5 Simple SEO Tips to Help Your Site Stand Out
You’ve worked hard at getting a website up and going, the content created, and an online presence established.
So it would be a darn shame if none of it ever got seen, right?
Social media algorithms aside (will save that for another day) there’s something that can be done on the inside of your website and within the structure of your content that can help it get seen - and that’s your SEO.
SEO stands for search engine optimization. And yes, while this tends to be equated mostly with Google, any search engine will utilize this. For instance, sites like Etsy and Pinterest are search engines too.
The term SEO tends to have a bit of a technical connotation, but when it’s all said and done, it’s just a way to help get your work into the hands of the folks who are searching for it. That’s not so scary, right? So I’m going to share 5 simple SEO tips you can use on your site, whether you’ve got a blog or not, to help your content get seen by the right folks.
1. The Power of Keywords
When someone searches on Google, they typically won’t type in “Say Google, how much would I have to lift in order to make my goal weight of 195lbs before summer break?” They’d more likely search for “weight lifting” or “how to weight lift for goal weight.”
They’re using keywords, and keywords can be just words or short phrases. Because sometimes, one word loses its context as a keyword without the other, such as “comfort” or “comfort food” So within the title, pages, and article copy, you’ll want to make sure you’re including those keywords in a natural way that people are searching for.
Action Step: Go in to Google or Pinterest and type in your topic, let’s say it’s “Southern food.” Take a look at the keywords that populate in the autofill options below, which are words that people are already searching for. From there, you can use those keywords to prepare your own content!
2. Utilize SEO Tools and Features
There are paid subscription platforms out there for SEO purposes but for today, I just wanted to keep it as simple (and free!) as possible. So in terms of free SEO tools, I’d recommend the Yoast plugin for Wordpress and utilizing the built-in SEO panel for Squarespace.
Yoast has a little more functionality here with giving you a rating on how well your SEO is doing, but essentially both of these tools allow you to check the descriptions and site titles of your pages and posts. This essentially is just another way to ensure that your keywords are showing up so that they’ll surface that much easier when someone searches for them.
Action Step: Get the Yoast plugin or check out the SEO panel on Squarespace for each page to optimize this with the descriptions and keywords that you want.
3. The Do’s and Don’ts of Links
Most blog posts contain at least one link, and links actually can improve (or hurt) SEO as well. These tips are important to know about because the best practices around it are super simple and can definitely affect your site’s SEO standing. Here are a few do’s and don’ts about using links within blog posts or pages.
Do: Include a couple links to your own articles, whether that’s within your post copy or at the bottom in a “related” area. These are called internal links and they help establish what’s called “domain equity.” Along with other people linking to your site as well (with what are called backlinks) this shows the search engine that you’re a robust site with relevant content, which bumps up your site’s quality standing.
Don’t: Include a ton of links out to other websites. These are called outbound links, and while it’s totally fine to include some, especially to give credit or to share affiliate links in a relevant way, a ton of outbound links can get flagged by search engines as spammy. Outbound links will certainly help the site you’re sharing, but not necessarily your site.
Do: With all of your links, make sure that your anchor text (the underlined hyperlinked text) is something relevant to the link it’s pointing to. For example, “click here” is not relevant, but “chicken pot roast recipe” is. This shows that your links and site content contains relevant information and search engines will crawl that to help someone find what they’re searching for.
4. Optimize Your URL Slugs
I know, I know.. the word “slug” isn’t my favorite either. But basically, the URL slug is the part of the link of where your blog post can be found on your site. Here’s a quick terminology rundown:
A URL string is the whole link: www.yoursite.com/blog/your-post-title
A URL slug is the very end part: /your-post-title
Your URL can be SEO optimized by utilizing the keywords you want. The way you may choose to shorten or optimize your URL slug will depend on your preference, your title, and what makes the most sense for your site.
With titles, the URL will typically auto-populate. So for instance, you may go to publish an article and see that the URL for your post mirrors the title exactly, such as with the title “11 Ways to Wear a Pearl Necklace This Autumn”
That URL will then look like this:
While it’s fine to leave it at that, it could also be shortened a little if desired by cutting out those filler words (a, the, this) so that it looks more like this:
11-ways-wear-pearl-necklace-autumn And yes, while it doesn’t make the most sense when read out loud, it still captures the keywords.
Or, if it makes more sense for your site (meaning you don’t have a lot of other “pearl necklace in autumn” posts) you can also simply make that URL slug: pearl-necklace-autumn
Crafting your URL slugs is really up to you and what makes the most sense for your article title and the keywords you’re wanting to capture.
Action Step: On your next article post, structure your URL so it’s focused around the keyword(s) you want. And keep a spreadsheet going in Google Sheets or Excel to keep track of all of your blog post or page URLS so they’re easy to link to next time.
5. Alt Text for Photos
When search engines crawl a page for content, they’re looking at the text associated with that page, which means even the text behind the photos! This means that if your photos are getting uploaded into your posts and just being left with a default title like P34239.jpg, they’re not really doing all that much for your content in terms of SEO.
However, if that photo is given alt text (or alternative text) of “How to Fix a Squeaky Door Hinge” that text will overwrite the default photo name, and now suddenly it has SEO credibility which means it holds more relevance within the post. Most photo uploaders will have a space specifically for alt text which makes this easy to edit. This also helps the photo surface in a Google search, which is doubly helpful in getting the right eyes on your work.
Slay that SEO
I totally get it, SEO isn’t the most glamorous or fun topic out there in the internet space, but it’s part of laying that core foundation to help your work get seen, and that is the real goal here.
So to recap, those 5 simple tips for SEO that you can implement today are:
Use those keywords
Leverage free SEO tools
Be smart when it comes to links
Craft clean URL slugs
Add alt text to your images
With SEO, it’s important to have your eye on the big picture and your long term goals. Who do you want your work to reach? What are they searching for? How do you want your content to be seen or heard? Thinking about these things will help you formulate the right strategy to use to help you plan and prepare content.
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