We’re the first to admit: SEO takes a lot of work.
First, you need to lay a proper foundation and optimise your site for the search engines. But, your work doesn’t stop the moment you reach a top position in the search results. You need to constantly tweak and update your strategy if you want to maintain your rankings and keep getting organic traffic to your website.
With so much on your table, it can be tempting to dismiss some issues, especially if they are nothing more than a nuisance at the moment. After all, how bad can it be if a few pages on your site have duplicate content? And, it’s not like you cannot fix this issue at any time, right?
Only that, it’s easy to ignore these minor issues and put them at the end of your to-do list indefinitely. Only that, as your site grows, they grow too. Postpone them for enough time, and you will wake up one day to a website that is rapidly losing its ranking and you don’t what you fix first.
That’s why it’s always better to troubleshoot any SEO website problems before they spiral down and get out of control.
Here’s what to look for to make sure your website is well optimised and performing properly.
You might also be interested in HOW TO CHECK IF SEO ON MY SITE IS DONE?
It’s safe to say that we are not the only ones who prefer a website that loads fast to one that takes a couple more seconds to load.
One report from Google showed that 53% of mobile users leave a website if it takes more than three seconds to load.
Anything more than this, and visitors will quickly head to the back button.
Interestingly, the same Google study showed that most mobile sites take around 15 seconds to load. If you are among them, then you are losing a lot of potential visitors just because your site takes too long to load.
Luckily, improving your site speed is not that difficult.
First, use Google PageSpeed Insights to identify the specific speed problems your site is facing. Make sure to check both your desktop and mobile versions.
Some possible problems might include:
- The Image Files Are Too Large: We’re all about a visually appealing website, but if your images are bloating your website, then it’s time to optimise them. Make sure to keep your images under 100kb and only use the jpeg format. Use a tool like Screaming Frog to compress your image files.
- You Have Too Many Redirects: Redirects are a way to forward visitors from one URL to another. For example, a 301 code is a redirect that occurs when a page was moved to another URL destination. The problem with redirects is that they create more HTTP requests and can slow down your site considerably. That’s why it’s important to have a clear site structure from the beginning.
- There’s Too Much Redundant Data: Minify your HTML, CSS, and JS code to reduce the number of unnecessary or redundant data on your website.
You may think that having a single page accessible by multiple URLs, such as yourcompany.com and www.yourcompany.com, is convenient for your users. But, the problem is that Google and the other search engines would have to index different URL versions, which can affect your site’s ranking.
You need to tell Google clearly which URL version is canonical and should be crawled.
Use the URL Inspection tool to see which pages Google considers canonical. If you find multiple indexed versions, use 301 redirects to send users and the search engines to the correct version. Make sure to also set your canonical domain in Google Search Console to avoid future problems.
Duplicate or Thin Content
Duplicate content comes in many forms and shapes:
- Exact-duplicates: It refers to blocks of content that are identical to one another;
- Near-duplicates: It refers to blocks of content that are very similar and only have a few minor differences;
- Internal: When you have duplicate content throughout multiple URLs on your site, such as landing pages with the same content;
- External: When two or more websites have the same content indexed by the search engines.
Because there is no official penalty for duplicate content, you may think that a few blocks of identical text here and there will not create an issue. But, the problem with duplicate content is that it confuses the search engines and forces them to choose between two pages with similar text. Google cannot tell who the original creator is and there is a high chance that the page that will be ranked high is not the original one.
If you want to avoid duplicate content, then you need to ensure that not only your blog posts are unique, but your title tags, alt tags, meta descriptions, and headings are unique too. The same goes for your product descriptions and URL parameters.
How about duplicate content on other sites? Unfortunately, there’s not much you can do about it other than request the writer to link back to the original piece (your content.)
Thin content is another issue that could affect your search engine ranking. It refers to content that adds no value.
Here’s an example.
If someone asks Google “What was the first car to be mass-produced?” and one article answers “The Ford Model T” and you write another article with the same answer, then your content will be considered thin because it doesn’t add any value to the search query.
Of course, this is an extreme and very simplistic example. But, the reality is that you can’t always come up with unique answers. After all, 2 + 2 will always equal four regardless of how you ask it. However, you can find different angles to write about a topic, structure the articles differently, offer more information, or address as many issues as possible.
So, if you find various topic ideas that your audience is interested in, but others have already written about it, don’t despair. Maybe you have more to say about the subject or a better way of saying. Regardless, make sure that your content is 1500 words or longer. Reports have shown that long-form content ranks better in Google.
Fix Broken Links
How do you feel when you click on a link and end up on a page that says: “Oops! Error, page not found.”
It’s very frustrating, right?
Now, imagine that the people who are visiting your website end up on a 404-page error. Do you think they’re going to stick around and browse your website to see what else you have to offer?
Of course not!
Studies show that 88% of people are less likely to return to a website after a bad experience, and broken links definitely count as a bad user experience.
Not only that broken links affect user experience and your reputation and trustworthiness, but they can jeopardise your SEO efforts too.
First, when web spiders run into a broken link (we’re talking here about both internal links and external links,) they still spend time to crawl it, verify it, and categorise it. That’s time that could have been spent indexing pages that are actually working and boosting their ranking.
Secondly, when users land on a broken page, they leave within seconds. A high bounce rate tells the search engines that your website is not providing relevant or helpful content to your visitors, so your rankings will drop.
You can use Google Search Console to detect broken links, understand why they are broken, and determine the steps you need to take to fix them.
You Don’t Have XML Sitemaps
XML sitemaps make it easier for Google to understand what your site is about and how it can crawl it and index it better.
Think about it like this: your website is your house and each page on your site represents a different room. An XML sitemap helps Google navigate all these rooms and quickly understand what they are all about.
If you are not sure if your website has a sitemap or not, then type your domain name into Google followed by “/sitemap.xml.”
If you have a sitemap, then the result will be a code. If not, then you will end up on a 404 page.
If your site runs on WordPress, then you can easily generate an XML sitemap by using the Yoast SEO plugin. Otherwise, we recommend working with a web developer to create one.
Do You Need a Site Audit?
Site audits are the perfect way to get a complete and in-depth analysis of your website’s performance. By understanding what works and, most importantly, what doesn’t, you can improve and optimise your website and ensure that it will help your small business grow, not hinder your success.
Of course, there are different types of site audits and a wide range of tools, so it can be hard to tell where to start exactly and what audit tool to use.
But, we here at Australian Internet Advertising can help you with that.
Get in touch and start growing your business today.