the SERPs. Set this up, link your website, and then make it a point to visit its dashboard weekly to see if there are any technical issues as well as new keywords you should be targeting.
11. Re-write content to ensure all of your blog posts are long-form.
Google loves content that provides value and has some meat to it. Years ago, most websites used 500 word posts that were over optimized with high keyword density. If you still have old content like this that’s indexed on your website you will want to re-write it to the standards of today, which is long-form.
You can easily re-write a couple blog posts in under and hour, and once you complete a re-write you will want to re-submit the URL through Google Search Console. The goal is to get Google to crawl the content again and discover that it now provides more value to the visitor.
12. Re-write page titles to be effective for both SEO and click-through-rate.
If your page titles don’t include your target keyword, then you will want to re-write them, but you want to make sure they don’t sound spammy. Remember, the title is what draws attention to your website in the SERPs. A title that contains the keyword that triggered the result is important, but so is one that commands attention.
The more people that click-through to your website, the better your website will rank. Think about it for a minute. If you are in position five and your listing is receiving 80% of the clicks, Google is going to assume that your content is more relevant, and reward you with a higher position in the results. In order to get more clicks, write titles that entice the user to visit your website over the other options.
13. Remove or replace broken links.
Broken links within your website tell Google that something is wrong. If a website isn’t structurally sound, that could mean the business is shut down or not a trustworthy source of information. There could be broken links on your website that you don’t know about, especially if you link out to sources.
Run your website through Screaming Frog’s broken link checker and fix any problems that the report details. If it’s an internal issue find out what the problem is and correct the URL. If an external link is broken find a replacement resource to link out to.
14. Re-write your page descriptions using ideas from PPC ads.
Just like the page titles help to attract clicks in the SERPs, your page descriptions play a major role. They have no impact in Google’s algorithm, but they do play a role in improving click-through rates, which do help you rank higher.
If you are using WordPress, consider installing the Yoast SEO plugin, which allows you to quickly change your descriptions without any coding experience.
15. Fix your URL structure to target page-level keywords.
This is something very simple, but a lot of websites, especially if a web design company without any SEO knowledge was hired, forget to address. URL’s that contain dates or random numbers give you zero SEO benefit. Change them to reflect your target keyword for each particular page. After any change is made, run the URL though Google Search Console to have it re-crawled. If you do this with all of your pages it will almost instantly increase your traffic numbers.
There are so many different components when it comes to SEO, and the websites that diversify and attempt to tie everything together will always outperform those that only focus on one component, like building links. Yes, links are important and the number one ranking signal, but you have to give attention to all of the different factors if you really want to increase your organic visibility.
These simple fifteen tasks laid out in this post can all be accomplished in an hour or less, often times in far less time. You don’t have to have a lot of technical SEO knowledge to attack this list, so get started now and watch your rankings improve when you pay attention to the little things, outside of just building links.
If you have any questions or want to add anything, please drop your feedback in the comments below. I will always try to respond as quickly as possible. Thanks for reading!