Google rankings are vital to the success of businesses, because your SEO is your ticket to being found online. In our experience, SEO is one of the foundational elements to a well designed marketing plan, which is why we reached out to Josh Loewen, CEO and strategist at The Status Bureau, one of our favourite SEO agencies in town. We asked Josh to provide 10 tips that people can tackle themselves, to instantly boost their SEO. Here’s what he had to say (thanks Josh!).
One. You need to tell people what you do without using insider language to explain your profession, product or services. Use your customers terms rather than your own jargon- so think of the common phrases that your customers are most likely to type in when Googling. Then use these same terms on your website- in the urls, page titles and content.
Two. Write extensively. A few words here or there won’t cut it. Google much prefers long form content (around 2,000 words per page) over the shorter pages. Meta descriptions (the text below the blue links in Google results pages) are also a great, yet often overlooked, place to include your content.
Four. Get good links. The hardest part of SEO is trying to get external links to point to your website but it’s one of the most important factors in ensuring your website ranks. I mention “good links” and not “links” because hiring a cheap linkbuilder will not help and if anything might push your site downwards in the Google rankings. If a link is easy to get, it means it’s probably not valuable. The best links to get are topical, authoritative, and local.
Five. Be consistent on the big directories. Ensure your website, business name, address and phone number is the same across Google Business Listings, Facebook, Yelp, LinkedIn, BBB, Yellow Pages and Twitter. NAP (name, address, phone number) is something Google uses to understand the legitimacy of a business. If it’s the same across the major sites, then you’re off to a great start.
Six. Find broken links. One thing that often gets missed in a redesign project is repairing external links pointing to your website. Often the links will go to the old location of the page such as www.website.com/about-us.php rather than the new location of www.website.com/about-us. Yes, this is a small change, but it’s important because Google dislikes not found pages and penalizes websites by simply removing that link value entirely.
Seven. Watch out for redirects. A lot of websites need to use redirects for a myriad of reasons – internationalization, forwarding from old pages to new, or outdated products or listings. The first thing to watch out for are 302 redirects. These are temporary, so Google doesn’t know what to do with them. Having a temporary status means they’ll simply devalue the redirecting page and the page accepting the redirect. 301 redirects are the best choice as they are a permanent redirect. Google understands that the page has moved for good and will value the new page with the old page’s authority.
Eight. Pay a lot of attention to your Google Business Listing. Especially if your business is hyper local and only serves the surrounding community. Google has been very adamant about business owners reviewing their profiles for accuracy. This makes sense considering people use Google information like Maps to drive to an open business, not to find out it’s closed. Google won’t support any sites that make it look bad, so they sway favour towards those that review their Google Business Listing constantly and consistently.
Nine. Use your Google Search Console. It’s found in the Google Webmaster Tools interface and is criminally underused! Most websites now have Google Analytics installed, but that’s only half of the picture. Those are only the people that have visited your website. What about the people that didn’t? Google Search Console allows you to see what terms people used and didn’t click.
Ten. Ask an expert. Most people don’t have time to manage their own SEO services as effectively as they could. This is where I come in. Check out our SEO services and give me a call if you need help!