Here are some tips to look into when reviewing your website SEO:
- Install and Use Webmaster Tools: Google’s Web Master Tools is a very useful tool and this service helps you understand what Google sees when it crawls through your website. Adding you website to webmaster tools and verifying ownership with Google will grant you access to data that you can use for SEO. Information like crawl errors, HTML improvements, content keyword data and links to your site can be used to enhance your website, for instance re-directing identified 404 errors to similar existing pages. Re-directing those bad links can help pass on some of the old links page rank through to the new page.
- Google Authorship: Although the direct impact of the Google authorship on SEO is unclear and up for debate, it will no doubt directly affect search engine rankings in future. Even if it currently doesn’t impact SEO directly it does create a visually appealing search engine result with an image of the author, this can attract clicks and potentially increase click through rates on those results. To get authorship you can use the following tag, but only use it with good, well written and relevant content.
- Content: Google likes informative relevant content, make sure your topics are clear and try to have over 600 words on each page so that you don’t risk being penalized for having little content. Create helpful content that people will find useful so they read and share, one way of creating such content is blogging. Blogging will help increase traffic to your website and can be incorporated with Google authorship and Google + to create a better online presence as well.
- Website URL’s: Maintain a clean URL structure, avoid having extra parameters and try to include key words or phrases where possible. The URL’s on your website must be relevant to the content and must not be too long. When naming web page files use names that are descriptive of the page. It is also important to make sure that all your site URL’s are absolute and not relative.
- Review Site Navigation and Target Links: Review the links in your main navigation, footer, breadcrumb lists and any other navigation (eg: site map) can provide insight about default pages (eg: index.html). All these pages must be re-directed to the absolute page and this type of absolute linking can clean up the internal linking of your website in a way suited for SEO. For instance if you website exists at both example.com and www.example.com then you need to create permanent 301 re-directs from the non-www. version to the www. versions of the pages on your site. Otherwise this can result in Google’s crawlers detecting the pages as duplicate content.
- Optimize your Title tags and Heading tags: This can be considered one of the first and foremost things to do and is vital for good SEO. The ideal way to optimize your page and site title tags is to have the target key word or phrase in the beginning of the title and then the site name or other key words. (eg: Target Key Phrase | Site Name)
- Check for duplicate Meta tags: Using web master tools you can do a quick check which will indicate duplicate titles, keywords, descriptions and bad title/URL structures. This can give some insight as to whether you need to re-write unique meta tags, create re-directs and decide which pages need to include certain keywords.
- Create and verify your Google business listings: It is important to create a Google plus profile for your business as well as a Google places listing, this will help Google identify your business for relevant localized searches. In addition a Google plus page is a great place to share your content and blogs to generate traffic.
- Alt Attributes: This tag must be used properly, it belongs with every image on your site, this tag acts as though you have added anchor text on an image. It is mainly for the search engine crawlers that cannot see images and will describe it to them. You can use keywords in your alt tags but make sure to keep it relevant and not to over stuff them as this can result in the page being penalised.
- Link Building: Using algorithms that analyse links the search engines can determine how web pages are related to each other and in what ways. It is important to adapt a good link building strategy instead of just buying links that may not be relevant, buying links can actually demote your website in Google’s eyes. Focus on a strategy that involves getting quality links from reputed sources through relevant content. One way to do this is to write guest blog posts for prominent blogs that are related to the type of content on your website and use the right anchor text to link back to your website.
- Consistency with listings: Make sure that where ever you list your business details online that it is consistent throughout. Each listing must be the same as the other, meaning that name, address, phone number between all the listings are exactly the same, not similar.
- Page Speed: Check your website with Google’s Page Speed Insights tool to check how fast you website works on desktop and mobile devices. This tool gives some useful suggestions as to how you can improve your website speeds and reduce loading times.