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41 SEO quick wins you can do within an hour

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You’ll struggle to find someone who believes more in the importance of a long-term SEO strategy than myself. Short-term spikes are great in the moment, but any of the results I’m most proud of working on are those which show steady growth against key business goals over a sustained period of time.

I’d always advocate a strategy-first approach and I’ve written before about how short-termism is killing marketing, however that doesn’t mean there’s no quick wins. 

SEO is a long-term investment, and often a leap of faith in what you’re doing now will pay-off further down the line. The key to success is alignment with your business objectives and the prioritisation of actions that are going to take you closer to achieving those goals. 

For that reason, it makes sense that you pick off the low hanging fruit early and it’s important to build trust and show meaningful progress that you’re climbing the mountain on the way to more ambitious goals. 

The aim should be for short term impact which builds into long term success. 

Given the impact of coronavirus, it’s more important than ever to ensure your SEO activity is working for you. I’ve spoken with a number of marketers recently, who share the view that now is a good time to either apply changes they wanted to for a while, or learn/apply new skills outside of their specialist skillset. 

I’ve collated 96 of my own SEO quick wins in the past, but that was 7 years ago and well overdue an update. To lend a helping hand, I leveraged the power of social media crowdsourcing to ask for peoples favourite SEO tips, so that we could share the best ones with you.

Without further ado, here they are:

  1. Quick wins in SEO in tough times definitely means increasing sales not necessarily traffic. SEO for UX can help to increase conversion rates. For example, adding a sort by price to ecomm navigation and filters can help users sort the price they can currently afford. Halide Ebcinoglu
  2. Page 2 poaching – I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve used this strategy, it’s simple but very effective. Take all of your page 2 rankings and improve the on-page optimisation and internal linking to push them over the edge onto page 1 to drive more traffic. Originally found via Dennis Goedegebuure, this is a great post. Kevin Gibbons
  3. Segment your data to get a better understanding of organic performance and optimize accordingly. For example, segment search console search analytics query data into brand and generic. For organic traffic in Google Analytics it’s possible to compare homepage landings versus all other pages. Alternatively look at how the ratio of new and returning users, is trending over time. Also consider the impact other channels, such as paid search, have on organic traffic levels and review seasonality using Google Trends. These are just examples but the approach can be adapted based on the size of site and maturity of the SEO program. Jonathan Moore
  4. Make sure the page URL, opening title, opening line of text/content, meta title and meta description are all singing from the same hymn sheet. So there are no disconnects and searcher intentions are met/matched by these 5 key elements. Martin McGarry
  5. De-index non-traffic pages, 6 months or more without traffic. Has always helped actually, especially at bigger pages. Andor Palau
  6. Use your customers’ language. Think outside in, instead of inside out. Let other people Google your product and observe their journey. Title tag review, use bing webmaster tools to find links to reclaim (4xx and 5xx). Plenty more but here’s a start. Arnout Hellemans
  7. Find keywords where you are ranking on page one and a featured snippet is being served but you currently don’t have it. Optimise your pages to try and win the featured snippet. (easy win especially for lists on blog posts). Benjamin Beckwith
  8. Check your SEO tool of choice (SEMRush, Ahrefs, etc) for keyword cannibalisation. If you have multiple pages struggling to rank for the same term (keyword X), choose what one you want to rank for that term (Page A) and what one you don’t care to rank for (Page B). Then sprinkle some extra mentions of keyword X on page A (and variations of X) & remove some from page B. Also make sure you have a link from page B to page A with keyword X (or a variation). Page A should then have a nice bump in rankings for Keyword X. Also as a note: Page A should *usually* be the page that converts better. Money page (Page A) vs blog post (Page B). If they’re both blog posts or money pages, combine them. Incorporate page B into page A and have a single better page that will rank better (Redirect A to B). Buzz Carter
  9. Review internal linking and nav structure – it really can mean the difference between page 2 and page 1. Hannah Bryce
  10. When you organize a webinar or online event, create a promotion page on your site. Pitch it to different newspapers/high-quality event calendars and have traffic and good links out of this. Also, having the Youtube-live added on your site will make sense, so people should spend time on your site watching the video and not only on the social platforms. Irina Serdukovskaya
  11. Make sure your on-page is actually done. People stopped doing good old simple on-page and it still can work magic. There is also a good way for finding canibalisation using aherfs – and then fixing it if needed 🙂 Let google know which page is the most relevant for each keyword. Izabela Wisniewska
  12. Check your top pages’ search console data – see which keywords people use to find your pages that you didn’t intend for your pages to rank. Re-optimize page content and meta data by including these newly found search terms. Jason Acidre
  13. Always check for click/impression trends at a keyword level to inform better keyword targeting and page optimisation. Lots of quick wins to be had by simply better-optimising pages for queries that Google already ranks you for. Real world example here, a client saw an uplift in keywords referencing “online” – so we tweaked all relevant landing pages to optimise for “online” keywords to better target that source of traffic. Yeah, ironic isn’t it. In this case, I think users were simply reaffirming they wanted to buy the product online as opposed to going in-store/out to the high street to purchase it. No doubt driven by the current situation we find ourselves in. JJ Grice
  14. Run your site through a backlink analysis tool to check for broken backlinks every six to 12 months. Joe Williams
  15. Run a @screamingfrog crawl. End of tweet. Kieron Hughes
  16. Make sure you review your keywords per page via Google Search Console with low ranking and optimise for them too. Krystian Szastok
  17. FAQPage elements. Not only do they increase the size of your listings but for the past few weeks, we see a 2-4 increase in ranking in minutes! Mikkel DeMib Svendsen
  18. Look at pages that have a low CTR in GSC data. Check you are using the top impressioned keyword in the title and meta description if it makes sense to. Nick Swan
  19. Brainstorm basic, basic questions about your business. Ask Google the questions, in SERP + via a site search. Any you don’t own and don’t have a clear place for on your site, build it (with a clear next step call to action). Ric Rodriguez 
  20. Update your meta descriptions and tell people you are still delivering online (if you a retailer with shops closed and if you still do deliver online) Roman Sadowski
  21. Use a keyword tool to find ‘low hanging fruit’ opportunities e.g. where you are ranking on page 1 but positions 4-10 or even on page 2. Work on improving that content taking inspiration from pages ranking higher than you. Sarah McDowell
  22. Check how poorly performing pages are rendering within Google search console – if it’s not a full render look at which resources are not loading / JS console errors and slow loading resources – Google crawling and rendering with JS is adding a whole new level of problems. Scott McLay
  23. Optimise copy on category pages. It’s never very good, can always use keywords better and can definitely convert better. A tiny percentage of businesses have looked at it since they got an intern to do it 5 years ago. Stephen Kenwright
  24. Look at the SERPS! Manually if possible or use something like serpapi.com if you’re checking a different country serps to get a full picture of the differences in the SERPS for county/city/device/screen size/login state/etc. Amazing how many people just track keyword positions and don’t bother looking at the SERP features which may be completely ruining your first position and overall CTR. Suganthan Mohanadasan
  25. Look for cannibalisation issues in Search Console where 2 pages are competing for the same keyword. Make changes, prioritise 1 page and the results will come. Sunny Matharu
  26. Speed and schema. But if you cannot do either. Take a look at the top ten pages for the main keyword phrase you want and evaluate the following.
    1. How much text they have and keep a tally of the headers, bullet lists, answers.
    2. Look at the people also asked section of the search results and write down the questions.
    3. Look to see what all of them have in common and what they do not.
    4. Look to see who has not answered or addressed some of the people also ask,
    5. Create a better experience which includes proper content formatting, includes directly relevant topics (not somewhat or semi-relevant) and publish with proper formatting.
    We’ve been able to get websites with no backlinks, minimal age and no authority to outrank major ones with this alone. Including a national organization for their own branded terms. We’re now adding in schema and other items so….ya….that’s what I’d do. Adam Riemer
  27. Always have a call to action and link to it appropriately (and this assumes you have understood your audience’s needs and wants.) Craig McGill
  28. Go through existing evergreen content and refresh with more current stats and with a more current angle to further its reach. We’ve recently done this amid the COVID 19 virus as what we had planned wouldn’t work! Jodie Harris
  29. Run your content pages through word count analyser. Download list of keywords that have sent traffic to each page over the last 6 months. Run this list also through word count analyser. Check for words that are not found within your content (or are found in low frequency) but were part of keywords that have sent you traffic and add them to your content. This is done in Excel, using VLOOKUP and SUMIF functions. Branko Rihtman
  30. Use a tool such as Answer the Public to identify long-tail keyword phrases to write high quality, juicy content around.Cheryl Luzet
  31. Reverse image Google search your bespoke graphics or copyscape / copy and paste into Google pieces of text from your top-performing content pieces to see those that have copied them and approach for backlink credit. George Musson
  32. Write regularly, even if you don’t always publish. Jeremy Dent
  33. Write content for users not just for the search bots. By all means, do your keyword research & target keyword queries, but addressing your user will bring everything together. User searches for article > user sees you in the results. Great. But you want the user to click, read, engage and explore the site & potentially convert. If you have an article that doesn’t provide value and just targets search engines, you’ll get the click but that will come with a high bounce rate etc. Louisa Dunbar
  34. Improve CTR by prompting your writers to craft meta descriptions that show why the content will be interesting, as opposed to what the page is about. (Subtle distinction, but the latter results in a snooze-fest.) When publishing new blog posts, don’t just link back to older posts; part of the standard process should be to look for older, related content that can link to these new pieces. Really easy and basic stuff that writers can do on their own, but tactics that are often neglected in the rush to just get things published. Melanie Phung
  35. I’d say small tweaks to well-established content to fit current search trends & sentiment. It can be “push” or “pull” so for example, we’ve noticed a spike in traffic to a “decluttering” blog post from 2016, so we’ve decided to update that post to make it more relevant and add more tips. On the other hand, to draw more traffic, we’re currently looking at our current offering and optimising for casual/comfy terminology where relevant (whereas in the past this wasn’t important) Orit Mutznik
  36. Produce content you’d be absolutely happy consuming yourself. I had a simple rule when client-side and it was back in the day when – ahem – link-building was slightly different. Any piece of content published anywhere at all had to be of a high enough standard that if the CEO of the business was taking a moment out on their iPad on Sunday morning and came across a published article, blog post, competition – any of those things you could do at the time – he or she would be pleased with how it read, what it was, where it was; every aspect of it. It’s about Quality Quality Quality. It’s about eating, sleeping and breathing the brand, product or service you’re working on to the extent you’re excited about developing the next article. Whether it’s a video interview and transcript, additional frequently asked questions and answers, amending a product description to reflect how you’ve seen people engage with existing content, or the ‘perfect for digital PR piece you’ve been working on for 12 months now’ (that might be just me) anything at all; you have to be confident no one cares about the uniqueness, quality and value your content adds to your user’s experience as much as you do. Raymond Dunthorne
  37. Update dates on evergreen articles. When writing a new post-run a site search for matching older posts and build internal links to new piece. Amazes me how many people don’t do that. For time-sensitive content eg news, manually submit content for indexing as soon as published. Rishi Lakhani
  38. Prune outdated content. It is spring after all! Having low-quality content can hurt traffic and ranking. ID the content you are likely to chop and review the pages with negligible traffic. Robin Cormack
  39. Historical reclamation and link repositioning. Look at the topical trust flow of every link to your homepage, if there is an internal page that’s better suited, reach out and ask them to update. Same with social profiles – ask them to link to the site instead. Ross Tavendale
  40. Use HARO (helpareporter.com) to monitor for stories that you can be a source for. HARO is a place for journalists to find expert sources for stories they’re working on. You can become the source for stories relevant to your expertise! When your responses get picked up by the journalist, you’ll usually get a link along with a brand mention, which improves SEO and brand awareness. Jayson DeMers
  41. Get SHIT Done….and FAST! The biggest hindrance dampening the SEO success is not for the lack of knowledge or direction but execution. You cannot expect to get great results if you don’t implement the SEO recommendations at all or take too long. The best SEO results have come from working collectively with the wider team in procuring resources for the speedy execution. Your race with your search competitors is about the SPEED, not only on product/price etc. Khushal Khan

A massive thanks to everyone who provided help with this. If you have any of your own, please feel free to leave in the comments below.

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