How to Improve your Website’s SEO in just 5 Hours Per Week
Tackling SEO may seem like a daunting task to many small business owners, but it doesn’t have to be. You don’t have to have a huge team of people, an unlimited budget, or a ton of free time in order to see an improvement in your website’s rankings. In fact, it’s possible to increase your SEO by dedicating only 5 hours per week to the task. Here’s how:
1. Spend at least 2 hours per week writing content for your blog.
A user’s “dwell time” is how long they spend on your website, and it's a huge factor in SEO. You want your users to spend as much time on your site as possible, in a productive manner. For example: you want them to spend time reviewing your pages, reading your blog posts, looking at your photo gallery, and (when applicable) making a purchase. You don’t want them to spend a ton of time looking for something specific that they can’t find because your site isn’t user-friendly; that will only lead to them leaving your website frustrated, most likely never to return. This affects your bounce rate, which also impacts SEO, negatively.
So how do you get your users to stay on your site without trapping them in a bad design? Publish valuable, relevant, well-written and up to date content. Every time someone bookmarks your content on Google, your SEO improves. Everytime someone links back to your content, your SEO improves. Every time someone shares your content, it increases the scope of your audience and drives traffic back to your site. You might be seeing a trend here...all you have to do is write good content, and your audience will do the rest. The first step in producing valuable content is asking your audience what they want to read about. This may sound simple, but you’d be surprised how many businesses skip this step. If your users suggest the topics, they’re more likely to be engaged in the ideas, and thus more likely to read, share, and save your posts.
There are no “magic SEO numbers” when it comes to content, but the industry average is usually 800-1000 words for content, and 1-2 blog posts published weekly. This absolutely differs based on the type of business you run, and your business goals, but if you begin with these parameters as a starting off point, you’re setting your business up well.
2. Spend one hour reviewing your website’s analytics.
There is NO POINT in spending time developing a keyword strategy, content strategy, or any other marketing strategy if you’re not going to check its progress in some type of analytics software. The equivalent of this would be putting a pizza in the oven at a random temperature, not setting a timer, and never checking to see if its done. Most likely you’d pull the pizza out burnt, and the same goes for SEO. You can’t put a plan into action, not monitor the results, and expect everything to work out. Unless you have an SEO crystal ball you’re probably going to have to learn a lot through trial and error. Test out some new keywords, different blog topics, or a new website layout, and then check your analytics to see if it’s working! I always recommend Google Analytics because it’s thorough and it’s free, but there are a lot of other options out there. Both WordPress and SquareSpace offer analytic data built into their websites.
If you track your data and don’t see an improvement, don’t be discouraged. You might just have to give it more time. Typically it takes 2-4 months to see any improvement in SEO, and at least 6 to see major improvement. If after a few months you’re still not seeing results, revise your strategy and try again. Better to spend your time back at the drawing board instead of working for months on a strategy that isn’t sending you more traffic because you’re not up to date with your analytics.
3. Spend one hour researching your competition.
Ever heard the saying “don’t reinvent the wheel”? It also applies to SEO. There’s no harm in researching what your competition is doing; in fact, it’s encouraged. Most likely they’re checking YOU out, so why not return the favor? Periodically check to see what keywords they’re ranking for; if they apply to your business as well, start incorporating them into your site. Moz Keyword Explorer lets your plug in any website domain into their search bar tool and it will immediately pull up a chart detailing how many keywords the website is ranking for, what spots they’re in, and what they are, as well as the site’s domain and page authority. In addition to pulling this data for your own website, research it for your competition. You can see how you compare in the SERPs so you’ll know if you need to start amping up your SEO game plan.
Additionally, check out their social media presence and their content strategy. I’m not suggesting you copy, by any means, but if they’re using a lot of live video on Facebook and it’s driving traffic to their site, you should probably start incorporating live video into your marketing plan as well. If they’re seeing success with certain blog topics, take note and then change the topics to fit your company’s niche. If you do this every week you’re guaranteed to not be blindsided by a strategy your competition uses for success that you had no idea existed.
4. Spend one hour doing keyword research/ reviewing your site’s keyword rankings.
Finally, spend one hour on keyword research. Keyword strategy may not be the only way to SEO success, but it’s certainly the foundation, and it’s definitely worth spending an hour on a week. Use a free tool like Google Keyword Planner to see a list of potential phrases to rank for, and definitely take into account the search volume and competition when choosing words. You want to aim for high search volume but low competition, whenever possible. Answer the Public is a fun site to use if you’re looking for new keyword ideas. All you have to do is plug in a word or phrase and they’ll give you a huge visual of related terms, broken up into categories like question words, prepositions, comparisons, and more. Choose the phrases that seem most relevant to your business, and then type them into GKP or Moz Keyword Explorer to see their stats.
You want to use analytics to keep an eye on your own rankings as well. Just because you ranked well for certain keywords one month doesn’t mean you’ll continue to do so in the future. Keywords always need monitoring.
SEO is a vast topic, and it’s easy to get lost and overwhelmed trying to decide what to do first. Start by blocking out 5 hours in your schedule every week to follow these simple steps, and you’ll start seeing results in no time. If you’re an SEO newbie, does this seem doable? If you’re a seasoned SEO pro, can you add any advice to this list? We’d love to hear from you! Comment in the section below.