If you’re an entrepreneur, you’ve likely stretched yourself thin. You’re wearing ALL the hats! In this post, we’re looking at those SEO priorities when you have limited time. I’ll take you through as list of the things you should focus on when you actually get time to work on your site’s SEO.
1. Secure Your Site.
The first SEO priority is having a secure site. If your site is secure then you’ll see a little lock in your browser URL bar and your URL will begin with HTTPS. We won’t dig into all the technical stuff, but basically you need an SSL certificate to secure your site and protect your visitor’s data. You can secure an SSL certificate from your host. If your host doesn’t provide them, then I’d recommend migrating to one who does OR you can purchase them through a third-party vendor.
2. Ensure your site is "Crawlable" by search engines.
This next priority is also essential. Having a “crawlable site” (aka indexing) means that you are allowing Google (and other search engines) to navigate through your site and content. You’re basically telling Google you exist and to come check you out. This is done through a few settings/files. If you have one of the plugins that I mentioned in this post, then you’ve got the tools! Just make sure you do these three things:
- Make sure you’re not hiding your site from Google. In WordPress, go to Settings > Reading > Uncheck the “discourage search engines…” setting.
- Connect your site to Google Search Console. Create a free account and follow the instructions to connect your site. Again, if you have a good SEO plugin, it will help you do this easily.
- Ensure you have a sitemap and it’s submitted to Google. Your SEO plugin should have a setting for XML sitemaps. Enable that. Log into Google Search Console, and make sure your sitemap is submitted. If not, submit the link (https://YOURURL.com/sitemap_index.xml) in the Sitemaps tab of the Search Console.
- WordPress automatically generates a robots.txt file, so no need to worry about that.
If Google doesn’t know you exist, then it won’t be able to crawl your site. And if it can’t crawl your site then you won’t show up in any of the search results… meaning no organic visitors. Ensure it’s crawlable.
3. Make it Mobile-Friendly
If your site isn’t optimized for mobile devices, Google is not going to be happy. Not sure if your site is? Run it through Google’s free test! If your site is not mobile-friendly, it’s time to update to a new theme or reach out to me and I’ll help you either find a great theme OR I can design a custom site for you.
4. Add keywords and meta descriptions to existing content
Once you’ve tackled the first three, you’ll get more into optimization of your content. You’ll spend the bulk of your time creating and optimizing content. The best use of time is content creation, but if you already have a lot of great content then set aside some time to work a little on your keywords and meta descriptions for each of your pages/posts! If you saw my post on finding keywords, then you know how important it is. Again, if you have a good SEO plugin then it will allow you to set those keywords and insert a meta description (the blurb that shows up in the search results page). Below is a screenshot of one of my post’s settings.
Your SEO plugin will have great tips and directions for adding this content. If you use Yoast (see below), hover over the little question marks next to each field and it will explain it and even link you to a great blog post with more detail.
4. Create More Content
Content is absolutely necessary. Google favors sites that consistently create quality content. Gone are the days of keyword stuffing and spammy type content that ranks high. Get in the habit of putting out high-value content for your visitors and you’ll rise in rankings! Check out this post to see what SEO basics you should get in the habit of doing for your content. My advice? Post at least once a week (or more). Make it a routine to release your new content on the same day. I personally set my posts to go live on Monday. That way I’m in the habit of making sure I get my content done by Friday and it’s ready to go!
5. Speed it up and check Performance
The next SEO priority is speed and performance (and I’ll argue that this might move up to priority number 3 if your site is super slow). Speed and performance are really important. If you have a slow and low-performing site then that goes against you when it comes to Google’s rankings. Google won’t serve up your site in the results if it thinks that visitors aren’t going to have a good (and fast) experience.
Check your site using one of these free tools below. If you are tech-savvy and capable of fixing things yourself, then do it. If not, reach out to someone like me or a developer to work on it. Hosting plays a huge role in your site speed, so if your host sucks, then migrate. If that still doesn’t speed up your site enough (loads in 3-4 seconds max, ideally less than 1-2), then you likely need to find a better theme. Sometimes themes aren’t built with performance in mind and they’ll slow you down. Another thing that has an impact on speed is plugins. Make sure you’re only using necessary plugins. Don’t add plugins unless they are absolutely necessary to the function of your site or your productivity when working on it.
Google Lighthouse will give you ALL the metrics that are really important (see directions below), but here are some other great FREE speed test tools:
To run your site through Google Lighthouse:
- Open your site in a Google Chrome incognito window.
- Right click anywhere on your site > click Inspect
- You’ll see your screen split in half and the right side will be filled with lots of code. Go up to the top bar of that area and click the >> symbol, then click Lighthouse
- Generate a report.
- View how you perform on the 6 metrics at the top.
6. Add And Get More Links
Links are another SEO priority and can help you build authority and also help Google understand your content better. There are three types of links that we’ll look at:
- Backlinks: Links from another site that link back to your website.
- Internal: Links that go to another page on your website.
- Outbound: Links that go to another, external, site.
You want to try and incorporate at least one ore more internal and outbound links into each post; more if you have longer posts. Sometimes this is hard to do with outbound, especially if your niche is unique. Internal links are great because Google will follow them as it crawls your site, therefore improving its understanding of your content.
Backlinks are a little harder because you usually have to ask for them. When someone links to your site it builds your authority. Google sees backlinks as another site valuing the content on your site, so it sees that as a recommendation or the other site “vouching” for your expertise on a topic. The more backlinks, the better. Build relationships with others in your niche and those who aren’t direct competitors. Ask for those backlinks!
Want to learn more on SEO?
There are SEO experts out there who make it a full-time job to optimize websites and content for businesses. There are WAAAAYYY more tasks that we could discuss and you could spend ALL your time working on SEO, but obviously that’s not realistic. You have a business to run. You have to set SEO priorities and either be okay with ignoring a lot of the other technical and advanced SEO tasks, or just hire someone to help you out.
I reached out to some teacherpreneurs and gathered a short list of those who offer SEO services. There aren’t a ton who do this. Here are some contacts if you are in the market to hire someone to do this for you. You can also just Google “seo [your city] if you’re looking for a local hire.