You don’t have to be an SEO pro to boost your website rankings on Google.
I know it sounds hard to believe, but it’s true.
There are a whole bunch of small and even simple things you can do to help improve your website’s SEO.
And in this post I am going to show you just how easy it can be.
Are you ready? Let’s go…
Add External Links
Everyone is obsessed with links when it comes to SEO, and for good reason. The way that Google ranks websites was originally based on links and today they still play a big part.
However, there is more to links than just who is linking to you. You should also be thinking about your own links and which websites you are pointing to.
Most SEOs worth their salt will tell you that you should be linking to other website from within your content. And, although many people will argue that this is not true, here is some specific proof the guys from Reboot. They did a study that showed that outbound links can in fact help rankings.
That means that when you link to other websites from your blog posts, Google will give you a big pat on the back.
What you need to keep in mind is that you link to websites that are:
- Relevant and make sense within the context of the post
- Are trustworthy enough to be mentioned (ie. not spammy, irrelevant, suspicious etc)
Here is an example from a recent post here on SMBCEO where the author links to relevant content within the post (I have highlighted the links with red boxes):
When you think about it, the benefits of linking out to external websites makes sense. After all, search engines are all about links (as I said above), so of course they want to see people linking to each other.
And it makes sense for your readers too. Which is what today’s SEO is all about – your visitors (and keeping them happy).
So, next time you hesitate to link to a relevant piece of content, or something that adds depth to your post, think again. It might just help your SEO.
Lesson 1: Linking out is great for SEO and your visitors.
Note: You do need to be aware though that you do not go too far into the opposite direction too. Many websites have become paranoid about their outward pointing links and “nofollow”ed them all. This is not good practice, and understanding when “nofollow” should be used is something all website owners must learn.
Use Internal Links
Another area you have a great amount of control over is the links within your website. These links can come in the form of both navigation links and references within content.
It might sound crazy, but these links can actually help you pages rank on Google. Yes, you read that right, internal links on your website can help with rankings.
Andy Crestodina of Orbit Media has even written a post on the topic of internal links, where he states:
Some of your pages have more authority than others. These are pages that already have links pointing to them. Your home page is the best example. Links from these pages to other pages will pass more authority and SEO value.
In practice, what this means is that you should:
- Always be linking to other relevant content on your website from within pages and posts
- Link from high authority (high ranking content with a lot of links) to lower ranked content to help boost pages
- Link to your most important content from the homepage or navigation/menu
One simple example of this is if you have a business website that offers services. In such a case it makes sense to link to your main service pages from your navigation (ie. menu) so that the power of your homepage (and all other pages) is passed to these pages.
Why is this important? Because you will have far less chances of getting links to these pages naturally, however you do want to have them appear highly in search results so you can get more clients. So this is kind of like a back door to boosting these page’s rankings.
Below is an example of how a niche hosting company, Concourse Hosting does it, by linking to their main hosting services from their menu:
As you can see they have linked to three of their main services directly in the navigation, which passes strength to those pages from elsewhere on their site.
Lesson 2: Always be linking between your pages and posts. From both within the content and via navigational links if possible.
Fix Your Images
Images are the long forgotten SEO gems of your website. Of course they are there to help your site look good. But they also play a role in SEO too.
Depending on the purpose of your website there are a couple of areas worth paying attention to:
- Images themselves can rank and send you traffic
- Search engines read the alt text for your images to help rank your page
Ranking images for SEO is a whole other ball game, and if you want to read a detailed guide, you can check out my post on SEO Image Optimization.
If instead you just want the short version, here it is:
- file names should describe the image, with words separated by dashes (not underscores)
- alt attributes in images should describe the image further, with the first image being the most relevant to the blog post title for search ranking
There are other nuances, which you can pay attention to if you are a photographer and want to rank your images specifically (see the post I mentioned above). But for most website owners the above two things should be enough.
WordPress (if you use it) allows you to easily add the alt text when you upload an image. This is what it looks like:
Just type in a short description of your image, or copy in the post title for the first image on the page (at the very minimum!).
Lesson 3: Images play a role in SEO, so don’t forget to rename your files appropriately and add the alt text to your images.
Try Guest Posting
Getting links to your website is one of the best things you can do to boost your rankings. However, if you are not an SEO guru you might struggle a little to achieve this.
It is often very difficult for new websites to get links, which is why I always recommend people start off with guest posting to boost their SEO.
So, whether your website is new, or long standing, it is worth reaching out to other relevant blogs in your niche and posting on them every now and again.
Any website worth your time will allow you at least one link to your website in the biography in the post. And even if that is not the case, you should be aiming for one relevant link within the content too.
It may sound difficult, but if you are writing on topic, and the blog your are posting on is also in your industry, it is usually quite easy to do.
Either way, a link to your website from other more authoritative websites will help give your website a boost in the rankings over time.
There are other benefits too, like:
- relationships with other website owners
- social media exposure
- getting in front of a new audience
- referral traffic (ie. direct visits from that site)
- email subscribers (after they visit your site)
Not all of these will occur every time, but you can start to see that links and other related benefits are worth the time you spend guest posting.
Lesson 4: Guest posting can help boost your SEO and brings other benefits too.
Summing It All Up
There are so many different aspects to SEO that it can often seem overly complex and outside of your control.
However, if you try these four ideas, or at least just one of them, you will be sure to help boost the rankings of your website in the long term.
Give them a try, and let us know in the comments if you have any questions.