February 9th, 2016
For many years, backlinks have dominated almost every conversation about SEO. While the importance of backlinking cannot be ignored, they are not the only elements to consider. Good onpage optimization is also vital, with a greater focus on content taking precedent in recent years. However, when you are facing competing sites who all follow the same rules, it can take simple tweaks to make the difference. The following five SEO tweaks are all easy to implement, but they could be transformative for your search ranking positions.
Internal linking is usually ignored or used sporadically, but it can have a big impact on SEO. Linking between pages and blog posts helps spread authority around your site, leading to better rankings for multiple pages. Relevant internal links also helps with user experience, allowing visitors to navigate to interesting pages effectively. Bounce rate is one of the metrics a search engine considers, so an effective linking policy can play a part by providing relevant options to readers.
Fix Broken Links and Pages
As a site grows in size, typically it will contain a number of expired links or pages. You might link to a third-party site, but sites or pages can be deleted or closed down. A number of links to error pages can cause problems for your site, with search engines recognizing that it causes a negative user experience. You may have also deleted pages on your own site, returning an error page to anyone trying to access it. Look to carry out regular site maintenance to avoid these issues, with many free broken link checker tools available.
Tag and Name Images
Tagging is a simple process, but it is often not even considered during the web design process. When using stock photos, the files are often listed without consideration of SEO, while your personal images also need renaming. If you are doing local SEO, geotagging can help you rank for key local terms when the search engines read the coordinates listed in the file. Treat your images with the same care you have for written content, using alt tags, geotagging, and descriptive file names for each photo.
Improve Site Speed
The loading time of a page has taken on greater importance recently, but it is often overlooked as part of SEO. The importance of site speed makes sense, with slow loading times being frustrating for users. Even if loading time did not impact SEO, you would still lose out on conversions as visitors left your page. There are various tools, including the Google Speed Test tool, that will uncover problems on your site. It could be the size of your images that are causing a lag, but there could also be a more serious coding issue that needs resolving.
Use Keyword Groups
SEO, for many years, tended to focus on single keywords. Each page would revolve around one word or phrase, with a number of related terms making up a more general category. Nowadays, a great piece of content could rank for a host of search terms, even if the phrase does not appear in the URL or title tag of the page. To adapt to these search engine changes, create larger groups of related keywords, build content that provides relevant information, and promote the content with an array of keywords. Excessive anchor text usage will almost certainly get you penalized, but a larger keyword group, along with brand terms and your URL, provides enough variety.
As you can see, each of these tweaks is relatively easy to implement, whether you are starting a new site or updating a current one. These changes might not always bring about instant results, but they could be a factor that has been holding you back. If you have been sitting on page two for a number of keywords, a small tweak might be enough to move you onto the first page. SEO is about more than just building backlinks, so always look for ways to put the odds in your favor.