5 Tactics to Appear in the Search Results That Don’t Require a Lot of Work

SEO doesn’t discriminate.

For brands that “get it” and have the know-how and resources, the coveted first page rankings are ripe for the picking.

But let’s be honest.

SEO is back-breaking and often mind-numbing work.

With a plethora of continually growing ranking factors and algorithm updates, staying on top is a daunting task.

But it doesn’t have to be.

Quite a few SEO tactics—requiring only marginal effort and little time—can help you appear in the search results.

I’m not saying that laziness and a half-hearted effort will get your brand to the top.

But I would like to discuss five specific tactics that don’t require a lot of work but should still have a noticeable impact.

1. Optimize titles and tags using a sneaky trick

Let me preface this by saying I love out-of-the-box tactics most people overlook.

Sometimes, we miss the things that are right under our noses.

There’s one particular technique that Brian Dean mentions in this post on Backlinko I absolutely love and have used myself.

It’s incredibly simple, yet I feel it can have a considerable impact on your SEO.

Here’s how it works.

Say you’re writing a blog post and want to find fully optimized phrases for your title and meta description.

You can save yourself a lot of time by entering a broad keyword in Google and scoping out Adwords ads for optimized phrases.

Here’s an example.

I’ll use “CRM software” as my keyword phrase.

Here are some of the ads that pop up:

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From here, I can find at least three or four potential phrases to use for my title and description.

For instance, I might pick the following:

image5

  • Positive customer experience
  • Enhance customer service
  • Custom dashboards reports

Just like that, I’ve found three fully optimized phrases I can use in my content.

And just think about it.

These companies obviously didn’t choose these keyword phrases at random.

In fact, they’re often the result of extensive split-testing to see which phrases would get the most clicks and highest conversions.

So, you know for a fact the phrases you find via this method are gold!

Besides using this technique when writing new posts, you can also use it for existing content that has performed okay but hasn’t reached its full potential.

For instance, you could go back and tweak the title and meta description of a post lingering on page two of the SERPs to give it “the extra SEO juice” it needs to climb to page one.

2. Optimize Google My Business

According to a 2016 report from Search Engine Land,

nearly 60 percent of searches now come from mobile devices.

So you can bet that local SEO is of supreme importance, especially for brick-and-mortars.

And here’s the interesting thing.

Half of consumers who perform local searches on their smartphones actually visit a store within one day.

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If you’ve been skimping on local SEO thus far, you’re probably missing out on a lot of high-quality leads and, ultimately, sales.

Although there is a laundry list of elements contributing to sound local SEO, there’s one simple tactic that can help you considerably.

And that’s optimizing your Google My Business account.

It takes a minimal time commitment but can have a palpable impact.

Here’s what you want to do:

  • Claim your listing if you haven’t done so already. Set it up here.
  • Look over your business’s details to ensure they’re correct and up-to-date.
  • Include your hours and any other relevant information.
  • Choose hyper-specific categories for your business. This makes it much easier to rank than having broad categories.
  • Consider adding new images of your business, showing it inside and outside.

Here’s a good example of how you want your listing to look:

image2

Also, be sure to encourage your customers to leave reviews because this can definitely boost your “street cred.”

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3. Check for (and fix) crawl errors

You may have read a previous post I wrote on how to use Google Search Console like a boss.

One particularly useful element I covered was crawl errors.

It’s an extremely important feature that allows you to quickly identify the following:

  • 404 errors
  • Server errors
  • URLs pointing to a nonexistent page

Here’s the purpose of crawl error reports in Google’s own words:

image11

In other words, this will tell you whether there are any issues preventing Google from properly crawling your site.

This way, you’ll be able to identify any problems quickly and fix them right away without having to look through your site manually.

All you have to do is click on “Crawl” from your dashboard.

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Then click on “Crawl Errors.”

If everything is good, you’ll see this:

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Otherwise, Google will list the details of any problems.

If you do find errors, consult this guide from Moz on ways to fix them.

4. Optimize for image search

Here’s the thing about Google image search.

Driving traffic through image search tends to be much easier than through regular search.

Why?

First, there’s less competition.

Second, a lot of people fail to fully optimize their photos for image search.

I like to think of it as low-hanging fruit that can generate an influx of traffic.

Optimizing for image search is by no means rocket science but can definitely help your SEO and traffic.

Here are the essentials.

1. Be highly specific when creating a file name for each photo.

I suggest going long-tail for your descriptions versus using broad terms.

For instance, you are better off going with “red-camping-tent-in-forest.jpg” than with “camping-tent.jpg.”

2. Take care of the alt text.

If you’re unfamiliar, alternative (alt text) is

a word or phrase that can be inserted as an attribute in an HTML (Hypertext Markup Language) document to tell web site viewers the nature or contents of an image.

If for some reason the image doesn’t appear on a page or a person visiting that page has a visual impairment, the alt text will describe it to them.

Again, the key to creating great alt text is to be specific.

To give you an idea of what Google is looking for, here is an example from its image publishing guidelines:

image6

And here’s one more little trick.

3. Specify the width and height of your images.

According to WordStream,

A web browser can begin to render a page even before images are downloaded, provided that it knows the dimensions to wrap non-replaceable elements around. Specifying these dimensions can speed up page loading and improve the user experience.

If you haven’t been following these image optimization practices in the past, I suggest going back and tweaking your images so that they follow this formula.

It doesn’t take much effort but can prove very beneficial.

5. Improve outbound links

We all know that inbound links are of monumental importance.

In fact, many experts agree that inbound links are still the number one ranking factor in 2017.

But what about outbound links?

These obviously don’t carry the same weight as inbound links, but it doesn’t mean they have no significance.

I recently came across an interesting study from Reboot that measured outbound links as a ranking signal.

Long story short, they found that

outgoing relevant links to authoritative sites are considered in the algorithms and do have a positive impact on rankings.

Here’s proof:

image1

It makes sense this is a ranking factor.

Why?

Because most pages containing outbound links to authoritative resources offer genuine value compared to pages containing internal links only.

If you’ve been slacking on your outbound links, I recommend going back and adding at least three links to high-quality relevant resources on your posts.

This may be all it takes to give your content a boost in the SERPs, and it can help you maintain any higher rankings you’ve already obtained.

And the best part is that it’s really quite easy.

A quick Google search on your topic should provide you with plenty of potential resources.

Or you could always use BuzzSumo to see what’s resonating with readers.

Here are just a few things that pop up when I enter “CRM software”:

image7

Just like that, I’ve found a handful of quality resources to link to.

Conclusion

I get it.

SEO can be a total pain at times.

It’s by far one of the most meticulous and painstaking digital marketing techniques.

And I also know what it’s like to be pressed for time.

While I can’t promise these tactics will get you to the number one position in SERPs for every single keyword phrase you’re trying to rank for, they should—most definitely—improve your standings.

When it’s all said and done, they can be the catalyst for a surge in organic traffic to your site, which should bring in more qualified leads.

Can you think of any other SEO tactics that don’t require a major time investment?

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Comments

  1. J. Ustpassing :

    Out Bound Links
    I’m not sure if the destination of a link is a ranking signal (Googlers always denied it when asked (and we used to ask about the quality and the relevance!)) … it’s possible things changed and it’s a signal now, or maybe not…
    … but what hasn’t changed is the simple fact that Links are notable Elements.
    Just like Headings, the Anchor element is noted when G parse the content, and it will carry more weight than if the same word(s) appeared as plain text.
    {Unfortunately the tests don’t “prove” that authoritative links count – just that having OBLs count – they should have conducted the tests with Non-linked, Authority-linked and Non-authority-linked …}

    I wouldn’t mistake “popularity” with “quality”, nor with “authority”.
    Plenty of good content buried in the SERPs, and many authoritative authors publish content that doesn’t rank well etc. (alternatively, plenty of “not so great, but popular” content outranks insightful/authoritative content :D).

    But the key point is – you provide the links to relevant and useful pages, that will benefit the user 😀

  2. Very informative blog. I just want a little help. My google business page is not showing Facebook Reviews. How can I get those reviews on google business listing. Please suggest.

    Thanks

    • You will need to make sure you have been verified and everything is linked correctly but it still is down to Google.

  3. Thanks Neil, good article. Interesting tip on adding outbound links to articles. I never thought it could have a positive effect on SEO but I’ll definitely give it a shot.

    Derek
    Thewealthybum.com

  4. Bob Warfield :

    While on the subject of Google Search Console, here’s another tip I’ve found to be easy and helpful. Frequently, other sites trying to link to your pages manage to get the domain right, but they misspell some part of the rest of the link.

    Create pages for those misspellings then redirect them to the correct page that should’ve gotten the link. Voila! You’ve rescued links that otherwise just come up broken when Google tries to crawl them.

    Bob Warfield
    bobwarfield.com – Marketing for Entrepreneurs

    • J.Ustpassing :

      Why create a page if you are going to create a redirect?
      If the redirect works – then no one will see the page, the redirect captures the request, and they are passed straight to the destination.

      The only reason to create the page with the incorrect URL is if redirects are not possible.
      In such cases, you deploy the canonical link element.

    • Would the redirect be enough?

  5. Hp Printer Customer Support Number :

    I think you’re right about the comment being underrated. But not blogs. There are people out there doing fantastic, fun, creative things in blogspace. I think it requires breaking out of the “diary” mindset. (I’m still toddling through it myself.)

  6. Jiceri White :

    Thanks for all of the great information. One of the things that I do is put my keywords in wikipedia to get relevant words that are associated with my keywords. Then I make sure that I use as many of those words that I can use while still being natural. I don’t know if that helps the ranking or not but I would think that it would help.

    Thanks again for the great information

  7. Flott India :

    Hey keep posting such good and meaningful articles.

  8. If one were to make a website with many different topics, for example there might be a main website but it might link to a sub-website so to speak, does that help gaining traffic for the whole website than if you were to make separate websites for each topic?

    For example http://trampolinesforsales.com had the topics of trampoline learning, history, current events, music, Could you link to those from a main website, and the traffic coming into one topic (history sub-site) might help boost the traffic for all other sub-topics?

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