1. Distribute your home page’s link authority to your most important pages
2. Stop using such huge images
At least half of the sites I audit have issues with very large images on the home page. Often, designers or content creators don’t consider the file size or resolution of an image before adding it to a page. They won’t reduce an image to the maximum size needed on the page, nor will they save it at an appropriate resolution.
Use a tool like WebPageTest to check the file sizes of all the elements on a page. (Or you can use the Developer Tools built into the Chrome browser if you’re a geek like me.) Check your images, and have your designers optimize them. Train the people who create and upload your content to get into the habit of checking image sizes before they publish anything.
3. Check that people aren’t linking to pages that 404
Look for URLs that are returning a 404 on your site and have external links pointed at them. Google Search Console gives you the ability to check the 404 pages on your site and see whether they are being linked to (and from where). If you have a externally linked page which returns a 404, prioritize fixing it ASAP, as you are squandering link authority every minute that remains unfixed. Recovering that link equity and/or traffic is a very easy “quick win.”
To do this in Google Search Console, go to Crawl > Crawl Errors > Not Found and click on each URL returning a 404. Google will usually sort the errors by the most to least important and the most important include the ones with external links. After clicking on a URL, select the “Linked From” tab and it will show you the URLs linking to the page in question. Make sure these 404 URLs are 301 redirected to the next most relevant URL on your site.
Google Search Console “Linked From” example
4. Leverage that microsite, article or video that’s not on your main site
Videos, articles and microsites can be a fantastic way to garner brand awareness and attention. However, if you’re hosting the content on others’ domains, then you may be wasting the SEO opportunity. Once the buzz has subsided, the content is hopefully left with great links. If those links are pointing somewhere other than to your main site, you’re not getting much SEO benefit.
The best option, however, from an SEO perspective, is to host that content on your own site. And even then, try to find ways to direct traffic and authority from that content to your most important landing pages and products.
5. Use forums and social hubs to uncover valuable keywords and topics before your competitors
Seize a valuable keyword even before your competitors take notice by monitoring conversations in social media and in forums within your niche. Notice a recurring mention or a recurring question? Find a way to work it into your site’s content or blog.
It will not only help you rank for that question or phrase, but it will also seat you in a position of authority by knowing the answers to the questions everyone has. Having that content first, before your competitors, can give you an advantage, not only in thought leadership, but in ranking and traffic as well.
6. Increase the visibility of your SERP listing with rich snippets
Snippets are like putting a bow tie on a cute cat. Cute cats on their own are great, as are first-page listings. But put a bow tie on that kitty and you’ve got something that few can resist. Rich snippets are among my favorite SEO tactics. Coupled with a great, enticing meta description and title tag, they make your snippet stand out from the crowd. In this case, if you’re looking for the best slackline to give to your outdoorsy significant other, you are going to want to look for the listing that looks like it is an awesome product from a quality supplier.
7. Use link analysis tools to mine for your competitors’ best links
It’s common knowledge that authoritative links are critical to high Google rankings. Acquiring such links is where people get lost. One simple thing you can do is find hubs that link to multiple competitors. A hub is a site that links out to the major players within a niche. It could be a trade magazine, a review site, a blog or a forum. Identify such hubs with a tool like Majestic‘s “Clique Hunter” or SEOprofiler. Hubs are already linking to similar sites, so in all likelihood it won’t be a huge leap for them to link to you as well.