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3 SEO Tips to Rank Higher for Newbies

Whether you can’t afford SEO services or just don’t trust them, this blog post will cover 3 things any non-techie small business owner can do to rank higher in Google searches.  The best part is, all of these tips are completely free and will hardly take any of your time.  Please remember our blog focuses on WordPress websites built with Divi, so if you are using a different CMS (content management system) you may have to go about implementing this advice a little differently, but the principles will still 100% benefit your site.

Google My Business Tutorial

Set Up or Completely Update Your Google My Business Page

Our last blog post went into great detail on Google My Business, including a complete video walk-through tutorial.  So, we aren’t going to spend a ton of time on it in this article, but we encourage you to check it out once you are finished here.  Here is the link:  How to Optimize Your Google My Business Listing

We are not into beating dead horses but are trying to make a point about how important Google My Business (GMB) is to moving up in the SERP’s (Search Engine Results Pages).  If Google is spending a lot of time and resources on something, which is what they are doing right now with GMB, they want you to use it and will reward you if you do!  So, do it!

Since this article is aimed at non-techies and newbies to SEO, before we move on, I want to highlight a couple of things to keep in mind when populating your GMB.  NAP, or Name, Address, Phone Number, is kind of a big deal online.  You need to keep this info, along with your business hours, consistent everywhere it appears online.  And we mean EVERYWHERE!  If you have conflicting info floating around online it is going to confuse the search engines, and ultimately cause them not to include you in the results because they don’t want to provide the searcher with incorrect information.

Make sure you choose your primary business category wisely and then choose any sub-categories that also fit.  The services section seems to be overlooked often.  Don’t let this happen to you if you are a business that offers services.  GMB allows you to create categories, and then put your services into those categories.  ‘Filtering down,’ if you will, gives Google a better idea of what it is you do exactly. 

Put at least 3 pictures into each category they allow you to.  Then, note your calendar to at least come back quarterly and add more pictures.

The last tip we will offer about Google My Business in this section is to also take advantage of the posts option.  With posts inside of GMB you have 4 post options.  These include What’s New, Event, Offer, and Product.  Use the ‘What’s New’ option much like you post to Facebook, then use the other options when they seem more appropriate for that specific post.  With anything in life, if you want it to work for you, you will have to be persistent.  At least shoot off a Google Post once a week.  The image size is shorter than Facebook’s ideal image size, so you can often just crop the top and bottom of a Facebook post picture and also use it for your Google Post.  You can crop the image with GMB after uploading it to your post.

If you don’t have a Google My Business yet, you can set yours up by using this link:  Set up my Google My Business.  Make sure you use a valid physical address as Google will mail you a postcard to verify it.  No worries, you have the option to keep your address hidden from the public if desired.

Direct Google Review Link

(Above is an image of what the screen will look like when a true direct link leave a Google review is clicked.)

Add a Direct Link to Leave a Google Review to your Email Signature

On to the next tip…which circles back around to Google My Business!  Oh my!  This is a great way to get reviews quickly, easily, and once again, free.  Review fetching services are on the rise and it makes complete sense to us.  But, in our opinion, there is just no need to pay one of these services.  You are more than welcome to pay us at Optimized to do it for you if you would like though!

What we recommend using Optimized’s very own Free Google Review Link Generator.  We made a tool that generates a direct link to leave you a Google Review.  Get your direct link by using this link:  Google Review Link Generator

If you have your address hidden from Google, this tool will not work for you!  But, we have the next best thing and it is pretty quick and easy to do too.

Here is how to get a direct link to leave you a Google review if your address is hidden:

  • Google your business name, your city, and your state.
  • Your ‘Google Knowledge Panel’ should appear to the right of the search results. Click ‘write a review.’
  • With your review pop-up on the screen, copy the URL from your address bar.
  • Create a free account at https://bit.ly if you want to shorten your link and customize it.
  • Use your full-length URL as a hyperlink or use your pretty shortened URL as you wish to take the friction out of leaving your business a Google Review

It is recommended to use full-length URLs as hyperlinks instead of using shortened URLs.  A place we stick our review links that gets us lots of reviews is in our email signature.  We use a P.S. after the signature.  We say something like, “We are super happy to have you as a client and truly enjoy working with you.  If are just as happy with us, please consider leaving us a Google Review.  Here is a direct link: Leave Optimized a Google Review

That is a working link if you want to try it out, or actually leave us a review because you found value in our blog post!  Thanks in advance and no worries if you don’t want to!

SEO for WordPress Websites

Install the Yoast SEO plugin

The final tip is specific to WordPress, but you do need to figure out how to customize your page title and meta description even if using a different CMS.  Plugins make WordPress very appealing to a lot of non-techie people, but they can also really slow your site down and potentially break your site if you are not careful.  The Yoast SEO plugin, which you can get by using this link: Yoast SEO Plugin, makes setting your page title and descriptions super easy, as well as offering you even more help with optimizing each page on your WordPress site to rank for specific keywords of your choosing.

The Yoast SEO plugin also has other very useful features to assist with optimizing your website.  Yoast uses a green, orange, and red-light system to let you know how the content on your site is looking to the search engines.  Do your best to turn all of the lights green, but also keep in mind your content needs to also appeal to the people that will be reading it.  There is a fine line to walk to optimize your content for both people and the search engines. 

Another crucial tool that is included in the Yoast plugin is the XML sitemap generator.  With the click of a button, you can create your XML sitemap for submission to Google Search Console.

Keeping in mind that this article is aimed at newbies, I don’t want to get too technical, but also don’t want to mislead or accidentally misinform anyone who reads this article.  Your page title and meta description don’t actually hold any SEO weight per se.  At least not like common SEO items such as alt tags, backlinks, and internal linking do.  Optimizing your page title and meta description can improve your website’s SEO by increasing your click-through rate if done well. If more and more people begin clicking on your result in the SERP’s, Google will move you up in the rankings because this is a very clear signal to Google that people like what they see.  Something to keep in mind that goes hand in hand with this is going to be your bounce rate.  Bounce rate refers to the percentage of people that land on your site and then quickly hit the back button to find another search result that better suits their needs.

3 SEO Tips for Beginners Conclusion

This is why at Optimized we use the term ‘Internet Presence Management’ a lot!  There is so much more to making the internet work for you than SEO alone, or good website design. 

You need to do everything you need to do to get your site to rank in the search results, whether it is on Google, Bing, Yahoo, or any of the many others.  Then, your site itself needs to be optimized to provide value to the visitors and encourage them to take your desired action after getting the information they came for.  We haven’t even touched on social media, citation sites, building backlinks, blogging, and on and on. The options are nearly endless online.  Don’t let it overwhelm you!  If you need help, please reach out to us.  There is nothing more in the world we would like to do besides help an awesome small business get found online so the rest of the world can enjoy their product or service.  We wish you the very best!  Thanks for reading our blog.  We are also pumping out videos on our Optimized SEO and Websites YouTube Channel if you prefer to consume information in that format instead of reading.