What’s crackin’ guys and gals?
As Dre BEGGED me on so many occasions to write for The Branded Solopreneur, I figured I’d eventually have to say yes – so here I am.
Note to Dre: if you ever fly over to the UK and turn up at my door demanding guest posts again, I’ll call the police.
I’m under strict instruction to
Americanise Americanize this post, so here’s to hoping I don’t slip up with an Englishism.
**This is a guest post by Luke Jordan**
Right then, why am I here again?
Today I’m going to be talking to you about Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
I know, I know – everyone harps on about it, and it’s boring.
I also know that you’ve never seen success from SEO, and that you once read from an expert that you should ignore it completely.
Erm, what kind of crazy mofo would advise you to miss out on the greatest marketing method (in terms of ROI) the world has ever seen?!*
*Don’t quote me on that, but the long-term ROI is seriously f-in high.
Anyway, I realize that you don’t care much for SEO, because you already have 25 hours worth of work to do today and simply will never have time to learn.
However, whilst I’m a firm believer that SEO is a continual process; something that can never be finished and never truly mastered, I’m adamant that you are able to make huge strides towards SEO success in just a single day.
I’m going to let you in on a little secret:
The majority of good SEO isn’t about doing a range of complicated things in order to rank in search.
In fact, it’s much the opposite; it’s all about removing the roadblocks that are preventing you from ranking in search.
Most of these roadblocks are SUPER easy to remove.
Back in February, I gave Dre a few tips to help improve her SEO, all of which are listed in this post – I’ve even thrown in a few bonus tips too.
Being the online wizard that she is, Queen Badass implemented the tips almost immediately.
Let’s take a look at her organic traffic for the first three weeks of April, compared to the first three weeks in February – before those changes were rolled out:
Not too shabby, wouldn’t you say?
In just two months, The Branded Solopreneur’s organic traffic rose 129.61%, with an increase in unique organic visitors of 114.67%.
After absolutely killing it on both social media traffic and referral traffic, this site loaded its armory with another huge weapon.
The best news? This is only the start.
If you want to learn how you too can grow your organic search traffic with just a day’s work, then I’ve got the simple SEO tips that you need!
Here are 8 tweaks you can make in one day to propel your organic traffic:
1. INSTALL THE WORDPRESS SEO PLUGIN
First of all, if you haven’t installed the WordPress Yoast SEO plugin yet – what are you playing at?!
This plugin is every non-SEO’s dream, and it’s even incredibly useful for us that live and breathe Google search.
Didn’t I mention? It’s FREE.
In fact, you won’t have to spend a penny as a result of any of my tips in this whole post.
The WordPress SEO plugin allows you to do a whole load of useful things to help with search:
➽ You’ll be able to create an XML sitemap
➽ You can modify whether your categories and tags are crawlable
➽ You can verify social accounts for additional social exposure
➽ You can install breadcrumbs
There’s a whole load of other things you can do in there too, but I don’t want to bore you anti-SEOs too much.
Chances are, you don’t really understand what an XML sitemap is or whether breadcrumbs are something you see online or something you coat your chicken with.
You don’t even need to understand what they are – just know that they’re important.
Simply follow this tutorial from WPBeginner and you’ll be absolutely fine, it couldn’t be easier (and it’s super quick!).
2. UPDATE META TILES & DESCRIPTIONS
What are these? Don’t worry, I hear ya search rookie.
The Meta title and description is what shows in Google’s search results.
Instead of showing your full page (that’d be silly) they show your title and a brief snippet of text.
By default, Google will grab your blog post headline and a chunk of text from your post to use in its results.
The effect of this?
Truncated headlines and unoptimized descriptions that wouldn’t tempt anyone to click your links.
Need an example? Sure thing:
Let’s say you’ve written a post called “How to Create the Perfect Pinterest Strategies for Small-to-Medium Businesses“.
That’s a pretty good title, it’s highly targeted and I imagine there’s some demand for that type of post (although I haven’t researched that, I’m far too lazy).
Here’s how it would look in Google:
The title is WAY too long for Google’s results, meaning some important keywords are missed out.
This gives your post even less visibility and a much lower chance of achieving a click-through, further dropping it in search results.
Once you’ve installed the WordPress Yoast SEO plugin, you’ll now have Meta title and Meta description boxes under each of your posts, meaning you can easily modify and optimize them yourself.
Remember to be sure to include important keywords at the start of your title, and include a strong call-to-action in your description:
As you can see, the title length is now perfect and includes our target keywords at the start, whilst the description includes keywords, useful information and a call-to-action too.
If you need to check out how your Meta information will look in Google, you can make use of Portent’s SERP Preview Tool.
I’d guess that it will take you a maximum of five minutes per post to update your Meta information effectively.
You’ll also notice in that last screenshot that, along with the title and description, I’d also optimized the URL.
3. URL IMPROVEMENTS
What’s great on one medium is very rarely great on the other.
I try to find happy middle grounds, with keyword-optimized URLs that are still brief and easy to share on social media.
The post above had the URL slug ‘/small-business-pinterest-strategies/’ – that’s pretty much perfect, if I do say so myself.
You don’t want your URL to read ‘/the-best-ways-small-and-medium-business-can-improve-their-pinterest…/’ – just no. That’s helping no-one.
An even bigger offence is to have your permalinks set so that your post’s URL comes up as /?p=123 or something similar.
STOP IT RIGHT NOW!
First, go into your WordPress settings, go to ‘Permalinks’ and then click ‘Post name’.
This will help your posts generate better URLs going forward.
To update your old post permalinks, simply click on the ‘edit’ button next to the URL below your post title in WordPress.
IMPORTANT: Don’t go changing your URLs without having the Redirection plugin installed.
This plugin will automatically 301 redirect your old post to the new address whenever you change it.
Using Redirection helps prevent annoying 404 error pages, and also helps to maintain any SEO value your post had developed, and will transfer this value over to the new URL.
4. INCREASE INTERNAL LINKS
This is the part where you have a brainwave and realize that there have been a load of anchor text links already embedded throughout this post.
These are usually included when an author has a knowledge of SEO, and they’ll be linking to a range of resources that will benefit the reader throughout the post.
Not only will it benefit the reader, but it will also benefit a site’s search rankings.
If you’re frequently linking to other posts on your site – ones that genuinely benefit your reader – you’ll build up the trust signals pointing to your posts.
Trust plays a HUGE factor when it comes to Google deciding where they’re going to rank you.
To balance this out, linking out to high quality external resources – again ones that benefit your reader – can help prove to Google that you’re a trustworthy site.
5. ADD IMAGE ALT TAGS
If you’re using images on your site, you need to make sure you’re adding in ‘alt’ text when prompted.
What is alt text?
Well, obviously it’s the thing that WordPress prompts you for when you upload an image, and you never really know what to put in there so you leave it blank, of course.
Okay, not quite:
Google can’t read your images (even if there are words on it).
All it can see is a collection of pixels together, forming a pretty picture.
Without alt text, the image is adding no context for Big G.
If you add alt text, Google can understand exactly what your image is – if of course your alt text is accurate and descriptive.
How do you choose which text to put in here?
It’s easy – just describe the picture in a few words or a short sentence.
Have you included a picture of a cat wearing a tuxedo?
In that case, put your alt text as…’cat wearing a tuxedo‘. It doesn’t take a genius!
This can seem like a real chore of a task, as can a few of the things on this list, but they’re all so worth it.
Adding descriptive alt text can also help drive traffic from Google image search.
6. BOOST SITE SPEED
In fact, speed plays such an important role in modern search that Google are even experimenting with ‘slow’ labels in search for sites that aren’t performing well.
No-one will want to click onto a site that has a big, fat, red ‘slow’ label under it.
To solve this you’ll first want to whack your site in Google’s PageSpeed Insights.
In here, you’ll see if there is a possibility of improvement.
If you’ve got a score of 75 or above on both desktop and mobile, I wouldn’t worry too much about making any major changes – this is a good score.
However, anything below that and you’ll want to consider making changes based on the tool’s recommendations:
Need to compress the size of your images? Try the EWWW Image Optimizer plugin.
Need to enable browser caching? Try installing WP Super Cache.
Want to find out which plugins are slowing your site down? Install the P3 Plugin Profiler.
If you want to get a little more complex, you can try installing and setting up a Content Delivery Network (CDN).
If this is a route you want to go down, you’ll definitely need to research CDN’s a little further to find out which one is right for you; they can be expensive.
The aforementioned plugins can all be installed and running within just a few minutes.
After doing this, give it an hour or so and run your site back through the PageSpeed Insights tool to see how much improvement you’ve made.
7. SIMPLE COPYWRITING IMPROVEMENTS
Instead, what I’m talking about here is the way you’re writing.
Not just this, but the structure of your content also.
Brian Dean provides an awesome list of copywriting tips on his site but I’m just gonna leave you one tip here:
Seriously – white space is your friend.
No-one wants to read huge chunks of blocky paragraphs.
By keeping readers interested and engaged with your content for longer, you’ll start to convince Google that you’re producing higher quality stuff than elsewhere.
With this, they’ll eventually reward you with higher rankings.
You could vastly improve each of your posts using simple copywriting techniques in just 15 minutes per post on your site.
8. GET BACKLINKS FROM EXPERT ROUNDUPS
Now, whilst you’ll be unlikely to achieve any backlinks in just one day, you’ll definitely be able to put yourself in the position to pick up a high quality link or two in the future by submitting some answers to expert roundups.
Not lucky enough to be asked to participate in these?
Force the issue!
Sign up to MyBlogU and on there you’ll find a load of people seeking answers to be featured in their roundup.
Ensure you login every now and again, or get email notifications, so that you can submit answers to relevant roundups whenever they’re available.
Hey, if my answers get selected on a regular basis then you can bet your bottom dollar that yours will be too.
Yes – This Can Really All Be Done In One Day!
If you need to make better use of SEO, you might benefit from bookmarking this post.
Set a date in the diary (MAKE IT SOON!) and return to this list, work through it one-by-one and smash your blog’s organic traffic out of the park.
I hope you’ve found these simple SEO tips useful, and if you’ve made it this far then you are what I consider to be a modern day hero.
What could you do to improve your site’s SEO?