7 Low-Hanging Fruits That Any #SEO Can Fix by @neilpatel
SEOs have a tough job. They’re expected to swoosh into a site, save the day, boost the traffic, raise rankings, and make the company prosper.
The problem is, SEOs have their hands tied on so many issues. What should the SEO do, for example, if the site isn’t responsive? Or the site was made in 1999 and needs to be updated? Or the server keeps breaking? Or any other number of problems that he or she can’t fix?
Most SEOs aren’t able to fix every problem on the site. Why not? It’s not because they lack skill. Often, the issue involves the buy-in of developers, the approval of executives, or implementation from third-party vendors.
How does an SEO even get their job done?
Thankfully, there are things most SEOs should be able to do. The low-hanging fruits of SEO are easy to spot, easy to fix, and can make an instant impact on a website.
Regardless of skills and regardless of experience, there are things you can do. If you’re an SEO looking for some easy fixes and quick tasks that will boost rankings, look no further than these seven low-hanging fruits.
1. Adjust Your Title Tags
Title tags are the most important on-page SEO element. Moz explains, “this element is critical to both user experience and search engine optimization.”
If a site’s title tags aren’t optimized, then the site will not do well in the SERPs, period.
The title tag is located in the site’s header and looks like this:
The problem with title tags is that many times, developers or website designers will put some stock text here without considering its SEO ramifications. You, as the SEO, will need to remedy this.
Here are the rules for optimizing title tags:
Make Your Title 50-60 Characters Long
If the title tag is too long, it will be truncated in the SERPs. If it’s too short, you’re not making full use of the tag’s SEO potential.
To make sure that your title tag is a good length, use Moz’s title tag tool. It displays an example of how your title tag will appear in the SERPs.
Use a Longtail Keyword in the Title
In order for it to be optimized, the title tag needs to contain a keyword. Focus on one longtail keyword per page.
A longtail keyword is usually a phrase that contains some descriptive words.
Be sure not to stuff the title tag with keywords. Doing so is a spam signal for Google. If Google’s algorithm suspects you’re keyword stuffing, they may devalue your site in the SERPs.
Place Your Target Longtail Keyword Toward the Beginning of the Title
I recommend putting the title tag at the front of the title.
I make this recommendation two reasons. First, the search engines will identify it as one of the most important keywords on the page. Second, users will see the keyword in the SERPs. When they identify the page tag as relevant based on the keyword in the title, they are more likely to click on it.
My title tags are usually the name of my blog post. For example, below, you’ll see that the title tag is simply, “How to Build 100 Quality Links Without Writing Fresh Content.”
This title itself is a long tail keyword phrase, and will help my site to be ranked in a relevant and appropriate way.
Place Your Business Name at the End of the Title Tag, Separated by a Vertical Line (|)
If you prefer, you can place your business name in the title tag. Remember, however, that your business name is not that important for SEO.
Why not? Unless something is severely wrong with your site, it’s going to rank for branded or navigational searches. That’s not what you need to optimize for. Instead, you want to optimize the site for organic longtail keywords.
Often, putting the brand name in the title tag is a waste of space. If you choose to include it, however, do so at the end of the tag, separate with a vertical line, like this —
Title tag optimization is a first order of business for any SEO. Here is a helpful process to follow:
- Identify a unique long tail keyword for every page on the site.
- Adjust every title tag to include the assigned keyword.
- If the site has thousands of pages, focus on the most important pages first — main navigational pages, top traffic pages, etc.
Once your titles are fully optimized, you’ll experience a noticeable increase in traffic and ranking.
2. Create Optimized H1s
The H1 tag is the bit of HTML code that identifies a major heading in your content.
H1s are one of the most common SEO elements. They’ve been in use for years, and every SEO knows about their usefulness and power.
However, I’ve been surprised at how many websites lack this core feature. Even if a page does contain an H1, it may not be fully optimized.
Here are the common problems that I’ve noticed surrounding H1s.
- Multiple H1s. If a page has more than one H1, it could be diluting the SEO power. More H1s is not better. Each page should have a single H1.
- Short H1s. Sometimes, the H1 consists of a single word. If the H1 is only one word, it’s not fully utilizing the SEO potential.
- Duplicate H1s. Google does not look favorably upon duplicate content — i.e., sections of text that are the same from one page to another.
- Very long H1s. Although short H1s are problematic, so are long ones. Make sure that your H1s do not exceed 70 characters.
One of the most useful tools for analyzing a site’s H1 tags is Screaming Frog. Using Screaming Frog, you can identify the following:
- Which pages do not have an H1.
- Which pages have duplicate H1s.
- Which pages have H1s that exceed 70 characters.
- Which pages have multiple H1s.