Startups have a lot of hurdles to overcome, from getting their products noticed to securing funding. You need leads to survive in today's fast-paced business landscape.
If done properly, you can generate organic traffic and leads to your site through search engine optimization (SEO). But a lot of startups only think of link building and keywords when they think of SEO.
But technical SEO can be your key to unlocking the door to organic search engine traffic that keeps your sales pipeline full.
Let's see how.
What Is Technical SEO?
Technical SEO is the practice of optimizing your site for search engines. This includes both ensuring your site is properly indexed and ranked on search engines, and that users have a good experience when visiting your site.
Essentially, with technical SEO, you’re optimizing both your site and your server.
So here are four simple hacks to position your website to rank higher on Google and start generating more leads in the process.
4 Technical SEO Hacks to Increase Google Traffic and Generate Leads
- Update your meta titles and descriptions.
- Fix error and redirection issues.
- Improve crawlability.
- Do a content audit.
1. Update Your Meta Titles and Descriptions
This is pretty basic — I know. But if you're rolling your eyes at the mere thought of updating your meta titles and descriptions, you'll think differently after reading this.
Let’s start with the basics. Google displays the following:
- 60 characters for a title.
- 120 (mobile) and 158 (desktop) characters for a description.
You can have slightly longer titles, but a general rule of thumb is to keep it under 60 characters. The exact limit is based on a 600-pixel container. So Google might cut longer titles off, adding an ellipsis at the end instead. As a result, you may miss important keywords — and the more you can show on the search engine’s results page, the better.
Enticing meta titles and descriptions can improve your click-through rate (CTR). Because the title and description are what people will see in the search results before clicking on your site, it’s important to begin optimizing them. Here are a few ways that you can improve your titles and descriptions for higher CTRs:
- Add in the year to your title. People (and search engines) crave new and updated content.
- Write interesting descriptions that encourage readers to click.
- Spend time analyzing pages with the highest CTR to see what works for your audience.
- Add in rich keywords that your audience is searching for.
If you’re not a copywriter and don’t know where to begin, these are some simple tips:
- Keep the target audience and searcher’s intent in mind. For instance, if you’re solving a search engine traffic loss problem, your meta title could be along the lines of “SEO Emergency Service | Lost Traffic Recovery Pros | Regain Rankings.”
- Eliminate the use of power words such as “amazing,” or “powerful” (like “How Our Amazing Footwear Helped Stop Foot Pain”). Power words can drop CTRs by as much as 13.9 percent so it’s best to avoid them.
- Add in a question, such as, “Are you tired of foot pain?”
And don’t be afraid to experiment. When you update your titles and descriptions, be sure to use benchmarks to determine whether your changes have improved your CTRs.
2. Fix Error and Redirection Issues
You’ve increased your clicks on search engines and may have even increased your rankings slightly, but what happens when someone lands on your site? If a person reaches a 404 error message or is redirected, you’ll lose your lead and increase your bounce rate.
If you want to improve your user experience and potential search rankings, start by addressing those two key issues:
- Create a custom 404 error page. You’ll need to research your CMS to see what type of support is available for error pages and to properly configure them. Your custom error page should have links to other popular or important pages because it provides direction for potential leads and search crawlers.
- Check for broken redirects, redirect chains, and redirect loops. Redirects are an important part of a site’s operation. They are a way to tell both Google and users, “Hey, this page has moved to this location.” But over time those redirects can compound and start to cause errors. Use a tool (like ScreamingFrog, DeepCrawl, or my company’s) to scan your site for redirection issues. This may involve going into htaccess or HTML files or even CMS plugins.
Once you’ve cleaned all that up, you’ll be well on your way to higher rankings and a much better user experience.
3. Improve Crawlability
You've done a lot of work up to this point, but now it’s time to make sure that you’re doing everything in your power to nudge Google’s crawlers — which are search engine bots — to your site. Crawlers periodically visit updated pages of your website to add them to Google’s index list.
If Google can’t crawl your site, your site can’t show up in Google’s index. Since Google has about 3.5 billion searches a day, you definitely don’t want to miss out on the potential traffic high rankings can produce.
First, what you want to do is see if Google spotted any issues crawling your site.
You can do this by:
- Signing up for Google Search Console.
- Verifying your website (if you haven’t done this already).
- Clicking on the menu and then navigating to "coverage."
View any coverage errors to see which pages are not being crawled. You can see error messages of what’s happening, such as a page being marked as “noindex” or a page being blocked by “robots.txt.”
In both of these cases, you only need to go into the file and make a small change to allow the page to be indexed.
While you’re on the Google console, you should also navigate to the sitemap section and view existing sitemaps or add new ones. Sitemaps help Google find all of the pages on your site. Simply add your sitemap and see how many URLs Google has discovered in your sitemap.
Don't know how to create a sitemap? You can use any SEO plugin on WordPress or your respective CMS to create one. You can also find a lot of tools online that can generate a sitemap for you, such as XML-Sitemaps.com, Inspyder, or PowerMapper.
And, sometimes, you can follow all of the recommendations above and still have issues with Google crawling and indexing some pages. If this is the case, you can:
- Add internal links to the page.
- Post a link on social media.
If none of this works, go to your Google Search Console, click URL inspection, and then you’ll want to click on "request indexing." This method works to get Google to index pages that they’re not indexing automatically.
4. Do a Content Audit
Content is the main asset that brings traffic to your site. If your content is keyword-rich, well written, and optimized, you can increase your rankings, educate leads and even make sales.
But content can also harm your site.
Google can penalize your site for thin pages — those that provide little value. Thin pages should be removed or redirected unless they bring in a lot of traffic. If a page doesn’t serve a purpose, getting rid of it is a good idea. The only exception is a page with backlinks. In this case, a redirect is best.
That's where a content audit comes in. A content audit is a long process, but it will help you drastically now and in the future.
The idea is simple:
- Create a list of all of your site’s pages and blog posts.
- Analyze those pages.
Now, with your list of pages:
- Go through each page to see which can be updated — fresh content ranks better.
- Refresh or change content to reflect new products, services, or stats.
Updating content is a great way to help restore rankings that are waning. You can also optimize these pages with keywords to attract more leads.
Now, look through your analytics data and see which pages get the most traffic. You'll want to analyze these pages to learn more about your audience, and you’ll also want to see if these pages can be optimized to produce more leads.
If a page has a lot of traffic but isn’t generating leads, add in a call to action.
You should also look for content gaps between you and your competitors. Content gaps are missing pieces of information that your potential leads may find interesting. You can add in sections to your existing content, or create new content to fill these gaps.
Every page on your site is an asset that can help you generate leads.
As you focus more on technical SEO, you’ll improve the user experience and ensure maximum site indexing on search engines. Leads and growth will also follow.