If you are working remotely, you can still improve the effectiveness of your website – all you need is an internet connection!
Your website is your 24/7 marketing tool, but when we experience unprecedented events that affect all businesses, your website becomes even more important.
With most staff working remotely, the nature of search terms and trends is changing on Google.
It’s therefore important to make sure that your website is geared-up and ready to compete in the changing landscape of search marketing.
Here are 10 things you can do to improve your website.
- Audit your website
- Look at your keyword rankings
- Check through your content
- Identify content gaps
- Check your internal links
- Optimise your images
- Check all your directory citations
- Review your backlinks
- Test your website speed
- Write content
Let’s look at the above in a bit more detail.
1. Audit your website.
There are plenty of online apps that will give you a basic audit of your website for free.
The benefits of a third-party audit are that you will get an objective review of your site, not a subjective one from your web developers.
Sites like Moz.com, will give you a free 30-day trial of their apps, so you can sign up and at least get a full audit done without having to spend any money.
We also offer a free website audit for any WordPress powered site.
Again, this is a one-off, rather than a monthly or weekly check (which is ideally what you need) but it does get you started, and it’s FREE!
What’s the point?
Typically, your score will receive a score out of 100 based on a wide range of tests.
You’ll be able to find out where issues are on your site and what needs fixing.
The more in-depth apps will also be able to show you exactly where the problem is, not just tell you what’s wrong.
Once you have the audit, you or your WordPress developers will have a checklist of things to improve on your site that will directly impact on your keyword rankings.
This short video outlines some other aspects of technical SEO:
2. Look at your keyword rankings.
Do you know where your website ranks and for what?
Understanding what search terms your website ranks for, and more importantly, where they rank is crucial if you want to win new business from your website.
Why bother reviewing your keywords?
Doing a review of your keywords will show you what terms you rank well for, what terms need more work, and, sometimes more importantly, what terms you don’t rank for at all.
For keywords that need more work, you might need to look at your internal links and site structure, for keywords that you don’t rank for, this is going to mean new content production.
Either way, you will again have a list of to-do items for your website that you can either crack on with yourself or hire SEO experts to help you.
Our SEO service Searchworthy is designed for people looking to get started with or improve existing SEO.
3. Check through your content.
If you find yourself with some spare time (doubtful, but you might), reviewing your site’s content can also be a very worthy exercise to try and boost the rankings of your sites internal pages (and your homepage).
If you’ve reviewed your keywords, you’ll have a list of URLs from your site that could do with some improvement.
There’s a very good chance that some of your pages might be light on content, so adding more copy, some correctly tagged images and other elements can improve the rankings of your pages.
There are several things that you can do to any page or post content on your site to make it more Google-friendly.
- Make sure you have images in the content with the correct ALT tags.
- Add video to the page – this doesn’t have to be anything fancy – it could be a simple 45-second video that sums up the content of the page and caters to people that like to watch rather than read
- Add social proof to your pages – embed tweets that endorse your offering or testimonials from 5-star reviewers
- Add a map, if relevant to your content (for example, your location if the page is geo-targeted)
- Create and embed a contact form that’s specific to the content – rather than a generalised all-purpose form, add in some additional fields that ask the user to complete fields that are related to the page
What’s the benefit of reviewing your site content?
Google loves fresh and updated content.
If you spend time on your site improving and refining your content, Google (et al) will notice.
This is especially true if your content is time-sensitive and needs to be updated in light of other information.
Another tip is to remove any ‘posted on’ dates and change them to ‘last updated’ – this again will let the search engines know that you are looking after your site and keeping it up-to-date.
4. Find gaps in your content.
There are going to be keywords that you don’t rank for.
A keyword review of your own site will show you what you rank for and where, but a keyword review of a competitors site might help you to find keywords that you should be ranking for.
Analyse what your competitors are doing, look at their rankings and work out where they have content that you don’t.
Look at their pages that rank for these keywords and write new content for your site that’s better!
Do they have a list of the ‘top ten reasons for X’? If they do, write a post on your site for the ‘top twenty reasons for X’ (Backlinko calls this Skyscraper posting, and it works).
For more general content, just make a list of keywords that you don’t rank for and brainstorm titles for new posts or pages.
I find it’s a good idea to create these posts as drafts in WordPress with just the initial title idea in there – this way you’ll have a list of new content to create right within your website (and a reminder every time you log in).
The benefits of finding content gaps?
Firstly, you’ll be producing content that you know people are looking for.
Secondly, you’ll be going head-to-head with your competitors in the rankings and with some well-produced content, you should be able to out-rank them in the results.
Check the search volume (how often the term is searched for) and the competitiveness (how hard it is to rank for the keyword).
Ideally, you want high-volume, low competitiveness to get started.
Note search intent.
Ask yourself, what is the user looking for via this search string.
If it’s generic and broad, it might not be worth chasing.
Here’s an example of two keywords that are very important to us:
- Website design – the search intent here is more likely to be other web agencies or freelancers researching the design of websites.
- Website designers – the intent here is more likely to be someone searching for someone to design a website.
We want to rank for both, but the second is more important as the intent of the user is more valuable to us in terms of traffic to the site.
5. Invest time in sorting your internal links.
Everyone talks about backlinks, but internal links on your site are also very important.
How pages of your site link to other pages can help Google to understand your site and what you consider to be important pages.
Think of it along the lines of ‘all roads lead to Rome’.
You have blog posts, and these blog posts should link to your landing pages. In turn, your landing pages link to your home page.
Google will decide whether it’s your post, landing page or homepage that should rank for the keyword, and internal linking can help improve where you rank for all your content.
We’ve built a handy WordPress plugin for finding internal link opportunities on your website.
If you have a large site with lots of content, it can be impossible to know where to find internal links back to your new page or post.
This plugin scans your entire site for potential anchor text that you can use to link back to the page you are currently on.
The benefits of sorting your internal links?
An organised site is a better-understood site.
Investing time in sorting your internal links and adding them where they are missing sends good messages to the search engines.
They will see what you are trying to do with your content, appreciate your efforts to curate your links and (should) give your rankings a little boost as a result.
6. Optimise your images.
A simple one, but very important.
If you have overly large images in your posts and pages it’s going to affect your rankings.
WordPress makes it really easy to embed images in your posts and pages, but if you don’t optimise for web correctly, your load times will suffer and visitors will bounce off your pages if they are having to wait too long for things to load.
We don’t all have photoshop, but there are lots of free, freemium and premium plugins and services that you can use to go through your site images and compress them.
Some apps to try are:
Also, one really handy plugin is ‘Enable Media Replace‘, which allows you to change an image file in the media library rather than trying to find it in your content.
This means that you can simply swap out the file once and it will be updated across your entire site.
Here at Toast, we have developer licences for many premium plugins that we can install on your site as part of a WordPress support and maintenance contract.
Our basic support plan actually costs less per year than it would if you were to buy these licences yourself, which makes it incredible value for money.
No one likes a slow site, especially the search engines.
If you are getting really poor results in Google’s Page Speed Insights, those scores are telling you that Google (et al) is not impressed.
Some time spent optimising images will benefit your site all-round – from your rankings to user experience.
7. Check your citations.
This is one that takes time, and you may be better placed paying a specialist to do this, but it’s worth doing.
Over time, your site (and business) will have been listed in lots of different online directories.
One thing that the search engines look for is consistency in these listings.
If you have listings with different names, addresses and phone numbers (your NAP profile) it can harm your site.
MOZ has a really good tool to check your local citations.
A consistent NAP profile shows the search engines that you are a trustworthy business.
It shows that you are linked to consistently from many reputable sources and improves your domain authority and domain trust – both these factors can boost your SEO efforts and rankings.
Backlinks are still one of the most important ranking factors for your website.
They are also an entire blog post in their own right, so we’ll just cover the absolute basics here.
Bad or spammy backlinks to your site will harm the ability to rank and it’s crucial that you remove any bad links.
Do not be tempted to rush out and pay some blackhat SEO firm to get you lots of backlinks quickly – this creates an unnatural backlink profile that Google will sniff out and will harm your site.
Instead, use something like SEM Rush to check your backlinks and disavow any bad backlinks using Google’s tools.
Note – this is not something to guess at – getting or removing backlinks has to be done properly or your could damage your site’s rankings.
If you want to get this done properly, get in touch.
Why check backlinks?
You don’t want spammy sites linking to you as it will harm your site.
You do want quality sites linking back to you with a good array of sensible anchor texts (as these count as a ‘vote’ for your site).
We would recommend checking your backlinks, and if you see anything fishy, get in touch to get them sorted properly.
9. Check your website speed.
If your site loads slowly, your visitors are going to bounce.
If they bounce straight back to the search results page, Google will pick up on this and slowly, but surely, start to move your site further down the rankings.
This means you will get less traffic simply down to a slow site.
There are many factors that can affect how fast your site is, these include:
- Your site build
- The theme your WordPress site uses
- The number of plugins you have installed
- Your images
- Your DNS
- Your hosting
The chances are that you didn’t build your site yourself, so you may not be aware of how many of the above are affecting your site.
This type of optimisation is rather technically-based, but we can help you check through everything and improve your site.
Why bother checking your website speed?
Basically, because it is one of the simplest things to fix that might be having the biggest effect on your site’s performance.
Cheap hosting, bad code, too many plugins and large images are easy fixes that can massively improve how your site ranks in the search engines.
These things do not take an age to fix and will not cost you £1000s, but they will have a positive impact.
The best thing is that they are also measurable – we can show you the before and after results so you know that any investment has been worthwhile.
10. Write content.
We’ll leave the best until last.
Writing new content is the best thing that you can do for your website.
Points 1–9 above are all important, but without new content added on a regular basis to your site, the search engines are going to assume that it’s dead in the water.
If you want to surface in the search results, you need to add new, relevant content to your site daily, weekly or monthly.
New pages and posts on your website mean that:
- Google’s index of your site grows – it will check back more often if you update things
- You can start to rank for new keywords and search strings that you didn’t previously
- You’ll have opportunities for improving your internal link structure
- There is more new stuff to share on social media
- The search engines will see your site is updated – SEO is not set-and-forget
- You have new content to attract potentially valuable external backlinks
- And more!
Why new content benefits your site.
Posting on social media is transient. You can tweet all you like but if you publish well written and lengthy articles to your site, they will keep on giving.
This is not about a ‘post and pray’ approach – anything you publish needs to be researched, planned and optimised, but if you do it well, you’ll have ranking content that’s bringing targetted and interested visitors to your site.
This is also something that’s not a quick fix.
Our experience at Toast suggests that you are looking at a 6-to12 month cycle on new content – from the date it’s published to the time it makes a difference to your bottom-line, so all the better to get started now!
If you don’t have time to write content, there are many services out there that can do it for you – we can help too.
The main thing to remember about site content is that some of it is not written for you, it’s written to rank and written to answer the specific needs of a searcher, so sometimes you have to acknowledge that you might have written it differently – but then you are not a search engine bot.
There’s never a better time to optimise your website.
With more potential new customers than ever before searching for your product or service online, optimising your website can never be a bad thing.
There are 100s of ways that you can improve your site, but at Toast, we think the best ones to start with are the ones that are measurable and can demonstrate results.
We are 100% transparent in everything we do – if we optimise your site, we’ll show you a before-and-after score to prove the work we’ve done has made an improvement.
If we’re doing on-page SEO, we’ll show you where you ranked last month, and how our optimisation has improved that.
We come at it like this:
- Smaller projects that require less investment that then prove results.
- The more results you get from what we do, the more sense it makes to invest more to get improved ROI.
It’s a win-win situation for you and us and we can start small and grow from there.
No hiding behind complex Google Analytics data, no fudging figures to work in our favour, just straight-up, results-driven improvements.
If you want to improve your site, get in touch below and Dave or Charlotte will give you a call to find out how we can best help you.
Get in touch.
However you want to improve your website, we can help.
Get in touch for an initial chat through with one of our experts. No salespeople, just WordPress experts. You’ll talk to the person that will be doing the work.
If you’d prefer to talk on the phone, call Dave on 01295 266644.
Dave is Toast’s Managing Director and also heads up the digital team. He’s been a designer, illustrator and WordPress designer/developer for over 25 years and has worked on various projects across many industry sectors. Dave’s primary area of focus nowadays is website planning, design and UX, SEO and website optimisation, which makes a real positive difference to businesses bottom lines.