The secret to building a successful website doesn’t solely rely on wonderful UX and UI. To drive traffic and eventually drive sales to your website, you should apply search engine optimization on your website. However, the concept of SEO is as structural as other strategies could be.
A strong foundation in SEO can reflect your business’ objective goals. If your website’s SEO strategy lacks the foundation to make it “future-proof”, you definitely won’t see any ROI from your investment.
Google’s getting smarter; with its machine learning capabilities, what takes months to accomplish can now happen in real-life. So if you’re website’s not getting any traffic, you should look under the hood and check if you have the necessary components to rank in the search results.
Prevent risks by checking out this essential checklist you should work on your website’s SEO strategy:
These crawlers would communicate with search engines spiders. There are only few who deals with robots.txt, a single overrule could knock you off on search engines. Robots.txt is pretty handy if you want to implement site-wide rules, but it is important that you check this first to see if you’re blocking important pages, especially those target pages that you want to rank in the SERPs.
Redirects are a fickle thing to implement. While some SEOs prefer redirects because it is direct, sometimes that’s not the case that you want to implement. Generally, we recommend assessing pages that you want to redirect. Perform a redirect if the two pages are identical, for example, www to non-www pages. Beware of implementing 301 redirects as it may create an infinite loop if you’re not careful.
Joost de Valk of Yoast defined canonical URLs as a way that “allows you to tell search engines that certain similar URLs are actually one and the same.”
Canonical tags may be confusing for some, but let’s see this way. For example:
You have two pages, http://example.com/canonical and http://example.com/canonicalization.
Use 301 if: there are no technical reasons hindering you from doing so, then by all means implement that 301!
Use canonical tags: if redirecting will disrupt the user experience or it doesn’t make sense to redirect it because it’s just another version of the page, use canonicals.
Rand Fishkin of Moz has explained the best practices of using canonical tags in a Whiteboard Friday session.
This is a debatable topic for SEOs and web developers. While it may be convenient for developers to use relative links in a site, it doesn’t work the same way as for SEOs.
Relative links are coded as <a href = /page>, while absolute links are coded as <a href = http://example.com/page>.
Relative links are prone to scraping, duplicate content, and costing Google real money. Ruth Burr Reedy discussed this in a Whiteboard Friday presentation at Moz, and this is where it gets technical: Google has an allocated crawl budget that costs them real money. If a site doesn’t have their architecture in line, chances are Google wouldn’t bother crawling the rest of your site. Absolute links and a better architecture can make it easier for the spiders to crawl your site and get it indexed.
To give you a clearer picture, let’s say your page gives out:
Ensure your URLs are easy to understand by users and search engines. Aside from giving reliability and assurance that your site is not just another hacked or spammy page, it simply abides the golden rule of not placing your business at stake as one of the poor and unusual URLs.
6. No-follow links
There are instances that your website is being linked up with something too far from your field. But sometimes you needed to credit a creator if you want their work on your end, in this situation you can add a no-follow tag to the link.
This will help search engine emphasize your website by being notified that the given link is not as important as your website. However, be cautious in applying no-follow tags on your links. While it helps you segment link juice to more important links, we reckon that you shouldn’t over use it. Maintain a healthy balance of do-follow and no-follow links.
If your website is ready to be indexed, you would need to take the chance of submitting it to the search engines. You can submit it too even if you’re re-indexing, and if you have several changes on your site.
Remember that we discussed a bit about crawl budget? You can help Google crawl your website better with multiple sitemaps. If you’ve been using a single sitemap, try create multiple sitemaps to get your pages crawled and indexed better. Using a WordPress plugin like Google XML Sitemaps by Arne Brachhold can help you create those sitemaps easier. If you own a smaller website, you can use the free version of ScreamingFrog to generate your own XML sitemap.
When you’re done uploading your sitemap/s, you can send it directly to Google via Google Search Console and Bing via Bing Webmaster Tools.
The best rule one should think through regarding SEO is having content written specifically for humans and not for the search engine itself.
Metadata has three parts: links, descriptions and the title, of course. Appropriate keywords should be included in meta descriptions and titles but not to the point of placing everything on it to emphasize what your content is all about.
The best meta description one could ever provide is attracting and crave-worthy reasons in just 230 characters on why searcher should click your site.
You can always check your competitor’s code to see what they are aiming for in ranking.
Language tags would rely whether you’re using one language on your content or not. But if you prefer having different language on your page, it’s better to use hreflang tag to ensure the searcher would be directed to the same leading page everyone has been guided to. Aside from avoiding a penalty for duplicate content, it will also help you present the same content you wanted to show off.
Search engines are really meticulous in detecting language. Use one language to your site as much as you can especially if you don’t need other languages to optimize your page.
Structured data, also known as schema markup, is another type of code that makes your ranking boost in SEO. It also helps search engines organize, crawl, and display your content easier. Using Structured Markup can help increase your website’s click-through rate or CTR because there is useful information about your website that makes it more relevant or click-worthy for a user.
Working with search engines using structured data helps to communicate on what your data really means. It might be one of the most technical things you can do but placing effort into this is a very wise move.
Posting your page live would really attract random people visiting it. So make sure that put your pages live if and only if you’re ready for searchers to check your content out.
If you’re using any kind of CMS, there’s a higher chance of your published page to be added to your sitemap that will ping the search engines. But if you really have to put out a live page and you’re not yet ready to have it scanned by viewers, using a no index tag before putting it live is the best option to rely on just remember to take it off later.
Did you know that page speed is one of the ranking factors Google has standardized? They even made it easier to go faster with their Accelerated Mobile Pages project, applicable to almost every continent on the Internet.
SEO experts prefer to lessen page load time, so if you have ways of trimming of some MB packages on your site the better. You can always use page speed tools to see how your website is performing.
These focal points are some of the basic but the most important foundation you would need to optimize your website and boost your SEO ranking. If you made some mistakes on your site, this is your chance to have it corrected. SEO encompasses a wide variety of tactics to optimize your site to increase its search engine visibility. A little bit of technical SEO can go a long way for your website; start optimizing your website today!
Sarah McGuire is a Digital Strategist for the Best SEO Company in Canada. She takes an in-depth, hands-on approach to startup social business strategy. She has experience in digital marketing, social media, content strategy, and marketing communications.