15 Easy Ways to Boost Your SEO
May 29, 2020
In 2011 I began my journey into the world of small business ownership when I opened the doors to my photography business, Paisley Layne Photography. At the time I had no idea how to run a small business, I just knew that I wanted to create beautiful pictures for people.
As my business started to grow, I quickly realized that in order to have a successful business I needed to do more than just take “pretty pictures”. I needed to learn the ins and out of marketing, SEO, social media and all the other things that can drive you to drink.
I knew that if I wanted to get new clients, and have my website seen by more than just my family and friends, I needed to start with SEO (Search Engine Optimization). So of course I headed to Google and started my online research.
My first questions were…
“What is SEO?”
“Why do I need to worry about it?”
In simple terms, SEO is the ability for search engines, such as Google, to find and display your website in a web search. If you did a Google search right now for photographers in your area, the first one to pop up are the ones that have the strongest SEO presence on the web.
So how do you get YOUR website to show up at the top of the Google search?
There is no one thing that does the trick, and improving your SEO is something you have to continuously work on. Doing a few little things over time can significantly increase your SEO and get your website seen by more people than just your mom.
Here are 15 things you can do right now to help increase your SEO:
1.Your website loads quickly-
Google loves websites that load quickly and have little to zero lag time. As a website visitor, if the images take to long to load or don’t load at all, I’m not going to spend much time on the site. In order to make sure you site runs smoothly, make sure your images are sized for the web and there aren’t any elements on your pages that are slowing down your load time.
2. Your website is up to date-
If you created your website 3 years ago and haven’t touched it again, it’s time to do some updates. Keeping your website up to date let’s Google know that you are still in business, that you are relevant and that your website is worth sharing. To keep it up to date, make sure you are switching out old photos with new one every few months, update any important information and add new posts to your blog site on a regular basis.
3. Your website is mobile friendly-
Mobile device searches has increased incredibly in the past few years, so Google places a lot of emphasis on site that are mobile friendly. The easiest way to check this is to try pulling up your website on your phone or tablet. Make sure all your pages are loading correctly, are easy to read and the site is easy to navigate.
4. Your platform matters-
Not all website platforms are created equal. It can be really tempting when you are first starting out to go for one of the free website platforms such as Wix or Weebly, however, the problem with these platforms is that you don’t have full control of your website. You are basically renting your website from another company so their ultimate goal is to promote their own platform, not yours. When you purchase your own website and hosting you have complete control over all the features and functions. I highly recommend Wordpresswebsites, but have also heard great things about Squarespace.
5. SEO plugins-
If your website is designed through WordPress then you NEEDthe Yoast Plug-in! This is by far one of my most favorite tips for boosting SEO. This plugin is a simple and easy way to see if your pages and blog posts are optimized for SEO. At the bottom of each page/post there color coded tabs (Green, Orange or Red) that let you know how well your content is doing based on your keyword and readability. If you are falling into the Orange or Red areas, it will give you suggestions on ways to improve your content to get back into the green.
6. Page Titles –
Each page on your website has its own name and page description that are searchable by Google, making it a great place to include your top keywords (those that include your location and what you do). If you use WordPress for your website, the page titles are pretty obvious…it’s what you call the page (home, investment, portfolio, etc). One thing I like to do here is create unique titles for my pages and then “hide” them from view. For example: For my wedding portfolio page, I titled it “DFW Wedding Photography Portfolio”. No one will see this title on my website, but it is now linked to that page for keyword searches.
7. Meta Descriptions –
In addition to the page title, each page also gets a Meta Description. This is the little blurb that shows up under your page link in a Google search.
If you are using the Yoast Plugin for WordPress, there is a box at the bottom of each page or post where you can customize the metadata. This is one more chance for you to include your keywords, location or a short summary of the post or page content.
Think about the link you clicked on to get to this post….that link is called a Permalink and it is the “address” for this post on the web. It’s also the easiest way for Google to find your content. Because of this you want to make sure your Permalinks contain the keyword you want to show up for. For example: The keywords for this blog post are ” boost your SEO” so I made sure to add those keywords into the title and permalink. Now, a lot of people get confused because they think the title and the permalink have to be the same….the don’t! If you want to title your blog post “A day in the life of a photographer” but your keyword phrase is ‘Austin Family Photographer’ then you can change the permalink to “www.yoursite.com/a-day-in-the-life-Austin-family-photographer”. Now your title doesn’t look like you are trying too hard to “stuff” keywords in, but your permalink includes it giving you a better chance of ranking higher on a Google search.
9. Are you are asking visitors to do “something”-
Search engines love websites that are relevant and interactive. It lets them know that people are liking your site and are actively engaged in your content. Since Google can’t ask your viewers what they think of your site, they base their opinion on the “clicks” your site gets. So asking viewers to “do something” on you site (click here or download this, etc.) helps to boost your engagement which in turn boosts your SEO.
10. Content Creation (aka Blogging)-
Content is King when it comes to marketing! Creating meaningful, engaging and relevant content keeps your website active. When you first created your website your posted your information, added some beautiful images and a contact form. After that it was probably months (maybe years) before you updated anything on your website. When it sits stagnant for a long period of time, Google starts to think you are no longer relevant, or maybe no longer in business.
The easiest way to keep your website up to date and relevant is to blog. Now, I know…I can already hear the sighs. BUT, blogging doesn’t have to be a chore or a challenge. When you know your ideal client you can easily write to him/her and about things that he/she enjoys. For example: if you ideal client is a mom of young children, then you have a plethora of topics you can write about already – cooking for kids, things to do around town, how to survive a summer road trip with little ones….the list goes on.
Stop worrying about what to say or who will read it….and just start creating! I promise it will pay off!
11. Link building-
Have you ever heard of the term “backlinks”? Backlinks are a great way to build your SEO by letting someone else do the work for you. Backlinks are basically links that lead readers back to your website from somewhere else. For example: If you were to write a guest blog post for another company and they shared your link on their website and social media….those are backlinks. They are basically giant red arrows pointing to your website, and the more arrows pointing to your website the better because it tells Google that you are a something people want to share and talk about.
So what is the best way to get backlinks – offer to guest post for other blogs! We all have something to say and something we bring to the table. Reach out to other people in your industry or related industries and ask if they would be willing to feature you as a guest blogger. I always believe that the worst they can say in “no”….and if they do, you move on to the next business.
12. Label all images-
A lot of times when it comes to SEO we put a lot of our focus on the words…but the pictures are JUST as important. But since Google can’t “see” the images your put on your site, you have to give them titles and descriptions. Every image that goes on your website or blog should have a title using your keywords and an Alt Tag that also uses keywords specific to that image.
Here is the Title and Alt Tag info for this photo to give you an idea of what to use.
Title: The Nest Wedding Venue – DFW Wedding Photographer
Alt Tag: Bride & Groom in an all white barn wedding
13. Social Links & Traffic–
The more visitors your have on your site, the more relevant you appear t search engine crawlers. One of the easiest ways to drive traffic to your website is by posting your site link on your social media profiles. Make it easy for visitors to find your website, blog posts and content. Having your main page site in your profile is great, but don’t forget to share it in your post captions as well for those viewers that don’t always check your profile. Driving traffic to your website is one of the easiest ways to boost your SEO…so start sharing!
14. Time on Site–
Search engines look at how long clients spend browsing your website. If they are coming to your site and leaving after just a few seconds it tells search engines that your site isn’t good enough to hold their attention. Have a friend look at your website with fresh eyes and see if there is anything that might be turning clients away such as slow loading images, hard to navigate pages or pop ups that are keeping viewers from accessing content.
15. Register with Google and get reviews–
Google loves businesses that are on their side, and the easiest way to get on their side is to register your business with them. Registering your business let’s Google know that you are actively in business and seeking clients. It also allows you to collect reviews which will help potential clients feel confident when booking you, and will help boost your ranking in searches by letting Google know you are a reliable business. The easiest way to get reviews is to ask for them. Send an email to past clients asking them to share about their experience on Google.
Building a strong SEO presence takes time and perseverance. Things won’t happen over night so have patience. Keep working at it and implementing the ideas listed above and you will start seeing results. Before you know it, you will be one the first page of Google with an inbox full of inquiries. Good Luck!