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Posted by Carol Mendelsohn November 27, 2018

Rank Higher on Google with these 7 Easy Ways to Improve Your Technical SEO

Rank Higher on Google with these 7 Easy Ways to Improve Your Technical SEO

According to a recent estimation there are nearly 2 billion websites populating the internet. The Google Search index currently contains hundreds of billions of webpages .

Hundreds of billions of webpages!

Think about that for a moment. Takes a lot of zeros to make a number that big. (Just as a fun point of reference, consider that there are estimated to be roughly one hundred billion stars in the Milky Way galaxy.)

Now let's consider your company's website.

Each of your website's pages represents, at best, a one-hundred-billionth of the internet. Talk about the proverbial needle in the haystack. How can you possibly hope that people will find and visit your one-hundred-billionth of the internet?

Search Engines Got Your Back…Or Not

The answer, of course, is that you rely upon search engines to trim the odds substantially. You expect Google to lend a hand in helping connect your site to people who would have an interest in your company-and maybe even buy your product or service.

And indeed, that does happen. Search engines do skew the odds more in your favor when searchers enter a keyword or key phrase that relates to your business if you've optimized your content.

Can You REALLY Hope to Compete?

If we performed a handful of searches with keyword phrases relevant to your company's business, where would you rank out of millions of sites?

It almost seems hopeless to think that you are competing against so many other pages, doesn't it? Except it's not hopeless. You can compete-and quite successfully.

In fact, we've done it ourselves. If you search "SaaS web content management solutions", Google returns more than 40 million webpages. As of this writing, Crownpeak's homepage ranked on page one of those search results. To put it another way, we out-jostled more than 40 million other webpages.

You can do the same thing by following a few basic tenets of Search Engine Optimization (SEO). We can't guarantee, of course, that you'll instantly end up on page one of the search results for your target keyword or phrase.

But implementing the following seven low-effort steps will get you on your way-and will likely distinguish you from thousands to millions of other websites.

#1: Find and Repair Broken Links

To help understand what type of information is presented on the pages of your website, Google's spidery web crawlers routinely follow every link on each of your website's pages.

If it happens that a link is broken, well, that doesn't make Google happy and they're likely to ding you for it. That's because a broken link returns an error (such as a 404: page no longer exists), which creates a poor user experience.

How to fix it: Use an automated tool to scan your website for broken links and replace them with new, relevant links.

#2: Upgrade Anchor Link Text

How many times does the phrase "click here" appear on your site? If that number is greater than zero, it's too many.

Anchor text that links to another page should be descriptive of that page. Even if the anchor text that comprises that link is just a couple of words, it should be relevant to that page. Descriptive and relevant anchor text is helpful to search engines because it gives them an indication of what the page you're sending them to covers.

How to fix it: Make hyperlink text relevant and descriptive-but take care not to go on a keywork-stuffing spree in the process. Consider using an automated solution to scan all the pages of your website for all instances of phrase "click here."

#3: Add Alt Tags to All Your Images

People search for images as well as keywords and phrases. In fact, after Google.com, Google Images is the #2 search engine capturing over 26% of monthly searches, according to Jumpshot/Moz (peep the pie chart below).

If you don't have alt tag text with your images, your page won't be included in those results. Those tags also help make sure your website is accessible - it's the only way vision-impaired people are able to understand the images on your site.

distribution of u.s. searches across 10 web properties pie chart

Credit: Jumpshot/Moz

How to fix it: Use a descriptive and accurate term (one that realistically describes the image) for the alt tag of each image on your site. When keywords apply, use them. Not sure which images on your site have alt tags and which ones don't? You can use an automated tool to scan every page of your website to identify all the images that are missing these search-critical alt tags.

#4: Add or Update Subheads (Header Tags) to Use Keywords

Search engines like subheads-called 'header tags' in SEO parlance. They can help the web crawlers determine the topic of your page content, and the keywords for which the page should be ranked.

Perhaps more importantly, your website visitors are mostly skimmers, not readers. They're more likely to skim your webpage than read every word. Using subheads makes it easier for skimmers.

How to fix it: Scan your site for all missing header tags. Replace them with ones that contain keywords relevant to the content on the respective page. (That applies to all header tags: H1, H2, H3, etc.)

#5: Make Page Titles Relevant, Concise, and Keyword-Rich

The title tags on your webpage play an important role. They provide both human visitors and web crawlers with a first-impression view of what each page of your site is about. But your title tags can't fulfill that role if they are vague and undescriptive.

Typically, title tags are displayed in search engine results, social networks (the text displayed when you share a page), and on web browsers (the text displayed on the title tab when you have multiple browser windows open). So they can also impact click-through rates, either increasing or decreasing the number of visits your website attracts.

GDPR google search screenshot

Example of how page tag titles are shown in Google search results. The title tag here is "GDPR Compliance Turnkey Solution | Crownpeak"

Page titles need to say a lot in just a little space. According to Moz: "Google typically displays the first 50-60 characters of a title tag. If you keep your titles under 60 characters, our research suggests you can expect about 90% of your titles to display properly."

How to fix it: Identify all pages missing title tags by running an automated scan of your site. Then add a unique and descriptive title tag to any pages missing one. Keep the most important keywords closer to the beginning of the tag and when possible, include your company's name to increase brand awareness.

#6: Create or Update Meta descriptions

Meta descriptions are brief summaries that describe the subject of a webpage. These brief blurbs commonly show up on search engine results pages to help users choose the most relevant website to their search.

DXM Platform Google Search screenshot

The text below the title tag is the meta description. A well-written meta description that explains what the page is about can help increase click-through rates.

While no longer used in Google ranking algorithms, meta descriptions can be key to making the most of the rankings you attain. After all, making it to page one of the search rankings is of little use if your meta description doesn't entice searchers to click on your page.

How to fix it: Make your meta descriptions relevant, concise, and appealing to help your webpage get the click.

#7: Reduce the Size of Your Images

Page-load speed is a known factor in search engine rankings. The slower your page loads, the more it's penalized by Google. And huge images can slow page-load speed to an agonizing crawl. Google won't like it, and neither will your human visitors.

But it's a problem that's easy to fix. In most cases, images can be reduced in size without compromising their visual integrity.

How to fix it: Your goal should be to strike a balance with each graphical image by choosing the smallest image size possible without creating pixilation. You can use an automated tool to scan your website for all images over a certain size to prioritize which ones need to be fixed.

Make Your Spidery Visitors Happy

Google's spiders are tireless. And it won't be long before they come a-crawling to your website again. Will they be happy with what they find and reward your site with higher rankings?

According to the old saying, Rome wasn't built in a day. It's also unlikely that you'll be able to vault your webpage to page #1 of search results right away. But follow the seven tips above and you'll immediately begin making progress that could make a noticeable difference in traffic within just a couple of months.

The best part? That's probably more than many of your competitors will be doing.

Interested in learning more about how search engines work? Download our eBook on The Fundamentals of a Winning SEO Strategy

If you're looking for an automated tool that can help you quickly implement these seven tips for improving your technical SEO, consider Crownpeak Digital Quality Management. It will scan your entire website - thousands of pages - and flag all the SEO opportunities you've missed.

Schedule a Demo of Digital Quality Management