8 Steps to Improve Your SEO Now | Captain Coder

8 Steps to Improve Your SEO Now

Marisa VanSkiver / Captain Coder Podcast / June 7, 2022

woman working to improve her seo on google

Your ideal customer lives on Google. In fact, that’s where they’re at when they’re the most ready to buy. The most ready to sign up for a discovery call or even a service directly.

How do you capture the attention of your dream customers when they’re on Google searching for someone to help them? You know you’d be the perfect fit, but how do you even get your foot in that SEO door?

In today’s episode, we’re going to learn 8 easy steps you can follow to improve your SEO now. SEO is a long-term process, but you can optimize your website to not only perform better on Google, but to capture the attention of those who are searching for answers on Google.

And really, it’s all about those potential customers.

Why Do You Need to Improve SEO?

Before we dive into how to improve your SEO, I want to take a minute and remind you why this is important.

You might be thinking – but hey, I don’t really get any clients from my website.

Well yes, you might be getting the majority of clients from social media, but SEO is king. You can publish content and have it still working for you years down the road if you do it correctly.

And remember what I said at the top of the episode. Your ideal customer is the hottest lead when they’re on Google. They’re actively looking for an answer to their problem. This is exactly where you want to be found by them.

But I promised I’d take just a minute, so let’s talk about what you can do to improve your SEO now.

1. Use Google Search Console

Google Search Console is a free service that they provide to help you make sure that the information Google has for your website is accurate. If you have never taken five minutes to submit your website to Google through Search Console, it’s possible that the information they have is out of date, isn’t accurate, or if your website is newer, that they don’t really have anything for you at all.

You can create an account for free and add your website to it. Then, you’ll need to submit what’s called an XML sitemap. This basically provides Google the structure of your website, including the pages and images on it. Wix, SquareSpace, and others have ways that they generate this sitemap, but with WordPress we can use the free Yoast SEO plugin (which we’ll dig into later) to create this special code.

The great thing about Google Search Console, when it has a sitemap to crawl, it will go back and update that information a lot more frequently. And if you do a couple of the other things that we talk about today it’s going to be a lot easier for Google to get that information, to keep it accurate and up to date. Plus, you can use Google Search Console to see what you’re being found for and what people are clicking on. It’s one of the quickest ways of how to improve your SEO.

2. Encourage Clicks from Google with Meta Titles and Descriptions

Encourage people to actually click on your search result when they’re on Google by using meta titles and descriptions.

Meta titles and descriptions are what you see on Google when you search for something. They’re the literal results you get. With these, you want to draw your ideal customer’s attention and get them to click on your result (not your competitors) in a couple of different ways.

First, give them something within that meta title to explain that you understand their problem, that you have a solution to that problem, that you have a service that’s a solution to that problem. Something that tells them, “Hey, I see you and I understand you.”

The meta description is only 160 characters (you get 60 for the title), so it needs to be a really quick, easy explanation of what they can discover on the page and then give them a call to action. Tell them to come, find out more, tell them to contact you, do something. To encourage them to click and discover what you have to offer. You’ll be amazed at how easy it is once you get in the vein of writing these to write a whole bunch of them.

3. Link to Pages Internally

You’re going to have certain pages on your website that get the most authority from Google. A really quick and easy way to pass around that SEO authority is by linking those high value pages to other pages in your website that need a boost.

You can also link blog articles to your main pages and give them a little bit of a boost. You have to think about how someone would be actually navigating through your website.

The nice thing about internal links is yes, they can provide you SEO value, but it’s a lot more about user experience. If you’re writing a blog article about something that has anything to do with say your main service offering, there is no reason for you to not link to your main service offering page within that blog article.

Comb through your website, read the copy, look at places where you know that it would help be beneficial for someone to go to another page, another service, a blog post and say, “Okay, do I really wanna take them from this spot to that resource?”

The number one thing here is to never link the phrase “click here.” That tells Google nothing about what they can expect on that next page. Instead when you’re linking two pages within your website and you’re adding contextual internal links, make sure that you’re highlighting and linking text that says exactly what they can expect. For instance, if you want to learn how to attract your ideal customer, you’ll notice that link takes you to our podcast about that very subject.

4. Use Key Phrases/Words in Headlines

Whenever you’re using a headline throughout your website, make sure that you have a relevant keyword or key phrase worked in that headline.

Google gives more authority to the value of those keywords when they’re in headlines because it looks at it and says, “Hey, this is super important information.”

Remember, your keywords and key phrases need to be your ideal customer’s lingo, not your technical jargon. When you’re using their terminology, their language, how they talk about their problems in your headlines and it’s big, bold, and really easy for them to see that you help them. It helps to reiterate that you can solve their problem. It also allows people to scan the page and find what they need by skimming without having to read every single word on the page.

When your website is scannable, it keeps browsers on it for longer, which signals to Google that they found the answer to their search.

5. Optimize Images for Search

Want to know another quick way how to improve your SEO? Make images searchable by Google. To do this, you have to follow a two step process.

Before you upload an image to your website, make sure that the file name is descriptive of what’s in the image. An image called 01325.jpg has no meaning. But if you’re uploading an image of yourself and you put Jane-Smith.JPG, suddenly we know that that’s a picture of Jane Smith. Note between words you want to use a dash. When you scrunch all of those words together, there’s no way for Google to decipher where those words stop.

Now that the image is uploaded to your website, you need to add a description of what’s in the image in the Alternative Tag. A sample ALT tag for a headshot might be “Jane Smith headshot on a gray background.” These should just be a quick, easy description of what’s in the image.

With ALT tags, you can include keywords and key phrases and that can give you a further SEO boost. However, you should only do this when it makes sense. Don’t just keyword stuff them and ensure that it’s still descriptive of what’s in the image.

WordPress makes adding ALT tags super easy. When you upload a picture, it gives you an alternative text box where you can add a description and it even tells you to add a description of the picture. You can also easily add ALT tags in SquareSpace and Wix, it just requires a different process.

6. Create Unique Content Consistently

One of the best things you can do to improve your SEO is to create unique content consistently. That pretty much means blogging. And if you’re screaming at the screen right now, I’m really sorry.

None of my clients like this answer, which is one reason why I provide done-for-you SEO blogging as a service because none of my clients want to do this. Very few of my clients like to write blogs and they don’t want to do the keyword research.

But here’s the thing. It is one of the best ways to get original, consistent content onto your website. Content that is Google friendly, that provides answers for unique pieces of your services and allows you to focus on one keyword or key phrase.

The other great, valuable thing about blogging is that it also makes Google happy with something called the freshness factor. Part of your SEO ranking is how recent content is on your website. Google thinks that if your content is more recent, it’s going to be more relevant. If you put up a website six years ago and you haven’t touched it since and you’ve put no new content on there, Google looks at that as something that’s been more or less abandoned. Blogging is one of the best ways to improve your freshness factor without the need to go change your website copy all the time.

When you create blog articles on a consistent schedule too, then Google knows when to look for that new blog. That helps to keep the information for your website in Google far more accurate.

7. Have and Force an SSL Certificate

An SSL certificate protects your website and adds a layer of privacy and security. Google likes this because it shows that you’re protecting your customers’ private data and keeping everything secure.

SSL certificates also signal security to your customers. Google in their Chrome browser and other browsers will mark a secure website with a lock icon in the address bar. Without that lock icon, your site can be deemed “Not Secure,” which eliminates trust with your website visitors.

If you have a WordPress website, depending on where you host depends on whether or not you have to pay extra for this. Now my favorite web host is WPEngine and they offer an SSL for free. Some of the others charge anywhere from $60 to $100 per year for you to have this.

8. Use Yoast on Your WordPress Website

Want to know how to improve your SEO on WordPress website – really easily? You need to use the free Yoast SEO plugin.

The Yoast plugin creates the XML sitemap for you that you can then submit to Google Search Console. You can even control what pages, what posts, anything that you don’t want to show on your sitemap or be sent to Google.

You can also use Yoast to add your meta titles and your meta descriptions to every page. It’ll also guide you with an indicator if they’re too long, too short, or just right.

I also use Yoast to make sure I’m writing correctly for my target keywords and keyphrases to rank. Just plug that keyword into your Yoast SEO box and it will help you and give you a frowny face when it’s not SEO optimized and a happy face when it is. It will even provide feedback on how to improve your web pages and your articles.

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