Growing a steady flow of website traffic can be challenging, but there are some quick and easy, fundamental core strategies that you can use to optimise and develop your website for more traffic. In the article below I have outlined some of the key Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) you should be using, divided into two simple categories, On-Page and Off-Page.
On-page SEO refers to improving and optimising individual pages to improve search rankings and targeted traffic. On-page can refer to the page content as well as the underlying code of a page, as opposed to off-page SEO which refers to links and other external signals.
Off-page SEO refers to improving the page ranking factors not on your website, such as backlinks from another site, off site tools, social media, etc.
Improving your “On-Page” SEO Factors
1 – Manage your Content
Tools like Google Analytics are very useful to keep an eye on any outdated or low quality pages you might have. Often they will be receiving very little traffic or are working against your desired purposes. Consider updating these to keep the content relevant and engaging for your audience as well as optimising any conversions you are hoping to attain. Even once a user clicks from Google to your page, Google will continue to track user behaviour on your pages and uses those signals as ranking factors. Signals such as high bounce rate, low duration and pogo sticking from Google to your website and back to Google (this suggests your page did not answer the query it was ranking for).
Even the act of the maintenance itself is a small positive signal to Google that the page is being looked after and is up to date. Even well performing content will begin to slip if they are seen as outdated.
Sometimes it is better to just remove the old pages and place a redirect to a page that has better, more relevant content. Every site, depending on the size, authority and health of your site will have a finite “crawl budget”. By removing poor performing pages from your site it helps ensure your most important pages are crawled.
2 – Remove Duplicate Content
To create a well performing website, each page should have a unique content and purpose. If you find that you have multiple pages that are near identical, Google may consider this as duplicate content, which may be penalised. You can either edit the pages to better differentiate them, merge them into a single page, or remove them.
3 – Optimise your Keyword(s)/Phrases
Whenever you write new content, or are updating old content, you should be making sure that you are optimising that content to rank for certain keyword phrases. These keyword phrases should be apart of a wider strategy for your website. Using terms that target your relevant audience that are interested in what you have to offer. But also are not so incredibly popular that you have no chance of ranking for against the competition. I.E “Shoes”. It is much easer to rank for longer tail keywords such as “Bespoke men’s bamboo Flip-Flops”.
Once you have your unique keywords or phrases that you want to include on a specific page you should make sure to:
- Use the keyword(s)/phrase in the title tag.
- Use the keyword(s)/phrase in the meta description.
- Use the keyword(s)/phrase in the first heading (H1).
- Use the keyword(s)/phrase throughout the page’s content. DO NOT OVERDO IT. It must still be easily readable, if Google considers your content to be low quality keyword spam, it will not rank well.
- Give every image on your site an appropriate alt text description.
4 – Optimise your Website for Mobile
Depending on your website your mobile audience will vary, but it is very important you optimise the user experience for mobile users regardless. Google uses a “mobile first” approach, so your search rankings will be predominately effected by mobile ranking factors. Even if they are a minor part of your audience.
You can check your user demographics through Google Analytics like this:
Google Analytics > Audience > Mobile > Overview.
You can check your mobile core ranking factor performance using Google Search Console.
5 – Improve Page Speed
A slow page can be frustrating for visitors, which can lead them to quickly leave your website. This will raise the bounce rate for that page, which tells Google that your users found that page unhelpful and negatively effect your page ranking. Google Search Console can help identify page factors which are slowing your page speed. Most common ways to improve page speed:
- Optimize large images.
- Enable compression.
- Reduce redirects.
- Leverage browser caching.
- Improve server response time.
6 – Internal Linking
Internal links are links between pages on your website, ideally linking to relevant pages with similar branching content. Internal links help to build an internal linking structure, which helps to increase relevance to pages through the anchor text used. Internal linking also serves to help search engines understand the hierarchy and structure of your website. The trick is to link to relevant pages using that page’s main focus (or keyword) as the anchor text.
You want to make sure your users can navigate to your most important pages from almost anywhere on your website.
7 – Target your Efforts to Page 2 Ranking Pages
Page one ranking pages outperform page two by many orders of magnitude. Which can be frustrating when you are just one or two positions outside the coveted first page. Using the tips in this article, target your pages which are currently in positions 10-20 to push them to the first page. The increase in traffic can help send more positive ranking signals and move them even further up as well as solidify their position, as well as bring more valuable traffic to your website.
8 – Redirect Broken Pages
In step two, we looked at the importance of site ‘health’ and how it affects your crawl budget. Managing your content is important for your site health, but it is also essential that you redirect any broken pages. Any links on your site that return a 404 error (page not found) should either be updated or redirected to the next most relevant page.
Improving your “Off-Page” factors
9 – Create a Business Profile
By creating a Business profile, you can appear on maps and may rank higher on local searches for products and services related to your trade. It is important you review your profiles from time to time to answer questions, advertise offers, and update any changes to your business. Below are some of the best places to create a business profile:
- Apple Maps
- Google My Business
- LinkedIn Company Directory
- Super Pages
- Yellow Book
10 – Use free Google Suite Web Tools
Using Google Search Console (GSC) can help you to understand your site and its issues in terms of its performance on Google Search. This can include search impressions, click through rate, rankings, performance Core web vitals, any manual actions (such as penalties) you might have,
You can also monitor any changes you make in case they have a negative impact and need to be reversed.
Google Analytics is a very powerful analytics tool for analysing in-depth detail about the visitors on your website. It provides valuable insights that can help you to shape the strategy of each individual page as well as overall website.
11 – Grow your Backlinks
Backlinks are simply external links from other websites linking to yours. Backlinks help contribute to your site authority, which is an important indicator on the trustworthiness of your website as a whole and for specific topics your site covers. The easiest way to do this is to produce great content that you would be absolutely happy to consume yourself. And if on a well saturated topic, make sure that content is bigger and better than everyone else. Here are some other strategies you could also use:
- Use Ahrefs to identify broken links to competitor pages and then reach out to the site owner to let them know about the broken link and to offer your page as a replacement.
- Links from Social Media and Forums
- Write external articles linking back to your page
- Ask people for reviews of your products or services
- Convert “unlinked mentions” to links – Reach out to say thank you and if they could convert their mention.
- Get links from the companies or people with whom you have existing relationships
- Encourage articles on your products or services
- Search for pages that mention multiple competitors but not you, reach out to try be included
And that’s it for this quick guide! Hope it was useful, there is a huge amount of info out there. If you would like to learn more I recommend this great free resource: Moz.com – The Beginner’s Guide to SEO .