SEO – Get Started With 5 Quick Tips That Can Have a Big Impact

A couple times a week I get requests from people asking for help with  SEO, search engine optimization. These are mostly small businesses who don’t have the resources to hire a SEO consultant but know they need take search seriously. They have good reason to think search is important. I have seen companies get the equivalent of millions of dollars of free advertising because they were highly optimized for search. Here are a couple quick things that someone can do to make an impact on their SEO rankings:

5 seo tips for newby



Fix mistakes on your website. I like to start by fixing any mistakes on the website that could be dragging down the search results. You would be amazed how many sites have links that go nowhere. Another frequent crime is moving pages around on your web site without adding the necessary code to point people to where the pages now live. I have seen sites that had tens of thousands of external sites pointing to pages that no longer exist. Not only do these changes kill your search rankings, but they also frustrate customers and make you look bad. This is why I like to start here. Ask your webmaster to set up Google’s free and very powerful Webmaster Tools. This is about a 5 minute exercise. Once that is done, go into Webmaster Tools and look for the menu option for Crawl Errors. That will tell you what pages are missing and who is linking to them. You then can work with your webmaster to resolve the issues.


Check the title. When Google looks at your site to determine what each page is about, arguably the most important thing is the title tag. One easy way to see the title tag for each page is to look at the tab names in your browser. Most browsers will use the title tag as the name for that tab. The key is for each page to have a good description of what the page is about. You would be amazed how many companies just have their company name as the title tag on each page – you are basically telling Google nothing meaningful about that page. The descriptions should be short (just a couple words) and should be the types of things your customers would be searching on. Again, your webmaster can help you change these.

Check your H1′s. One of the other most critical things Google looks for on your pages is your H1 tag and to a lesser extent your H2′s and H3′s. I like to think of the H1, H2, and H3 tags as the web’s version of an outline. These blocks of text show up on the page and describe how the page is going to flow. Ideally the H1 describes the main point of the page, the H2 describes the main sub-sections of the page, and so on. I would focus on your H1′s as those are most import. Go to a given page and right click on your browser and say View Page Source. Now use the Find feature to look for “h1.” You will see something like this<h1>Some Text Here</h1>. You will want to go back to the actual page and see where this text shows up. Make sure the H1 is a good description of the page and again ties to what customers might be searching for.


Competitive research. Is there a company in your industry who you think does search well? If so, you can quickly leverage the work they have done. I really like to use a tool called SEMRush. They allow you to punch in a site and see 1) the value of the free traffic they are getting (they call it SE traffic price) and 2) what keywords were most valuable. (SEMRush gives you a little information for free and a whole lot more if you pay for their service.) If you see some keywords that are driving a lot of people to this other company in your industry, consider using the keywords in your title tags and H1′s.


Get others to link to you. One of the key things Google looks at when it ranks your site is how many other sites link to you. Google’s original design was based on the belief that if a lot of sites link to you, you must be an “expert” in this particular subject so they should rank you high in the search results. Think about any partners, blogs, customers, news sites, etc who should be linking to you. Make sure all your press releases have links back to you. The best links from external sites link to pages other than your home page and use descriptive language in the link. For example, if you make surfboards and you have someone reviewing a specific surfboard, the link should look more like this “great XYZ surfboards” not “click here” and it should go to your XYZ surfboards page, not your homepage.


While these tips just scratch the surface when it comes to SEO, you might be surprised how much you can get done in a short period of time. I have seen companies invest just 5 to 10 hours in the tips above and then seen their search results increase by 2, 3 or even 10x. It is a great place to start and for many companies, the key to SEO is just getting started.

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