This episode is short enough that it’s easy to re-listen to the whole thing. So rather than the usual time stamps, I’ve simply summarized the key points and listed the key tools he recommends along with a description of each so you can check out the right ones for your goals.
How to Improve Your Website’s SEO
Here are the key lessons from this interview:
- Don’t ignore the low hanging fruit – be sure you’re doing these things right before worrying about the more complex tactics below:
- Write good, descriptive, and catchy headlines.
- Name your image files something relevant and with the keywords you want to be associated with.
- Give your images Alt Tags (this is the alt=“” part of your image tag in the HTML). This is like a free second chance to include key words and phrases. Natural sentence structure is recommended.
- Include relevant key words and phrases in your copy.
- Give each page a meta description that explains what’s on the page in words that will convince searchers that your page is the one to click on. This isn’t where you load in every keyword under the sun, use good sentence structure here, too.
- Improve old content – using the tools below, search for keywords relevant to your topic to see what’s trending, then crawl your site to see where you’re ranking between the 8th and 30th spot. This is your golden zone of opportunity for jmprovement. Updating and improving content that’s already ranking on pages two and three of search results can easily push it onto page one, and likely high up on that page, which makes it way more visible. Here are some of the specific steps for improving this content so it’s more likely to rank higher:
- Use H2 headings to break up sections – split up content into sections and use sub-headlines to call them out. Set your sub-heads as H2, which is usually a font size that’s slightly smaller than your article or page’s main headline (which should be an H1), but noticeably larger, bolder or darker than your main body content. In HTML, you’ll set this sub-head between <H2> and </H2> tags, or just select H2 from the WordPress dropdown if you’re using that platform.
- Use the right keywords – can you use actual search queries as your H2 headings? Natural language will win over convoluted phrasing, but mimic as closely as possible what people are actually searching for.
- Don’t guess, know which keywords people are searching for – are you assuming you know why people are searching for? What phrases and words they’re using? Or have you researched it to know, then writing your content to match those inquiries? Do the latter and you’re much more likely to show up in first page results. Even better, it could land your article inside the answer of Google’s knowledge base answers at the very top of their search results.
Online Tools to Improve SEO
Tyler mentions the following online tools:
- SEMrush – crawler that identifies content on your site that’s hitting for a specific keyword.
- MOZ – Keyword explorer that lets you see what’s popular and which other sites are ranking highly
- AHrefs – A paid tool (they have cheap trial options) that provides keyword analysis and shows how and why your competitors are ranking for certain keywords. (This was also just mentioned on Pat Flynn’s excellent Smart Passive Income podcast as a top crawler tool)
- Raven Tools – Free Site Auditor tool to identify SEO problems with your site (AKA “easy things you can fix”), plus paid (with free trials) automated reporting, competitive analysis, and more.
- Wordstream – Free Keyword Search Tool, giving you rankings data on popular terms. Their website is big, by which I mean there’s a lot on offer here, with many options for improving paid Adwords, keyword and social media marketing campaigns. Plan on spending some time poking through the options to see what you can benefit from.
- Google Search Console – see notes below…
Don’t Forget About Google
With all of the specialty tools and services out there, it’s easy to overlook the mothership. Google’s suite of free webmaster tools is amazing and broad. Start with the following:
- Google Search Console – use this to have Google recrawl your website or specific page after you’ve updated old content.
- Have it “Fetch as Google”
- Submit to Index
- Select “Crawl only this page”
- Website Crawl Tool – finds errors and tells you how to fix them
- Google Analytics – You do have Google Analytics set up on your site, right? If not, stop now, go do it. It’s free and easy and gives you amazing stats on your traffic. Inside Google Analytics, use Segmenting (at the top) to see organic traffic by landing page. Is it diverse? If most of your traffic is only coming to one or two pages, it means you’re probably only ranking well for one or two keywords. This means you risk losing most of your traffic if someone creates a better article. Use the tools above to see what other relevant and related terms you can create (or improve) copy for, then test again periodically to see if visitors are landing on other pages inside your sitewith greater frequency.
As the saying goes, you can’t improve what you can’t measure. Tyler mentions a couple ways to tell if your efforts are paying off. First, you should be able to see your page showing up in organic search results more often. Second, you should see increased site traffic as more people are finding your content organically.
The other thing to check is if your EPMV is improving. This stands for Earnings Per Thousand Visitors. Tyler says this is a better metric of revenue than looking at eCPM (effective cost, or earnings, per thousand page views. Why? Because if your content is good, people will click around to more pages and you’ll earn more revenue off each visitor because you’re able to serve more ads. This should also serve as a warning against serving annoying pop-overs, video-takeovers and other intrusive ads that are likely making your visitors leave prematurely.
So, What is Ezoic?
Full disclosure: at the time of publication, we receive no compensation of any kind from Ezoic. This is not a commercial for them.
Ezoic, which Tyler handles all of the marketing for, is a service that takes your existing website and automatically performa A/B ad testing to get you the best revenue by tailoring the size, placement and quantity of ads on your page to each visitor. I’m installing it for my cycling site, Bikerumor.com, so give me a couple months and I’ll be happy to share how it’s performing. Tyler writes their blog, which is a serious rabbit hole of info any webmaster or curious entrepreneur can easily dive down for hours. I certainly have, which is why I wanted to get him on the podcast. Here’s a great example: Tyler’s case study on College Magazine’s 130% traffic growth from improving older content, which we mention in this episode.
Definitions of Terms
If you’ve made it this far, you probably have some idea of what we’re talking about. But I don’t like to assume, and I want you to have ALL of the tools you need to build something great. Here are a few definitions of terminology used here that may help:
- SEO = technically means “Search Engine Optimization”, but the acronym has become a general term for any practice related to improving the likelihood that your website’s content shows up well in organic search results.
- organic search results = results that show up in Google, Bing or other search engine results without having to pay for them. Meaning, not “sponsored” or “ad” results. Organic means you have good content.
- Keyword = any word that you want to be associated with your site. For example, I want The Build Cycle to show up anytime someone is searching for tips on entrepreneurship, so “entrepreneurship” is an important keyword for me.
- Alt Tags / Meta Tags = Code snippets that provide “Alternate” or other descriptive sentences on your page, but usually aren’t visible. Image Alt Tags provide an alternate text description of an image that can be read aloud by some browsers for visually impaired users, so you want them to describe what’s in the image, but they’re also powerful ways to build in search terms (aka “keywords”) and phrases. These may help your images (and thus your page) show up higher in image searches.
Have questions? Leave a comment or hit me up on social media and I’ll get some answers! Like this podcast? Let me know which other topics you’d like me to explore and I’ll find the right expert to interview!