The Penguin, Panda, and Hummingbird algorithms currently determining how content and websites are shared across Google. It’s important to remember that creating and sharing quality content isn’t the end game. Once you’ve gone through the process of creating and offering up the content, you need to consider your website’s technical aspects to ensure the content you worked oh so hard on is found by search engines and users. A website is not a self sustained entity in cyberspace, it’s quite the opposite actually-especially if you’re adding content on a regular basis. Even more so due to search engines updating how they crawl, index, and present websites in their SERPs. How can you makes sure your site is up to par? Start with checking your site and content for the common mistakes listed below. It may surprise you.
Have you selected your preferred domain? Do you have multiple pages with the same content, title, description? Do you have a site you’ve recently updated to HTTPS from HTTP? Do you have multiple domains that show the same website? With all this in mind, your site may or may not have duplicate content. Getting marked by search engines as having duplicate content can vary from the items mentioned above or by simply not defining what is indexable and non-indexable to the search engines. If you have multiple domains offering up the same website and content, it’s duped.
The best practice is to regularly ensure your site is functioning and presenting your content properly.
Mobile Experience is Almost Everything:
In 2015 mobile queries surpassed desktop. What does this mean for the future? As devices get smaller, and people become more mobile, the desktop computer will becoming a stagnant statistic in search engine queries. How does this affect your website and online presence and SEO effort? You need at the bare minimum a mobile friendly site. Google explicitly states that sites that are mobile friendly will see a better result in the appearance in the SERPs. If that doesn’t move your feet, we don’t know what will.
Not sure about mobile friendly and what that means? Consider a responsive website, where you create one design, one look, one feel, and that site adjusts and resizes based on the device’s screen size being used. No longer do you need to produce “extra” content to fill your separate mobile site.
Link Building Endeavors:
If you’re attempting to gain as many unique domains to link back to your site, at least make it organic. Link farms and paying for links is a thing of the past, but some people still consider it a viable option. Even more so that ranking #1 on Google doesn’t guarantee business, it still benefits to be on the first page. More users find you for a particular query, increasing the chance they click on your link; thus finding your site. However, link building is meant to happen organically, as if you’ve met a new person and invested the a relationship. The moment when that new person and yourself become “friends,” whenever that moment is, a link is created, sharing trust and respect for one another. The same process should be mirrored in link building. You can’t force someone to like you, and you shouldn’t pay someone to link to you either.
Navigation For Users:
In the instance of a design update, your navigation may change. Your current site may have a set navigation that makes sense to you. But do either of these situations benefit the user? You’ll find that horizontal navigations with around 5-7 items tend to be the norm. This is due to the widely spread study that people can only hold about 5-7 items in their short term memory. Vertical navigations are fine, too, but only certain industries where expectations will elicit them.
Your Images Are Sinking Your Site:
More often now than back when SEO rose to such importance, image resolution has surpassed what the eye can see. Standard website presentation of images is around 72 pixels per inch. However, a higher resolution image can always be resized smaller or compressed to fit the need. Check to see if your images, such as: header, banners, large sliders, and ads are optimized for the internet. If they aren’t, consider compression or image size reduction.
If you update your navigation, your website design, or even add a new page to replace an old one, you need to consider redirects to let search engines know, and users find the new page/content. Without redirects, you’ll most likely leave search engines finding 404 pages and users lost on your site, because their favorite page or site no longer looks the same… or doesn’t exist anymore. You want to make use of 301 redirects to ensure crawlers and users can find your content.
Most CMS have an option to change your URL structure. We highly recommend looking into this to ensure the cleanest, easiest to read URL sturcture is used. It’s a benefit to the user and could get you SEO brownie points with search engines. Some simple things like parent/ child structure, keywords in URLs, and “post-name” permalinks make it easier for your user to navigate your site. It’s as simple as changing an option in your CMS. Why not help out your potential user?
Page Speed Awareness:
A balancing act is needed to show off your modern, image heavy design and still show an above average page speed load time score. If your SEO company mentions that you need to back off on the images, or requests that you reduce them, don’t take it personally, it’s for the betterment of your site in the eyes of search engines and ultimately users. You may need to reduce the number of plugins you’re using for “functionality” purposes. Consider HTML and CSS to replace the plugins, if possible.
You should also consider checking and/or revising your code to ensure that an effective amount of code is being used to represent your site. This means that “fat” code or types of code that can be slimmed down is recommended.
Flash Is Simply Flashy:
Although this “effect” is still prevalent across the internet, it hurst your chance at ranking well. The load time flash puts your server through is usually large, which means your page speed load time increases. And this requires your user to wait longer for an effect they’ll spend maybe 3 seconds looking at before moving on in any given direction. Crawlers don’t see the flash effect, either, so your simply causing more harm than good when using flash.
Consider updating your site and moving towards an “effect” that benefits you and your users and not your liking for internet nostalgia.