If you’re aiming to rank on the first page of Google for an ideal key term, a little Spring cleaning could be just the boost your site needs to inch closer to its goal. Every larger goal is achieved through small, incremental actions and your onsite SEO is no different. Whilst there are a myriad of things that go into Google’s ranking algorithm – some of which we can only guess at – there are certain tasks you can carry out that we know has a tangible impact on your site’s performance in search. They’re simple, quick wins that you can carry out when you’re on your fifth cup of tea for the day. Think of it as a little brain break from your bigger business tasks.
So, here are seven quick SEO wins for your site. Grab a cup of tea and work your way through a couple of things on the list – there’s one for every day of the week if you’re feeling super productive.
1. Freshen up your page titles and meta descriptions
Your page titles and meta descriptions are a fundamental element of your site’s SEO. They’re the building blocks on which you carry out your more impressive, technical SEO work. One of our top recommendations would be to go through and check each page title and meta description for any key landing pages. You can do this for every page on your site, but we’ll start with the big hitters so we know our cornerstone content is working its hardest.
There are a number of ways to check your page titles and meta descriptions, but we’ll go with checking them via your CMS. We’re WordPress fans at Matchstick Creative, so we’re going to log in and navigate towards our ‘All Pages’ menu item on the left-hand side of our screen.
Your menu may look a little different to this, but that’s ok – you’ve probably got different plugins to us. From this view, we can see all of our page titles and meta descriptions in one hit. We use the Yoast SEO plugin, which gives us an overview of the meta data for each page. Here’s an example from our content marketing service page:
I’m happy with how this is looking as we’ve got our green light from the Yoast plugin as well as a good dose of relevant keywords and a human-friendly meta description.
When you’re checking your own page titles and meta descriptions, remember to follow these rules –
Meta description essentials:
- Should be no longer than 160 characters
- Should target relevant keywords
- Should create a positive impression of your company
Page title essentials:
- Should be no longer than 65 characters or it will get cut off
- Should clearly explain what the page is about
- Should contain an important, relevant keyword for the page
2. Spruce up your alt tags
Alt tags are an oft-forgotten part of SEO, but they pay dividends if you give them a little love. Just like your page titles and meta descriptions, alt tags can help you rank for key terms. As well as appearing in SERPs, you’ll also be able to target image search queries. And – a neat Brucey Bonus – alt tags help users with sight issues understand what they are seeing on your site. So, they’re pretty important and I’ll openly hold my hands up and say I forget them most of the time.
For example, the image associated to our blog post promoting our awesome eBook is missing an alt tag:
So, to help boost this image’s appearance in search ( and help our users) I’m going to update it. To update any alt tags on your WordPress site, simply click on the image when you’re editing your page or post and add in your alt tag into the ‘Alt Text’ box. When writing your alt tag imagine you are describing the image to someone who can’t see it. So, the alt tag I wrote for the above post was “Cover of The Beginner’s Guide to Content Marketing eBook”.
3. Re-submit your sitemap in Search Console
A nice, quick way to give your site some love is to re-submit your sitemap in Search Console. Not only will it give you chance to have a poke around and see how you’re performing in search, it’ll also give you a little boost if you made any edits to your site recently – like the edits we just made.
To re-submit your sitemap in search console follow these steps:
- Log in to search console (https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/home?hl=en)
- Navigate to the site you want to edit
- In the left-hand menu, click on ‘Crawl’ and then ‘Sitemaps’
- Then, click on the red ‘Add/test sitemap’ button.
- In the box that appears add ‘sitemap.xml’ or ‘sitemap_index.xml’ and hit ‘Test’
- A little result will appear and tell you if there are any errors.
- If there are errors, work your way through them.
- If there aren’t any errors, submit a new sitemap in the same way you just carried your test out. And there you have it! A newly update sitemap.
4. Carry out some quick keyword research for a new page
If you’ve got your eye on a particular page you want to spruce up, carry out some quick keyword research for it. There’s a really excellent guide from Britney Muller over at MOZ on this subject, so be sure to read it and carry out her recommendations when you have the time.
In the meantime, write down a quick list of words you think are relevant for your page and outline your page title, meta description and content. Having a framework to work to will make it less scary when you come to write it in the future. After all, your tea is almost finished.
5. Sprinkle in some internal links into your content
The eagle-eyed readers may have noticed that there are a number of internal links in this article, there’s a reason for this. Not only do we want to offer you lots more valuable content on our site, it also encourages you to stay onsite longer and decrease the bounce rate associated to this page.
It’s fairly certain bounce rate (when a user clicks on one page on your site and then leaves, without clicking anywhere else) plays a factor in Google’s ranking algorithm, as such it’s a good idea to keep yours as low as possible.
To implement this on your own site, choose a few key pages you’re looking to optimise and add in some hyperlinks to other relevant pages on your site. That content could be a blog post, a service page or even your contact page. Whatever your desired action is, make sure there’s an internal ink associated to it.
6. Double check important external links open in a new window
On a similar note, make sure you’re offering valuable external links – and make sure they open in a new window. Just like the bounce rate metric we mentioned in our previous point, if you provide a helpful link but it opens in the same window as your blog post, it’s going to mess with your bounce rate.
To ensure your link opens in a new window follow these steps:
- Click on the desired link you want to edit:
- A pop up will appear, click on the little pencil next to it.
- This will then bring up a new box with a small cog option. Click on the cog.
- Tick the box that says ‘Open link in a new tab’
- Click the ‘Update’ button at the bottom of the box and you’re all set!
7. Jot down some notes for a new keyword-focused blog post
And finally, now that you’ve drunk your entire cup of tea and are on your third chocolate biccie, how about something a little creative? After carrying out all of these valuable admin-type SEO jobs, it’s time for a little fun: come up with some ideas for your company blog with search terms in mind. Your blog is one of the easiest ways to get fresh content on your site, so make sure you’re showing it some love regularly.
For example, the Matchstick Creative Journal is written with a specific audience in mind: small business owners, or marketers who work for small businesses, that need quick, actionable tips that will get them results.
So, building off of this blog post we might write the following for our entrepreneurial readers:
- 10 SEO tactics to help boost sales for your SME
- 5 little-known SEO tactics that non-experts can carry out
- How content marketing boosts your site’s SEO
Each of these is written with our reader in mind, and each one will add value to their businesses. These are also key terms we’d want to appear for eventually – anytime SEO and small business are mentioned together we’d aim for our content to appear close to the top.