When talking about search traffic and search engine optimization, everybody instantly seems to be thinking about links. And that is why some bloggers and website owners neglect all the other small tweaks and factors that have immense power for SEO improvement and can positively influence your search rankings apart from link building.
In reality, SEO is a lot more than just building links. Forgetting or not knowing about all the small and seemingly simple optimizations you can easily do today, results in seriously missing out on search traffic.
Here is my list of 13 tweaks that have the power to improve your search traffic that you have probably totally forgotten about.
On Your Website
Let’s start on your website. The advantage of these improvements is that you have total power over them. You can easily change, tweak and optimize everything on your own website. You do not have to ask others to do something for you.
Missing out on these SEO improvements would be really stupid since they are easily done, and they are really important for good SEO rankings.
1. Web Design
Make sure that your website is easy to consume and does not confuse your audience.
Use fonds that are easy to read. Don’t use too many fancy elements on your website that take away too much attention from the content and will make it hard for people to find the actual content they want to consume. Provide a clear structure. This will help to keep your audience happy.
All the following aspects like site speed and time on site also influence your web design and vice versa. If you need some help with making your blog ready for SEO, check this post.
2. Site Speed
Your audience will appreciate a website that loads fast – and that is why Google also awards fast page load times and ranks fast loading pages better than slow pages. User experience is a huge ranking factor – and apart from that, if your website is too slow people who visit your website will leave again very fast out of sheer frustration. Google also rates the time that people spend on your website. If they leave quickly, your rankings will suffer.
That means that fast page load times will help your SEO.
3. Time on site
As mentioned before, the time that your website visitors spend on your site is an SEO ranking factor with Google. You can influence this not only with fast page load times but also with other things:
- Keep people interested, make reading, or watching your content easy. Provide structure.
- Provide links within your content and on other places on your website to related content that your audience might want to read.
- Make sure people understand what the content is about quickly.
- Make sure your content fulfills the promise you made in the search listings.
- Make your content scannable so that people can easily see what it is about.
You do not want to lure in your audience with false promises and have them leave the instant they see they were lied to. Google will notice that this search result obviously is not what people were looking for and rate it down!
4. Mobile Friendliness
More and more searches happen on mobile. If you do not provide a mobile-friendly version of your website, you will either annoy your audience by showing them a website they can hardly read on their mobile devices – or you will be missing out on search traffic. Both, you do not want to happen.
Image Source: Search Engine Land
And if you do provide a mobile version of your website, you need to optimize this version for mobile SEO. Because Google will consider the mobile search index for websites that provide a mobile version.
That means you want to make sure that your website is mobile friendly so that your visitors from mobile are not scared away. But you also want to make your website mobile friendly to rank better in Google search.
5. CTR + Meta Description
The meta description is the short text that Google shows in the search results directly on Google. If you do not explicitly provide a meta description, Google will pull some random text from your website and display that instead in the search results.
That can seriously hurt your Google search traffic. The meta description is your chance to make people click on your content in the search results if you manage to rank. If the text in the search results does not speak to searchers, you may even rank in Google search, but people will never click on the search results.
The CTR (Click Through Rate) is the percentage of people that actually click on your content when they see it listed on Google search. If this rate is very low while your content does rank fairly high in the search results, you should consider some optimizations. The reasons for low CTR can be manifold. Often the content does not rank for the same keywords for which it was optimized, and then the keywords used in title and meta description does not speak to the people who see the content in the search results. In this case, you should consider changing the title and/or meta description according to the keyword(s) your content ranks for.
Interstitials are all popups, and page takeovers you may use on your website. Google has specific rules on how you should and should not use these interstitials, especially on mobile. If you do not follow these rules, your search rankings will be seriously damaged.
In Your Content
When you are thinking about SEO, your content is crucial. And you can do a lot more than creating the content and include your keyword into the content.
7. Related Keywords
Often people decide on ONE keyword they want the content to earn traffic for. But the prblem is that it is often rather long tail keywords, or related keywords that don’t come to mind first are the search terms that content gets traffic for.
And that is why you should not simply stuff your content with ONE keyword over and over again but also include related keywords and long tail keywords on the same topic.
(If you need some help to find related keywords, you can use a tool like Serpstat – for the related keyword search often the free account is totally sufficient)
If you published a post and later realize that it ranks for a different keyword than you originally optimized it for, you may want to consider to change your meta description, too. So that people searching for the new search term find your Google search listing truly interesting.
8. Post Structure, Reader friendliness
Make your content easy to read and keep your visitors on your content. It helps if you use headlines and subheads. Paragraphs should be rather short. An image every few sentences also helps you to keep your audience’s attention.
Use an easy to read font!
There are multiple reasons why you should consider your images when you think about SEO. One of the reasons is fairly simple: Google has an image search. If you want to rank for certain keywords, you should not miss out on the chance to rank in the image search.
But there are more reasons to spend some thoughts on your images:
If your file size is too large, your images can seriously hurt your page load times!
Generic stock photos will not help your SEO – on the contrary. Instead, you should create your own images. Your readers will appreciate more personal images or even additional information on images.
Your images should complement the information that you tell – not just fill the space.
In addition, you should use the captions of your images to include descriptions – and use keywords. Plus you should make sure that your image file names also include keywords.
There are links that path a lot of „link juice“ and there are rather „smaller“ links with less importance – but even small links have SEO impact. Plus a natural link profile always includes a lot more of the less important links and some more valuable links.
While you should not invest too much time into earning „cheap“ links, they still have some power.
10. Internal Linking
Are you aware how important it is that you interlink your content on your website?
There are several reasons for that: One reason is that links are links, even if they come from the same domain. But there is more to internal linking. You can even use internal linking to show Google which of several articles on one topic you believe is the most important by linking to it from related content on your website.
Plus internal links will help you to keep your website visitors on your website for a longer time.
Image Source: SEO Hacker
11. Social Signals
Posts on Facebook or Twitter do not count the same as „real“ links. But they are still important for your search rankings. Google does register if your content gets a lot of visitors from social media and ranks it accordingly.
12. Pinterest Pins – yes they are links
Unlike posts on social networks like Facebook or Twitter, each pin on Pinterest creates a new website with a URL. This means that each pin and repin is a new link.
These links are not very valuable if we are talking about ONE pin. But if you consider that some pins on Pinterest get thousands and even hundreds of thousands of repins, this adds up to a considerable amount of SEO power.
13. Syndicated Content
Talking about some cheap links: you can reuse your existing content to earn some additional links. You can simply use an older but still relevant post, change the title and the introductory paragraph. Mention that an earlier version of this article was published on your blog Include a link to the original post.
Places, where you can easily (re-)publish new versions of existing articles, are LinkedIn Publishing, Medium – or even Quora.
Final Words On SEO Improvements
There is a lot more to awesome SEO than using a keyword in your content and creating backlinks to your website. And there are many small improvements that you can start doing today that can have a huge impact on your rankings but also on the actual traffic you get from Google search.
Don’t just focus on the “big” impact SEO ranking factors. The small improvements do count, too!