The phone’s ringing. Your top sales guy is out sick. It’s time to approve payroll. And what in the world is that smell in the break room?
Look, we get it. You are already juggling enough plates during your daily life as a small-to medium-sized business owner, and it’s likely that launching a full-scale (SEO) search engine optimization strategy is pretty low on your list of priorities.
Not to worry. Before you hand over your SEO to the intern who swears she knows all about backlinks — but who can’t seem to make it into the office on time — know that there’s another way. Check out our list of quick SEO tips for busy people.
10 SEO Hacks That Don’t Take Much Time or Effort
#1) Keyword Research
In order to get the highest possible return on your search optimization investment, you need to do keyword research.
This will tell you what keywords and keyword phrases your audience or customer base is searching, which of your competitors are ranking for those keywords, and how your site stacks up.
Free keyword research tools can help you tick off this item on your SEO list. Once you’ve done the research, you can start using keywords to boost your own rankings.
#2) Clean Up Your Site
Keywords and backlinks are, without a doubt, the two major factors that go into your search engine rankings. Yet some other, more manageable actions can speed up your site, increase user experience, and signal to Google that your site is well-tended. All of these, in turn, may influence where you stand in the SERPs.
Make sure you don’t have any broken links or 404 pages, use your keywords strategically in headers and URLs, and make sure your site loads quickly and looks good on all types of screens.
#3) Disavow Regularly
Bad backlinks will come back to bite you, so make sure your site is free of them. Head to Google Search Console (Search Traffic > Links to Your Site) about once a month to see what’s happening, link-wise, and disavow any bad links right away.
#4) Don’t Bother (Too Much) with Directories
Making sure your site is listed on every single directory you can find is a waste of time. Stick to the ones that affect local SEO: Yelp, Google My Business, and Yahoo Local.
#5) Just the FAQs
Do you have an FAQ page? They’re still relevant, and a good way to ensure user engagement. If you haven’t revisited yours in a while, it’s a good idea to make sure it’s up-to-date.
While you’re at it, incorporate some of the longtail keywords you identified in your research.
#6) Write those Web Logs
Boy, that term sounds old-fashioned, doesn’t it? Blogs, as we call them nowadays, are more important than ever.
Companies that post them tend to have 434% more indexed pages, so blogs are basically a must.
Must Read – How to Start a Blog
Must Read – Ideally How Long a Blog Post Should Be?
Some research shows that longer-form written content (in the range of 2000+ words) gets better attention from Google’s algorithms, but experts are divided.
It’s best to post blogs that range in length, with 750-1000 word posts as an average.
#7) Post Early, Post Often
Nothing makes a website look less “lived in” than a blog that hasn’t been updated since the Obama administration. You should be posting regularly — a few times a month, if not more often. One of the ranking signals that Google takes into account is steady, continued activity.
A good way to keep your content fresh — without spending all your time on content development — is to solicit guest posts. Guest posts have the added benefit of being a natural way to exchange backlinks — for both of you.
#8) Mix Up Your Content
Remember, however, that just as oranges are not the only fruit, text is not the only kind of blogging that matters. People love visual content, and there are several ways to provide it to them. Videos are engaging (and they are famously beloved by Facebook and Google), but so are shareable infographics.
Can’t produce this type of visual asset easily? Be sure to use some images. Interspersing the text blocks in your blog posts with relevant photos and illustrations is an easy way to improve the user experience and appeal to the search engines.
#9) Internal and External Links
Even when you post visual-rich content, make sure to provide at least one internal link and one external link in each blog post.
Vary your anchor text from post to post, as well; using the same anchors over and over can look spammy.
#10) Stumped for Ideas?
Content discovery tools like Buzzsumo can provide insight into your competitors’ content — not only what they’re posting (you can find that easily enough on their site) but also how it’s performing.
Don’t forget about social media platforms like Twitter, Pinterest, and Reddit. These will also yield a wealth of information and inspiration. Follow some of the influencers in your market to see what they’re excited about. Check out the trending topics and hashtags.
Just staying current with social media is a good way not only to garner topics for your blog posts, but can offer insights in terms of new product development, specials and promotions to run, and of course your own social media posts.
If You Are Still Overwhelmed…
Search engine optimization is a huge industry — and its best practices change at light speed. In other words, it’s not exactly something you can dabble in. In order to perform this aspect of digital marketing effectively, you have to really know what you’re doing.
If you don’t, and if you’re not interested in learning the intricacies of this field — or if you simply don’t have time — then outsourcing is probably the way to go.
Professional SEO and content marketing experts stay up-to-date on the latest algorithm updates. They understand how to tweak strategies to take advantage of these updates. They devote their entire working day (and then some!) to this volatile, often confusing industry.
Have you dipped a toe into the waters of SEO? Do you find it fascinating or intimidating? Let us know in the comments!