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When it comes to maintaining your website, technical SEO plays a vital role in the process. And contrary to popular belief, performing an effective technical SEO audit is not as complex as it sounds.
Conversely, it is vital that you understand the basics of technical SEO before executing your first audit. This means having a better comprehension of the different errors that might affect your website in one way or another.
For example, results from a SEMrush study published in 2017 show that more than 80% of websites have 4xx broken link errors. In the same study, it was also discovered that more than 65% of webpages copy content from another source found online.
Technical SEO focuses on fixing any errors afflicting your website, with the aim of boosting traffic and bettering your conversions.
Usually, there are a number of elements involved when executing an effective SEO audit. Here are 10 of the most effective.
Performing a Site Audit to recognize crawl errors
One of the most vital elements of technical SEO starts with executing a site audit for your website. A site audit, or commonly known as a crawl report, gives you insight on some of the errors plaguing your web pages.
Once you perform a crawl report, you can be able to highlight the most pressing issues that need addressing; such as failing to see H1/H2 tags in your content, your web pages loading slowly, or the proverbial nuance of duplicate content.
Fortunately, performing a site audit is fairly easy. The task can be automated to comb through your content and alert you of any errors created by the crawl. And you can set up a site audit on a monthly basis.
Going the HTTPS route
Switching to HTTPS has become mandatory today as search engines heavily favour HTTPS over HTTP URLs. Failure to do so might cost your website considerable traffic and exposure. That’s because users clicking on your website will not see your content; rather, they will get either 4xx or 5xx HTTP status errors.
After doing so, you will also need to comb your website for other status errors using a site audit and rectify them. Chaing your site to https also makes your site a little more secure and less vulnerable to hackers.
Analyze your XML sitemap status
The XML sitemap is an integral navigation tool that search engines such as Google use to discover your webpages and rank them.
Which means that you should ensure your sitemap is optimized by meeting the guidelines below;
- Ensure your sitemap is within an XML document and has been properly formatted.
- Your sitemap should adhere to XML sitemap protocols.
- Any new pages you have created or updated should be added to the sitemap.
- Once you have updated the pages, your sitemap should be added to Google Search Console. This can be done by either forwarding it to the Google Search Console Sitemaps tool or inserting it into the robots.txt file
Check Your Websites Loading Speeds
Site speed plays heavily on user engagement and experience. If your sight speed is fairly slow, not only will your bounce rate be higher, but also translate to fewer conversions.
To determine your site’s load speed, you can check it via Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool. Simply insert the URL of your website within the tool and Google will calculate the time for you.
Google recommends that your page load for both mobile and desktop should not exceed 3 seconds. If it does, then you will have to tweak your web pages to reduce loading time and consequently improve your ranking.
Optimize Your Site for Mobile
For you to boost your overall ranking, prioritize your website to be as mobile-friendly as possible. To get started, simply use Google’s mobile-friendly test to determine your current positioning, then obtain valuable insight on how to improve your mobile interface.
That being said, some of the most common mobile practices include;
- Publishing your content with a bigger font size
- Having videos embedded in the text
- Having images within text compressed
- Taking advantage of AMP (Accelerated mobile pages)
Perform a Check on Keyword Cannibalization
Keyword cannibalization is an undesirable situation where your web pages are ranking for the same keyword, confusing search engine algorithms altogether. In turn, the search engine may opt to demerit some of your webpages in a bid to determine which page deserves the higher ranking.
To avoid such you can take advantage of Google Search Console’s performance to see which of your pages are in competition for a similar keyword. You can then change one of the pages for a different keyword, or consolidate the pages altogether.
Analyze Your Robots.txt file
If you discover that some or all of your pages have not been indexed, then you might have to look at your robots.txt file.
There are times where you might unknowingly block your pages from being seen by search engines when they are crawling. In such a case, you will have to audit and edit your robots.txt file.
While looking at your robots.txt file, search for the term “Disallow: /”
If you find it within the text, you can change it so that your relevant pages are allowed once more.
Execute a Site Search on Google
When it comes to search engine indexing, you can easily check how your site is performing on Google. Simply type ‘site: (the name of your website).com
This will highlight to you all the pages within your website that have been indexed. If you notice one of your pages is missing, then it’s probably been penalized by Google and you’ll have to rectify this.
Look out for metadata duplicated in your content
This technicality is quite common in large websites and e-commerce stores. By duplicate data, this refers to content that has been copied and pasted in meta descriptions of similar products.
By performing an audit, you can highlight these issues and proceed to repair them.
Optimize the length of your Meta Descriptions
While performing a crawl for duplicate meta descriptions, you can also optimize the length of your descriptions which is an important part of technical SEO. The ideal length for meta descriptions ranges from 160 to 320 characters to give you enough room to add keywords and vital content.
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As the internet gradually expands in reach and value, the conventional methods of link building and SEO are progressively transforming along with it.
Indeed, it has become a priority for any business today to learn the subtleties around creating and executing a high-quality campaign if they hope to thrive in an increasingly competitive online sphere.
What is Link Building?
A concrete definition of link building eludes most businesses the first time they venture into the field. To set things straight, link building is the process by which a business retrieves hyperlinks from other websites in a bid to improve the quality of their own backlinks and increase user engagement.
Usually, an internet user clicks on a hyperlink to easily from one website to another in search of more information, or information related to the content that they are currently consuming.
The Importance of Link Building in SEO
Before understanding the vital connection between link building and SEO, you first need to go back to the basics. How does one create a link|? And how do search engines interpret them in text?
To do this, we will begin by first studying the structure of a hyperlink.
- The Anchor Tag- This is the first part of a hyperlink and it usually indicates to search engines that the text will soon proceed with a link
- Hyperlink Referral- Denoted as “href”, it refers to text inside a set of quotation marks pointing to the URL that the hyperlink is directing the user towards. Text within the hyperlink referral can vary from the URL of a certain webpage, to the address of a file or image that is to be downloaded. The main objective of the link is to direct you to a different page or section to the one that you are currently observing.
- Anchor Text- This is the small section of text within an article that holds the hyperlink. It is usually enclosed within a set of quotation marks and is what a user clicks on when they want to open the link. The text is usually formatted in a such a way that it is unique to the surrounding text; usually underlined in blue to show that it is a hyperlink.
- Ending of link tag- This is the final part of the link used to alert the search engine that the link has come to an end.
That being said, link vital for search engines because:
- It helps search engines find new webpages.
- It lets a search engine determine the exact ranking of that particular page
When assigning an index to the page, the search engine will then analyze the text, as well as the quantity and quality of links that are directed to an external website.
As a rule of thumb, having a large number of quality websites linking back to you means an improved ranking for your website. And a greater ranking translates to more exposure for your business.
As a matter of fact, linking was the predominant factor that Google used in the 1990s to proliferate their influence as the apex search engine in the late 90s. The idea around this business model was to calculate the quality of a particular page depending on the volume of links directed towards it. The metric proved to be a success, and it was adopted as one of the primary signals used by Google to determine a page’s ranking.
Unfortunately, due to unscrupulous link building methods used by some online companies to improve their ranking, Google opted to regularly release Penguin updates to penalize any companies that relied on these underhand tactics to top rankings. When choosing to use a service for link building its important to evaluate what type of links are going to be built.
That being said, it is widely accepted that if all factors remain constant among website pages, links are the final feature used by Google to determine page rankings.
The Concept of Non-Follow
Despite the lucrativeness around link building, not all links are deemed of high quality. In response, search engines created the option of non-follow as shown below:
<a href=”http: //www.concept.com”
The addition of non-follow by websites is used to tell Google not to include certain links while calculating their page ranking. It is an effective method used to discredit certain links that might tarnish the ranking and reputation of a particular business and its website.
One of the primary reasons why a website adopts non-follow is when it does not have complete control over the websites that are directing their links back to them. This can be in cases such as:
- Answers on public online forums such as Yahoo! Answers or Quora
- Comments on blog posts
- Wikipedia pages
In such scenarios, users have the freedom to add links. And because of the high volume of forums and blogs on the internet, it is impractical to determine each and every link and determine its authenticity.
Hence, the non-follow attribute is employed to deter any spammy links from being considered in Google’s algorithmic ranking. Only familiar links affiliated with the company will be whitelisted.
The Benefits of Link Building
As we mentioned earlier, link building is extremely important when it comes to search ranking. That being said, here are the other added advantages of link building:
Foster Relationships Between Businesses
Conventionally, link building requires a business to reach out to relevant blogs and websites pertaining to their industry.
Referral traffic is a great way to boost engagement with new clients. A good link, especially one associated with a high-quality website is surefire to increase interactions with potential clients and advertise your services.
Not only is link building essential for organic traffic proliferation, but also plays an important role in enhancing your brand. When your business is associated with trusted and professional websites online, it is deemed reliable by your target audience, and thus translating to more engagements.
ClickSlice is an agency, where you can find the best SEO services in london. We specialise in boosting the search engine rankings of company websites. We take an individualistic approach to SEO and work with businesses to develop a plan that works best for their specific situation.
For more information on how we transform businesses through the power of organic internet traffic, contact ClickSlice today on 020 3287 3638 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Google is undisputedly a search kingpin. The company has successfully managed to create a service that suits both users looking for items of interest and advertisers looking to sell their wares.
Through Google Ads, you can come up with online ads to reach audiences all around the world who have an interest in your product. Since the Google Ads program runs on the pay-per-click (PPC) advertising concept, you have to ensure you have funds at the ready for every time visitors click on your ad.
Because there are so many advertising channels out there, it can be a tad bit difficult to determine which one is best for your enterprise. Looking through the web may leave you confused that you ever were because bloggers and influencers are always letting you know why this-and-that are great investment options without caring to elaborate further.
You can count on Google Ads to deliver because businesses make about $2 in income for every $1 they spend in Google Ads.
1 - Instantaneous Results
Truthfully speaking, both Google Ads and SEO are integral in your marketing campaign. When done right, both these tools can help you establish a presence on Google search results. That said, if you’re looking for immediate and stronger results, Google Ads is your best option.
New websites are likely going to find it hard to stand out using only SEO. This is because SEO takes some time before the results start to trickle in. Since the waiting time can last months, you need to elevate your businesses to match up with the larger companies who have already built a name for themselves in your industry.
The best way to do this is by using Google Ads. The program excitingly allows you to get on the very first couple of pages on Google without having to strain much. Once your website is live, you can enable your ad to become visible in as little as 24 hours.
Having said this, we should point out that embracing Google Ads doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to ditch SEO completely. Instead, you need to use Google Ads to enhance your presence on Google whilst using SEO to boost your organic ranking.
With Google Ads, you can discover just how effective the keywords you’ve been using are. Once you get a good idea about which keywords work great, you can tailor your SEO campaign to make use of these keywords.
2 - Measurable
Compared to traditional advertising channels like TV and magazines, Google Ads is highly measurable.
While SEO strategies tend to have a positive impact on long-term campaigns, it’s not easy to accurately determine what actions actually positively impacted your campaign. The same applies to social media marketing efforts.
On the flip side, Google Ads provides you with accurate results on the aspects of your campaigns that made the masses embrace you. It’s relatively easy to operate from a position of strength.
The transparency of Google Ads comes with plenty of PPC metrics which allow you to zone in on all aspects of your marketing campaign, even on a granular level. You can find out the steps visitors to your website took right before they made a purchase. This approach is great if you’re quickly looking to ascertain whether your campaigns are actually worth it.
3 - Better Targeting
In your bid to find audiences interest in your products and services, you don’t want to cast your net too wide and miss out on relevant prospects.
Thankfully, Google Ads allows you to narrow down your targets. This fantastic PPC platform is robust enough for you to feed in multiple keywords and target various demographics according to gender, age, income level, location, and many others.
This kind of reach is fantastic for both small and large businesses looking to establish a foothold in their respective markets. Local companies will also want to get in the act because they can target individuals in their local without a hassle.
Compared to other marketing ventures, Google Ads stands out in the fact that their marketing approach is much more impressive. Their set up allows you to flex your muscle and retarget audiences who have shown an interest in your business. This means you can connect with visitors who checked out your website or that of your competitors. With such remarketing efforts, you can quickly help clients transition from one stage of the sales funnel to the next one.
Having highlighted this powerful feature, it’s evident that you need to incorporate Google Ads in your marketing strategy if you want to make strides forward.
4 - Flexibility
Google Ads offers great flexibility with budgets. You’re allowed to spend whatever amounts you wish to. This kind of control is great if you’re working within the confines of a budget. You can decide to start small before expanding just how much you spend on your campaign. The accelerated spending feature offered by Google also allows you to focus on burning through your budget.
Alternatively, you can make use of Google’s bidding factors to play around with your budget. What this really means is that if you’re only after the clicks, you can elect to only pay for clicks. Anything else you obtain from the campaign, like impressions and brand awareness, will be offered for free.
This kind of optimisation is fantastic because you can manoeuvre with any kind of Google Ads budget without having to worry.
Objectively speaking, businesses are always looking to do much more than just break even. Most businesses are able to do this by creating value in the markets they operate in and then leveraging the buying power of their clientele.
While this traditional approach has worked well over the years, the dawn of the internet age has forced many enterprises to rethink their strategies.
Sure, value addition remains a central premise for business operation. However, much more is needed if you want to stand out. We’ll be looking to highlight some of the major areas you need to cover ground if you’re looking to register impressive sales numbers going forward.
1 - Word of Mouth Recommendation
Traditionally, word of mouth marketing typically spread from one person to the next. The modernised version is somewhat different in that it describes both targeted efforts and naturally occurring happenings where individuals share their satisfaction with a brand.
Data from Nielsen has shown that about 92% of people trust recommendations from friends and family over any other kind of advertising. As it’s already apparent, trust plays an important role in word of mouth marketing. In light of this, you need to foster the right conditions for word of mouth marketing to thrive. With that done, you’ll have broken down trust barriers that may exist and allowed influential customers to openly share their experiences with your company to the masses.
Given the fact that 74% of consumers have reported word of mouth being the key inspiration behind their buying decision, it’s crucial that you tap into this kind of marketing strategy.
If you look closely at the numbers, you’re bound to discover that there’s some long-term value when you invest in word of mouth marketing. This is because referred customers usually stick to a company over extended periods when compared to people who find your company using other means.
A contented customer base is likely going to direct more of their family, friends, and close associates to your direction. Going by this exponential growth curve alone, it’s logical to see just how valuable the first referral is.
As you look to venture into word of mouth marketing, it’s essential for you to understand that it happens in 2 ways, either organically or through marketing and ad campaigns. Since the two have inherent overlaps, it’s necessary for us to distinguish the two.
- Organic word of mouth: happens naturally when people a product and/or service offering so much that they decide to become advocates. The key motivator behind people’s action, in this case, is the sheer happiness and satisfaction that they were able to enjoy.
- Amplified word of mouth: this happens when marketers decide to launch marketing campaigns designed to motivate the dissemination of word of mouth across various audiences.
2 - Videos
Video is one of the most powerful mediums out there. Research has shown that adding videos to your landing page can increase your conversion rate by as much as 80%.
When customers watch things like explainer videos, they’re able to visually identify the reasons why they need your product. This means that they’re likely to go further down the sales funnel and complete a sale.
It’s not surprising that this is the case because vision is our most dominant sense. Plenty of the information we are able to transmit to our brains is visual in nature. If the adage, a picture is worth a thousand words is actually true, then, there’s plenty to be said about moving pictures.
You can massively boost your return on investment by using video to tell your story. Luckily, you don’t need to be tech-savvy to come up with great videos. The internet is awash with video production and editing tools that you can quickly acquaint yourself with.
Importantly, you don’t need to come up with perfect videos in order to resonate with audiences. Content is the most important thing you need to be mindful of when producing your videos.
3 - Google
Organic traffic continues to shine when it comes to bringing in new prospects. Since most people discover brands online, it’s essential that you factor this is in your sales and marketing strategy, even if you’re a local business.
More specifically, you need to strive to have your brand get to the very first page of search engine results relevant to your client base.
Two decades before the online world became what it is today, many people weren’t acquainted about the best practices of the web. Today, the game has changed. Our phones are smarter and so are we.
Since most of the precious information is usually situated at the very top of search results, i.e. page one, it’s nigh impossible for visitors to check out websites found on successive pages after page one. We wrote a guide covering some great tips you can implement yourself to increase your local business rankings.
Brands like Facebook and Google use user engagement as a currency in measuring how websites are faring. They analyse even the most mundane of user actions like reactions, number of shares, the comments, and the click-to-conversion ratio. All this is done in a bid to bolster the efficiency of their algorithms.
The more engagements you’re able to register, the more likely it is for your ad to be shown frequently to audiences. As such, you need to aim to stay on page one of search results.
Having shared this, it’s worth documenting that website design also plays a key role in determining the success you have with prospects. The presence of broken links and error messages is not something that many willing buyers will be able to stomach. As alluded earlier, trust is of the essence in the sales game. You need to make sure that clients can trust in your business for them to truly become loyalists.
You’ve done it. After weeks of planning and countless discussions with your design team, you’ve finally got the green light. You’re ready to launch your beautiful brand new website to the world!
But although you might be tempted to push the ‘live’ button right away, it’s really important to test a few vital elements of the site before you start showing off the fruits of your labour to your potential customers.
Carrying out the ten final checks below will give you extra peace of mind that your new platform will perform at its very best after launch (and have a great chance of ranking well in the search engines, too!).
1 - Proofread your web page content
Before launch, go back to basics. Review and proofread all the content on your website to make sure it’s free from typos, poor grammar and duplicate copy.
This is essential for two reasons. Firstly, poorly written content won’t leave the best impression on your users. You only have five seconds or so to capture their attention and encourage them to explore everything your company can offer, so the last thing you want is for them to head straight over to a competitor’s site because they’ve been turned off by sub-standard writing.
And secondly, the major search engines such as Google will take your syntax into consideration when deciding whether or not to rank your web page in their organic listings. Bad content is less likely to rank well.
2 - Review the flow of the site
Pretend you’re a potential customer. Work your way through your site pathways to see if your new platform offers a simple, seamless experience.
Are your instructions clear? Is your main call to action displayed prominently on each page? Does your contact form return that reassuring ‘thank you’ message once it’s been completed? If you’re finding it difficult to get from A to B, or you’re encountering needless hurdles along the way, you need to address these flow and usability issues before you unleash your site to a wider audience.
3 - Test the site’s speed
It’s a simple check, but it often gets overlooked by webmasters who are keen to launch sooner rather than later. The load time of your pages will have a big impact on the user’s experience (and you’re probably already aware that slow load speeds can have an adverse effect on your SEO, too).
As we mentioned in a previous blog post How Important Is Site Speed For SEO, there are plenty of tools out there that can help you assess and improve your page load speed. Google’s PageSpeed Insights will give you plenty of food for thought, but other alternatives such as WebPageTest, GTmetrix and Pingdom will also return useful feedback.
4 - Make sure the site displays correctly on mobile devices
This is a big one. More of us than ever before are using smartphones and tablets to navigate the web, so any new website must be able to render correctly on mobile browsers.
The best way to make sure your site is mobile responsive is to test it on as many devices as possible. If you spot any glitches, or you find that some or all of your content is displaying incorrectly, let your developers know so they can fix the problem before launch.
Again, there are tonnes of tools out there that can help you test responsive websites. Google Search Console’s Mobile-Friendly Test will show you exactly how your page is being displayed on a typical smartphone screen and will provide you with a site-wide mobile usability report that highlights any major concerns. Elsewhere on the web, you could use Responsinator, mobiReady or MobileTest.me to gauge the responsiveness of your latest creation.
If you want to improve your SEO rankings, you need a winning link building campaign.
Link building is a form of off-page SEO that helps to improve the credibility of your website. Getting links to your site placed on other reputable sites establishes your authenticity and boosts your rankings.
While the premise behind link building sounds simple enough, a successful campaign can be tricky to execute. If you want to get on the first page of Google, take a look at this step by step guide and start building your link building strategy today…
5 - Remove any unwanted noindex and nofollow tags
These small but mighty directives are often used by web designers while they’re creating your new website in a test platform. The noindex directive stops the search engines from being able to access the test site’s content while it’s still in development; the nofollow tag prevents Google from following links between pages.
As you can imagine, launching a website with noindex and nofollow tags is far from ideal if you want your pages to be found – so make sure they’re taken off the code when everything’s ready to go.
6 - Add accurate Open Graph tags
These handy tags let you control what content shows up when one of our web pages is shared on Facebook. They’re also recognised by Twitter and LinkedIn.
Needless to say, if you don’t have the right Open Graph tags in place, you won’t have any say in what copy is displayed when somebody shares your page or post on social media. Set up and customise these vital pieces of code as soon as you can (or ask your developer to do this for you).
7 - Check your 404 error page
If a user requests a page that doesn’t actually exist, your site will return what’s called a 404 error page. This page can play a key part in keeping the potential customer on the website if they’ve reached a dead end; an empty template will confuse them and, in the worst-case scenario, encourage them to jump ship.
Test your existing 404 pages to see if it follows the same design theme and contains visible links back to the homepage or other resource pages that might be of interest. If it doesn’t, get your developer to improve it ASAP.
8 - Implement an XML sitemap
Every website should contain two sitemaps: one written in HTML, and one in XML. The HTML sitemap is a more user-friendly version that’s easy for human eyes to follow, whereas the XML addition is designed specifically to help the search engine bots find and index your website’s pages.
Make sure your developer creates an accurate XML sitemap file, then uploads it to your root directory so it can be found at www.yourdomain.com/sitemap.xml.
9 - Test your contact form
We’ve seen it time and time again. An organisation has created a flawless website – its design is impeccable, its UX is incredible, and its content adds that extra je ne sais quoi to the whole platform. But several weeks after launch, there’s not been one single enquiry… or so it seems.
In reality, plenty of people have tried to inquire about the company. But the contact form hasn’t been working properly, so all attempts at communication have been bouncing straight back to their potential customers.
Before you open up your website for business, make sure that your contact portal is set up to send your enquiries straight to the email address of your choice (and isn’t pinging correspondence to your developer, who may have used their own email to test the form during the development phase).
10 - Hook your site up to Google Analytics
As we all know, the work doesn’t end with the launch of a website. If you really want to make a splash online, you’ll need to invest in an ongoing search engine optimisation campaign that will increase your reach and exposure over time.
To make sure you’re able to monitor your online performance, set up a Google Analytics account and link it to your website’s header to start tracking your site data from day one. The data generated by the software will give you valuable insight into where your traffic is coming from, how users are interacting with your pages, and how people are converting into genuine leads.
We all know just how important backlinks are to an SEO campaign. What remains unclear though is just how many backlinks you need to have on your website.
Today, we’ll be seeking to answer the age-old question of quality vs. quantity. To some degree, both these options offer valid reasons as to why you need to back them.
However, for the sake of clarity, we’ll be imploring further into the topic in today’s discussion.
Backlinks are essentially the hyperlinks from your site to other sites. If you happen to be an authority in your industry, then, it’s not uncommon to find websites linking to yours for the sake of credibility.
Those who are renowned for achievements in their industry are oft-referenced in articles by others. The more backlinks you receive, the better your odds of registering increased traffic and seeing a boost in search engine rankings.
Why Search Engines Like Backlinks
Search engines love backlinks since they serve as an indication that other people love your website. Aware of this stance, there are some unscrupulous entrepreneurs who seek to use underhand methods to rank highly.
Such back hat practices usually involve the payment of money for links to your website across various other sites. While this may see you gain some ground over your competition, in the long term, Google and other search engines are bound to discover your exploits. This usually happens because when backlinks are purchased, some emphasis is usually placed on the quantity aspect. The poor sources where your links originate from usually sound the warning bells for Google to respond.
To avoid getting penalised by Google, try steering away from such link schemes. In the worst case scenario, your website may be de-indexed. When this happens, search engines may choose not to display your website completely in search results.
How Many Backlinks are enough?
Age plays a key role in determining just how many backlinks you need.
New websites typically little link building activity. Instead, most of the work needs to go into building branded links. If you’re working on local SEO, you need to put more emphasis on developing your social profiles, local citations and branded web 2.0s.
Ideally, you need to wait at least a month building your social profiles and setting up content for your site. Once the groundwork is done, it easy for you to justify just why you’re doing link building.
Websites aged 2 Years and Above
There’s some wiggle room for you to flex here. You can come up with as many links as you’d wish in this scenario. Having said that, it’s best to wait for a while for the content you post to simmer. Once sufficient traffic is recorded, you can get back to building backlinks. A good waiting period is about a week’s time.
Old Websites aged 10 Years and Above
You can play with your options on such websites. The fact that you can come up with as many backlinks as you want however doesn’t mean that you can compromise on the quality.
Things to Consider
Setting backlink targets is not the most prudent thing. The best ways to go about is to build steadily and naturally go into building links.
Rather than being an instantaneous activity, link building needs to happen on a consistent basis. As an ongoing process, it doesn’t make sense to include targets and deadlines into the mix. A steady development is the only sure fire way for you to have an edge over your competition.
You should not stop pursuing your SEO targets even once you manage to break into the first page of search results, monthly link building services are offered by multiple companies for a reason.. its an ongoing task and is not a one off thing.
Quality is of the Essence
Many people make the mistake of focusing on the number of backlinks instead of quality. 1 high-quality backlink can be just as effective as 100 low-quality backlinks. As such, it’s not a pure numbers game.
You need to strike a perfect balance between the number of backlinks you generate and their quality. If you’re unsure how to do this, you need to ensure that the backlinks you create conform to at least half of these qualities:
- Comes from a relevant source
- Originates from trusted sources
- Not paid for
- Not easily gained
- Not reciprocal
- Contains few other backlinks on the page
- Sends traffic
- Next to backlinks to authority websites
- Originates from different sources to existing backlinks
You require fewer backlinks if you’ve done due diligence and properly optimised your website. If you have a poorly optimised site, the odds are that the backlinks you share will have zero effect on your audience. This is because you don’t have grounds for prospects to trust your website and regard you as an authority in your field.
Some recommended optimisation steps are:
- Introducing in-content links to vital pages
- Removing or merging pages containing little precious content
- Ensuring that no page is situated more than 5 clicks from the homepage
- The key pages need to be at least 1 or 2 clicks away from the homepage
- You need to direct authority towards the pages you’d like to rank highly
- Editing out unnecessary outbound links
- Identifying and rectifying all the broken links
Level of Completion
As you look into your competition, be sure to take note of how many links are pointing to each of their pages on search engine results. While at it, be sure to ignore the numbers from the webpage containing the most backlinks and the webpage with least number of backlinks.
Once you have the numbers right, ensure that you develop high-quality content (whitepapers, infographics, blog posts, and landing pages). Providing in-depth coverage about your industry is likely going to put you in good books with your audience.
With the content sorted out, it’s necessary to come up with smart sharing initiatives, not just to your audience, but also to other industry titans. Striking a rapport with some of the top brass in your field may be a masterstroke on your part since you’ll be able to promote your business on a person-to-person basis.
Site speed is just one of those important metrics that increasingly becoming harder to ignore. Especially in 2019.
Visitors to your website probably don’t have all the time in the world to wait as your page loads. A slow website is not something you want to have, especially if you’re looking to achieve top tier status when it comes to SEO rankings.
While it’s true that search engine optimisation relies heavily on keywords and backlinks, there are other small conditions that need to be fulfilled in order for a website to rank.
Today, Google’s algorithm is built to consider loading time as an important attribute when determining how your website ranks in search results. Once you’re able to identify the weaknesses in your page and make enhancements to bolster your site speed, there’s a good chance that you’ll be able to achieve that top spot you’ve always fancied.
Some of the factors affecting site speed include file sizes, plugins, and slow servers. Before we dive into the nitty-gritty, here’s a quick brush of things you need to know.
The Ideal Page Load Time
It takes about 400 milliseconds for an eye to blink. If you can able optimise your page to be just as fast, then, you stand a good chance of tiding the masses over to your side.
Slow site speeds usually negatively impact SEO strategies. This is because targeted customers tend to become frustrated with slow load time and may decide to bounce off your website. According to Google statistics, it takes about 0.4 seconds of load time before users decide to look elsewhere for content.
Essentially, this means that the slower the load speed, the more likely visitors to your page will deem your content irrelevant. With the opposite being true, it makes absolute sense why Google decided to introduce site speed into its algorithm.
Things that Lower Site Speed
1 - Server Performance
While hiring the services of a cheap web host seems like a grand idea, there’s also the downside of slow load time. This arises because such deals usually involve the sharing of servers. When this happens, space and resources that would have been dedicated to your website become spread out to a bunch of other websites.
If you’re looking to achieve fast site speed, then, it’s worth reconsidering your current strategy and adapting better suiting hosts that are capable of handling your business needs.
2 - Outdated CMS
Always check for new updates on your content management system, be it Drupal, WordPress, or Wix. In most situations, updates usually resolve common errors and bugs in the system. When this happens, you usually notice a considerable bump in site speed.
3 - Large and Heavy Images
Gone are the days when dial-up internet dictated the times. Today, users get frustrated whenever websites take forever to load.
Since larger images are certainly going to take longer periods to load, you need to optimise the images that you upload on your platform.
Making tweaks to things like the size of images uploaded and the format can make all the difference. Generally, browsers usually load PNG, JPG, and GIF images super fast. On the other hand, formats like BMP and TIFF are typically heavy which means that they usually cause slow site speed.
4 - Code Density
To ensure that your site speed is not affected by lengthy lines of code, you need to ensure to the backend of your site is not clogged up with redundant code. Else, you may find yourself having to pay the consequences.
5 - Too Many Plugins
If you’re using WordPress for your site, then the odds are you’ve got a number of plugins installed. While plugins are great in terms of functionality, you need not have too many hanging around. This is because every plugin usually makes a file request. The more requests generated, the slower your site speed is going to be.
6 - Minimise Redirects
Think about it, when you’re visiting a new city and want to ask directions, wouldn’t you rather ask a source who points you to a direct location? Exactly.
The same concept applies to websites. Nobody likes being redirected to a whole different page. In a way, it’s like telling visitors to your page to hold on the line as you process something else. Unless you really have to do it, avoid doing it since it may negatively impact your SEO goals.
Search engines are responsible for plenty of traffic on most websites. Given just how key a role they play, it’s necessary for you to acquaint yourself with the best SEO tips and plugins that will enhance the reception of your website to the masses.
In today’s article, we’ll be looking to share some of the best WordPress Plugins for SEO.
1 - Yoast SEO
People love the plugin because it provides them with a comprehensive solution for all their on-site SEO needs. Using it, you can add an SEO title, a relevant meta description, and slot in some meta keywords for every post on your pages.
The plugin is robust enough to allow for the customisation of titles for your main site, archives, and tag pages. If you’re looking to play around with your content, you’ll love the fact that the plugin includes Open Graph meta data, Sitemaps, Twitter Cards, and the power to ping search engines whenever you make changes tour website.
Some of the standout features of the plugin are:
- The page analysis tool
- XML Sitemaps functionality
- Technical WordPress Search Engine Optimisation
The page analysis is a definite gem because it ensures that you’re always on the right track. Its intuitive interface further adds to the allure.
2 - All in One SEO Pack
This particular plugin offers stiff competition to Yoast SEO. If you’re looking to test out its features, you can opt to begin with the free plugin before you decide to pay for some premium services.
On the premium version, you get access to real-time customer support, plus the ability to join support forums and video screencasts.
If you’re charged with the running of an e-commerce store, you definitely need to try out the advanced WooCommerce support. There, you’ll get plenty of insights about how to better manage your business.
Some of the other amazing attributes are:
- The plugin is intuitive enough for beginners to find their feet and powerful enough for advanced users to keep using it.
- The plugin is translated into 57 languages, this makes it a viable option for a significant population of the world
- If you’re running an agency or a multi-site organisation, chances are that you’ll enjoy using this plugin because of the affordability and convenience aspects.
3 - SEO Framework
This plugin is ideal for those who want to work with a powerful plugin that is able to function without any disturbing ads or upsells running in the background.
The plugin design is simplistic since the developers spent most of their time developing a plugin that is able to meet your website needs. SEO Framework is a great choice if you’re looking to maintain highs speeds on your site without having to spend plenty of time perusing complex SEO articles.
Despite having mentioned that the interface is simplistic in nature, the API is open for advanced users to play around. Having started as a project in the WPMUDEV community, it has morphed through the years to become freely available to all and sundry.
Some other cool features are:
- You don’t need to install a separate comment spamming extension since it’s already available on this plugin
- Most of the SEO configurations are ready-made which means you don’t have to waste time trying to find the most appropriate combination
- There’s a local SEO extension suitable for companies which need to set up and display crucial information about their local enterprise.
- It functions uniquely from other plugins. While most of them are all about the keyword, SEO framework objectively deals with the focus subject. This tends to inspire more natural writing because Google is capable of seeing synonyms in SERPs as one and the same thing
4 - SEOPress
Notably, even the free version doesn’t have footprints. Using it, you can swiftly manage all your meta descriptions and titles with ease.
You can also come up with XML and HTML sitemaps, monitor what your visitors are doing with Google Analytics, and make some optimisations to your tags using Open Graph and Twitter Cards for easy sharing on social media platforms.
In the free version, you also have access to content analysis which is a shining attribute among webmasters. Using it, most of them are able to develop better SEO optimised posts. If you’re a developer, you’ll love the fact that you can make use of more than 75 hooks to tailor the plugin as you’d like.
Some of the features on the premium version include:
- Video and Google News XML sitemaps
- Local business SEO
- Redirections and 404 tracking
- Google Structured Data Types
- WooCommerce and Easy Digital Downloads optimisations
5 - Rank Math
This great plugin is quite comprehensive. It’s robust enough to allow you to quickly transform your SEO strategy.
Rank Math is able to utilise the functionality of multiple plugins on your WordPress website and streamlines all of them into a single easy-to-manage plugin that is not bulky.
The plugin enables you to easily manage on-page SEO of your posts, products, pages, and a range of other taxonomies. As a webmaster, you also have access to no archive meta tags in a number of other pages.
The beauty of Rank Math lies in the fact that it seamlessly integrates with Google Search Console to bring you all the necessary information you need right inside your WordPress dashboard. Crucial information like keywords to rank for, the search impressions of your website, and errors on your page are all accessible from the admin console.
Other awesome features are:
- You don’t need to install another plugin for breadcrumbs since it comes with the package
- Rich snippets support. You can choose from a range of snippets like Video, Article, Local Business, Recipes, Event, and Product.
- Has a 404 monitor which means you can quickly spot where the errors are
- Clean user interface
- Ability to ping search engines once you make edits
It’s not uncommon to hear beginners to SEO inquiring about the essence of title tags and Meta descriptions.
While we could dive straight into explaining just how important they are in modern SEO practices, a little definition of terms is necessary.
When users search for content on the web, title tags and Meta descriptions are what usually load up on the search engine results. To gain more clicks, it’s is therefore imperative that you invest some time to develop compelling meta tags that prompt more users to check out your website once the search results roll in.
This is the title section of a webpage which briefly summarises what’s contained in a page. They are usually found in three main places, on search engine results, browsers and on external platforms like social media pages.
To rank, search engines require websites to have title tags to include relevant keywords and phrases that accurately describe what’s contained in the page. As such, if you find yourself straying away from the agenda of your page, you may be forcing Google’s hand to display some other title instead.
Since this is not something you want to happen, it’s best to really craft meaningful title tags. There’s plenty of opportunities for you to lure prospects to click through your site by having a relevant title tag. A great way to capture some of this information is by providing accurate, concise, and compelling narratives of your page.
Here’s an example of how the HTML code looks like:
Some Tips on How to Write Compelling Title Tags
- Ensure that the title you develop is highly relevant to the content you share on a particular page
- Insert essential keywords and phrases near the beginning of the title tag so that you inspire users to click through
- Be sure to write naturally for visitors and try not to stuff in keywords hap hazardously
- Don’t duplicate the content on your page. Because all the pages on your website are going to have different topics, you need to ensure that you come up with unique titles
- If possible, include your brand name towards the end of the title tag. That said, you need to put more emphasis on getting the message right first.
- Try to keep the length between 60-64 characters. Sticking by this rule ensures that all the content fits comfortably in a 512-pixel display. If you write something longer, the title will appear lengthy and ellipsis may be introduced
- Strive to come up with eye-catching tiles. With the objective being to lure visitors to click on the title tag to discover what you’re all about, you need to have your A-game on at all times
Meta descriptions are meant to convey a summary of all the content contained on a webpage. As you can already tell, it has some similarity to the previously mentioned title tag. The key difference here is that Meta descriptions allow you some ample breathing space.
You have the freedom to flex your wordplay with plenty more space as you let visitors to your site know what you’re offering. If well utilised, you can grab hold of a significant portion of the population.
Here’s how Meta descriptions usually look like:
<meta name=”description” content=” This is where you insert your Meta description. Write something interesting.”>
Tips on Writing Meta Descriptions
- Make sure all the descriptions on your page are unique
- Come up with compelling descriptions without forgetting to incorporate relevant keywords. As a rule of thumb, strive to cover what users can expect to find once they are on the actual webpage
- Try to inspire curiosity in readers. While the objective is to inform them on what your webpage contains, don’t give up all the information too soon. Failure to abide by this rule may see you registering lower click-through numbers since users will already know all they can expect to find on your page.
- Don’t forget to incorporate a call to action somewhere in the Meta description. Doing this informs readers how they can benefit from reading the content
- The ideal size of a Meta description is 150-154 characters. You should avoid using lengthy meta descriptions since search engines typically cut off any extra characters found
Meta Data Optimisation
A great way to do this is by monitoring the click-through rates in Google Search Console. Using the tool, you can locate pages with reasonable volume but low click-through rates. To practice, you can try optimising the pages as per the highlighted steps above.
If you really want to push your website as the best out there, don’t make the mistake of neglecting Metadata. The best way to keep abreast with the times is by constantly monitoring the happenings of this section.
Having said that, we caution you against making too many changes in a short span of time. This is because it usually takes some time before adjustments made come into effect and cause an impact. In light of this, you need to hold out for a while in order to track what’s actually working
Importantly, you also need to consider the average time visitors spend on your site. While CTR is a great metric to monitor, it’s not the be-all and end-all of success.
If a significant portion of visitors is spending fewer amounts of time on your page, that could be an indicator that your metadata is not appealing enough or your webpage isn’t living up to the standards people expect. When this happens, it may indicate that your website is built on the foundations of clickbait, something you want to avoid.
Rocket Your Rankings with a Solid SEO Strategy
- ClickSlice is a London SEO agency, who specialise in boosting the search engine rankings of company websites. We take an individualistic approach to SEO and work with businesses to develop a plan that works best for their specific situation. For more information on how we transform businesses through the power of organic internet traffic, contact ClickSlice today on 020 3287 3638 or email us at email@example.com.
As the saying goes, “Content is King”.
While it’s true that scintillating content is key to enhancing your website’s reception and reputation, you may find your traffic numbers suffering if there are some technical issues behind the scenes.
During the early years of search, marketers and developers focused on their tasks without bothering to learn about what lay at the other end of the fence.
Today, things are different. Marketers need to have an understanding of all the various technical concepts. At the same time, developers also need to know the ins and outs of digital marketing.
An understanding of both technical and creative aspects is needed.
These traits are what make on an effective digital marketer. Once you’re able to recognise the technical faults in a system and all the right buttons to press in case calamity strikes, you have better odds of seeing your website take off.
In a bid to enlighten you on all the key points you need to be conversant with, we’ve prepared this technical SEO checklist.
1. Robots.txt File
To check the robots.txt file, you need to follow:
Google Search Console> Crawl> robots.txt Tester
This robots.txt play an important role. It provides a directive to search engines and all websites need to have one somewhere in their root directory.
For proper functioning, you need to ensure that it is properly formatted. This means that it should only restrict files or directories that you don’t want to see indexed. While at it, ensure that it is included in your XML sitemap layout.
If you’d love to learn more about the workings of the robot.txt file, you can acquaint yourself with some Google recommendations.
Having been in the industry for a while now, one of the errors we’ve encountered one, two, many times usually happens during a website redesign. The dev site frequently gets blocked in robots.txt after the disallow:/ command is used. To avert this and avoid taking your website out of the index, you need to ensure that the disallow rule is done away before your launch the redesigned platform.
2. Canonical Link Elements
It’s not uncommon for website owners to come up with different URLs that come up with similar content. Since this is not a good thing, you can make use of canonical link elements to ensure that a website remains unique.
Often times, canonical link elements are used to ensure that the preferred version of a page remains indexed at all times.
When working with them, there are some guidelines that you need to follow. Ideally, you want them to reference a URL that does not redirect and is indexed. At the same time, the URL also needs to be in the full path, something like http://www.example.com/
A canonical tag that fits this would be”
<link rel=”canonical” href= http://www.example.com/product.php?item=foo987/>
To check this, you can use a platform like Screaming Frog.
With redirects, you can effectively let search engines know that your webpage has permanently relocated to a new location. This comes in handy when there’s a URL change or if a page is deleted.
While there are different types of redirects, we favour a 301 redirect because of SEO purposes. This usually notifies search engines that a page has permanently shifted house.
The best way to handle redirects is by having them redirect to the final destination. Having looping redirect chains is not advisable, if possible, ensure that you minimise the number of redirects.
You can use Screaming Frog and redirect-checker.org to check.
4. Duplicate Content
According to Google, duplicate content is that which can be replicated on your website or on various other web domains.
Whenever pages are duplicated, Google automatically filters such content away from search results. By doing so, they ensure that only distinct information is visible.
Having plenty of duplicate content can harm your organic traffic. Since most instances of duplicate content are unintentional, you can try to create a sense of originality by using canonical link elements.
To verify the status of your website, you can use a platform like siteliner.com.
In contemporary times, it’s crucially important for websites to consider the mobile-friendliness aspect. This becomes all the more necessary once you factor in Google’s mobile-first index.
For the smooth running of operations, you want visitors to your website to have a great experience irrespective of the device they are checking out the content from.