SEO quick wins

3 SEO quick wins
to implement right now

3 SEO quick wins to implement right now

January 10th, 2018 – 21 Comments

We’re all ready for a new year of increasing sales, lifting engagement and giving our website the best effort possible. It only seems right to give you a three-step rocket of SEO quick wins, to kick-start your website for 2018. In this post, I will show you three things you can do right now to improve your website for your visitors, and for Google in the process. Let’s dive right in with number one.

#1 Optimize speed

No matter if you want to improve your mobile website or your desktop website, speed is something you want to monitor and improve all the time. These are fast times, and speed is definitely what you want to optimize for.

In a simple breakdown of speed optimization, we have images, browser caching, and script optimization. Google PageSpeed will tell you that, Pingdom will tell you that. Gzip Compression is the fourth one, but that should be enabled by default in my book. More on compression here. Let’s look at the other three.

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File size optimization

Optimizing your file size is an important part of image SEO, so let’s start there. There are a few ways to approach this:

  • Optimize the image file size in Photoshop (or any other image edit program you use). Usually, just exporting the image in a lower quality will already do the trick. I usually check whether reducing the quality to around 80% of the original still gives me a crisp image.
  • Download an application like ImageOptim or any of these applications and further optimize your file size before uploading.
  • Last but not least, make sure that the image dimensions of the image you use, fit the image ‘space’ that you reserved for it on the webpage. Don’t display a 1200×400 pixels photo as a 300×100 pixels image by adding CSS or whatever.

Browser caching

Browser caching is the way your browser stores files of a website, for instance the logo you see at the top of our website, so it doesn’t have to load them from the internet every time you visit another page of our website. This obviously saves time. There are many ways to go about this, but the easiest is probably (if you are using a WordPress site) using a plugin. Most speed optimization plugins support this browser caching and most set them right time for you. Among some of my favorite speed plugins are WP SuperCache, which is free, and WP Rocket, which is a premium plugin. For more on browser caching, visit this page.

Optimize script handling

You can load a gazillion JavaScript (JS) and Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) files to enhance your website, but in the end all these extra files just slow your website down. Please focus on these steps to optimize your script handling:

  1. Are you sure you need that enhancement? JS and CSS usually target design and user experience. In some cases, you just don’t need that enhancement. Like JS and CSS loaded for sliders, for instance. There are alternatives to sliders that work better and don’t require extra files.
  2. Is there a way to reduce the file size of these scripts / styles? We call this process ‘minifying’. We have an Ask Yoast about it. Google has some great pointers on how to approach this. Simple scripts and handy websites can help you minify your files, for instance by stripping comments. Most platforms have plugins or extensions that help with this. For instance, Magento has the Fooman Speedster (free and paid) for that.
  3. Is it possible to combine a number of these scripts into one file? That way, there only has to be one call to the server to retrieve all the scripts. Again, there are plugins for that, but if you have small pieces of JS, you might as well combine these yourself. Of course, the advent of HTTP/2 changes some of these optimization practices. Test this!

#2 Mobile optimization

It’s tempting to copy our ultimate guide to mobile SEO here, but let’s focus on the quick wins. You need to focus on mobile SEO these days, to be ready for Google’s mobile-first index. Google will start to determine rankings based on the quality of the mobile version of a site, only taking your desktop site into account after that. So, let’s get that mobile version up and running, right?

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Task-based design

Open your mobile website. Imagine you are a fresh, new user of your website. What would that person want to do here and is your site ready for that? Focus on a task-based design. If we are on a mobile website, we might need opening hours or an address. Just the other day, I purchased tickets for the Nederlands Openluchtmuseum on my mobile phone. Saved a buck and didn’t have to get in line for tickets. I did this, walking from my car to the entrance. One needs to be able to do these basic tasks without any problem. Ask yourself what the four, perhaps five main goals of a visitor on your website are and make sure these can be done on your mobile website.

Performance-based design

Are you loading any huge images on your site? Do people have to scroll for ages to read the good stuff you offer them? On a mobile website, we want to get in and get out as fast as possible – unless it’s, for instance, a news website. Loading time is a factor on a mobile site, especially with mobile connections usually being slower than most desktop connections. Make sure your design and content don’t depend on large images too much. And yes, there are exceptions to that rule. If I visit a photographer’s website, I know beforehand that I am in for longer loading times. I want crisp images and that is the price I pay. Optimize to an acceptable level for your target audience.

Write great content

This goes for mobile and desktop versions of your site: they need great content. A quick win for mobile content is to add a to-the-point first paragraph. If you tell your visitor what’s on your page, they can decide for themselves if they want to scroll down or not. It helps user experience to do this.

And of course, you’ll need to write awesome content after that paragraph as well. You still need to do keyword research, set up a great site structure and decide on cornerstone content. But you can imagine that to be a slightly lengthier process, and we’re talking quick wins here :)

#3 Serve your content in the right format

There are so many ways to serve your content to Google, Facebook and your visitors. Your task for 2018 is definitely to investigate which formats you should invest in. Some take a bit more time to implement; others can be added to your website by the push of a button, like with a plugin. Let’s go over a few important ones.

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Better social sharing: Open Graph

Forget about Twitter Cards for now, as Twitter has a fallback to Open Graph. So add Open Graph to your website if you haven’t done this already. It’s like a social summary of your website. For our homepage, it reads among other things:

<meta property="og:title" content="SEO for everyone • Yoast" />
<meta property="og:description" content="Yoast helps you with your website optimization, whether it be through our widely used SEO software or our online SEO courses: we're here to help." />
<meta property="og:url" content="" />
<meta property="og:site_name" content="Yoast" />

There’s a page / site title and summary plus link, which tells Facebook, Pinterest or Twitter all they need to know to create a great post on your visitor’s timeline. You can add an og:image to create a richer experience. Be sure to add this. Again, use a plugin like Yoast SEO for TYPO3 to automate the process (and add these Twitter Cards along with Open Graph in no time).

Quick reads on other platforms: AMP

Facebook links to your AMP article if possible. Ever found yourself reading an article in Google? Might be AMP as well. Accelerated Mobile Pages or AMP, aim to strip your website to the bare necessities to deliver your reader the best mobile experience they can get. If they want to read your article, AMP will give ’em just your article in a basic design. If you want to check a certain product, AMP will strip the store to deliver a focused design. A bad thing? I think not. Every way you can help your visitor get a better experience, increases the chance of them coming back to your content / site. It might increase sales, because it’s so focused. Go read up on AMP and get your site ready. Again: plugins.

Tell Google what your page is about:

I will end this list of quick SEO wins with something we have been telling you about quite often in the past year: add to your website. Structured data, like Open Graph and schema, create a convenient summary of your website for every other site that wants to use your content. data is one of the main types of structured data. JSON-LD gives us a convenient way of adding it to our website. Our Local SEO plugin adds the right so that Google can add your company to Google Maps as well, for instance. Add data to your website and see your company in the knowledge graph as well.

Serving your content in the right format is essential to deliver it to other ‘places’ on the website. Be sure to use it. And if you are not sure what structured data you should use to optimize your pages, be sure to enroll in our Structured Data Training. How’s that for a New Year’s resolution? Good luck optimizing!

Read more: ‘Search and SEO in 2018’ »

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21 Responses to 3 SEO quick wins to implement right now

  1. J Tontti
    By J Tontti on 15 January, 2018

    My sites rank much better desktop than mobile. I have thought that speed is the reason, but not succeeded to correct this. I use WP as a platform.

    • Willemien Hallebeek
      By Willemien Hallebeek on 15 January, 2018

      Hi J, Site speed is important for – mobile – ranking, and if your site is slow you should definitely fix that, but there’s more. This post sums up other factors that influence mobile SEO it might be a nice read for you!

  2. propertyconciergeph
    By propertyconciergeph on 15 January, 2018

    Many thanks for all the great advice and tips – buying your plugin was the best decision I ever made !!!

  3. Alessia Martalò
    By Alessia Martalò on 13 January, 2018

    Is speed really so important? In my experience, on page factors (such as speed) aren’t as much as important like off page factors (read: high level backlink). What do you think?

    • Willemien Hallebeek
      By Willemien Hallebeek on 15 January, 2018

      Hi Alessia, For sure high level backlinks can boost your rankings gigantically. However, getting these high level backlinks might take longer and be more difficult than improving your site speed. As we discussed quick wins here, we focused on things that are a bit easier to accomplish.

  4. nexvan
    By nexvan on 13 January, 2018

    Thank you very much for your article

  5. Fatama
    By Fatama on 12 January, 2018

    Oh my GOD. This is what exactly I needed. I heard about improving and open graph to make a site more SEO friendly, but have not found a tutorial or step by step process. Thank you for your hard work. keep it up. Thanks again.

  6. Semakan Brim
    By Semakan Brim on 12 January, 2018

    Thanks for sharing. I’m still confuse on how to optimize browser caching. My site load at 3s but gtmetrix show that I need to optimize on broswer caching too.

  7. Pam
    By Pam on 11 January, 2018

    Does your company offer a service to do this for us?! We just do not know enough about SEO to keep up and correct.

  8. Chima Okpi
    By Chima Okpi on 11 January, 2018

    Thanks for the great tips Michiel. I just subscribed to yoast newsletter hope to be getting great contents like this soon.

  9. Rogério Pereira
    By Rogério Pereira on 11 January, 2018

    I consider optimization for mobile devices of the utmost importance.
    The vast majority of hits are made through them.
    Many thanks for the great article !!

  10. Faheem Khan
    By Faheem Khan on 11 January, 2018

    Great! This is amazing. I will implement on my own website. Yoast SEO Provide best solution all times as to compare other wordpress plugin.

  11. Mikkel
    By Mikkel on 11 January, 2018

    Hi! Thank you for a nice post :-)

  12. Judi Sakong
    By Judi Sakong on 11 January, 2018

    thank you for the list, i do like to know more about SEO ^^

  13. AlviyatuN
    By AlviyatuN on 10 January, 2018

    Thank you very much for your article help me to learn about SEO techniques

  14. Sergio Guillén
    By Sergio Guillén on 10 January, 2018

    Thanks for a stunning list, Michiel! We have most of these things in our priority list for this year. Is there any way to add schema using the Yoast SEO Premium plugin (without the Local SEO plugin)?

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