If you’re managing a website or blog alone without any professional help, soon you’ll realize there are a lot of tasks that need to be done when it comes to SEO.
These 11 areas will help your get on the right track from an SEO point of view and will form a good base for a link building campaign to help boost your rankings on the search engines.
Alright, here you go the list, in no particular order:
#1 – Duplicate Content Within Your Domain
Duplicate content is the same content appearing on different pages within the same domain. For instance, for a post title on “how to avoid duplicate content“, we might assign it under the “seo” category and, at the same time, a “how-to” category on our website. Given a simple linking structure, the same page can be accessed through the following two URLs:
In the absence of any SEO settings, a search engine will likely try to index both URLs for the same post. As a result, created duplicate content unintentionally. Though duplicate content is not always treated as spam, you might lose crawler cycles from search engines when the search bots discover and index the same content on different URLs from your site.
These crawler cycles could have been deployed to crawl and index other fresh content that you’ve published instead. Having duplicate content is not just wasting crawler resources but could also hurt your site’s SEO.
How to Avoid Duplicate Content Within Our Site?
You can use the canonical tag to tell search engines the original source of the content. That means, in the <head> tag of each duplicate page, add the following line:
<link rel="canonical" href="http://example.com/post" />
We’re going to assume your website is build using WordPress here as the majority these days are. In the above case, you’re telling search engines that the source of the content is from “http://example.com/post”. Not to worry about inserting the code, you can do this easily with the Free Yoast SEO WordPress plugin. Just insert the source URL under the Yoast SEO’s advanced settings panel on your WordPress page or post which looks something like the screenshot below.
Alternatively, you can also use the “Noindex” function from Yoast SEO’s general setting panel to tell search engine not to index the duplicate content.
It’s all up to your personal preference. In the example above, my setting is to index “category” taxonomy but not to index “tag” taxonomy for simplicity.
#2 – Keywords / Anchor Text Stuffing
Keywords and anchor text are the key to improve SEO, they shouldn’t be used to manipulate search engine robots though. Your content should be written for humans and not search engine robots. Stuffing your content with unusual repeated keywords and anchor text links will often raise a red flag to search engines that your site looks spammy.
Just a little tip on the anchor text link – Avoid using the same anchor text in your links multiple times. Try to have some variety in your anchor text.
Example: if your target keyword is “best cupcake recipes”, instead of using the same keyword as your anchor text link over and over again, it should have some diversity like:
- “best cupcake recipes from xxx”,
- “tasty cupcake recipes”,
- “get the best cupcake recipes”, etc.
#3 – Irrelevant Link Building
Stick to your niche and interact with relevant influencers and websites when building your site’s reputation through link building. If your site is about sharing food recipes, it doesn’t make sense to link with an automobile site who sells spare parts, right? Most companies employ an SEO agency or have their web design company do SEO link building for them as it’s a complex area. We can help you with this so give us a call if you need link building help on 01903 368559.
This is just an example, the gist of it is not to build excessive irrelevant links. In short, be clear what kind of links you want to build and use.
#4 – No Social Presence / No Contact Info
The trustworthiness of a website has some correlation with the information shown on your website, especially on the ownership and contact info. Sites without contact information appears to be less trustworthy in most peoples eyes and the search engines feel the same.
Unless you’re doing something fishy, I would strongly suggest to at least provide a link to your social media profile in the contact page and ideally give physical address and phone number on the contact page. This will definitely help your SEO. No joke!
#5 – No Unique Title Tags and Custom Meta Descriptions
Title tags and meta descriptions give the first impression to your potential audience before they click into your site from the search results.
Apart from SEO purposes, a well organised website should have unique title tags and custom meta descriptions for all pages. It simply doesn’t look professional if all the title tags and meta descriptions are same and don’t reflect the content of the individual page or post.
At the minimum, we should vet the title tag and meta descriptions to ensure they reflects the content whenever we make any publication.
#6 – Having Poor / Thin Content
As an internet user ourselves, we don’t like to read non value-added articles. Search engines are no different. You might be able to rank with poorly written or copied content from your other SEO efforts in the short run, but over time, this is not sustainable. Google releases regular algorithm updates which weed out poor content and it will get de-indexed eventually so just don’t bother creating it. Publish new content on your website less often and make sure it’s good quality.
Bear in mind that if you’re serious in building a sustainable website, put in more effort to ensure that your content is well written and user-friendly. If your site is image heavy, make sure the descriptive alt tags is added to all your images as Google can’t see, it only reads!
#7 – No Proper Redirection of URLs
If you’re having a new website built it’s likely the URL structure will change, you’ll need to use redirection to send your visitors to the new site. Failing to do so will result in broken links and loss of inherited SEO link juice from your old site.
The proper way to do this is to use a 301 redirect to tell search engine bots that the page has moved permanently to the new site. This free Redirection WordPresss Plugin is handy to setup the redirection requirements.
#8 – Using the Wrong Keywords
Sometimes, we tend to dive straight into content creation without really conducting proper keywords research in our niche. By doing this, we may hit the right keywords by chance. However, at the same time, we run the risk of focusing on the wrong keywords which may either be too competitive or totally no demand for the keywords.
It’s advisable to do our keywords research before channeling any efforts to build content. Google Keywords Planner is a great free resources to conduct our research and it’s widely used in the SEO industry. Alternatively, if budget allows, Moz Pro’s Keyword Explorer is another great tool for us to get a sense of the search volume, difficulty to rank, click-through opportunity and potential for the keywords that we’re targeting.
In the screenshot example above, you can see how Moz Pro’s Keyword Explorer summarize the data for the keyword of “easy souffle recipe”. It also presents users with alternative keyword suggestions as well as the SERP analysis of the existing sites that rank for the keyword.
#9 – Not Linking Up with Google Webmaster Tools
If you’ve not linked up your site with Google Webmaster Tools, please do so immediately. It’s the best platform to understand how Google sees your site with regards to search appearance, traffic, google index, crawl statistics and security issues.
It’s very user-friendly, just follow the steps in the webmaster platform and setup your account to improve the search presence of your site. Here is the example of steps to setup your accounts.
#10 – Not Tracking Your SEO Efforts
If you are going to spend any money at all on SEO and link building you need to know whether it’s working or not so you can determine whether to continue. In other words, without tracking, we don’t know what works and what doesn’t work.
So, do keep track of your SEO efforts and try to match the results with your activity you need rank tracking software. Once you have tracking in place you can introduce different SEO tactics and instantly see the impact they have on your rankings. Discard what doesn’t work and focus on those that bring value.
#11 – Not Creating Link Worthy Content
It’s a fallacy that great content will rank by itself. Personally, I tend to disagree with that as great content will probably remain hidden if there isn’t any proper marketing effort done. Just adding a page to a website is not going to get it to page 1 on Google for anything.
Creating quality content is great and if you tell people about it through social media or paid marketing it will probably get linked to and become a snowball ranking higher and higher on it’s own. You have to pay for marketing to get visitors to a website so they can see and share your great content. The best article in the world on a desert island will never get read. The internet is a vast ocean so you need to signpost people to your content.
Facebook marketing is the best and cheapest way to promote your websites content and you also know users from this source are sharers so who better to bring to your website.