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10 SEO Fixes You Can Implement for Better Search Engine Rankings
The higher your search engine rankings are, the more users visit your website. These users could turn into paying customers, increasing your revenue and helping your business grow.
But SEO isn’t a one-time thing. You can’t include keywords in your content and call it a day. It’s a long-term process that requires continuous research, monitoring, and more.
In this blog post, we’re going to discuss ten SEO fixes you can implement for better search engine rankings. These fixes may need to be done once, weekly, monthly, or yearly depending on your digital marketing goals and niche.
Let’s get started.
Install an SEO plugin.
Despite being the easiest task to tick off your to-do list, installing an SEO plugin could still have a huge impact.
Before we proceed, let’s define a few terms.
Page titles are the titles that users see on search engine results pages. They could be different from the title that’s actually on your website.
Meta descriptions are the brief descriptions of your content that users see on search engine results pages. They don’t have an impact on your rankings, but they do help convince users to click on your content.
An SEO plugin lets you assign a target keyword to a webpage or blog post. You can also enter a page title and a meta description without having to type a single line of code.
To install a plugin, go to your WordPress dashboard. Click on Plugins on the sidebar and choose Add New. Search for Yoast, All in One SEO Pack, or another SEO plugin you’d like to use. Once you’ve found your plugin of choice, click on Install Now and Activate.
If you edit a webpage or a blog post, you will see a box under the editor that allows you to enter a target, a page title, a meta description, and more.
Run an SEO audit.
An SEO audit checks how well optimised your website is, highlighting successes and finding areas of improvement.
You should run one regularly because you can spot issues before they affect your search engine rankings. You can also identify which parts of your SEO strategy are working and replicate its success.
Digital marketing guru Neil Patel’s SEO Analyzer is a free tool that runs an SEO audit automatically for you.
Go to the site, enter your URL, and hit Search. It will then score your On-Page SEO and show you the number of monthly visits you get from search engines, the number of organic keywords you’re ranking for, and the number of links you’ve generated from other websites.
Aside from that, it’ll also notify you if there are any errors and issues you need to fix. If you click on View All under Critical Errors, you’ll see a list of issues along with the specific pages that need to be fixed.
If you’re new to SEO and are unsure how to fix the critical errors listed, SEO Analyzer has you covered. Next to every issue listed in the critical Errors page, you’ll find a Learn more link. Click on the said link gives you more information about the issue and how to fix it.
For example, if a page has a low word count, SEO Analyzer tells you that “without enough text on a page, Google will have trouble understanding what the content is about.” It then continues to explain the issue and how to resolve it in layman’s terms.
Other critical errors include a missing sitemap.xml, duplicate meta descriptions, and pages with long loading times.
We highly recommend creating an Excel file or a Google Sheet where you can keep track of all these issues. You can go through and start fixing them one by one whenever you have time to spare.
Speed up your website.
Having a fast website is vital to improving your search engine rankings, especially if the majority of your target customers are on mobile.
Google rolled out its Speed Update in 2018. The update made how fast your website loads a major ranking factor in mobile search engine results.
For example, two websites publish equally compelling content on the same topic. The difference is, one website is faster than the other. Due to the Speed Update, the faster website will now have better chances of ranking higher in search engine results.
Yes, creating excellent content is still important, but it has to work hand in hand with website speed.
Before attempting to speed up your website, determine how fast it currently is with PageSpeed Insights. It’s a free tool developed by Google that uses data from Google Chrome users.
Using PageSpeed Insights is quite easy. All you have to do is enter your URL and hit Analyze. It will then scan your website and score its speed for both mobile and desktop. It will also provide suggestions for improving your website speed.
For example, it might tell you to properly size images. This means that the image files you’re uploading are too big and take a while to load. You could resize them without affecting the image quality.
We recommend taking note of your current website speed before you attempt to improve it. This way, you could determine if your optimisation efforts are working or not.
Find broken links.
Broken links are links to web pages that can no longer be accessed. It is possible that the web page no longer exists or that it moved to a different domain. There are plenty of scenarios that could result in a broken link.
Search engines find and index web pages through crawling. Bots also known as crawlers go from one link to another, discovering new and updated content. If there are no links to a web page, crawlers would be unable to find it.
To ensure all your pages get found and indexed, you need to regularly check your website for broken links.
You don’t have to spend hours clicking on every link on your website, because there are plenty of free tools that will automatically scan your website for broken links.
Broken Link Checker is one such tool. Go to the website, enter your URL, and click on Find broken links. It will then scan your website for broken links. Once it’s done, you’ll see a list of broken links along with the pages where they can be found.
Create an Excel file or Google Sheet to keep track of all the broken links you find. You can then update the file every time you fix one.
Find unlinked brand mentions.
To fully understand the power of links, let’s define a few terms first.
External links are links from one website to another. For example, another blogger liked one of your posts so much that they linked to it in one of their own blog posts.
Link equity is the “authority” or “value” one webpage can pass to another.
Now, let’s put all the terms together.
If you get an external link from a relevant website with a high domain authority score, it could pass on link equity to your website. This link equity could help boost your search engine rankings.
The more links you get from relevant websites, the better.
Generating links from relevant websites could be time-consuming. For example, guest blogging is a popular link building strategy, but sending pitches to other blogs and writing blog posts could take up hours upon hours of your time.
Finding unlinked brand mentions could be an effective yet less time-consuming link building opportunity.
You’re going to look for instances where other people mentioned your business online but didn’t link to your website. You will then contact these people and ask them to link to your website if possible.
Tools for Finding Unlinked Brand Mentions
SEMRush has a Brand Monitoring tool feature that scans the Internet for unlinked mentions of your brand. Sign up for a paid account and go to your dashboard. Click on Set Up Brand Monitoring under Brand Monitoring. You can then enter your brand name and other words that the feature should track.
If you’d like a free tool, you can try Google Alerts. It will send you an email whenever someone mentions your brand and other relevant words and phrases.
Setting up an alert is quite easy. Go to Google Alerts and enter your brand name and click on Show options. You can then customise how often you receive alerts, their sources, which countries they’re from, and the email address where they should be sent.
The main difference between SEMRush and Google Alerts is, the former can find old unlinked brand mentions. Google Alerts will only notify you when new content is published.
You could also use these two tools at the same time. You could find old unlinked brand mentions with SEMRush and find new ones with Google Alerts.
Add internal links.
Internal links are links from one webpage to another in the same domain. They show search engines how your website is organised. For example, all the links in your main menu could be considered internal links.
Adding internal links could boost your search engine rankings in two different ways.
First of all, they ensure search engines find essential webpages.
Earlier, we learned that search engines find and index websites based on internal links. If you create a new webpage but fail to link to it, search engines will be unable to find it. All the work you put into creating content for that page will go to waste.
Next, internal links could convince users to stay longer on your website.
If you regularly publish new content, make sure to include links to old blog posts.
For example, in this blog post, we have a section about speeding up your website to improve search engine rankings. We previously wrote an entire blog post about that topic, so we’re going to link to that post.
If a user interested in that topic comes across this blog post, they will most likely continue reading that other blog post as well. As a result, they’ll stay longer on our website and interact with our content more.
The longer users stay on your website, the better. It will tell search engines that they find your content helpful, informative, entertaining, or all three, improving your search engine rankings.
Check if your site is mobile-friendly.
According to a recent survey, over half of all Internet traffic in 2019 came from mobile users. The number is expected to grow in the coming years as more and more people get access to smartphones.
It should come as no surprise then that search engines are making mobile search a priority. They want to ensure that mobile users are getting the information they need quickly and that it’s in a format they can easily digest.
With this in mind, you should make sure your website is mobile-friendly. This means that it can adjust based on the device used to view it.
Test how mobile-friendly your website is with Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test. Enter your URL and click on Test URL. The tool will then scan your website and score how mobile-friendly it is. If you click on Page Loading Issues, you’ll find more information about your website’s mobile performance.
You can also use Responsinator to see how your website looks on both Apple and Android devices. You might discover that your website is quite difficult to navigate on mobile or that a pop-up takes over the entire homepage.
Resolve duplicate content issues.
Duplicate is content that can be found on more than URL. Maybe you’re using product descriptions provided by the manufacturer or you republished a blog post on another blog. There are plenty of scenarios that could result in duplicate content.
Google technically doesn’t penalise for duplicate content.
However, users are the search engine’s number one priority. They don’t want to show users the same content over and over in search engine results pages.
It will choose the “original” version and decide not to include the other versions in search engine results pages. The “original” version it chooses may not always be the one that was published first. This could result in your content not getting indexed by Google.
To find duplicate content on other websites, use Copyscape. Enter your URL and click on Go. It will then scan the Internet to find duplicate content. Once it’s done scanning, it will show you a list of websites with the same content. If you click on one of the websites, Copyscape will highlight the duplicate text.
To find duplicate content within your website, use Siteliner. Enter your URL and click on Go. Once it’s done scanning your website, click on Duplicate Content on the sidebar. It will then show you a list of duplicate content on your website.
Create an Excel file or Google Sheet to keep track of duplicate content. Update it as you continue fixing each one.
Find long-tail keywords.
Short-tail keywords are keywords that are composed of three words or less. They receive a lot of traffic every month, and they’re quite difficult to rank for.
Long-tail keywords are keywords that are composed of four words or more. They usually receive less traffic than short-tail keywords.
At first glance, you’ll think that you should prioritise short-tail keywords because they’ll lead more users to your website.
However, long-tail keywords tell you more about the search intent. You’ll be leading fewer users to your website, but they’ll be the right kind of users.
Let’s say you own a sporting goods store. You’d like to sell more footballs, and you’re trying to decide which keywords to target. Users searching for “how to play football” most likely want to learn how to play the sport.
On the other hand, users searching for “buy a football near me” are ready to make a purchase. They’re already looking for a store.
Once you take intent into account, it becomes obvious right away which keywords you should target.
Before we proceed let’s define a few helpful terms.
- Search Volume – The amount of traffic a keyword generates during a specific period.
- Keyword Difficulty – This is how difficult it is to rank for a keyword. The higher the search volume, the greater the keyword difficulty.
When you start using tools to find long-tail keywords, you’re going to find plenty of them. If you consider search volume and keyword difficulty, narrowing down the list will be easier.
Ubersuggest is a free tool that helps you find long-tail keywords, showing you the search volume and keyword difficulty. Enter a target keyword, choose your location, and click on Search.
The tool will then generate keywords that are related to your original target keyword. You can see the monthly search volume and keyword difficulty for each keyword.
Ideally, you should look for keywords that have a high amount of search volume and a low level of difficulty. As more and more businesses are competing for digital real estate, these keywords are becoming more difficult to find.
For example, if you enter the keyword “mobile phone repair” in Ubersuggest, the suggest keywords include the following:
- mobile phone repair near me
- mobile phone repair adelaide
- mobile phone repair brisbane
- mobile phone repair perth
If you’re located in Adelaide, you can add the keywords “mobile phone near me” and “mobile phone repair adelaide” to your list of target keywords.
SEO is a long-term thing that requires plenty of effort and trial error, adjusting based on what’s working.
If you’d like to get better search engine rankings, we’d love to help. Cornerstone Digital is an SEO agency in Sydney that can help you find your ideal customer via SEO. Call us on (02) 8211 0668 or email us [email protected]
A self-professed book and digital marketing nerd, Darlyn Herradura focuses on building trust between customers and businesses with the written word. She understands that creating valuable content is the best way to get found online and happily spends her time doing that.