When creating a new website or evaluating a current website that’s underperforming, you may want to examine certain underlying elements for problems that are inhibiting its search ranking performance. Builders know that the key to a strong house that will last for decades is a strong, solid foundation. As with a house, trying to build upon a website with a poor SEO foundation will limit its success going forward. The following are some strategies that will enable you to find what’s holding back your website from being the top-ranking sales beast on the major search engines that you’ve always wanted it to be.
1. A Thorough Technical Audit
Regardless of whether you’re working with an existing website that you’ve received from a previous webmaster or are putting the finishing touches on a new website, a technical audit is essential. The sooner you diagnose any technical issues that are holding a website back from ranking well in the search engines the quicker a new search engine crawl of the site will boost its position.
When it comes to technical audits, don’t try to go it alone. There are tools on the market such as Screaming Frog, SEMrush, Woorank and Raventools just to name a few. Using more than one tool may give you greater insights than any single one. You’ll find that there are just a few types of technical issues that affect a website’s SEO performance, and the following are the major ones.
- Your Internal Links – These links act as a backup navigation system for users and search engines while exploring your website. The most basic thing to check for with regard to links is that you have no broken links. This is a pretty simple matter. When you click the link, it either takes you to the page within your site that it’s supposed to or it doesn’t.Too many internal redirects is another issue you can run into. You want users and search engines to be directly and immediately taken to whatever page a link is supposed bring them to. Sometimes, however, you may want to redirect them to another page first for various reasons. You should keep this practice to a minimum since, generally, people like to get what they think they’ll be getting when they click that link and search engines don’t like it when you spam redirects.Link issues are much simpler to handle with a good SEO audit tool. You can imagine how long it might take to manually click on every link on every webpage to check for errors, but fortunately, such tasks can be handled automatically. An audit tool will diagnose bad links that may be holding your website back both with the search engines and in terms of providing an optimal user experience.
- Correctly Implementing Markup – Things have come a long way since the days of basic HTML commands, and you need to make sure your website is fully utilizing the plethora of markup code that’s available to give search engines as much information as possible.There is an industry-specific local markup code available for a wide variety of business types. Whether you’re in the medical, hotel, construction, banking or a host of other industries, the website schema.org will have markup code specific to your industry.You’ll also want to look at factors such as what pages are hosting particular markup information and if there’s any room for improving the data delivered. After you’ve optimized your markup code, you should use Google’s Structured Data Testing tool to verify that it’s as well done as you think it is.
- Using Google Search Console and the Importance of Your Sitemap – Also known as GSC, this tool provides you with a goldmine of information. It essentially shows you how Google is crawling your site, which enables the dashboard of this tool to show you where it may be having issues with crawling it. You’ll see any errors encountered while Google tried to crawl your site, so you can address them quickly.Additionally, you want to make sure you submit as updated a sitemap to Google as possible since this is what it will use to crawl your website. Keeping this sitemap updated and frequently checking GSC will enable you to only have the pages you want crawled being perused by Google and will keep you on top of any errors so you can correct them fast.
- Issues With the Server – Sometimes, issues with your position on search engine results pages (SERPs) may not be within your control. If you’ve done everything you can think of on your end and every tool tells you your website is technically flawless and incredibly optimized, the issue may be with your hosting company’s server.When choosing a hosting service provider, it can be helpful to inquire ahead of time about the level of support you can expect. This can be the difference between success or failure for your website and, therefore, your business.
2. Optimizing Content and Other On-Page Elements
Your website can be technically flawless with fast-loading pages, an optimized sitemap and other important criteria checked off, but it still won’t deliver the results you need without a carefully thought out strategy. This primarily has to do with your content strategy and the keywords that you are targeting and trying to rank various pages under on the major search engines.
You need to keep an eye on your search engine rankings under various keywords and notice which webpages are showing up under those keywords. If you find that Google is periodically showing different pages under the same keyword, then this means they’re not sure about your topical focus for each of those pages.
Your strategy will also depend on whether your website is for a business with a single or multiple locations. You’ll need to spend more time refining location-related keyword content throughout a website when it needs to attract customers to a different store or office locations.
Refining your local SEO rankings can be complicated especially if you’re in an industry with plenty of local competition. If your business depends completely on local customers for your survival, as in the case of most service businesses, you need to utilize professional help to enable you to stick out above your competitors. Planet 8 Digital is one example of a digital marketing company that has helped businesses rank highly under local SEO results. They’ve done this for their neighboring businesses in the Bucks County and Philadelphia areas as well as other companies throughout the country.
3. Building Your Website’s Authority With Off-Page Analysis
When someone does a search for your local business, there are a number of factors that influence how high up you are in their search results. One big factor is what is called NAP consistency. NAP stands for “name, address, phone.” Search engines are very detail oriented and even small variations in your businesses’ name, address and contact number information across webpages or local directory listings can cause them to see each listing as a separate business. This has the result of lowering your company’s ranking on search results.
Accurate NAP information across your website and citations also has the effect of boosting your visibility in maps for local searches. Correcting this information manually on your own by going to every website where your business is listed can be too time-consuming for many business owners or managers. You may want to hire a digital marketing company, such as Planet 8 Digital, to handle it for you, so you can be sure the job is completed correctly.
Getting the Most Out of SEO
Covering the bases mentioned above should help you get the most you can out of your website from an SEO perspective. These strategies will give you the strong foundation you’ll need that you can build on. For help in implementing the above tips on your website and with additional marketing strategies, you may want to contact Planet 8 Digital. We believe in building strong relationships with our clients by providing personalized solutions for your niche marketing needs.