Five quick and easy SEO wins
Getting your firm’s website ranking competitively in search engine results is a long game requiring lots of hard work – don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Still, there are some quick wins that too many people overlook.
Some of these might be in the territory of ‘marginal gains’ and none are likely to suddenly cause your site to leap up the rankings in their own right.
But, as a general principle, having everything tidy, consistent and complete will pay dividends as part of a wider optimisation strategy.
Use keywords in HTML titles and H1 headings
First, there’s using keywords in HTML titles and H1 headings.
It might seem obvious but it can be so tempting to go for something witty or elegant instead, or just forget.
Use one of the free keyword research tools out there (I use UberSuggest) to select a relevant keyword and employ it when you edit the H1 on one of your articles.
Depending on the subject matter and the breadth and depth of content on the page, this simple change can boost your website’s Google ranking which in turn will generate more organic traffic.
There have been plenty of SEO fads that have been and gone, but using a keyword in an HTML title or H1s has stood the test of time. So far, at least.
Link important pages in the main navbar
Another thing to consider is to ensure important commercial pages are clearly visible in the main navigation bar on your website.
Think of the concept of linking to pages. Well, the navbar (to use its short name) should include the most important internal links for your website; for example, to a service page which will often contain a keyword.
These navigation links tell Google which pages you consider to be the most important when it crawls your site and pass ‘page rank’ to important pages from every other page on your site. It also improves user-experience, too.
Take advantage of Google My Business
Fixing your Google My Business (GMB) listing is vital. “What’s that got to do with my website?” you might ask. Quite a lot if you’re after local business, actually. It ties in with Google Reviews, which (along with Facebook) is one of the only transparent online review sites, and with Google Maps.
Think of GMB as a free opportunity to make a first impression with potential clients. If you want to rank well in local search results, this is one of the best places to start.
Just ensure you enter accurate information (website, company name, address, phone number, working hours) – formatted consistently across your website, GMB listing and anywhere else it appears online – and keep it up-to-date if, for example, you move into a new office.
Website security and the role of HTTPS
Security is a big deal for Google and it has invested time and resources in reflecting online security, such as HTTPS encryption, in its ranking algorithm.
This means that if your site displays this seal of approval like we do on our site above, it offers a secure connection between a user’s browser and your website’s server.
Moving from HTTP to HTTPS can be quick and easy, but only if your firm has IT support on hand to implement the transition. It can also negatively affect your Google ranking in the short-term as Google manages the migration.
To optimise the homepage or not?
There’s been much debate in SEO circles about whether or not optimising your homepage is worthwhile. I’m of the opinion that optimising your homepage is important if you want to attract relevant traffic.
The homepage will usually be the most authoritative page on your firm’s website, and one way of optimising it is to target a specific theme. For example, you’re an accountant and landlords make up the bulk of your target clients.
You can subtly reinforce this overarching theme by using internal pages to rank for the most certain keywords, eg residential landlords, buy-to-let landlords, accidental landlords, and so on.
One final thought on something to avoid – that is, keyword stuffing. Nobody wants to see the Ambridge accountant or accountancy services in Ambridge plastered across your homepage over and over again.
Say it, sure, but don’t overdo it – if it reads as contrived to website users, the chances are Google won’t appreciate it either.