simple seo tactics

10 Simple SEO Basics for Better Rankings

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Easy wins. Everybody wants them, right? Especially when it’s your job to attract more traffic through search engines and you’re working to improve search engine optimization (SEO). The challenge is that algorithms are a moving goalpost – and hey, let’s not sugarcoat it: SEO is hard. 

Just when you think you have it all figured out, the algorithm does an inconvenient reshuffle. (We’re looking at you Google 2023 core update!)

And yet, even with this difficulty, you can still target some easier areas of SEO. We’ve highlighted 10 simple SEO tips to help improve rankings and get on the right side of Google and other search engines. 

What is SEO? A Definition

Are you well-versed in SEO? Great! Skip this section and move on to the next. But for those who need a quick primer, here’s a basic SEO definition in marketing. 

SEO is a strategy focused on attracting more visitors to your website. More traffic helps you support your audience on their buyers’ journeys, whether that’s providing blog content, downloading an eBook, signing up for your email list, scheduling a product demo, or taking some other action. 

A B2B SEO strategy might include keyword optimizing your content, building more links to your website pages, and handling more technical areas (like making sure your website doesn’t load at a snail’s pace). 

Make sense? Excellent, well, let’s dive into the easy SEO actions you can take today! 

Simple SEO Tip: Pay close attention to your page titles.

If you open a page, you’ll see the title in the top left-hand corner. In the example below, the page title is “What is marketing automation?” 

A screenshot of Act-On's marketing automation solution page to illustrate the simple SEO topic of page title optimization.
Updating your page titles is a simple SEO tip almost anyone can use to improve their website.

The title is important for search visibility but also for capturing attention. When a user searches for a keyword, you want to show up in the search engine results and do so with a title that’s so enticing they can’t help but click it. 

Screenshot of SERP for Act-On Marketing Automation illustrating the simple SEO tip of meta description optimization.
A simple SEO tip: Make sure your page title will show up in a compelling way on the search engine results pages (SERPs).

Here are a few things to remember when it comes to page titles: 

  • Give each page a unique title tag. 
  • Use your most important keyword in the title, but do so naturally. 
  • Make sure the writer does a good job describing what the page is about, so the reader feels like “Yes, this is exactly what I’m looking for.” 

And while we’re on the topic of how you appear in search results, we can’t talk about page titles without discussing meta descriptions (those little blurbs that appear under your title). And that’s our second tip for improving your rankings. 

Simple SEO: Write meta descriptions that scream, ‘Click me!’ 

If you do a great job writing the page title, readers will likely skim your meta description and then, hopefully, click your link. That’s why you want to write a strong page title and meta description. 

We love this example from the Content Marketing Institute. 

Page title: Don’t Make SEO the Reason for Your Content Marketing

Meta Description: SEO isn’t the best grounding for a new content marketing program. Here’s what you should think about instead.

Consider using curiosity in your meta description, and of course, remember to include your most important keyword in your page title and meta description to improve SEO performance. 

Screenshot of SERP for the Content Marketing Institute to illustrate the simple seo tip of editing meta descriptions.
Simple SEO tip: Think of your meta descriptions as ads, and use the same techniques to entice readers to click.

Simple SEO: Don’t overstuff keywords. 

It’s tempting to stuff pages full of keywords. After all, if one keyword is good, then a bunch must be great, right? Not necessarily. 

What is keyword stuffing? It’s the overuse and misuse of keywords in your content. Before Google cracked down, many marketers crammed far too many keywords into their pages, used them unnaturally, and sometimes just flat-out listed them (separating them with a simple comma). Sometimes they even used tricky tactics, like putting keywords in the same color as the background to hide them! And that didn’t go over well with Google

According to Google, keyword stuffing is when you load a page with keywords in order to manipulate a website’s rankings. Instead, Google wants you to provide useful, information-rich content that uses keywords appropriately and in context. So, yes, pick great keywords but prioritize quality and quantity. 

Do you have rock star web pages? You know, the ones pulling in far more traffic than the rest? We’ll let you in on a little secret. This blog on amazingly effective email subject lines is one of our current ‘rock stars.’ But here’s the point: You want to squeeze these pages for all they’re worth. Here’s how: 

  1. Understand which pages bring you the most traffic. We love using Google Analytics to find this data. 
  2. Link from your rock star pages to your brand-new content. 

When you do this, it helps more people find your new content and is a positive signal to Google for new content rankings. 

And one more thing. If you’re feeling lost about the performance of your existing pages, you can use tools like our SEO audit tool. It generates real-time reports that detail each page’s SEO performance, along with recommendations on how to improve it. 

Simple SEO: Create pillar pages 

If you aren’t using pillar pages, consider them in your B2B SEO strategy. Pillar pages make it easier for search engines to crawl your content while signaling that you’re an expert in your niche. Here are a few tips for getting started with pillar pages: 

  1. Define a general topic. For example, we’d look for a topic related to marketing automation since that’s what we do at Act-On. 
  2. Plug a topic-related keyword into a research tool. We use SEMrush, but other options exist, such as Moz, Ahrefs, Ubersuggest, and Google Keyword Planner. If we type “marketing automation” into a keyword tool, we can find related keywords and begin grouping them. 
  3. Create “content clusters.” Staying with the marketing automation example, we may notice keyword groupings around marketing automation, email marketing automation, and lead nurturing. As a result, we could create the following pillar pages: the ultimate guide to marketing automation, email marketing automation strategies for success, and lead nurturing and conversion with marketing automation. 
  4. Create related optimized content for each pillar page. Create a pillar page (it’s kind of like a big, long landing page), and then link out to other related pages in the content cluster. 

As you evaluate potential keywords, don’t forget to look for bottom-of-the-funnel keywords. For example, “how to set up a marketing automation demo” or “how to buy a marketing automation tool” are phrases that signal the searcher is close to purchase, resulting in higher-quality website traffic. 

Simple SEO: Use ALT tags.

ALT tags let you add a text description to every page image. They’re an often-overlooked but easy way to optimize your pages. Additionally, they’re important for content accessibility, as they tell users who are visually impaired details about your images via screen reading tools. 

Most content management systems make it very easy to add ALT tags. Sprinkle your keywords in as you write them, but as always, write ALT tags for human readers, not for search engines.

ALT tags are also important for social sharing. A few social platforms, like Pinterest, will use the ALT tag copy as the default description. So make sure your ALT tags make sense in case they are displayed to readers on social media.

Simple SEO: Use keywords in the file names of documents and images.

Using keywords as file names is simple and may support better rankings. It helps readers understand what’s in the document – and what’s good for the readers is also good for SEO. 

Just don’t go crazy and use multiple keywords in your file names. Ideally, use one keyword, and at the most, two. Here are a couple of examples: 

Good filename: CRMStudyEbook.pdf

Bad, keyword-stuffed filename: CRMManagement_BuyCRM_CRMServices_Ebook

Do this well, and you’ll give search engines a little more info about what your content is about, and every little bit helps. 

Simple SEO: Don’t forget social media. 

Social media might not be an official SEO ranking factor, yet it appears to have an impact. 

SEMrush recently noted that Google appears to use online brand mentions to influence what terms you rank for. 

As you share content on social media and your audience shares it, traffic to your site improves – and you might even score some backlinks. The number of backlinks, and the quality of those links, also impact SEO performance (more on that shortly). 

So, consider adding social sharing buttons to your content. Share your content via social media. And encourage others to share it, whether it’s your employees, subject-matter experts who you interview, or business partners who work in the same space. 

Nobody likes a bad reputation. And shady link-building practices risk earning a bad rap with search engines. 

Smart marketers are cautious about link-building. Google appears to frown on most “link-building tactics.” So avoid any experts who want to submit your site to 500 directory listings or want to “spin” one of your articles and submit it to a bunch of article directories. 

Here are some safe ways to build links

  • Create a piece of amazing and high-value content. 
  • Do unique research and publish it as a report.
  • Publish unique, insightful articles on high-authority sites.
  • Create the type of traditional business listings expected on sites such as Yelp, your local chamber of commerce, and trade organizations.

And remember, when in doubt, don’t do it. 

Simple SEO: Format your content so it’s easy to read.

Lastly, make your content friendly for human readers. Because when humans love your content, so will search engines. Here are a few tips for making your content easy to read:  

  • Write short paragraphs.
  • Punctuate those short paragraphs with a one-sentence paragraph every so often.
  • Use subheaders.
  • Use bullet points. See a string of commas in a sentence? That’s often an opportunity for a bullet list.
  • Add images every 350 words or so.
  • Add quotes and call-outs.

And while there’s no such thing as “easy SEO,” you can use some of these easier tactics to get on the path to improved rankings. Sure, you’ll still need to stay on top of the latest and greatest algorithm shuffles. It’s the nature of SEO, right? But when you write content that is truly valuable to your audience, the impacts are timeless. As a result, the content will continue supporting improved traffic, generate more leads, and get the results you need. 

Still have questions about SEO? Yeah, we get it; there’s so much to know! We’ve compiled the most common SEO questions and provided our expert answers.

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