You’ve finally set up your website:
Your product pages are ready. Your payment gateways are ready. All your nicely taken photos are in the right places.
Only one problem: not enough people are looking at your site.
You may be getting some visitors, but not enough to bring in the sales figures you want for your business.
Sadly, these days just setting up a website and waiting won’t bring in visitors to your website.
To create a constant flow of traffic to your site, you’ll need to have a marketing plan in place for your website.
A crucial part of that marketing plan will be your SEO strategy.
A well-planned and executed SEO strategy will allow you to continuously get traffic from search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing.
If you don’t know yet how to get started with SEO, here’s a quick guide to help you get started.
But what if you’ve already started doing some SEO on your site, but nothing much is happening?
The reality is that getting your SEO right is more complex than it looks. In fact, Google uses over 200 ranking factors to decide which content it ranks on top, and which at the bottom.
That means there are a lot of things you’ll have to take care of before Google says: “Your website is better than the rest” and move you up its rankings.
To a beginner in SEO, this may sound complicated.
But it doesn’t have to be!
In this post, I’ll show you 21 areas even beginners like you can improve to help you increase your chances of ranking higher on Google.
What are they? Let’s take a look beginning with the basics:
Site Setup for SEO
These are the basic setups you will need in place in order for you to set up some of the necessary settings to help you boost your SEO and later, to monitor the performance of your SEO efforts.
Get a Google Web Console Account
The Google Web Console is where you monitor everything about your website from Google’s perspective.
This is where you’ll submit your site sitemap, monitor your site for any penalties or crawl errors and even get data on keywords your visitors are searching for.
For most new website owners, setting up their Google Web Console account is one of the most easily overlooked steps.
Don’t get left behind. Learn how to create a Google Web Console account for your website here:
Install Google Analytics
Google Analytics (GA) is one of the most powerful free traffic analytics tools in the market. If you don’t have it installed yet, you’re missing out on useful data you can use to improve your site.
With GA, you can track the number of visitors on your site, discover how your visitors interact with content on your site and how your visitors discover your site, to name but a few of the powerful tools in GA.
If you don’t yet have GA installed, here’s Google’s set up guide to help you begin:
Install Yoast SEO
If your site is running on WordPress and you don’t yet have Yoast SEO installed, you’re missing out on optimizing your site’s SEO.
Yoast SEO is a plugin designed to make it easy for you to configure your posts and pages for best SEO.
If you don’t yet have Yoast installed, Moz’s guide on Yoast SEO is one of the most comprehensive one out there to get you started:
Submit your Sitemap to Google
Your sitemap is basically a list of all the pages on your website. By submitting your sitemap to Google, you let Google know what pages you have on your website and so speeds up the indexing of the pages.
If you have installed Yoast SEO plugin, you’ll be able to get your sitemap from inside the plugin. Here’s how you can do it and then submit them to Google and other search engines:
On-Site SEO is what you do on your own website to bring visitors in (or, what marketers like to call inbound traffic). Here are some ways you can improve your on-site SEO:
Create a Blog
Do you have a website that has pages about your business and the products or services you offer, but no blog?
Then you’re missing out on the best opportunity to bring in traffic from search. Having an active blog means you are adding fresh new content that Google can crawl on. Without it, your website may be as good as being invisible online.
Discover more benefits of keeping a blog here:
Have a Content Plan in place
Google loves fresh content. So if your blog goes months or years before getting a fresh post, Google will get the signal: uh-oh, old stuff, and proceed to place your website below one with fresh content.
A content plan will decide what you will update, how often you will update and what keywords you will target. You will need to come up with one and stick to it if you want to be successful with your blog. Here’s a guide to help you get started:
Use Keyword research to Plan Articles
Good keyword research will allow you to discover keywords your potential customers are already using to look for products or services you offer.
If you are not yet doing keyword research, you will be missing out on opportunities to create targeted content to bring in qualified visitors to your site.
If you don’t know how to find the best keywords for your business, read my guide on how to get started:
Put your keywords in your article titles and URL
Your article title and URL are some of the best places to include your target keywords. So be sure to place them in before you hit publish!
Though, you’d want to keep things natural and not keyword stuff them!
Keep your writing simple and easy to understand
Even though you may want to appear like the authority in your industry or niche, that doesn’t mean you need to write in a complex way.
The truth is that most of your visitors won’t have time to analyse your writing. Instead, they will probably lose interest if they don’t understand what you are writing.
So try to keep your writing simple and easy to understand so your visitors will be better engaged.
Match your content to your headline
When your content doesn’t match your headline, the readers may leave your page and click on another link in Google’s search results.
This action signals to Google that the content you are serving on your site does not match with the search intent of the searcher, and Google will rank your content lower than content that matches with the search intent.
Read about marketer Brian Dean’s experience with improving his search traffic by matching his content with their search intent.
Link out to relevant and high-authority pages
When you are creating content, be sure to include link to relevant, high-authority pages.
Doing this gives Google the signal that you are an active part of the niche you are creating content in, and your site authority and trust score will increase.
Off-site SEO is SEO you do to get traffic from outside your site in (or, in this case, outbound traffic).
The goal of off-site SEO is to bring traffic to your site externally. Here are some ways you can improve your off-site SEO:
Make your content share-worthy
Backlinks increase your website authority. One of the best ways to get links to your site is by creating content people will wank to link to.
What are resources people want to share? What would you want to share?
Build quality backlinks to your site
Most people compare a link online to a vote. Having more links to your site gives you more credibility.
Note here that it is important for you to build quality backlinks to your site and avoid spammy link-building techniques like bulk links.
Building share-worthy content people naturally want to link to is one of the best ways to build links to your site.
Here are some other effective ways to build quality backlinks to your site:
Technical SEO deals with your website backend. These are the non-content related things you need to take care of to improve your SEO:
Make your URLs short
Gone are the days when you just let your URL be the same as the blog title.
These days, it’s much better to create URLs that are short. It helps your readers understand what your article is about better.
Speed up your site
Speed is becoming more important these days. Nobody has
Here are a few tips for making your website faster:
- Use a CDN like CloudFare
- Compress all your images. If you are using WordPress, use a plugin like WP Compress or do it manually yourself using TinyJPG.com
Make your site mobile-friendly
More and more people are visiting your website on their mobile phones. This is one of the reasons Google is prioritising mobile experience more and more.
If your site doesn’t load properly on mobile, you will likely lose Google’s favor and witness your rankings tank.
Keep your menus a maximum of 3 levels
By keeping your menu at a maximum of 3 levels, this will ensure that your visitors can get where they want with 3 clicks or less.
If you have an e-commerce website, you would want your visitor to go from the homepage to the product page of what they are looking for with just 3 clicks.
Homepage > Women’s > Shorts
What you don’t want to do is make the navigation too long and confuse your visitor.
Other Helpful Things
While these are not direct things you can do, it’s worth doing as well:
Keep your pulse on Google Algorithm updates
As a business, Google is always on the move. That’s how Google stays in business.
With more content going online every single day, Google pays close attention to the websites and continues tweaking its algorithms to keep it on top.
If you don’t keep yourself updated, you may get caught off-guard and have your website drop from Page 1 to Page 10 overnight!
That’s it – 21 things you can check right now. For your website to see improvements in search traffic, you need to take care of your website from four different aspects: your set up, your on-site SEO, your off-site SEO and your technical SEO.
While it is possible to see improvements by optimizing just one area, if you want bigger wins, I’d recommend looking into each of the four areas for ways to improve.
Having said that, this list is not exhaustive. There are
Let me know: what are things you’ve done to massively improve your site traffic? Let me know in the comments below!
Read more about SEO on my SEO resource page.