Take it from the Experts. You can Improve Site Ranking in Google almost overnight with these simple, tried and tested SEO Strategies.
I am always telling anyone who will listen, that there are now short cuts with search engine optimisation that will boost your search position in Google or improve your organic website traffic.
So, this post might seem a bit contradictory at first, but hear me out.
Good SEO does take time and the results pay off, when compared to traditional PPC and media advertising by a huge factor of 5x – 10x.
But, in recent months, we’ve seen several indicators that doing a few tedious, but important things on your website can have dramatic effects, even overnight effects, that increase search ranking.
Before I dive in, it’s important that I explain (broadly) a bit about how a site’s rankings are influenced and how we get sites ranked.
Every site has an optimal ranking, and an adjusted ranking.
In simple terms, an optimal ranking is where a site should be ranking based on the primary offsite trust factors – mostly based on the quality and authority of its back links.
The adjusted ranking is where a site actually ranks, after Google adjusts for its on site factors (titles, overall theme, content quality, freshness, page speed, etc.), and user engagement factors (bounce rate, organic search click-through-rates, etc.).
In other words, Google hears about your site (It finds links – trust factors – pointing to you) and goes and takes a look. As Google (spiders and bots) crawl toward your site, it evaluates the sign posts (links) along the way.
Let’s say you get a “link score” of 8 out of 10. When Google arrives at your site, its algorithm starts deducting points.
For example: -2 for stuffing keywords here. -1 for the slow page loading time.
Now, here’s the thing… while it takes time to build up and establish your optimal ranking (links), you can literally influence your adjusted rankings (on site factors) overnight.
And in some cases, we have seen real-time improvements.
And that is what this lengthy article deals with. So, now that I’ve explained why this is the “exception” to the mantra of “SEO results take time”,
Here’s three ways to improve your traffic and adjusted rankings almost instantly.
1. De-Index, Remove or Improve Thin Content
So what’s thin content? And how do you de-index thin pages? Thin content is basically just any page of your site that isn’t unique text information.
- Category pages
- Tags pages
- Duplicate pages (eg. PDF versions of existing articles)
- E-commerce listings with very short descriptions
- Scraped product descriptions from other sites or feeds
- Image galleries with no, or very short, textual descriptions
This is all thin content, and it is absolutely costing you traffic. Remember that even a single instance of thin content indexed will impact the rankings of your entire site.
This means that those “tag pages” (that zero people use, ever) could be the reason why your site is only getting 50% of its potential organic referrals.
Yes, you can (and likely will) see your traffic double – possibly more – by removing & de-indexing thin content. It seems counter-intuitive, but we see this happen on a daily basis.
This is why you either need to physically remove thin content or de-index it by using a combination of a noindex command (in robots.txt or in your head tag) and in Webmaster Tools.
Google’s mission, Neil Patel once said, “is to organise the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.” Not just accessible, but useful.
2. Add Contextual Links out to Authority Sources
Within the context of a few of your site’s key articles (and not just at the end), add some in-text links out to authority references. These should be specific, internal URLs on an established website.
Try to avoid Wikipedia, as this is an obvious “source”. You can nofollow these links.
Instead, use those links that you would naturally trust as a source for yourself. Don’t just link out because they matter to Google. Link out because they matter to you.
Many small business websites object to this, thinking it will take the user off site. That’s a possibility. But it isn’t always bad. If by linking to a valuable resource you have satisfied your user’s query, they might trust your recommendations in the future.
Take care when linking out that you have a reason for it. Google checks the content surrounding a link for relevance. Go Blogging Tips has a good list of do’s and don’t when it comes to linking out from your site.
The object of the game is to become a trusted source. Trusted sources become authority sources and as we have seen, Google rewards those signs of trusted.
It also puts you in authoritative company.
Doing this can often boost that page’s rankings in a matter of days. Sometimes, it will help lift your entire site. And it takes 2 seconds – well worth doing!
3. Make Your title and Description Tags Compelling
Compelling content is the quickest way to Increase your Organic Click Through Rates. This is huge. Google is increasingly relying on behavioural and engagement metrics from site traffic to determine site relevance.
While this does include things like bounce rate, time-on-site, and other user experience factors, by far the biggest engagement ranking signal is your click-through-rate (CTR).
This is the percentage of people who see your listing and click on it versus those who do not.
The more real, individual people who click on your site in the organic rankings, the more traffic this brings and the higher you’ll rank. Period. And Google reacts to this almost overnight!
We consistently see CTR improvements move a site anywhere from 1 – 20+ positions. It happens like clockwork.
So, How can you increase your Click Through Rate?
Along side your overall web design, the number one way to do this (and ironically, totally overlooked by 90% of Webmasters) is to make your Title Tags & Meta Descriptions Compelling.
These are the content of Google’s Search Engine results and they are all your prospect sees when they search.
Just like adwords, your headline and copy are essential. It’s no different with organic rankings.
And, think about it. Not only will a better click-through rate influence your rankings very quickly… it also instantly increases your traffic, because more people are clicking to your site!
Again, it isn’t rocket science. But that simple fact is lost on many people, for some reason.
I see sites every week, brilliantly designed, good clean code, original content, fast loading…. and nowhere near the first page. Why?
Because they are not getting the click-through rates that would boost their traffic and search position.
To help you start writing better titles and headlines, try this tool:
Now, it’s a double-edged sword. You need clicks in order to boost your ranking, but you need to have a ranking to be seen. Which brings us back to where we started, your off site trust factors.
And to begin, you could start boosting those articles with your new, highly compelling titles and headlines in Social Media (like Pinterest and Twitter), Micro new sites (like Rebel Mouse and Hacker News) and other similar sites that are relevant (and patronised by) your industry.
Very well written, Thanks for sharing that. Thin content always harms your search result, I like your second point most that it’s not necessary to link to well know websites. Sometimes a small business that shares awesome content will add value to your content.
Thanks again for sharing…
David Trounce says
Well said. The key is quality… as defined by Google.
Stuart Davidson says
Insightful post David. #1 was especially surprising to me, but makes sense when you think about it.
David Trounce says
Stuart, thanks for the feedback. Enjoy your day.
Akshay Hallur says
David that’s a great article.
Thanks for mentioning my blog GoBloggingTips.
I especially liked the point, where you advised bloggers, not to link to obvious sources like Wikipedia. In case of niche sites, linking out to Wikipedia returns little or no value to the blog audience. I also have come across various bloggers, who assume that – “If I link to Wikipedia, Google trusts me”. By linking out to Wikipedia, they are missing the opportunity to build a relationship with other bloggers.
Increasing CTR, by using magnetic headlines indeed boosts your rankings overnight.
Another trick I would like to mention is, analyzing search analytics in Google Search Console. There you could consider optimizing your queries that have more impressions. So, GWT or Google search console is the goldmine of keywords, that help you boost rankings overnight.
Tweeted this post out.
Have a productive week ahead.
David Trounce says
Hey, G’day Akshay. Thanks for the comments. I like to keep things simple and I agree that using Webmaster Tools and Google Analytics makes sense. Assuming the data is trustworthy, we have no reason to guess or use unnecessary tools to figure out what Google is already telling us. If Google tells you where you are performing well; maximise it, build on it.
Thin content is tricky when your site consists of tens of thousands of pages of product pages or, in our case, property listings. The big brands do very well with thin content.
I’d love any ideas you have on making content ‘thicker’ on a large scale.
David Trounce says
Hey Dave, thanks for stopping by. In real estate, one of the ways is to beef out your homes for sale. If you have any control over a listing, go beyond the photos and stock descriptions which are all largely duplicate content. Get the home owner to write up 250 words on all the best features of their house. Insert it in to monthly featured article about that home. Add a video of your own touring the house. Create an infographic.
And remember, nobody goes to a real estate site looking for a kids playground or bus route. Leave that to bus route sites. You focus on homes. Get someone to video you touring a home, fall over the dog, make it interesting.
Nice article David. We say the exact same thing as you to our clients that are bloggers….”Title Tags & Meta Descriptions Compelling” and point them how to do it in their WordPress SEO plugin. Makes it easy for them to follow.
David Trounce says
Thanks Brad. Writing titles tags and description is a bit of an art form. I often go back later and update those things in an effort to make them more compelling.
Operation Technology says
Great summary David. Referencing helps build trust and pointing out to reputable sites in backing up your stats or opinions is always great. It even works because those sites will see you are linking to them and may visit or share your article in which you mention them.
Hi David. I remember many years ago reading that one of the benefits of WordPress was the tag and category pages because they create a lot of internal links that are good for your website. As Google improves their technology they are looking for more authentic linking, so I can see that those pages have become a drag on ranking ability because they are completely fake.
I don’t get why people don’t pay more attention to their meta titles and descriptions because they very obviously become your ad on Google in the organic search results. When you place a classified ad and nobody responds to it, then the only place to look for improvement is in the content of your ad.
Excellent article. Thanks for sharing it.
Ashley Faulkes says
Big fan of linking out too David. although I have actually never seen much proof of it. There is only one study that I have been able to find.
Has it worked in your experience?
David Trounce says
Yes, it has worked. I have tested the improved ranking on my own site as well as client sites. Good company is good for business.
Subha Malik says
These are really working tips and I am also using them on my blog as well.
Thanks, Subha Malik