Before I discuss the main topic of SEO tips and tricks let me first explain why SEO is important for your website.
Table of Contents
How SEO helps your business
Optimising your site for search will attract more visitors and will generate more business leads for you.
So how will SEO improve your site?
An SEO optimised website ensures that your content is targeted to problems that your potential customers have. By writing articles that solve problems for your prospective customers you increase the chance you can convert them into paying customers.
Today search engines are used daily by almost everyone, young and old. Consumers use search engines for pre-purchase research, product/service comparison and detailed specifications. Visibility for your business online among your potential customers requires that they can find your website, otherwise, they will not be aware you exist.
SEO is a vital tool for any business that has a website.
Search Engine Ranking
Many factors are taken into account when Google and other search engines rank a page. Google uses over 200 “signals” to determine your ranking position.
Google will display the most relevant search results on the first page. Most users will not bother looking at results beyond the first page so it is important for your business to rank as highly as possible to attract visitors to your site.
The fundamentals of SEO are:
• Fast, the faster the better, but try for 5 seconds or less (user attention starts to run out after just 2 seconds but it can be hard to achieve that when you are loading Facebook tracking pixels, google ads, analytics scripts as well as your web page scripts and images)
• Mobile Friendly, it’s essential that websites display properly on mobile devices. Otherwise, you will not succeed in attracting new clients that access your website using a mobile device. • Easy to navigate website, it should be easy to access all the content on your website without having to descend too deeply through menus and pages. There should not be any broken links on your website.
• Social Media Integration, make your content easy to share so your visitors can help promote your content. Include links to your own social media accounts on your website.
SEO Tips and Tricks
- Write high quality original content
- Write frequently
- Choose your keywords wisely
- Ensure keywords are used throughout the article
- Internal Links
- Anchor Text
- Broken Links
- Duplicate Content
- Image Alt tags
- Image URL
- Headers (H1, H2, H3)
- Word Count
- Have a chosen keyword in your domain for a big SEO boost
- Do outreach so other websites will link to your articles
- Use a table of contents (like this one!)
- Check the spelling and grammar
- Create a sitemap
- Redirect old, broken links to the most relevant page on your website
- Take time to write a high quality meta description
- Keep your content up to date
- Use images
- Don’t use Flash
- Link to other sites
- Short paragraphs
- The faster your website the better
- Mobile Friendly Design
- Social media sharing buttons
Write high quality original content <– most important tip!
The most important task is to write new content that provides original information to a visitor. Copying or duplicating other content from other websites does not work. Google can detect duplicate content and will penalise your article.
Please remember to rank highly in Google (and other search engines) write FRESH and ORIGINAL content.
Writing more content means Google will index more content from your website. Each page gives you a chance to receive search traffic.
Your website visitors frequently do research on a product or service online first, before contacting you. The more content you have available online the more likely you will get visitors who are considering purchasing from you.
Each page on your website should be about a specific topic or subject and should not conflict with other pages you have on your website
Choose your keywords wisely
Focus your articles on keywords typed into Google and other search engines. You shouldn’t go for the obvious keywords because they are highly competitive and you will find it nearly impossible to rank for them.
Target low competition keywords – they are easier to rank for.
In addition, highly competitive keywords will attract many ads which means organic search results will appear half way down the page and not even visible on mobile devices unless the user scrolls the page.
Google continues to add more widgets to it’s search results pages making it harder for your to get clicks to your website.
Prefer targeting keywords with fewer of these Google widgets. Keyword discovery tools will show you what features or widgets or present for each keyword phrase.
Ensure keywords are used throughout the article
Keywords should not only appear in the title, they should appear in other places on the page as well. Here are the main places you want to add keywords too:
- Title (H1)
- URL (the link for your article)
- Subheaders (H2 and H3)
- Body of the article (the plain text in your article)
- Alt tags for images
- Meta description
Don’t stuff the article with keywords it will be detected by Google and will make your articles less readable (and less shareable).
Use keyword variations and synonyms so your article can rank for related keyword searches.
The title length should not be more than 60 characters (otherwise it will appear truncated in the search engine results page).
It should include the keywords you are trying to rank for. Be careful that the title is natural and you haven’t just inserted the keywords in the title.
Try to make your title as catchy as possible. Spend plenty of time on the title – it’s important, here are some tips to help you:
SEO plugins will help you with your headlines (All in One SEO review)
Internal links are links within the article to other pages on the same website. They make it easy for visitors to navigate around your website. Internal links are a powerful way to keep your visitors on your website and inform Google how your content is related to each other.
Use one of your high performing pages and link to other content on your website you want to get more traffic to. Of course, the link needs to be relevant.
Anchor text is the text that is underlined and clickable when you see links (internal or external). There are several different types of anchor text when linking to other pages and it’s recommended to vary your anchor text types to avoid your links appearing spammy or malicious.
When linking to other content, use clear and accurate text. Avoid over-optimizing anchor text with keywords, as it can cause penalties from Google. Simply use a natural description that summarizes the content you link to.
Ensure your content doesn’t include any broken links, by broken I mean links that are invalid or no longer work. You can get plugins for your browser to quickly scan every link on the page. If you find any broken links then either remove or correct them. You can use a chrome extension to easily check for broken links on your page, I use Check My Links:
This is the web page link you see in the browser address bar. Use a descriptive url that contains the keywords you are trying to rank for. Words should be separated by hyphens (-) not underscores (_).
Google detects duplicate content and it can negatively impact your rankings. It’s fine to use a few words or phrases from other sites if you are quoting, but your content should be original whenever possible.
Image Alt tags
What is an alt tag?
An alt tag describes the appearance of an image and is used for people who are visually impaired and use a screen reader. The alt tag description will be displayed if the image cannot be loaded for some reason. It also helps Google understand the image and is used to help properly index the image. For more on alt tags you can read this explainer: What is an alt tag?
All images should have an alt tag which describes the image. Your images will be indexed by Google and can result in more traffic to your website so you benefit directly from ensuing your images are properly described.
It’s easy to forget to add alt tags so it’s worth running web audits on your website frequently to catch missing alt tags.
The image URL should be descriptive, like the article URL. Use words and separate with hyphens. The url should describe the image.
When uploading images to your website, rename the image files with descriptive text using hyphens (-) to separate words
Headers (H1, H2, H3)
HTML defines six headers (H1, H2, H3, H4, H5, H6) to help provide structure to the document. For SEO purposes only the first three headers are useful.
Word count should be at least 300-400 words. Otherwise, Google considers the article to be low quality.
Ideally, to rank highly on the first page of Google, the word count should be 1500 to 2500 words. Google prefers more in-depth comprehensive articles.
Note, you don’t always have to write long form content for each article. It depends on the topic you are writing about.
Write a ‘How to Guide’ on a subject you are an expert on
Have a chosen keyword in your domain for a big SEO boost
Do outreach so other websites will link to your articles
Google considers external links to your articles as a vote of confidence in the quality of your article. The more links you receive, the higher you can rank in the search results. The most effective way to get backlinks is to reach out by email to other websites to ask them to link to your article if it is relevant to them and provides high-quality content that will be useful to their readers.
Use a table of contents
After the first paragraph of text on the page, include a table of contents that links to all the subheadings. This allows readers to quickly skim the subsections and jump to a particular section they are most interested in.
Check the spelling and grammar
You don’t look professional if you content contains spelling mistakes or bad grammar. Ensure you have thoroughly checked your content before publishing it. Tools such as Grammarly can help you with your grammar and spelling.
More recently AI tools are becoming available and can be used for grammar and spell checking. If you are interested in using ChatGPT and other AI tools for creating and editing content here are some related articles:
Articles on AI
Boost Your Creativity with These Advanced ChatGPT Prompting Techniques
ChatGPT prompts for Copywriters
How do you chat with GPT 3 online?
Create a sitemap
A sitemap provides a list of the content on your website that search engines can use to crawl your site. It’s not essential as search engines can find your content by following each link starting from your home page. However, some content may not be linked to from other pages so will not be visible to a search engine (unless an external website links to the content).
Your sitemap can be uploaded here: Google Search Console (first verify your website with Google to upload a sitemap).
Submit your sitemap to Google, this saves times as Google can crawl your website more efficiently
Redirect old, broken links to the most relevant page on your website
You may have deleted some content or changed the links (especially if you have migrated from an older website). Google will have indexed the old content but because the link no longer exists you will not be receiving website visitors or they get directed to a 404 Not Found page.
Configure your web server to redirect broken links to point to the most relevant pages on your website. Redirects will help you retain search traffic that would be otherwise lost.
After removing a page from your website don’t forget to redirect to another relevant page
Take time to write a high quality meta description
This is the text that appears below the link in Google’s search engine results page. Although it doesn’t affect search ranking position it definitely does affect your CTR (Click Through Rate).
It should accurately summarise the content of the page. Spending just a few minutes making sure you have a brief summary of the article content can make all the difference so don’t skip this task.
Make your meta description as enticing as possible so visitors want to click on the link
Keep your content up to date
Keeping your content fresh will help boost your search rank. Fresh content is more likely to be relevant and timely that old out of date content. Don’t just do minor updates, if needed, make major updates including adding or removing sections that are no longer relevant or useful.
When you are reviewing existing content a useful acronym to remember is ROT (Redundant, Outdated, Trivial). It reminds you of the content you should remove or rewrite.
For more on optimizing your content: Optimizing Your Content Helps Improve SEO
A picture is worth a thousand words. Adding images, especially if they are related to your content, can make your article more attractive to readers.
Images help break up the text and offer a variation from paragraph after paragraph of text.
It’s important to compress images on your website to keep your page loading times as low as possible. Images are a major factor in slow loading websites.
Don’t use Flash
Link to other sites
Providing 100% of the information your visitor is looking for is probably not possible or desirable so link to other sources that can help your readers find what they want. This makes your article more useful and therefore higher quality.
Provide links that can explain a subject in more depth
Try to write no more than two to five sentence paragraphs. Large paragraphs can be intimidating resulting in the visitor leaving your site. Aim to make your article as easy to read as possible so short sentences, paragraphs and simple words help.
Plugins for your website such as Yoast SEO can calculate Readability scores for each page, a high readability score means your content is easy to read.
All in One SEO plugin (highly recommended if you have a WordPress website)
The faster your website the better
Fast websites rank higher than slow websites. No one likes to wait for a page to load. Mobile users, in particular, have limited patience and expect a page to load in two seconds or less(!). You should expect to lose a large percentage of your audience if your web page takes too long to load.
Avoid bloated themes with large numbers of built-in features or plugins. Prefer fast, lightweight themes that provide a better user experience to your readers and help your rank better in search engines.
Remove unnecessary plugins or other non-essential content to speed up your website
Mobile friendly design
Most of your website’s visitors will be reading your content on a mobile device. If your website is not mobile-friendly they will not have a good experience.
The text will be too small, it will be clipped and they will have to scroll horizontally. The page could take a long time to load. It will be a frustrating experience for them which will reflect badly on you.
Actionable step: Find and fix mobile usability issues on your website.
Social media sharing buttons
Although social media sharing buttons don’t directly affect your search ranking position the more links to the article (from social media networks) the highly your article will likely rank.
So making it easy to share your content will boost the chances of getting a good search ranking position.
In additional using social media to share your content can result in comments and discussions that will help build your audience and give you future ideas and topics to write about.
There is a special file on your website (or maybe not, it isn’t required). If it exists it will be at this location: <domain>/robots.txt, e.g. for this site the url is:
This file is not meant for humans (hence the name), it’s meant to be read and understood by robots, specifically search engine robots.
Google and other search engines will look at this file before crawling your website to check what files and directories it can crawl. Directories and files can be blocked from crawling by using this file.
Ensure, if this file exists, it doesn’t have the following line:
This will block Google and other search engines from indexing your website. It’s surprising how many times you see this line. The reason is, during website development, developers add this line to temporarily block Google from indexing half finished pages, or when the site architecture is not finished. Unfortunately, the developer can sometimes forget to remove this line.
Read more on what Google has to say about robots.txt: https://developers.google.com/search/docs/crawling-indexing/robots/intro
Don’t use robots.txt to hide pages from the Google search index
SEO is a difficult subject as you have probably figured out if you’ve managed to read the content so far (congrats!). There is a saying that a little knowledge is a dangerous thing so if you are not confident in applying your SEO skills then you can always pay for the services of an expert.
Learning SEO techniques will help your website rank higher in Google and other Search Engines. This can directly affect how successful your business will be so SEO is a vital technique to learn.
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