You don’t necessarily have to hire some self-proclaimed SEO guru to improve your website rankings in Google, Bing, and other search engine results. You also don’t have to enlist the help of an intrepid web developer who’ll go deeply exploring your site code and redesigning things. Often, some relatively small, simple tactics can get your site quickly trending upward, particularly over all those competing results from sites that haven’t paid much—or any—attention to their own SEO.
A lot of variables are at play when it comes to search engine rankings, of course, and many are in your control and many are not. And it’s unlikely you’ll ever climb above long-established, high-authority, well-known sites for high-volume search terms.
But that doesn’t mean you can’t rank visibly for a variety of keywords your target audience is interested in. SEO is an ongoing process, and continually updating, adding to, and improving your website is the most important part of that process.
Below are seven ways to easily improve the search engine friendliness of your website. You should be able do any of them right now, yourself. Then, keep them in mind when working on your site moving forward. There’s no way to say how much or how quickly any of them will pay off, but again, it’s part of the process and will only help to improve your SEO and the user experience on your site.
1. Spruce up the copy on some of your website pages.
While short, emotional copy works well for selling a human audience, search engines want content. They more highly value pages with at least a few hundred words. This provides opportunities to work in long-tail keywords and terms that are related to your main target keywords, which helps your SEO. Regularly updating pages on your site benefits your search engine optimization as well.
2. Use anchor text to add relevant internal links between your site pages.
Search engines appreciate strong interconnection. By turning keywords in your text into links that direct to other pages, you more strongly signal to search engines what those destination pages are about. Also, a smart internal linking strategy keeps visitors on your site longer, which boosts its perceived value and SEO.
3. Pursue backlinks from reputable sites.
Backlinks are links on other websites that point back to pages on your site, and they’re an important indication of quality to Google and the other search engines. For some practical, effective ways to pull this off, take a look at our piece, “5 Ways to Get Quality Backlinks for Your Brand’s Website.”
4. Link to highly reputable, relevant websites.
That’s right—link your visitors to other websites of value. Many people are afraid of losing leads by sending traffic elsewhere, but you earn trust by turning your site into a helpful resource and showing that you prioritize reliable information. And recent studies have found that outbound links to quality websites improve your SEO. Just set your external links to open in a new tab so you don’t lose your users.
5. Add original, relevant, valuable, well-written content to your website.
Maybe that sounds like a tall order, but it’s not; all you need is a good in-house or freelance writer. Search engines love sites that are useful resources for those who click on them. And again, they love content and sites that regularly add new content. If your articles, blog posts, or other content has value, it’ll also get shared and earn you some backlinks, increasing your targeted traffic and search engine clout.
6. Include keyworded alt tags for images and videos.
Your content management system should have an easy way to add brief descriptions of the visual content you put on your site. Search engines rely on these tags to understand your visual content and to provide extra cues as to what the surrounding written content is all about. This boosts your SEO and increases the chances you’ll be found by people performing image searches.
7. Add as many details as possible to your Contact page.
Google and other search engines consider your brand more trustworthy if there’s solid contact information. If you have nothing more than an email contact form, consider adding more. An email address, a phone number, a fax number, a physical address, business hours, and anything else that makes you look real, reachable, and professional helps. Also, make sure your contact info is updated on other sites and consistent with your contact page.