If you’re not ready to commit big bucks to S.E.O but want to get a feel for how some Search Engine Optimisation might improve your website’s online presence, check out these top 5 super basic S.E.O tips that will get you on your way.
(1) Duplicate Content the ultimate No-No
Nothing kills a website faster than duplicate content issues. It’s confusing for Google and other spider-bots so you won’t get good visibility, and even if readers did somehow make it to your website, duplicate content is seen as spammy. To start with a clean slate, make sure to do an index of your site from someone like ScreamingFrog or MOZ and look to delete any duplicate pages and redirect old or out of date content to a more relevant page.
If you are not familiar how to index or perform 301 redirects speak to your website manager (or us!) who can complete a duplicate pages index and work their way through them.
Even if you think your site is quite small and clean you may be surprised, this bit of SEO can reveal a lot, particularly if you have a lot of categories, blog posts and tags. I have seen clients with over 40’000 duplicate pages on a site they thought only had a few hundred pages on the whole thing.
(2) 404 Pages
404 Pages make spider-bots think your site is messy and broken. If they get to a 404 and cannot go elsewhere this is a dead end and will damage your rankings. What’s more how many times have you clicked on an interesting looking link or blog only to be taken to a broken page? Very frustrating!
Again get an index done of all 404 pages on your site (see above) and manually re-direct them to more relevant pages. As an absolute last resort you can set all broken 404 pages to go to your home page but this really is a cheaters solution and will frustrate your customers if they’re looking for something specific.
(3) Make sure you’re being indexed
There is no point improving your Search Engine Optimisation if you’re site is not being indexed anyway. You should double check that Google and Bing are indexing your site, meaning they’re crawling your website and you’re therefore showing up in SERPs. To check this, visit your Google Webmaster Tools account. Firstly, you should check that you have a suitable site map being indexed. If your using WordPress you can get a plugin to generate a site map and give you a suitable URL for the bots to crawl. Also, click the ‘Google Index’ tab to see the total number of pages Google has indexed. Make sure it seems right!
(4) Edit your title tags and URLs
As you published content you likely wrote whatever headline you wanted, which is fine at first, but eventually you should go back and optimize your title tags. This will help you categorize your pages and make sure that you’re sending the right people to the right pages. Also don’t forget to optimise your URLs in the same manor. If your using wordpress this may automatically update to the title, if not click on the URL to manually alter the displayed URL. Consider using ‘-‘ to separate keywords in your URL.
(5) Make sure you have a responsive design and TEST
In the past this may not have been such a priority, but mobile compatibility is crucial. More searches take place on mobile than on desktop, so you have to make sure your site looks good on the small screen. The best and most basic way to do this is through a responsive design. This means a design that will alter along a column or grid structure to allow content to ‘stack’ for different screen sizes.
The first stage to this is re-designing your site using a responsive theme and most companies have now taken this step. However you should still look at each individual page on your site to determine the position of elements and that everything is working correctly for different screen sizes. Don’t just assume your enquiry button is where it should be on a mobile, check. You don’t want to be sending traffic to a poorly optimized website because that traffic will immediately click away (and likely never return), so make sure to test.