by Shmuel Aber, CEO of the Saber Team
I’ve been in the Digital Marketing space for quite a while. Our firm (The Saber Team) specializes in helping websites rank for SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and reach the top of Google Search. Most of the techniques that we use are proprietary and quite complicated, but there are lots of low-hanging SEO hacks that don’t require an advanced SEO background.
We’ve partnered with COLlive.com to share with Crown Heights online businesses exclusive tips and hacks on how to rank higher on Google. Some of our clients, who have implemented these SEO techniques, now have 100,000s of monthly visitors to their sites.
The tasks listed below are all super simple, require no coding knowledge, no SEO background, and are really quick to implement. So here we go.
1. Google Reviews
This is one of my favorite techniques and it is so easy to put into place. The Google My Business platform has become a very dominant feature in recent years. The section is displayed up at the top, and the reviews are highly noticeable.
Here’s an example of one of our client’s Google My Business platform. Their service is top-notch and so their customers were more than happy to leave positive reviews when asked.
Take advantage of the reviewing platform. Open a Google My Business account. It’s really, really easy.
Once you’ve put in your information into GMB (the more info the better), reach out to your existing customers, partnering companies, and anyone who has anything to do with your business and ask (or beg) them to leave you a review.
Ideally, don’t contact them via email – make sure that you call! And when they say that they’ll do it, ask them if they can do it while you’re still on the phone. People forget. The entire reviewing process takes 45-seconds. Just walk them through it.
Ask them to search your business name in Google, click the review tab on the right, and then prompt them to write a quick review.
Google Reviews aren’t just good for your overall Google SEO Ranking, they’re also incredible signals of customer trust. Try to get as many as possible, but to start, make sure that you have at least more than 10.
Other notable mentions: Yelp, Trust Pilot, and Site Jabber.
2. Link Building
Link building can be a complicated artform when implemented within the context of advanced SEO, but the truth is, at its core, link building is really simple.
Here’s how link-building works: Every time that Google sees another website mention your website, they give ranking credit to your website. Higher authority websites that mention you will generate more ranking credit than low profile websites.
Everyone has at least a few friends who have websites, online shops, or blogs. Reach out to them. Ask them if they can mention your business on their website and link back to your website.
Warning: Don’t ask them to place the link just anywhere (or everywhere) throughout their website. That will trigger a spam warning to Google. Don’t try to game the system. Just ask for one link, and make sure that it’s placed in an article or location that makes organic sense (e.g. in a blog post discussing a topic related to your niche).
Many SEO specialists are starting to insist that link-building doesn’t hold weight any longer. They’re wrong. I’ve been doing SEO for over 10 years, and link building is only becoming more and more effective with time. In my opinion, link building is still the single strongest SEO indicator to date.
3. Add Google Titles and Descriptions (Yoast Plugin)
This tip will not apply to all business owners reading this article.
If your website is running on WordPress, Shopify, Magento, or Joomla you can keep reading this section. Otherwise just skip to the next tip because you might need to know code in order to make this change.
Meta Titles and Meta Descriptions is another way to say the “Titles and Descriptions as shown on Google”. Here’s an example of how the Mezuzah App article shows up on Google itself:
The Google Meta Title is: Mezuzah Guide App – Free Download – The Saber Team.
The Google Meta Description is: The Saber Team is proud to announce the latest application in their suite of Jewish Apps, the Mezuzah Guide App. Free Download.
Here’s the thing. If you tell Google what your page is about instead of making them guess, they’ll prioritize your page over your competition.
If you’re using a WordPress-based website, for example, I recommend downloading the plugin called “Yoast”. The plugin will automatically put the Meta Fields into every page so that you can manually write up something unique for each page and post. If you’re using Shopify, you can scroll to the bottom of each product and edit the “Search Engine Listing Preview”.
4. Website Speed
Website speed is definitely one of the things that you’ll want to hire an SEO firm to take care of, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t put out a few fires on your own.
Google rewards quick loading websites, because customers tend to navigate away if a page takes too long to load.
Here is a list of a few simple things that you can do to speed up your website:
- Make sure that the images that you put onto the website aren’t too large. Unless it is a feature banner, almost all your website images should be under 1,000px wide and should be less than 100kb (ideally under 70kb).
- Once the images are ready, drop the images into an online compression program before uploading to your website. I would recommend tinypng. It’s simple and quick.
- Host your videos through YouTube or Vimeo and then embed them on the website. Don’t just upload them straight to the website.
5. Use Your Blog
Blogging is an under-utilized goldmine. A proper blog article should ideally be first researched with the latest software, and then written and planned by professional SEO technicians.
However you can still start blogging on your own. Even mediocre blog articles can get serious traffic if you follow a few simple steps:
- The article needs to talk about only 1 topic. Pick a very specific topic and cover it completely. Example from a client: Definitive Guide for Engagement Ring Insurance
- It needs to be over 1,000 words. Anything less than 1,000 words should be saved for social media. A blog post has to be at least 1,000 words.
- Use pictures. Pictures will keep the readers happy and will also keep Google happy. The more pictures, the better!
6. Social Media
You’ve probably been told that Social Media has nothing to do with Google rankings. That’s incorrect. Your Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, if done properly, can generate a wild uptick for your listings on Google. Read my blog for a deeper understanding on how Google is tracking social metrics.
My advice is to pick one or two social media platforms and to focus on doing them correctly instead of trying to dominate on all the platforms.
Here are a few tips:
- The 1/5 Rule. Most of your content – 80% at least – should NOT link to your website or mention anything about actual sales and prices. This is SO so important. The 80% bulk of your social media content should be pictures of you and the service/product, videos of your life and business, pictures of people using the product, customer reviews etc… Every 1/5 post or story can actually mention sales. Honestly, I would try to make it 1/10 if you can.
- Respond to comments. If you want to have interaction, you have to reward those that interact! Respond, thank, and engage.
- Try to also create questions that will encourage your fans to interact. Here’s an Instagram example from one of our clients. Follow them if you want to see a great example of effective Instagram marketing.
- Recruit a fan club. Ask your friends and family to become your fan-club. Your followers won’t want to be the first to interact with a new post, but if they see that your post already has 10 likes and 3 comments, they’ll jump right in. Message your friends and family after making a post and ask them to like and comment. The quicker they do it, the higher the algorithm will reward you.
7. Ease of Use
Simplifying your customer experience shouldn’t be done specifically to improve your SEO. It should be done because it is just a good business practice.
The easier that your website is to use, the longer the customer stays on the website. If you keep people on your website, Google realizes that your website is a good destination to recommend, and they’ll start sending more traffic.
Here are a few actions that you can take to make your website easier to use:
- A clear menu at the top. Not more than 7-8 items at most. Massive menu bars are really overwhelming for visitors.
- A large call-to-action button on every page so that the website visitor knows the next step for them to do. Here’s an example from the Sonim RS80 page on the Energy Electronics website. At the very top of the product information page you can see very clear options to “Buy Retail” or “Wholesale Quote”.
- Simple photos and descriptions. See the Kosher Phones Product Page by Mr Aberthon.
- Create internal text links. If you have a blog article or product page, for example, add links to the words that you have more information on. This will help the readers stay on your website in order to read another article. Just remember to not overdo it. You don’t want every other word to be a link to another page on your website. That’ll come off as spammy and overwhelming.
- Make sure the coloring is correct. The text should be dark and should be on a light background. The colors should match or compliment. Adobe has a free site that can help you choose colors correctly.
8. Alt Tags
This task sounds like the most intimidating one from the list, but the truth is that it’s actually really straightforward.
“Alt tags” are the special description tags that you are supposed to create for each photo that you put on your website. This tag tells Google what the image is showing. If you don’t add an Alt Tag, Google will have no idea what it is.
Google rewards the Alt Tags, and they show up in the Google Images section, but they also give bonus credit to the actual page.
The trick with Alt Tags is to describe exactly what you see in the photos. Don’t write just 1 word but also don’t flood it with keywords. The safe amount is about 4-8 precise words. Here’s an example from the article about the Chitas App.
9. About Us Information
This task is really important for customer trust, but I’ve also found that it makes a big difference for SEO purposes.
Make the website personal. Add plenty of personal information onto the About Us page, and also any other locations where appropriate.
- Write a few paragraphs on the About Us page that describes the people in the business. If there are multiple people, add a few paragraphs about each person.
- Add the phone number and physical address on the top or the bottom of every single page.
- Mention causes that your business supports. Customers like seeing businesses that give back and if those causes can link back to you, you can also boost your link-building. And if they have large social media followings, getting a shout-out is fantastic free marketing.
10. Professional SEO Audit
Of course, once you’ve completed the checklist above and you start to see the results coming in (usually after 2-3 months), you’re going to want to take your SEO to the next level.
My recommendation is to get a Professional SEO Audit. A Professional SEO Audit will cost you a one-time fee of anywhere between $5,000 – $10,000, and it will give you so much more information to work with. Make sure the firm that you use knows your level of experience in SEO so that they can prepare a report that you can actually understand.
In the audit (usually at least 50+ pages) you can expect to see actionable information on what’s wrong with your website and what you can do to fix it. There will be instructions ranging from simple fixes to advanced techniques. Many of the instructions will need to be implemented by an advanced SEO specialist, but most of them should be able to be done by an SEO beginner.
If you’d like more information regarding an SEO audit, feel free to reach out to us for a free quote.
If you enjoyed this article, please let me know in the comments below. Follow the Saber Team on Twitter for more SEO tips and advice.