10 Effective Low Effort & High Return SEO Techniques for 2019
- Posted by: Jeremy
- Category: Guides
Ranking high takes both time and effort. But there are some SEO techniques out there that are easy to implement and will definitely bring some results. The best part? You can probably do everything yourself.
Spoiler alert, though: many of them include basics. During the years we have observed something rather shocking. Many clients that I’ve picked up had paid big time for search engine optimization services in the past. To my surprise, however, basic things like keywords in titles were missing.
Now before you start, you can always perform an audit. It’s not actually something easy to do, depending on the size of your website, but it will help you prioritize your actions in order to save time.
1. Optimize Your Titles and Headings
As mentioned in the introduction, I was often surprised to see that although some of my clients had paid big money for SEO services in the past, basic optimization things like keyword research and title optimization were not performed.
These being said, make sure your pages are targeting the proper keywords. The title tag has the most weight in search engine optimization, so make sure your keyword is there. The closer the most important keyword is to the beginning, the better. After that, you need to add the proper keywords to your Headings as well. The H1 is the most important heading so it should be the first thing on a page. In many cases, it’s the same as the title, but it doesn’t necessarily have to be.
If you have a PPC campaign running, you can inspire yourself from those titles. Many people think that PPC titles are unfit for SEO, but the truth is that the PPC titles are focused on conversion, which will benefit SEO greatly.
The same thing goes for the meta descriptions. Optimize the meta descriptions to convince people to click your link. Make sure you have your keywords there as well, otherwise the chances of it showing up are much lower.
Once you get a hold of it, you can start targeting multiple keywords with one page. Although this article doesn’t really target multiple keywords, we could say that this title is optimized for “effective SEO techniques”, “SEO techniques” and “SEO techniques 2019”.
This is a great thing because you can focus on writing bigger pieces of content instead of many smaller ones. Google loves longer content.
2. Prioritize Pages in Website Navigation
Navigation is the most important structure element on your entire website. Why? Well, because it’s the first thing linking to your ‘other’ pages and it’s usually at the very top of the page, giving those links a lot of weight.
You can see, for example, that pages optimized for some of our most important keywords are linked to right from the navigation menu. These links are found on every page on the website, making those pages look very important in Google’s eyes.
That’s actually one of the reasons the Homepage has such high authority on all sites. It’s because, usually, the logo on every page links to it.
3. Add Breadcrumbs to Your Pages
Adding breadcrumbs can be very beneficial to your website, especially if it’s an eCommerce one. This is due to the fact that they create structure within your site.
Most, if not all online stores, link their products from their category pages. This means that the category pages send some equity to the product pages, making them stronger. Not a bad thing, overall.
However, I’m pretty sure though that you want your category pages to rank high because those are the ones optimized for the keywords with the most search volume. With Breadcrumbs, you will consolidate the strength of your Category pages by linking to them with all your subcategories and related products.
If you’re using a CMS, things are pretty easy. Most templates already come with breadcrumbs, so make sure you check the template’s settings first. If not, you can search the web for “Your CMS Platform” + “breadcrumbs plugin/extension/module”. I’m sure there’s something out there for you.
On a custom platform, you might not be able to do it yourself without coding knowledge. However, a programmer should be able to do it pretty quick, so it won’t be a big expense.
4. Implement Tracking on Your Site
Tracking is extremely important. If you don’t track your rankings and traffic, you can’t spot the issues with your website.
What pages do the users leave quickly? You know you can improve those first, especially if the search volume for them is high!
Also, if you don’t monitor your organic search traffic you can’t know if you’re making any progress and, worse, you won’t know if the search engines penalized you or your rankings have dropped.
You can use Google Search Console and Google Analytics to monitor your organic search traffic and issues with your pages. They’re fairly easy to install as long as you have access to your server. You might even be able to install them via a plugin for your CMS. I recommend using Google Tag Manager to implement all tracking codes. They will be easier to manage afterwards.
If you want to go to the next level, you can try things like HotJar, which creates a heatmap of where your users click most on a page. However, that’s a lot harder to understand and improve correctly, so an experienced person is required.
5. Install an SSL Certificate
SSL has become a ranking factor since 2014. If you’re wondering why the answer is pretty simple. Because of security. Cybercrime has been on the rise constantly and more and more people share more and more sensitive data on the web.
Installing an SSL should be pretty easy. Most of the time, your hosting provider can help you. However, there is a simpler solution which is also free: CloudFlare. You simply have to change your domain’s nameservers to point out to CloudFlare and then CloudFlare will act as a filter, blocking spam and bad IPs from reaching your server.
6. Secure Your Maps Listing
This isn’t something that people will be able to ‘steal’ from you very easily, but it will provide your website with great value. Using Google MyBusiness you can get your website listed multiple times on Google.
Not only that, but it will also link back to your website. People will be able to find your website a lot easier if it’s not already ranking very well.
Once you create your listing or claim ownership of it, make sure you fill out all the required details correctly. You should also add nice pictures of your location, products and team. This helps to build trust with your clients.
7. Compress & Optimize Your Images
Images take up the most physical space on your server. That means they also take the most physical space on your user’s device, which means they also take the most time to load.
Slow loading times greatly impact your conversions and images really take the longest to load.
There are two ways an image takes up too much space. First, it’s not compressed in its physical size on the disk. So you can have two images that look the same, but one has 1MB and the other has one-fifth of an MB.
How is this possible? Well, I’m not sure how image compression works, but it makes images smaller in size on the disk without reducing their size or quality on the screen. You can use plugins such as Smush for WordPress, or image compression tools like ShortPixel which have APIs. You can also compress your images every time you upload them using TinyPNG. If you can’t connect a tool, just download batches of images (if you don’t have thousands) compress them and then re-upload them to your server.
Then, of course, you have the size on the screen. A 2000 by 2000 pixels image will take up more physical disk space than a 500 by 500 pixels image. Therefore, don’t load a 2000x2000px image and shrink it to 500x500px using CSS. The browser will have to download an image 4 times larger than it needs.
To make this work with responsive designs, you can research the “srcset” HTML attribute. You can use it to only download specific images on specific screen sizes.
8. Increase Site Speed
Although images have the most impact, there are other elements that can affect your site’s loading speed. Most of the time it’s related to files, but other times it can be because of PHP conflicts or database queries taking very long to load.
To avoid conflicts and slow database loading times, you can try and limit your plugin use to the very minimal. Do you have a lot of unnecessary plugins and extensions? Get rid of them. Do you think something looks nice on your site, but you rarely ever use it or it provides little value? Get rid of it.
You can start by removing your slider plugin, for example. Replace the slider with a static image and a CTA button. Why? Well, it turns out that sliders kinda suck! People rarely click on those offers, they take up a lot of space and resources and they can be very annoying when you’re reading something and the image shifts automatically.
Some other things you can do to increase your site’s speed include having a great hosting provider and minimizing the resources needed to load a page. You can use PageSpeed Insights and GT Metrix to monitor these issues.
Some are easy to fix and some are not. For example, a caching and file minification plugin like W3 Total Cache (for WordPress) can be useful. You can use this guide to set it up properly. However, beware of possible CSS and JS issues and conflicts that might mess up your design and functionality. Usually, disabling minification will fix the issue, but have a backup of your files and database before you change anything!
In Page Speed Insights check your server’s response time. If multiple tests show that the response time is over 2.5 seconds, you can consider switching to a better hosting provider.
9. Interlink Your Pages with Keyword Rich Anchor Texts
Interlinking is one of the most effective SEO techniques out there. You can use it to link to important pages using specific anchor texts. This has a lower risk than building backlinks on keyword rich anchor texts and, more importantly, you have absolute control over it.
Whenever you add new content, make sure you link to other relevant pages within your website. Vice-versa, go edit some old pages from your site and add links to your new content, if relevant.
If you have thousands of pages, it can be hard to interlink, but you can use plugins such as Interlink Manager.
10. Link to Relevant, Authority Websites
I know you’d rather prefer other websites linking to you, but just as with the social media example, you’ll have to share other people’s content in order to get linked to yourself.
This can actually improve your SEO. Why? Well, it’s because Google works on backlinks! That’s how it finds good content and figures out which content is worth ranking at the top. That’s why Google encourages webmasters to link to great content