by Jenna Kutcher
We all know SEO is that sneaky, sometimes-mysterious rulebook that can either help or hurt our website traffic. It stands for Search Engine Optimization, and man, sometimes it just seems like there are endless, ever-changing RULES to abide by. Sentence length. Word count. Images. User experience. Alt text. Meta descriptions.
There’s a lot to think about — and let’s be real, it’s not always easy to remember when you’re in creativity mode. Yet, SEO is important to consider because it’s how Google and other search engines rank your website when people search for your specific genre of content. You ideally want to show up high on the rankings so people don’t have to dig to find your stuff.
So let’s talk about how to simplify SEO… Ways to make it easier and to work it into your workflow, so it’s not adding a ton of extra time or effort to your creation time blocks. Like anything else in business, there are ways to systemize your SEO so that it fits into your process with ease and doesn’t add any more work to your plate.
5 Simple SEO Practices to Start Using Today
Here are my top tips and tricks for optimizing your SEO practices with ease!
01. Make your posts easy to read.
This should arguably be one of the easiest action items because it’s all about simplifying your content! Write to a 6th grade reading level. I know — it feels like you might be “dumbing down” your content, but most people want to read something quickly and understand it right away.
Keep the content high-quality and helpful, but chop paragraphs down into a sentence, two, or three. Mix shorter sentences with longer ones. Use images to break up the text, and break up the copy into sections using headers and subheads or bullet pointed lists! The overall goal of your content is to be easy and valuable to consume.
Doing all of this makes your website look more trustworthy to Google! If it can understand your content and if it looks legit (and not like some sketchy, poorly designed website), it’ll position you better in rankings.
02. Weave keywords into your copy.
It can be helpful to create a master keyword list for your brand, broken down into “buckets,” or categories/themes you commonly cover. If you talk about, let’s say, weddings, home decor, fitness, and natural beauty on your website, those are your buckets. Types those words (and commonly associated words) into search engines like Google or Pinterest to get ideas for additional keywords to use throughout your copy.
“Long tail keywords” are specifically useful for SEO ranking. These take the more simplified keywords, like “marketing,” for example, and attach longer phrases that specifies the content, like “marketing for wedding photographers Wisconsin” or “marketing for new businesses 2020.”
Try to have a list of 50 to 100 keywords to pull from and use throughout your website, from landing pages to blog copy and beyond. Using well-researched keywords will help you to rank higher and increase your site traffic.
03. Optimize your on-page SEO.
When you’re creating a new piece of content for your website, you want to consider a few different things:
- Title: Use one of your keywords in the title, near the beginning if possible. And keep titles as concise as possible.
- Meta description: It’s best to write a meta description that’s about 150 words in length that accurately describes the contents of the piece. Utilize a keyword or two here, too.
- Image alt tags: Only use this if the image has something to do with the topic of the blog post and isn’t just decorative. The tag should describe the image or what the image represents.
- Body text: We talked about making this as informative and easy to consume in the first step!
- Links: Try to include at least one internal link to another page/blog post on your site, and one external link to another resource.
- URL: Keep the slug short and simple, and again, plug in a keyword if possible here!
Now, that’s a lot of opportunities to utilize your handy-dandy keywords. BUT, you don’t want to stuff as many keywords as you can. Google actually punishes websites that have a suspicious amount of keyword stuffing. Use keywords smartly and when they actually work with the content, but don’t force it.
04. Speed up your load times.
Does your site take more than 3 seconds to load? Tsk, tsk! I know, a few seconds doesn’t seem THAT long, but Google isn’t a fan (and neither are users). Search engines actually penalize websites that have slow load times and move down their ranking.
A few things can hinder your load time:
- Inaccurately sized images (too large)
- Improper web hosting
- Outdated plugins
- Poor page structure/too long of pages
On that note, you also want to check old links. Broken links that lead to 404 Errors aren’t just frustrating for visitors… You guessed it, Google gets frustrated, too! Use a tool like brokenlinkcheck.com to make sure your links are all functioning and healthy!
05. Share on social media!
You likely already share your content and website on your social platforms. But getting into the habit of doing it regularly and repeatedly is really smart, because your odds of others re-sharing or reposting go up the more YOU share it. When people share your links (especially on their own websites), Google views your site as more legit and trustworthy.
If you’re a regular sharer of your new posts on Instagram, start working other platforms into your routine. Utilize LinkedIn for business-related content and Twitter and Facebook for any and all topics, really. Invite readers to share with their audiences using strong calls to action.
Et voila! That is it, my new SEO-nerding-out friend. It doesn’t take a ton of time or maintenance, but little check-ins here and there goes a long way when it comes to search engine optimization. Work these little tips into your creation routine to amplify your results and web traffic!