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Updated: September 9, 2021

9 SEO Quick Wins to Rank Higher in 2021

Written by Purushottam Kiri

If there was a currency for the internet, it'd consist of keywords and links. Without them, people can't find the content they need when they need it. 

And this is why your focus is always on improving your search ranking. Because without it, you could become a part of the 90% of pages that receive no organic search traffic whatsoever. 

Only 5.7% of pages make it to the top 10 search results. And these pages are receiving almost half of all search traffic

If Contenteum Was A Person

But getting here can be problematic. This is why you need to find technical and on-page SEO quick wins to rank better in 2021. 

Let's take a look at some of the ways you can make this happen. 

Will SEO Still Matter in 2021?

Short answer: as long as Google and other search engines act as a medium for users to find content...then yes. 

SEO will still matter in 2021 because it's how people search for and find the content they need. This is what makes content marketing a critical part of your business strategy. 

Without it, your website and/or blog will fall to the depths of the deep web, never to be found or seen. So to give you a fighting chance, you need to implement the right SEO strategies. 

Search engine optimization consists of multiple elements:

  • On-page SEO (placing keywords on your web pages and content)
  • Off-page SEO (getting backlinks from high authority sites relevant to your industry and shares on social media)
  • Technical SEO (adding metadata and internal links to each of your web pages, improving site performance/speed, and avoiding duplicate content)

So you'll need to focus on all three areas to maximize the results of your SEO strategy. For now, we're going to focus more on the technical aspects and how you can use them to gain SEO quick wins. 

1) Focus On Page 2 Keywords for Faster Results

A small percentage of people make it to the first page of Google. This doesn't mean you should give up entirely on trying to get there. But it does mean you should focus on other SEO quick wins you can achieve faster. 

Plus, everyone has to start somewhere, so why not page 2? 

You can use tools like AHREFs and Google Search Console to find which pages are ranking on page 2. Then you can identify which keywords they're ranking for so you can begin targeting them. 

For example, on Google Search Console, you can log in to see your site’s performance. There, you’ll find total impressions, total clicks, average CTR, and  average position. 

Search Console Dashboard
Search Console Dashboard

But you only want to select “Total Impressions” and “Average Position.” This will show you a list of keywords you’re currently ranking for, how many clicks it receives, and what position it has in the SERPs (search engine results pages). For example, position 18 is on page 2 (since there are 10 per page). 

Next, you can sort the “Queries” list by position to see which keywords are ranking between 10 and 20. These are the keywords you can focus on to get more of your pages ranked on page 2. 

Then to check if your SEO is working, you can click on the “Pages” tab, which will show the positions of your web pages. You can sort this by position and select show 500, so you can view those appearing on page 2. 

Search Console Pagination
Search Console Pagination

Another option is to use the Ahrefs platform. Log into your account and go to “Site Explorer” and type in your URL. 

AHREFS Site Explorer
AHREFS Site Explorer

From there, you can select “Organic Keywords” and choose positions 10 to 20. 

AHREFS Organic Keywords
AHREFS Organic Keywords

Now, you have a list of all the keywords ranking on page 2. 

AHREFS Keywords Position 10-20
AHREFS Keywords Position 10-20

Seeing results isn't overnight, but you'll find it's easier to rank here than it is for high-competition keywords on page 1. 

To help you get here, you can use a platform like Contenteum to optimize your content. You have two options here:

  • Update and optimize existing content
  • Or start fresh with a new post optimized for the keywords you’re targeting

On Contenteum, you can do both. For the first option, you can copy and paste an article into the platform and then choose the keyword you’d like to optimize it for. Make use of metrics like word count, image count, table count and headings count.

Contenteum Dashboard
Contenteum Dashboard

Just click on “Important Terms to Use” and it’ll display related keywords you can use along with your target phrase. The goal is to add the recommended number instances of each keyword to improve the optimization of the article. 

Now, if you’re starting a post from scratch, then you’ll need to create a new article.

Contenteum New Article
Contenteum New Article

And insert your primary keyword.

Contenteum Focus Keyword
Contenteum Focus Keyword

Then you’ll need to select the relevant top-ranking URLs you want to compete with. 

Contenteum Top Competitors
Contenteum Top Competitors

Contenteum will then generate SEO terms suggestions. 

Contenteum Terms Suggestions
Contenteum Terms Suggestions

As you begin writing your article, be sure to target your primary keyword and those on this list. Aim to include them the recommended number of times to outrank your competitors. Now, do note you want keyword densities to be light. So if it takes a lot of keywords, then you need your content to be much longer. 

In this case, aim for a long-form blog post, such as an ultimate guide that’s 3,000+ words. 

2) Add/Update the Internal Links On Your Website

If there's a metaphor we can assign to a well-designed website, it's a spider web. All of the pages on your site should interconnect but in a strategic way. 

You don't want to just add links to pages just for the sake of doing it. This will do more harm to your SEO strategy than good. So you'll need to focus on relevance. 

Remember, Google ranks pages based on relevancy to the search query of the user. If you have web pages with keywords (or links) that don't match the content, it'll bypass them. 

Avoid this by linking blog posts together that talk about the same or similar topics. Not only will this help search engine bots rank your content — it'll also help visitors navigate through your site. If people are coming to your site and staying longer because they're clicking through links, then this too will improve your ranking. 

Search For Relevant Posts in WordPress
Search For Relevant Posts in WordPress

If you're using WordPress, you can quickly find relevant pages to link to by searching for keywords/topics. Then add links to the hub pages that you're trying to boost.

3) Change the Publish Date to Today

Sounds scandalous, especially if you didn't make any changes to the post before changing the date. But the fact of the matter is Google likes fresh content. And the way it judges freshness is by the publish date of a post. 

Change Publish Date
Change the Publish Date

So by changing the date to the current date, you can give your content freshness. Of course, you can go further by updating the content. For example, you can add more items to the list, add more up-to-date stats, or simply make the piece longer and more comprehensive. 

This is what major sites do all the time — they take high-performing content and update it and refresh the publish date. Google will take notice and shine SEO love your way. 

4) Make Bottom of the Funnel Content a Priority

Focusing on top of the funnel content is great when you're trying to drive in as much traffic as possible. But this doesn't always lead to high conversions and sales. 

Buyers Journey
Buyers Journey. Image credit: Hubspot

If you want to weed out the lurkers from the sales-ready folks, then you need bottom of the funnel (BOTF) content to draw them in. 

At this stage, you're zoning-in on content, such as in-depth guides showing how to use your product/service, case studies, white papers, and product demo videos. In your CTA, you can include a link to a free demo or trial. 

Creating more BOTF content will help you stand out from a mass market of TOTF content. And it'll be easier to compete for the top spot because it matches the intent of a user base your competitors aren't targeting properly.

5) Use a Tool to Find Issues with Your URLs Status Code

When a visitor browses through your site, do they stumble upon error pages? Not only does this disrupt the navigational flow, but it can also hurt your SEO. Google penalizes pages with status codes, such as redirect errors and client errors. One tool you can use for this is httpstatus.io.

HTTPS Status Dashboard
HTTPS Status Dashboard

Source

You may have heard of or even seen these while clicking through a site. Some popular ones include 404 (page not found) and 301 (page moved permanently). 

Source

This can happen when you forget to remove a link or replace it with the updated version. By using a tool like httpstatus.io, you can quickly find these errors and eliminate them. 

Source

Make sure to check three variations of your URL, such as:

  • www.mysite.com
  • https://www.mysite.com
  • https://mysite.com
  • mysite.com

6) Get SEO Insights from Detailed SEO Chrome Extension

Reviewing web page after web page, checking for proper optimization can be a drag. So why not use a tool that can hasten the process of finding SEO errors on your site?

With the Detailed SEO extension on Chrome, you can click the tool and see all the issues on the page. It looks for things you may be missing, such as:

  • Title
  • Description
  • Keywords
  • Canonical
  • Author

It also looks at your headers to ensure you're using H2s and H3s, and it even counts how many images and internal, external, and unique links you have on a page. The tool looks at your Schema and social posts relating to the content. 

With this all-around tool, you can find SEO quick wins for each of your pages/posts. 

Source

What you also want to check for are canonicals. These are URLs that point to the main page Google and other search engines should point to. This way, if there are any duplicate pages, your main page isn't penalized. 

7) Check Pages for Trailing/Non-Trailing Slash Issues

A trailing slash is a forward slash that appears at the end of a URL, like this:

  • http://www.mysite.com/home/

When it comes to SEO (and Google), whether you have a trailing slash matters. The issue is that Google counts each URL as separate. So you could have two different landing pages for http://www.mysite.com/home and http://mysite.com/home/. 

URL Doesn't Include a Trailing Slash
URL Doesn't Include a Trailing Slash

This isn't something you should do because it can be confusing to search engines. In many cases, the redirect happens automatically (such as on WordPress). Allowing this to persist can potentially hurt your SEO juice, making it tougher to rank. 

Even if your CMS doesn’t add redirects by default, you still have to watch out for pages that can be accessed with and without the trailing slash. When this happens, it can lead to duplicate content, which will further hurt your ranking. 

So as a rule of thumb, you want to stay away from trailing slashes because it's considered a redirect load. And this takes away from your SEO power. 

8) Improve Your Site’s Speed & Performance

A slow website will hurt your rankings in the SERPs. Google is all about pointing users to web pages that are relevant and offer a great experience. But you can’t do the latter if your site is taking too long to load (especially on mobile devices). 

Pingdom Performance Test
Pingdom Performance Test

When visitors come to your site and see this, they’ll bounce away, which further hurts your ranking. 

So what can you do to fix this?

The first step is to find out why your site is running slow. For example, if you have unused JavaScript, then remove it. JavaScript can delay page rendering and even lock your UI so visitors can’t engage with it (until after it completes downloading). 

Then if you’re using WordPress, you can use the ShortPixel plugin to optimize your images. It works for all image types and is found to be one of the best performing on the market. 

If you’re using WordPress, then try the WP Rocket plugin to help make your pages faster. It comes with features like page caching, cache preloading, static file compression, and images on request (loads images as they’re shown vs. ahead of time). 

Also, be wary of using too many plugins. Get rid of unnecessary ones and merge JavaScript and multiple CSS files into a single JavaScript and CSS file. 

It’s also ideal to check your web hosting — if you’re using a cheap provider, then odds are your site is jammed onto a server with hundreds (if not thousands) of other websites. Plus, their servers may lack the horsepower needed to keep page load speeds up to par. 

9) Add Schema Tag

Schema tags are a little-known secret that’s often used by SEO experts. Although it doesn’t directly influence your ranking, it does help with click-through rates (CTR) — who doesn’t want/need that?

With a review schema tag, your business is listed in Google and it shows your star rating in the search results. So if you’re getting great reviews and ratings, this can help drive more traffic to your site. 

Star Rating in SERP
Stars Rating in SERP

Now, Google recently removed the review schema, which means no more star ratings for you. This directly affects service-based and affiliate sites.  

If you’re an e-commerce website with product reviews, then you are not affected and your product pages that have reviews will show the stars in SERP. However there’s a work-around you can use to get them to show up in search results for other sites for any page, including a home page. You use the same product schema tag. We have tested and it works perfectly – with no penalties whatsoever from Google. 

All you have to do is add the following code and follow these steps:

  1. In the “name” field, put your business name or site name  
  2. Adjust the rating number in the “ratingCount” field
  3. Adjust the average rating in the “ratingValue” field

Here’s how the code should look:

 <!-- Aggregate Review Simple -->
 <script type="application/ld+json">
 {
 "@context": "https://schema.org/",
 "@type": "Product",
 "name": "Enter Your Business Name Here",
 "aggregateRating": {
 "@type": "AggregateRating",
 "ratingCount": "2",
 "ratingValue": "5",
 "bestRating": "5",
 "worstRating": "1"
 }
 }
 </script>

The Bottom Line

Finding ways to improve the optimization of your website is an ongoing effort. It’s key to stay abreast of Google’s algorithm changes and tips from experts so you can always have a competitive edge.

It’s also key to have the right tools that can pinpoint SEO opportunities and simplify adding optimizations. 

Contenteum is a content optimization platform you can use to help with implementing SEO quick wins. This includes updating your content, changing the publish date, creating URLs, and uploading directly to your WordPress website. 

Want to see how it works? Then sign up for free and start using it today!

Written by Purushottam Kiri

Computer Science graduate with a knack for data, rankings and content.

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