There are so many things you can work on when it comes to your online presence: your website structure, content, graphics, social media, off-site (links, citations), paid social & search. The list goes on and on. It can be overwhelming to anyone – particularly non-technical folks. See below for five things you can do to improve your SEO:
Get GREAT web hosting
You would not imagine the number of websites I come across that are hosted on TERRIBLE, slow servers. You need to have a powerful server that can scale with your business in terms of traffic and resource usage. I highly recommend going with one of the top 2 providers – Amazon AWS or Google Cloud Services. These services are billed on a per-hour basis versus a monthly fee. You have the advantage of some of the worlds most powerful servers and the ability to EASILY scale to as much as you need in minutes.
Think your website is slow? Try using GTmetrix. It’s a really great tool that “has a suite of features and options to make optimizing your website clear and easy.”
Here are some of the features:
– Analyze your page with Google PageSpeed and Yahoo! YSlow rulesets
– Get your page’s Page Load Time, Total Page Size and Total # of Requests
– See your page’s performance relative to the average of all sites analyzed on GTmetrix
I’m a huge fan and definitely recommend it. By migrating from a shared hosting service to a dedicated server you can EASILY cut your website speed by 1-3 seconds.
Use a Content Delivery Network (CDN)
CDNs are fast-becoming an easy way to optimize images, scripts and other on-page resources. Additionally they provide the ability to manage your DNS seamlessly with built-in security features. I personally really like CloudFlare as it’s very easy to setup and has a very in-depth admin panel which allows for customizations.
Here is a visualization of what your web traffic looks like with & without CloudFlare:
Finish your on-page optimizations
Use a site audit tool to scan your site and see what technical changes you need to make. One of my favourite audit tools is WooRank. They do a great job of aggregating all the top SEO factors in a clear and concise report. It gives you a great overview so you can hit the ground running. If you need to get more granular (or technical) check out SEO Powersuite or SEMRush Site Audit tool. If there is one item that is critical it’s your title tag. That one little line of text can be the difference between being on Page 1 or Page 20!
Get an SSL certificate
Long ago, Google announced the would give priority in the SERPs to sites that have an SSL certificate installed. It’s a no-brainer to purchase an SSL certificate for the added security and potential SEO benefits. I find it also helps increase conversions as a trust-factor on your site (if only .01% – these things add-up!) You can get them for less than $10 through SSLs.com. The RapidSSL is really fast and cheap to setup.
OK this is not going to help you with your SEO but this is an important and a much forgotten item by many website owners. We tend to not even think about backups but they are such a critical component of a disaster recovery solution. If your site is hacked and/or deleted – what would you do? It could easily rack up thousands of dollars in additional web development work. Having a backup solution at $50 per month would likely seem like ABSOLUTELY NOTHING in comparison to losing all of your data. Your website is the lifeline of your business and you need to ensure maximum uptime. If you are on WordPress there are plugins that sync with DropBox or other file storage services. It can take 5 minutes to setup and can save you a HUGE headache should anything happen to your site.