Being visible on Google requires some optimization if you want to take advantage of all the features of the search engine, as well as rank in the top positions for your keywords. Therefore, I have listed 35 effective tips for SEO-optimizing your website.
Given that the TOP THREE organic results on Google on average get about 60% of all clicks, this is exactly where you want to be placed, so hang on!
The tips below are especially for you who need help with SEO and want to search engine optimize the website for free, with a step-by-step guide, without the help of consultants.
1. Are your pages indexed by Google?
If your pages are not indexed by Google, you can not be seen there either, it’s that simple. My first tip is thus basic technical SEO, to make sure that the content you want to rank for is indexed by the search engine.
The easiest way to check this is through the Google Search Console tool, where you can see how many of your pages have been indexed and how many do not.
All the pages you want to drive traffic to via the search engine must be indexed (“Valid” in the Search Console view). Alternatively, you can do it manually on Google through a search like this: “site: seo-tips.se” (with your domain).
As you can see in the above image, the search engine will now tell you how many indexed pages it finds for the domain (28 in the example above).
2. Keywords in the URL
Having the keyword in the URL of each landing page is also important. This does not mean that your domain name must include the keyword. Use your trademark for your domain name. Google is smart enough to understand that company names do not always have keywords in their names.
However, all your posts and landing pages should, at best, have the keywords they are optimized for in their unique URLs.
Logical web architecture
My next tip is to plan your web architecture so that your URLs are search engine friendly. To achieve this, keep in mind that your URLs must be accurate, so avoid:
- Repetitions of words
- Unnecessary signs and words
- Illogical categories and characters
However, this does not mean that the best is a flat URL structure. Especially for complex pages (e.g., webshops), deep categorized structures with several subpages are better for achieving a logical structure.
3. Do you have an XML Sitemap?
An XML sitemap (or sitemap) is a way for search engines to clarify which pages you have on your site. In the web map, you can specify which pages are to be indexed (i.e., visible on Google) and which are not.
You can do well, but also, especially if you have an effective internal linking strategy, but the sitemap is recommended regardless, especially if you have a large and complex website.
4. Have you implemented HTTPS?
If it still says HTTP: // in your URLs, it’s time to migrate to HTTPS (Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure).
As early as 2017, some browsers ( such as Chrome ) began marking pages that lacked HTTPS as insecure pages. In practice, this means that the URL field says “Not secure”.
By fixing this on your domain, you can improve the bounce rate and get more value from the organic traffic you already generate, which can indirectly also affect your investments.
5. Rank for the right keyword (keyword analysis)
Ranking for the right keywords (keywords) is perhaps my most important search engine optimization tip. It may sound bland, but in many cases, it is a real problem for many websites.
A good rule of thumb, I think, is to be as specific as possible, considering what keywords you prioritize in your SEO strategy.
Example: If you sell hiking shoes, it is expensive and unnecessary to try to rank for the keyword ‘shoes.’ It will be more or less impossible to both rank and get a good conversion rate with the keyword ‘shoes’ if you can only offer hiking shoes.
In your keyword analysis, you should therefore focus on more specific keywords that are very relevant to your particular products or services. It provides more benefits compared to struggling to rank for high-traffic and less relevant keywords.
6. Unique SEO title with keywords
SEO title (title-tag) is the title that appears for every search result on Google and can be crucial if you end up or stay on the first page of the SERP ( Search Engine Ranking Page ).
Some tips for a better SEO title:
- It should always include the landing page’s primary keywords.
- It should be captivating and get visitors to click on your particular search result.
7. Keywords in headings (h1, h2, h3, etc.)
Headlines also have an important place among my search engine optimization tips. The most important heading on your landing pages is the main heading, H1. This is because it is one of the primary elements that search engines use to determine what your content is about.
Therefore, check that you have the keyword in your H1s on all landing pages and that you only have one main heading on each page to avoid duplicates. In the other headings (h2, h3, etc.), you can more freely use related keywords.
A tip for search engine optimization headlines is to use long-tail keywords when relevant. It is thus longer phrases that have searches and include the keyword.
8. Optimize your SEO texts
In addition to the headlines, the SEO text (the rest of the content) is also important to spur your visibility on search engines.
So how do you write good SEO texts?
Search engine-friendly content means you focus on the keyword for which you are creating a landing page. However, this does not mean that you repeat a keyword over and over in the text.
Good SEO texts include the following points:
- Related keywords to the keyword.
- Long-tail keywords.
- Easy-to-read text.
- Short paragraphs and sentences.
- A keyword density between 1-3% (i.e., how often the keyword is repeated). However, this varies depending on the keyword.
Last but not least, keep track of the search intent and structure the content accordingly. You want visitors to find what they are looking for and for their most important questions to be answered as quickly as possible.
9. Pure search engine friendly HTML code
Always try to keep the HTML code of your pages clean and without unnecessary tags, such as tags that can easily follow when copying text to the text editor. If you have an IT department, be sure to tell them how important a pure HTML code can be for search engine optimization.
All in all, all unnecessary codes and tags in your HTML should be removed! The cleaner, the better.
10. Fix to thin content
In the SEO industry, there is a lot of talks that the content should belong to reach the top positions, which is partly true. The longer, the better, so to speak.
Although general statistics indicate this, this is not always the case. I myself have been involved in optimizations where the complete opposite has resulted in better rankings.
It is mainly about avoiding thin content. So instead, make sure you have enough content.
Find inspiration for the optimal length of content by seeing how far the content pages in the top positions of your keyword have. Google has long tried to find the best results for different keywords, so those that top the search results are a good starting point for your keyword.
In most cases, you should probably still count on more than 500 words per post (but as I said – the search term decides)
11. Add multimedia for better UX and attention
Good content often requires more than just well-written SEO texts, which even Google is very aware of. Different types of multimedia (images, video, etc.) are therefore something that they value and that affect your rankings.
- Can images make the content better, easier, and more understandable?
- Can a chart, bulleted list, or table make the content easier to consume?
- Do visitors expect to see a video on the page?
Different forms of multimedia can make the page look better while helping to communicate the text. Together, they, therefore, form a winning concept.
12. Search Engine Optimize Images (Alt-Text & Size)
Although the development of technology has led to smarter machines, images are still quite difficult to understand for a machine. Therefore, you need to search engine optimize your images so that the search engine understands what your images show.
Tips for search engine optimization of images:
- The image file should include words that describe what you can see in the image.
- The alt text should specifically describe what you can see in the image (preferably, you should also find a natural way to include keywords in the alt text).
This way, the search engines will understand the visual content of your web page, and you will increase the likelihood that the images will also appear in image searches.
14. Get rid of duplicate content.
Every page you create on your website is unique and has a special purpose. Like visitors, search engines expect to find unique content on every landing page on your site.
A fast and flexible “copy / paste strategy” does not work when you create new posts. The only thing it does is that the quality of the content deteriorates, and you risk being penalized by Google for duplicate content.
To check if you have pages with the same content, you can use tools such as Siteliner. The tool goes through all the pages on your domain and helps you find identical content (duplicate content) on your pages.
Webshops often suffer from duplicate content because a product may be available in several different colors, and everyone needs their own URL. The content is thus 99% the same for these pages as only the color distinguishes the products. In this case, familiarize yourself with canonical links. Select the “primary version” to avoid duplicate content issues.
16. Do not plagiarize
You should also make sure that you do not copy content from other websites because:
- It’s ugly, wow!
- Google does not like plagiarism.
So if you want to rank on Google, it’s much more efficient to create your own unique content. Before you get nervous about this, let me clarify what I mean.
It is perfectly natural to copy short snippets of text from other websites when it is natural, such as when you quote someone. If you want to be on the safe side, you can always link to the original source.
17. Get rid of pages that do not perform.
Do you have “dead weight pages”? These are pages that drive hardly any traffic to the website and have zero SEO value. Then it may be better to get rid of them.
By getting rid of them, you can make your more important posts perform better, as the overall quality of the content on the site increases.
Before you start clearing your poorly performing posts, you must first determine for each individual post whether they provide any value to the visitor. A page that does not generate much organic traffic can still be very valuable for some visitors (e.g., support pages).
- Delete pages that do not drive traffic or provide any value to your visitors.
- Mark with a no-index tag when the page does not drive organic traffic but is valuable to visitors.
- Keep the page indexed if it has low traffic only because it appears on Google for relevant searches that have barely any search volume. It is relevant; keep it!
Off-site SEO, or more specifically link building, is definitely one of the most important tips for search engine optimization. Links can determine if your pages appear in Google’s top positions or not.
Google sees links as a kind of quality stamp. If someone links to your page, it must mean that your page has valuable information that other visitors may also like. Therefore, a page with multiple links has a greater tendency to be ranked higher in the SERP.
You can try to get links to your website by, among other things:
- offer your help as a guest blogger ;
- ask if your partners are willing to link to your site;
- or see if you can find relevant link lists where your page would fit.
Unlike inbound links, you have full control over your internal links on your site. These are links that go from one page on your domain to another page on your domain.
Internal links are effective for SEO because:
- They pass link value, which you can control to your most important pages by prioritizing them in your internal link strategy.
- You can make it clear to search engines what your pages are about using keywords in anchor text.
As stated, links affect your visibility on Google, whether it’s the page’s internal link structure or inbound links to your page. Therefore, it is important to make sure that you do not have broken links, i.e. links that lead nowhere – usually to a 404 page.
Especially if you link a lot to other websites from your posts, broken links can be created on your pages over time.
You can use various tools to quickly and easily find broken links. Some examples of such free tools are:
- Screaming Frog is an excellent tool that creates a report so you can find all the broken links in the domain at once.
- Check My Links is a Chrome accessory that can identify all broken links at a specific URL you visit.
This way, you increase the chance that your web pages rank for the right keywords.
22. Link to relevant, high-quality pages
In many types of posts, it also pays to link to other domains. You should preferably link to strong quality pages because you want your page to be associated with “reliable” pages.
What is classified as reliable sources varies greatly based on the industry you are in, but in general, the following pages are a good “quality stamp”:
- Well-known, authoritative websites
- Government pages
- Tip! … Pages ending in .gov or .edu
Keep in mind that outbound links are basically a way to “prove” search engines that your content is based on credible sources.
23. Contact information, about us, and policy pages
As stated above, credibility is an increasingly important factor that affects your rankings. As SEO guru Brian Dean points out, there are several signals that Google considers to determine a site’s credibility, among them:
- Links to your policy pages (terms & conditions etc.)
- The “About us” page is easily accessible.
- Contact information
- References/sources in certain types of posts
Therefore, make sure that you have these easily accessible, for example, in the footer.
24. Customer reviews
When was the last time you shopped online? Or the last time you would find a place to eat? Did you read customer reviews before making your final decision? I did.
This may not always be relevant, but in several situations, especially in web shopping, customer reviews can be essential to attract customers to your particular website.
Customer reviews can also have an impact on your rankings, especially when it comes to local businesses. You can read more about this below under the heading local SEO.
In addition to rankings, it can also affect the CTR (Click Through Rate) for your landing pages in search results.
I recommend impartial sites such as Trustpilot, Facebook, and Google reviews to gather customer reviews. Google My Business profiles can show reviews from these, which creates a credible look.
25. Optimize for the EAT update
The so-called EAT ( Expertise, Authoritativeness & Trustworthiness ) update from Google was launched in 2018 and aimed to reward sites that are of higher quality. But how can you refresh the page to live up to this standard?
- Include author information in your posts, including name, title, and area of expertise.
- Link these to a biography page about the author on the website.
Google also tries to identify with different signals if the authors are really experts in the field. Invest in personal branding by the authors on the site and brand them as experts in the field.
A good start is to make sure that the profiles in social media confirm that the person has this expertise, but also guest blogging and articles on other sites can have a positive impact.
26. Make the website faster (load time)
Studies show that we expect web pages to load within 3 seconds, after which the probability that we leave the page increases significantly. About 40% leave the page after 3 seconds in web shopping! Therefore, Google values charging times and has it as a ranking factor.
Speed is therefore also an essential part of conversion optimization. The longer the page loads, the fewer visitors will stay on the page = fewer potential conversions.
I recommend Google’s Page Speed Insights to analyze web page speed, as the tool:
- Is very user-friendly.
- Provides great tips on what to improve on your website.
Often the reason is caching, a slow server, heavy images, WordPress themes, render-blocking, and more. Do the test, and you will know what you can optimize on the page.
Then read the post on how you can make your website faster.
27. Compress your photos
As a continuation of the paragraph above, I want to emphasize image compression because images are often the cause of sluggish loading times, while the optimization itself is simple and rewarding. Here’s how:
- Upload only as large images as you need.
- For example, if the content section of your pages is 800px wide, you should not have larger images than that in your posts.
- Compress the scaled image.
- Use compression tools such as TinyPNG to reduce file size between 60-90% from its original size.
28. Responsive design
Responsive design means that the page dynamically, pixel-by-pixel, changes appearance when the browser window resizes. This is good for SEO, especially after mobile-first indexing was launched in 2018, as the content is then the same in all screen sizes.
As John Mu from Google stated, you do not have to worry about having a responsive page.
If, on the other hand, you have your mobile pages at different URLs (e.g., m. Seo-tips.se), you must always update both the mobile and desktop versions at the same time and make sure that they have the same content.
29. Mobile optimize the website.
Mobile-first indexing, in short means, that instead of seeing the desktop version as the “primary version,” Google sees the mobile version as the primary one.
Your mobile version should therefore be search engine friendly, which is largely about:
- Mobile UX, which means that fonts and clickable elements are large enough and that the website is user-friendly.
- The loading time of the website is of greater importance due to potential slow mobile internet connections.
29. Rich snippets and structured data
Rich snippets are more detailed search results that can present, among other things:
- Specifications (eg, for a recipe: cooking time, amount of calories, etc.)
- Products (including price, model, product category, etc.)
- Customer reviews from customers
… And display these directly in the search results between the URL and the meta description. Below you see an example of how ICA has created rich snippets for its search results.
You can work with rich snippets using structured data. Structured data is a way of marking data in HTML and thus making it easier for search engines to understand more specifically what the page contains. I will not go into technical details, but in short, you should follow the guidelines on schema.org to make it work.
Structured data can thus make your pages and products appear on Google more accurately and more prominently than normal search results.
30. Local SEO
Search engine optimization in specific geographic areas ( Local SEO ) is an important part of the process if you run a local business.
This includes maintaining and optimizing:
- Google My Business profile to appear on Search and Google Maps with your company name.
- Customer reviews and good ratings.
To exemplify how important local SEO is, open Google and type “best restaurant” in the search field. What do you see?
Do the same test but this time write “la mejor comida” (which means the best food in Spanish). What do you see now?
Probably that Google map shows a list of the best local restaurants and their reviews for both search phrases.
Local search engine optimization is therefore very important if you run a business, restaurant, hotel, or any local business.
31. Avoid chains of redirects.
If you have been running your website for a long time, you may have already had some restructuring of the website. In connection with these, you have probably created some 301 redirects (redirects), and then there is a chance that you have created chains of redirects.
/ original-page-A> / next-page-B> / front-page-C> / current-page-D
In the optimal case, you should have as short chains as possible because:
- About 10% link equity is lost for each redirect, which is bad for the page’s PA (Page Authority).
- Loading times are affected when the browser, in turn, opens several URLs until it finds the final destination.
Jump links are links that lead from one place on the page to another place at the exact same URL. Among other things, they aim to…
- Improve UX by directing the visitor directly to a specific section.
- It appears in the search results so that the visitor comes directly to the desired title.
Google can use these link tags to suggest a specific section for potential visitors already in the search results. To exemplify this, you can see how my keyword analysis page appears in search results when you Google “keyword analysis tool.”
33. Keep the website up to date.
Google likes updated pages. Updating your old pages and posts with new content can therefore give them a boost in rankings. If you have a blog, it’s also a good idea to keep it updated with new posts.
If you have old blog posts, you can also update them, even though they have a previous publication date. However, it can be smart to place a ‘DateModified’ tag in the code that makes it clear to the search engine that the content has been updated.
34. Optimize for selected excerpts
An effective way to be seen on Google, but also to get a taste of being ranked highest in search, is to always optimize for selected snippets.
Selected excerpts are usually presented above organic listings, for example, if you ask a specific question. This is when Google’s algorithm strives to find the best answer to your question.
To optimize for selected excerpts, you must be able to clearly show that you have the answer to the search query. You can read more tips on selected excerpts in this post.
I also believe that optimization for selected excerpts is the best way to prepare for voice search, which will probably become more common in Sweden in the coming years.
35. Review the Website Periodically
Repeat, repeat, repeat… Well, my last tip for search engine optimization is to periodically review how SEO-friendly the website is.
Google makes hundreds of changes to its algorithms every year, affecting the SERP in various ways. So to dominate the top rankings, you need to invest a lot of time in the follow-up and continuous optimization of your website.