Everyone with a website wants to be ranked high in the search engines. That’s no secret. But we don’t want to put too much effort into it. After all, endless blogging, collecting links, improving the website technically and optimizing content is a lot of hassle. Fortunately, there are also three simple ways you can immediately apply to give your website a SEO boost. Are you ready? Here they come.
1. Move your website from http to https
Https (the s’je stands for ‘secure’) provides an encrypted connection between the visitors of your site and the server. That’s not only a secure idea if you work with forms on which you ask personal data of (potential) customers, but it also provides an SEO boost. Why? Because Google likes to offer its users the safest possible experience. Websites with a so-called SSL certificate therefore get a ranking advantage over websites without a certificate. This is not something that happened recently, but it will become increasingly important in 2017. Especially because Google has switched to Chrome in its browser to mark https sites as ‘Safe’. Sites that do not have an SSL certificate still have an information i’tje, but the expectation is that these will be prominently marked as ‘Not Safe’ at a later stage.
The message ‘Not safe’ in Google Chrome is not what you want
Still, many people stay at http, because it seems technically complicated and people think it’s something expensive only for large websites. However, switching to a secure connection doesn’t have to be complicated at all, nor does it have to cost a lot. Some hosting providers offer a basic certificate for free. I got the SSL certificate of doyoucopy.nl for free through my hosting provider Savvii.
And even if you don’t get it for free, it will only cost you a few tens a year. As far as I’m concerned, this is a smart investment for an instant SEO boost. Don’t imagine too much of it. Although an SSL connection certainly means a plus for your site, it’s only one of the (more than) two hundred factors on which your site can rank in Google.
Since January 2017, ‘Safe’ or ‘Unsafe’ appears in Google Chrome’s address bar.
Since January 2017 ‘Safe’ or ‘Unsafe’ will appear in the address bar of Google Chrome.
If you’re worried about losing SEO value because the links to your website still point to the http site, I can reassure you. Often you can have these links automatically redirect to your new https links. Or you can add an htaccess file to your ftp-server (sorry for this somewhat nerdy language), in which you set up a redirect. Ask your provider for help if you don’t know exactly what to do. And always prepare the migration well.
The best thing is if you can replace all links that still point to http with links that point to https. But that’s not a realistic scenario. However, you can change the internal links on your website and the links in your social media profiles. If you have a WordPress website, you can use the ‘Better Search & Replace’ plugin to search for and replace the linkbuilding
2. Make your site faster with the help of a CDN
Do you have a website with a lot of (large) images? Chances are that those images cause delays. A dull website is the biggest irritation for every internet user. And so the speed of your website is also a ranking signal for Google. More and more internet traffic is done via mobile devices. So you can see that a fast loading time of web pages becomes even more important.
A so-called ‘Content Distribution Network’ stores your images in caches around the world. A user receives the images from the server closest to him or her. This may seem insignificant, but the result is often an enormous improvement in speed.
This is how a CDN works
This is how a CDN works (source: bloggerstipstricks.com)
A CDN is a must for a website with a lot of traffic and a lot of images. Ask your hosting provider about the possibilities or open a (free) CDN account yourself via, for example, CloudFlare. Photon CDN, as part of the WordPress plugin JetPack is also a good one.
3. Optimize your images
Because the speed of your website has so much influence on your ranking, I recommend another hack to make your site instantly faster. In many cases, images will appear too large on your website. Reducing your images to, for example, 800 pixels width and saving them as a jpg file is in many cases not enough. This is also the reason why many websites get the advice from Google in the PageSpeed-test to optimize their images.
But how do you do that, optimize your images? If you have PhotoShop, there is a simple solution. Save all your images with ‘Save for Web’ or ‘Save for Web’.