Affordable SEO Hacks for your SME

Want some simple SEO tips that will help move the needle without breaking the bank?

Perhaps you believe that you already found the easy stuff, the “low-hanging fruit,” as it were:
good keywords for your niche, optimized titles and body copy, an XML sitemap. Nevertheless, you can’t seem to break past your competitors
in the Google SERPs for your most coveted keywords.
You may not have the time or resources right now to do an expensive site overhaul or to even commit to SEO long-term. You may only want a few simple tweaks that will help move the needle.
Well, look no further. You are in luck, because you won’t need years of SEO training for the following hacks. And these hacks also won’t cost you a lot of time or money to implement.
You won’t even need to change significant parts of your site. Intrigued? Then let’s continue.

Distribute your home page’s link authority to your most important pages
Your home page naturally attracts more links than any other page of your site. A crucial part of your SEO strategy should be ensuring that link authority gets effectively directed from your home page to your most important subpages.
While Google can render JavaScript and AJAX better than ever, your safest bet is plain HTML links.
You’ve probably already ensured that your most important category pages are included in the top nav. But how about including links to your most important products (or the ones that you most want to rank) in the body of the home page? If you don’t have product pages, then feature things like articles and landing pages in the body. Links in the body of a page will typically pass more link authority than navigational links, especially footer links.

Creating clear, prominent links is useful from a user experience standpoint as well, because it ensures people can easily find your best stuff quickly.

Stop using such huge images. At least half of the sites I audit have issues with very large images on the home page. Often, designers or content creators don’t consider the file size or resolution of an image before adding it to a page. They won’t reduce an image to the maximum size needed on the page, nor will they save it at an appropriate resolution.
A 600 dpi image that was “resized” to be tiny using the width and height attributes in an IMG tag isn’t merely lazy, it’s an affront to website
visitors. A huge image (I’ve seen single images as large as 6 MB on a home page) can substantially slow down the time it takes for the page to load, hurting both your rankings and the user experience (and consequently, the site’s conversion rate). It is incredibly easy to optimize that image to a more reasonable size and then re-upload it.
This is probably the number one “quick hack”
for improving your site speed.
Use a tool like WebPageTest to check the file
sizes of all the elements on a page. (Or you
can use the Developer Tools built into the
Chrome browser if you’re a geek like me.)
Check your images, and have your designers
optimize them. Train the people who create
and upload your content to get into the habit
of checking image sizes before they publish
anything.

Check that people aren’t
linking to pages that 404
Look for URLs that are returning a 404 on your
site and have external links pointed at them.
Google Search Console gives you the ability to
check the 404 pages on your site and see
whether they are being linked to (and from
where). If you have a externally linked page
which returns a 404, prioritize fixing it ASAP, as
you are squandering link authority every minute
that remains unfixed. Recovering that link
equity and/or traffic is a very easy “quick win.”
To do this in Google Search Console, go to
Crawl > Crawl Errors > Not Found and click on
each URL returning a 404. Google will usually
sort the errors by the most to least important
and the most important include the ones with
external links. After clicking on a URL, select
the “Linked From” tab and it will show you the
URLs linking to the page in question. Make
sure these 404 URLs are 301 redirected to the
next most relevant URL on your site.
Google Search Console “Linked From”
example
As you get more advanced at this type of link
reclamation, you’ll probably also want to
augment GSC with other link analysis tools,
such as Link Research Tools ’ Link Juice
Recovery Tool and Ahrefs’ Broken Links report.
But we’ll save that for another time.

Leverage that microsite,
article or video that’s not on
your main site
Videos, articles and microsites can be a
fantastic way to garner brand awareness and
attention. However, if you’re hosting the
content on others’ domains, then you may be
wasting the SEO opportunity. Once the buzz
has subsided, the content is hopefully left with
great links. If those links are pointing
somewhere other than to your main site, you’re
not getting much SEO benefit.
Victoria’s Secret missed an opportunity when
they got featured on the BuzzFeed front page
for their article, “12 Things Women Do Every
Day That Are Fearless,” because that article
failed to link back to the victoriassecret.com
website. Thus, all the inbound links solely
benefited BuzzFeed. Unless brand awareness is
your sole goal, at a minimum, you need a link
to your site from the syndicated content.
The best option, however, from an SEO
perspective, is to host that content on your
own site. And even then, try to find ways to
direct traffic and authority from that content to
your most important landing pages and
products.

Use forums and social hubs to
uncover valuable keywords and
topics before your competitors
Seize a valuable keyword even before your
competitors take notice by monitoring
conversations in social media and in forums
within your niche. Notice a recurring mention
or a recurring question? Find a way to work it
into your site’s content or blog.
It will not only help you rank for that question
or phrase, but it will also seat you in a position
of authority by knowing the answers to the
questions everyone has. Having that content
first, before your competitors, can give you an
advantage, not only in thought leadership, but
in ranking and traffic as well.
Sometimes this will also uncover keywords that
you wouldn’t imagine would relate to your
product. For example, a baby furniture retailer
could consider “baby names” as a valuable
keyword to target, even though they have
nothing to sell around that topic. If the topic is
only tangentially related but is being searched
on by your exact target market, consider
including it in your content strategy.

Increase the visibility of your
SERP listing with rich snippets
Which one of these would you rather click?
Snippets are like putting a bow tie on a cute
cat. Cute cats on their own are great, as are
first-page listings. But put a bow tie on that
kitty and you’ve got something that few can
resist. Rich snippets are among my favorite
SEO tactics. Coupled with a great, enticing
meta description and title tag, they make your
snippet stand out from the crowd. In this case,
if you’re looking for the best slackline to give
to your outdoorsy significant other, you are
going to want to look for the listing that looks
like it is an awesome product from a quality
supplier.
Each rich snippet added to the SERP is an
opportunity. The rating shows the searcher
that this product is high-quality, as evidenced
by pleased past buyers. The price and the “in stock” markers tell searchers what they need to know to invest in your quality product.
The extra product information and review stars naturally draw the user’s eye to your listing
and increase your click-through rate. Rich
snippets won’t increase your rankings, but for
the rankings you already have, they will drive
more visitors to your site.

1.Use link analysis tools to
mine for your competitors’ best
links
It’s common knowledge that authoritative links
are critical to high Google rankings. Acquiring
such links is where people get lost. One simple
thing you can do is find hubs that link to
multiple competitors. A hub is a site that links
out to the major players within a niche. It
could be a trade magazine, a review site, a blog
or a forum. Identify such hubs with a tool like
Majestic‘s “Clique Hunter” or SEOprofiler . Hubs
are already linking to similar sites, so in all
likelihood it won’t be a huge leap for them to
link to you as well.
Search for the sites linking to your
competitors, examine them to see which might
link to you (Not all will make sense to
approach), and reach out to them. This is
probably the easiest link building you can do,
as your competitors have already done the
hard work of not only finding the sites, but
also qualifying them as ones that will link to
sites like yours.

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