SEO & Website Health Go Hand in HandPosted by Jason Hawkins / June 12, 2018
Improve your SEO by addressing your Website’s Health
You may be wondering why your website is ranking so poorly in Google organic search results or Google is forcing your Cost-Per-Click (CPC) higher because the quality score of your landing pages is poor. It may be speed warnings or redirect issues, or you are just getting crowded out by your competitors. These are the symptoms. The most likely cause: your website health.
In many instances, marketers treat their website management with ‘the tech guys will look after that’ mentality when addressing the technical health of their website. However, we now are in a world where there is a huge crossover between technical performance and content performance. On-page SEO is firmly a mix of ‘copywriter meets coder’ rules dictated by Google usability recommendations and common sense language of connecting with your audience. It is a challenge.
So in our experience, there are 5 key health check items you should be using…
Reduce Page Load Speed
There are a bunch of online tools you can use to test the speed of your site – many give you such a low score that you don’t know where to start. In some cases, because your site is using a CMS like WordPress, not all of the recommendations to improve your speed score are possible. But start with the basics…
- Are your images optimised to load quickly?
- Is your website hosting helping or hindering your load times?
- What caching have you got going on?
- Are you using a Content Delivery Network (CDN)?
In 99% of cases, it is a combination of these items that need to be worked through, one item at a time to improve your speed targets. It can be a lot of work, it can also be a simple solution, but you will need to talk to a pro to do some analysis in the first instance and make some decisions from there.
Meta-data Mayhem & SEO
This would be called On-Page Search Engine Optimisation (On-page SEO). There are a bunch of rules and recommendations related to the length of URLs, lengths of meta descriptions and keywords, page title and heading lengths, keyword densities and the list goes on.
This is where copywriting meet propeller heads head on, so ensure your copywriter fully understands or has the ability to use tools to analyse and implement the rules.
There is no point in writing a fantastic piece of content if every rule of on-page SEO is ignored.
Website Errors & Redirections
In our experience as web professionals, this is so often overlooked but can be a cause of a bunch of pain. Dealing with 404 (Page Not Found) errors among others is an essential part of keeping your web presence in tip-top condition.
It is really easy for large websites to develop errors over time, content changes, links fail, images get shifted, external and internal pages get moved. This creates instability and reduces your credibility in the Google ecosystem.
Choosing your delivery address of https://yourdomain.com as a core and working within that structure will help keep your domain authority clean with Google. This is essential to form the basis of all your content distribution into social channels too. Having redirects going backwards and forwards between secure and insecure content is just bad business and bad for your domain reputation.
Put energy into getting this right with your technical team and, once it is bedded down, get your sitemaps working in Google search console and indexing correctly. For any 404 error, ensure your 301 redirects are sorted. (This is a common problem for e-commerce stores.)
Write Content with Meaning
There is also a risk that your content becomes too rigid! There is a balance to be found between writing for search and writing for your readers, audience or prospects. Too technical and no one will engage with your content, too free and Google won’t connect the dots between your target keyword phrases and your purpose.
Be smart with your copywriting.
Website Security Essentials
Once you have your security certificate in place (these are free now), there is also no excuse for not addressing the on-going security requirements that your website needs. As a business owner, this is your responsibility to either put systems in place (not your hosting companies) to maintain the “update” cycle on your CMS or get someone to do this. A security checklist looks like this…
- Keep WordPress or CMS up-to-date, review every month or quarter at the latest.
- Choose passwords that are complex.
- Implement security tools (plugins) to prevent Brute force attacks and prevent malicious scripts being injected into your site.
- Remove unnecessary plugins and themes from your server as these often are the source of back-door entry into your sites files.
So you can now see how there are many pieces to this puzzle. We use a bunch of different analytical tools to address each of these points to cleanse your web presence to give it the best chance of success. Addressing these issues will not only please Google, but lead to high user engagement and increased conversions.