Today I’d like to do something a little different on the podcast. I’d like to share 6 quick things you can implement on your website to improve your SEO, and each task should take about 20 minutes or less to complete.
My goal here is to just share a few super common things I see come up again and again when I’m auditing websites that are relatively simple to change.
If you’re an experienced blogger, hopefully, you already have most of these things in place already, but I also know that sometimes it’s easy to get tunnel vision on your site and forget about some of the basics.
So let’s go through the 6 quick tasks and hopefully at least one, if not all of them, will apply to you and give you a nice little website improvement this week!
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#1: Optimize your homepage’s title tag
If you’re listening to this and you’re already like whaaaat? Title tag? What are you talking about? You’ve already lost me. Then I want you to do a very simple exercise real quick.
Open a new browser window on your computer (it has to be on a computer, for this particular task, not on mobile) and Google your business name.
Hopefully, your website is the first thing that comes up, but if not, scroll until you find it.
When you see your website in the search results, you should see the name of your brand or website right there as the main link.
If ALL you see if the name of your website or brand name, and nothing else, then you have a chance to do some optimization here!
If you see the name of your brand : Home then you also have an opportunity for optimization here too!
So, for example, if you Google the brand The Real Food Dietitians, which is a food blog by a pair of dietitians, you will see that the first result in Google is the name of their website: Home. So it literally reads The Real Food Dietitians: Home
And that’s the link you click to get their homepage if you are searching for this website’s brand.
Now, this isn’t like, a huge make it or break it thing here. Chances are if someone is searching for your brand name directly, they already know about you and your website and are trying to visit your site intentionally.
But… there is probably some percentage of people who are googling a brand because someone told them about it.
Maybe their friend was like omg, you have to check out this website, the real food dietitians. They have the BEST weeknight recipes for your family.
So the friend Googles it, and they see that result with the title:home.
They’re probably still going to click into your site, but they’re going in blind. They don’t have much of an idea of what your website is about, because you haven’t provided any more information there within the title tag.
The title tag is the clickable title for the page that is getting displayed in the search results for any given page or post on your website.
And it’s just a missed opportunity to really draw someone in and make them feel like YES, this website is exactly what I’m looking for. I have to click.
To give you a well optimized example for comparison, try Googling the brand “A Little Bit Yummy”.
Now, when you’re first hearing that name, you’re probably not 100% sure what type of content they provide, right?
Maybe something about food, but other than that, it’s unclear.
But when you look at their search result listing, the title tag is super well optimized to include keywords related to their brand and help people understand what their site is about.
It says: A Little Bit Yummy: Low Fodmap Diet Recipes & Meal Plans
Like wow, what a difference, right?? You immediately know what the site is about and if that’s the type of content you were looking for, you’re like yep, can’t wait to click and dive into this site.
So customizing what is shown in your title tag after the name of your website is a super quick thing to adjust for a nice win in the search results.
To adjust what gets shown, you need to adjust some settings for the homepage within your SEO plugin. I use Yoast on a lot of my websites, so I’ll just use that as an example here.
So open up your home page in WordPress, scroll down past the post editor, until you see the box where you can adjust the Yoast SEO settings for that page.
You should see a box that says SEO title. And that is where you can edit the title tag for the page.
By default, it probably just shows the name of your website, but you can add on whatever text you want next to that.
Usually, people will separate the site title from the rest of the text with a vertical like, a dash, or a colon. It’s up to you, whatever you prefer. Punctuation is mostly ignored for SEO purposes, so don’t worry about that.
But the main idea here is to make the homepage title tag really speak to your ideal reader or customer and make them feel like yep, this is the right website for me.
Sometimes that means summarizing what your website is about, like in the example we just used with a low fodmap food blog.
Other times it is highlighting your professional expertise. For example, I listen to Rick Mulready’s podcast, The Art of Online Business, and if you Google his name for his website, it says Rick Mulready | Business Coach and Online Ads Expert
Or if you Google Amy Porterfield, it says Amy Porterfield | Online Marketing Expert and NY Times Best Selling Author (hers is actually a little too long and at least on my screen, it gets partially cut off), but you get the idea!
Or for more health related examples, if you Google Chris Kresser, it says Chriss Kresser: Evidence Based Health Answers You Can Trust
Or Nutrition Stripped says Nutrition Stripped – Mindful Eating with Ease
Or The Kidney Dietitian – Your Expert for Kidney Stone & CKD Nutrition
You can poke around online and find a bunch more examples if you are really lacking inspiration, but this is a very quick win that you can implement in like 5 minutes, so if you haven’t tweaked this one small aspect of your homepage yet, put it on your action list this week!
Whatever you edit in the SEO title box will impact what gets displayed in the Google search results, but it won’t change the formal title of that page on your website. So you can add a little catch phrase or description to the end of the title within the Yoast settings and that will not show up in your page title on the page, if you’re currently displaying the page title on that page.
Also note that it will take time for Google to crawl your homepage, notice these changes, and update what you’re seeing in the search results. It won’t be instant.
If you want to speed up the process, you can manually request indexing for your homepage with Google search console, but I wouldn’t stress too much about this. Just make the updates and if Google hasn’t picked it up in a few weeks, then maybe give them a nudge.
And also be aware that technicallyyyy Google is in charge of what they display as your title tag for any given page or post on your site. If they don’t like what you’ve submitted or they don’t think it’s representative of the page, they can and will display whatever they think is the most appropriate. So all we can do is our best attempt at optimizing by filling out this section within the Yoast settings and hope that Google chooses to display it!
#2: Add your “about” page to your main navigation
I know, this one seems so obvious. But you won’t believe how many people miss it!
It’s super important these days for Google to be able to easily find and crawl your about page and determine who is behind a website.
If you bury your “about” page somewhere on your site and never link to it, then both users and the Google bot will have a hard time finding it!
And if you read Google’s quality rater guidelines, they specify that not being able to tell who is behind a website is grounds to give the site a low-quality rating if the website is a topic that requires trust, which nutrition definitely does. So that is obviously not good if you’re missing this on your website!
So the best thing you can do is include a clear About Us link in your website’s main navigation.
This basically means that no matter where someone is on your site and no matter what page they entered your website through, they can quickly and easily click to your about page to learn more about who created the site.
And being clear about the company and people behind the content on a website is a really important part of building “trust” within Google’s concept of EEAT (experience, expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness).
So go to your website and double check whether you’ve included a link to your about page in the main navigation, and if you haven’t add one! And if you are missing an about page all together, definitely make that a super high priority fix this week!
(Oh and if you’re looking for guidance on how to design a high quality about page that shows off your EEAT, this is something I cover in my signature course, SEO Made Simple. And I’m even adding some more in-depth instructions and examples in the next version of the course, which I’m hoping to have open for enrollment again some time in April 2023. So if you’re interested in getting notified with the course opens up again, you can add your name to the waitlist at seowaitlist.com)
#3: Include contact information on your website
Similarly, having clear contact information on your website is a really crucial component for EEAT. And EEAT is very important for “Your Money or Your Life” topics, so basically any topic that could impact someone’s money or their life.
And the more serious the potential impact of the content and the more potential there is for harm with harmful information or misinformation, the more important EEAT become.
A good barometer for whether you’re writing about topics that require a lot of EEAT is whether or not someone would ask a question about this topic to an expert, or whether they would feel comfortable and confident just chatting it over with their friends.
For example, if someone was just diagnosed with gestational diabetes, they would want to seek diet advice from their doctor or dietitian, right? They probably would not feel comfortable or confident asking their neighbor for what to eat with this condition. Especially when the health of the mother and baby are at risk.
In contrast, if you’re asking for recommendations about the best way to sleep with pillows while you’re pregnant to stay comfortable at night, sure, maybe you’d be fine asking a friend or neighbor for their advice on that topic since it’s really not a make it or break it thing that would significantly impact your health.
So if you’re covering YMYL topics, it’s really important that you have easy to find contact information on your website.
The more contact information you can include, the more trustworthy your site will appear.
Ideally, you should have an email address, mailing address, and phone number listed. Basically the more info you can provide, the better.
I’ve also heard SEO expert Kyle Roof recommend on a few podcasts recently having a few different emails listed for different ways people could contact you, like firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, etc. to appear like your website and company are well organized and legitimate and take customer inquiries seriously.
And these things don’t have to be crazy expensive. You can get a business phone number from Google Voice for $10 per month and a virtual mailing address from somewhere like post scan mail for $10 per month.
An official business email that uses your domain can be created through Google Workspace for $6 per month and you can add email aliases that deliver to the same inbox for no extra charge.
So, for example, you could have your personal email be firstname.lastname@example.org and also have email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org that funnel into the same inbox (and you can reply as the aliases too – it’s great!)
So for under $30 per month you should be all set with legitimate contact information for your website, which honestly, you probably need when you’re registering your business anyway, so this should be considered just a normal business expense. And it’s still so much cheaper than the expense of renting an office space!
Once you have all the appropriate contact information set up, create a contact us page and make sure it is clearly linked to in either your main navigation, footer, or ideally both.
#4: Include the author, published date, and last updated date in your blog post meta data
This tip is another small thing that seems obvious in retrospect, but can sometimes get overlooked when you’re in the trenches setting up a new site.
I want you to open up a blog post on your site and look at the information that shows up underneath your title.
Does it have your name and credentials clearly listed as the author? Or does it display a weird username or worse, no author at all?
Does it show the date that the content was published? Does it show the date the content was modified or updated?
It’s definitely worth double checking to make sure you’re following best practices!
I recommend displaying the full author name with credentials, the published date, and/or the last updated date (if relevant).
If you want to change how your author name is displayed, you can do that within the WordPress settings. Just go to “Users” → “All Users” and click on your username. There you can edit your first name, last name, and display name.
I also use a plugin called Molongui Authorship to add a fancy author box underneath the post with a photo, bio, and links to an authors social profiles and website, if applicable. It’s free and I like the little trust boost it can provide right there on every post.
If you want to adjust the visibility of the published date and last updated or modified date, you can do that within your theme settings.
Many themes give you the option to display one or both of these dates, but if they don’t have that built into the settings, you can probably Google it and find some custom code you can add to your site to add that functionality.
Note that even if you don’t display these items on your blog posts, your theme should already be including them in the metadata on the backend so that even if users visiting your site can’t see this info, the Google bots should be able to.
But it can add a perceived level of trust to see both the author, the published date, and the updated date right there on the page.
#5: Use a table of contents for blog posts
Another quick win you can start implementing is using a table of contents on longer blog posts.
Have you ever visited a piece of content online and at the top of the page there is a box that shows the outline of the post and you can quickly click on any of the sub sections and just right to that spot in the article?
That’s a table of contents for your post.
It’s not only a great user experience on your site, but it also creates jumplinks to individual sections of your post (essentially, links that take people to each subheading in your post if they prefer to jump directly to that spot in the post) and Google can actually display those jump links IN the Google search results
So, for example, we have a blog post comparing pitaya vs acai and there is a table of contents included at the top of that post.
The table of contents basically pulls all of our headings in the blog post and creates a hierarchical clickable table of contents for the blog post. And let me give you an example of how this can make our snippet in the search results even more rich and click-enticing.
If you Google the keyword phrase pitaya vs acai, you should see our site nutritionistanswers.com somewhere on the first page. I am intentionally giving you an example here from a post where we don’t have the featured snippet cause jumplinks aren’t shown in the featured snippet.
So at the time I’m recording this, we have the 3rd spot in the search results on mobile. And you should see the title of our post, the date it was published, the meta description, the featured imaged, and then underneath that, some square white buttons that are clickable that show some of the subheadings in our post.
For example, right now our search result is showing the headings “What is pitaya?”, “What is acai?” “Pitaya vs acai”, “Flavor Comparison” and “Nutrition Comparison”. (Yes, you can scroll from left to right through all the options to enter the section of the post you are most interested in.)
So if someone clicked one of those links, they’d be taken directly to that spot in the article, without needing to scroll anywhere.
Currently, no one else on page one for this keyword is using jumplinks in their post so we are the only search result with this feature and it makes us stand out a bit and hopefully get more clicks.
You can add a table of contents like this to your posts really easily with a free plugin. The one I’m currently using and liking is called LuckyWP Table of Contents.
And of course, if you’d like more guidance on how to use this plugin or even going back more to the basics, like how to structure an excellent blog post with headings and subheadings so that it has the best potential to rank well in Google, as always, I’d love you to join the waitlist for my course, SEO Made Simple, so that you can be notified when it opens again for enrollment!
#6: Claim your knowledge panel
And my last quick tip today, tip #6, for a quick SEO win, is one that may only apply to more advanced business owners. So don’t think I’ve forgotten about you, if you’re listening!
And this tip is to claim your Google Knowledge panel, if you have one.
Now you might be wondering what the heck a Google knoweldge panel is, right??
Well, if you ever google the name of a person who is “famous”, you might see an information box displayed in the right hand side bar of the Google search results on desktop that contains a bunch of the most important or relevant information you might want to know about that person.
Usually a link to their website, an “about” excerpt, pulled from somewhere like Wikipedia or their Google Books profile, and sometimes more personal information like the persons birthdate and location, spouse, nationality, education, published books, etc.
Then it will usually show links to that persons social profiles, like IG, FB, YouTube, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.
That summary box of information is a Google knowledge panel and it’s essentially a display of the information that Google has on this person inside their knowledge graph.
(And the knowledge graph is basically Google’s database of facts about billions of people, places, and things.)
Essentially, if you have done enough publicly notable things in your niche so that Google sort of has a backlog of information on you that they deem worthy of displaying, then they may present that information as a knowledge panel in the Google search results.
And I’ll be honest with you, you have to be pretty well known in order to have a knowledge panel in Google.
Like, you may need to be a well recognized author, journalist, podcaster, youtuber, tv show host, etc. to gain one of these.
But there are definitely dietitians and other wellness professionals out there who have one, so if you don’t have a knowledge panel yet, it’s something to aspire to!
Don’t feel dismayed if you don’t have one in the search results at this moment.
In fact, for a very brief moment, I had one showing that I was a blogger, but then it stopped displaying recently. Womp Womp.
So these things are fluid. You could try checking to see if you have a knowledge panel every 6 months or so and go from there.
And I will say that one of the things that I see move the needle on this the fastest is becoming a published author. Getting your author profile listed within Google Books seems to be a great way for them to know about you as an authoritative expert and display more information about you within a knowledge panel.
But basically, if you are well known enough to earn a knowledge panel, you will see a “claim this knowledge panel” button on the bottom of the knowledge panel.
If the panel is about you, you are eligible to claim the panel and request to make edits of any of the information in case it is incorrect.
You’ll have to go through a somewhat lengthy process of verifying your identity with Google in order for this to happen, but once you’re approved, you have some editorial control over what gets shown in the knowledge panel.
So that’s my final tip – if you are lucky enough to have a knowledge panel in Google, definitely claim it so that you can have some editorial input as to what gets displayed there!
I hope you enjoyed this episode with 6 quick SEO tips that take 20 minutes or less to implement.
My goal is that there was at least one thing we talked about in this episode where you’re like oh wow, I’m totally making that mistake or wow, I’m totally not doing that but I should be! And that you can go and take action this week and see some improvements in your website and search engine optimization.
And as always, if you’re not yet a member of my free Facebook community and would love to connect with nearly 14,000 other food and wellness professionals interested in unconventional career paths, and especially online business, just search for The Unconventional RD Community on Facebook and request to join!
Other than that, I’ll catch you next week with a new episode.