6 Things You Can Do to Improve Your Rankings in 30 Minutes
When most webmasters think of SEO (Search Engine Optimization), they think of it as rocket science or that it'll take months to optimize their sites to rank on the search engines. But that's not always the case. Don't get me wrong: there are some really technical tactics that could take months to master. And there are situations where your site won't move up just immediately after you've implemented a change. But that's not all there is to SEO. In fact, some parts of SEO are as easy as “do this and get that.” Simple. No gimmick. No sleight! And so today, we're bringing some of these simple strategies to you. These are easy strategies that you can implement, even within five minutes, and get massive improvements on your rankings. And to even it, we're bringing you six of these strategies so you can implement them all within 30 minutes, five minutes each. They're really that simple. Let's get into it and optimize your website:
1. SHORTEN YOUR URLS RIGHT NOW
Several studies and experts within the SEO community find a strong correlation between URL length and rankings. In short, according to Matt Cutts — former head of search quality at Google — Google’s algorithm only takes into account the first four or five words in a URL. Why? Because Google’s major objective is to provide the best search experience to the user. And one of the things they do to support this objective is to make URLs more human readable. URL Shortening is the best technique to improve ranking.
Shorter URLs are SEO-friendly. This becomes even more important when you realize that URLs are a significant ranking signal. In Backlinko's list of Google’s 200 ranking factors, they listed the following as some of the strongest factors:
URL length — listed as #54
URL path — listed as #55
Keyword in the URL — listed as #59
URL string —listed as #60
All of these means that when it comes to optimization, URL are vitally important, yet easy enough to optimize.
2. BUY HTTPS FOR YOUR SITE IMMEDIATELY
Since Google's ultimate aim is to provide users with topnotch search experience, security is a top priority for Google. So back on August 6, 2014, Google officially announced that it would consider HTTPS as a ranking signal. Which means that websites using secure encryption were going to get a boost in their Google rankings. As at then, Google rolled out minor algos across the board in favor of HTTPS websites and later strengthened it.
In 2015, Google announced that its HTTPS update may serve as a “tie-breaker.” That is, if the quality signals for two different search results are equal in everything else, Google will rank the site with HTTPS higher. So for instance, if your website is equal to your competitor’s site in terms of speed, content length, interactivity strength, etc. but your website is HTTPS and your competitor's site is not, then Google will most likely rank your site ahead of theirs. Again, in 2017, Google announced that it'll start flagging non-HTTPS websites as “NON-SECURE.” This meant if you had a non-HTTPS website, you had to adopt HTTPS before October of that year or you risked losing traffic and have a “NOT SECURE” notification pop-up on your website for Chrome users. In 2019, Google is even pushing this further.
Adding HTTPS is a low hanging fruit that you can take advantage of to have a significant impact on your rankings. Getting the HTTPS is relatively cheap. Some web hosts even give out SSL certs for free as part of the hosting plan. Check if your web host does the same, otherwise, simply slap a few bucks on a quality HTTPS protocol to gain massive improvement on your rankings.
3. ADD CONTENT TO YOUR SHORTER PIECES
Long-form content often outranks their short-form counterparts. Two popular studies prove this finding. One is from SerpIQ, which found that the top-ranked posts on Google were over 2,000 words.
The second study is from Brian Dean which found that the average word count of a Google first page result is 1,890 words.
Chances are that you have some blog posts on your site that are under 1,000 words or even below 500 words. Usually, such pages sit on the second page of SERPs or lower. If you add more content to these pages, they could immediately be whisked to the first page. Another brilliant reason why you should lengthen your short content is that most people tend to stay on long-form content longer than they do on shorter ones. This forces Google RankBrain to think that the content provides more value to users. Once a piece of content is perceived as being more valuable, Google will automatically push it higher. This means Google uses “user experience signals” like dwell time, bounce rate, and click-through-rate as ranking factors.
4. ADD IMAGES TO YOUR OLD BLOG POSTS
Images in blog posts often show up on image search engines like Google Images. This constitutes additional traffic for blogs that add images to their posts. Beyond that, images can help you improve your rankings in some ways. Particularly, if the image is useful to your search traffic, then user interaction may come into play per signaling search engines that your page is worth higher ranking. How?
The image may entice more social media shares, and the social signal has been touted as a ranking signal
It may attract more links to the page especially if it is a custom-created image like charts and screenshots
It may increase time on the page as users look at the image or read its caption/text-content
It may increase on-page clicks to view a larger version of the image.
These and more!
Now, all of these user interactions are often tracked by search engines like Google, thus, they do affect the rankings of the page. Additionally, when you use an image within your article, it helps to make the post look longer and more comprehensive without increasing word count. This gets people to stay longer and search engine to rank it higher in return. Look at one of our blog posts on which we included lots of images:
The post currently ranks very high on Google. In fact, Google uses content from this post as the “rich snippet” result for the search term “how to rank number 1 on Google”:
The post also ranks on Google's top result for the same search term: “how to rank #1 on Google”:
See? Go ahead now and add content to your old blog posts to improve it.
5. INSERT EMBEDDED MEDIA TO YOUR EXISTING CONTENT
Embedded media are items such as YouTube videos, calendars, forms, tweets, Vimeo, Instagram posts, Facebook quotes, and so on. They add instant interactivity to otherwise “boring” content and make the page become “rich” in the eye of both users and search bots. Just as images, embedded content also increases the number of time users spends on your pages. For example, a visitor watching a 5-minute YouTube video on your site would qualify as being engaged and getting value from your content. This is what you should look for in order to get Google to push your content to page #1. Particularly, embedded videos hosted on YouTube serve as a two-edged sword. One, it gives search engines additional content to rank. Two, since YouTube is a Google-owned platform, Google actually “sides” with the video and ranks it higher (since they “own” it).
6. UPDATE YOUR BLOG POSTS WITH NEW INFORMATION
Have you ever noticed that Google prefer to display newer content on the first page of search results? Take a look at this screenshot as an example and look at the sequence of the dates closely:
You'll notice that the results that are ranked higher have newer dates. This is because Google always wants to serve only fresh, relevant content to its users. They prioritize fresh content more for certain subjects, such as current events or topics or reviews. Old posts may contain tips that are no longer considered trendy. Google doesn't want to serve that to its users. As a matter of fact, Google rolled out a new algo update way back in 2011 that rewards fresh content for certain queries. This is in addition to the “Query Deserves Freshness” ranking factor Google announced in 2007. To get around this, regularly update your old posts with fresh information. You'd also want to update the published-on date.
As it is with most things in life, the easiest, simplest, smallest changes could be the ones bringing the biggest improvements. SEO sometimes work that way, too. These simple, easy-to-implement tips will help you gain better results in the search engines if implemented correctly and effectively. If you need help with the right tools to optimize your site, feel free to check our 100% free SEO and content tools.