7 Easy Tips For Great SEO Copy

7 Easy Tips For Great SEO Copy by Mark Simmons.  Available from <http://mixeddigital.com/blog/7-easy-tips-for-great-seo-copy/> [September 22, 2016]

SEO is far from predictable, but basing your content on the 7 essential components of great SEO copy listed here will help you meet and even exceed today’s high quality content and SEO standards.

1. Well Thought Out Meta Content
If you’re not taking advantage of Meta content (titles and descriptions), you are missing out on a huge opportunity. Google recently changed the game on meta content. This year Google has even increased the characters you can use in meta title/description length allowances, increasing the length of the title to 70 characters (71 depending on the character size) and a new meta description per line length of 100 characters. One of the most important considerations when it comes to writing your meta content is to avoid blandly summarizing the post content. Instead, come up with a compelling statement, something you feel would make your target audience “pause, read and click” instead of skipping over it.

2. Engaging Embedded Links
Write relevant, engaging anchor text sentences, avoiding verbiage like “click here” or even the “read more” clickable text you see everywhere. Instead of using generic text, embed your links in relevant phrases, helping your visitors find exactly what they’re focused on. Putting some thought into creating relevant, engaging text for your embedded links will increase the value of your potential link juice and SEO results.

3. Don’t Obsess Over Keyword Density
There really isn’t a magic number when it comes to how often to use keywords. That said, brazenly overusing them is a big mistake that no one appreciates, especially Google. If you want Google to “show you the love”, always write with your readers in mind. One of the most important SEO copy tips is to write human friendly content that your target audience wants to read. The bottom line is that if you don’t adhere to this principle, you’ll never get the optimal ROI out of your content, regardless of how well it ranks. After all, if your content isn’t if readable, nobody is going to want to find out more about what you have to offer.

4. Headlines that Get Clicked
Headlines are the first impression readers get of your content so you need to make them unique and engaging. Taking the time to come up with a great headline can improve your click-through rate significantly. A great tool (also free) to use to come up with better headlines is the headline analyzer provided by the Advanced Marketing Institute (http://www.aminstitute.com/headline/).

5. Mobile-Friendly
Google’s mobile-friendly algorithm gives an added ranking boost for mobile-friendly/responsive sites in mobile search results. Recently, Google has even increased the strength of its mobile-friendly ranking signal. Keeping this in mind, be sure your website offers easy, mobile/human friendly navigation, optimized images and fast load times.

6. Don’t Forget Your Sitemap
When it comes to boosting your search engine rankings, a good XML sitemap can be a great partner. Sitemaps help Google and other main search engines easily understand the structure of a website while crawling it.

7. Considering Google’s AI System
RankBrain is Google’s AI system and was created to handle its millions of daily search queries. Google uses RankBrain to learn exactly what visitors click on and whether they were satisfied with the outcome once they click through. For this reason, it makes sense for marketers to write RankBrain centered content that helps visitors, flows naturally, features interactive videos and images, earning a high click through rate.

At the end of the day, keep in mind that there that there shouldn’t be a difference between well written traditional writing and SEO writing. If your content isn’t compelling, it doesn’t matter which keywords you use because it won’t get shared or linked to.

7 Easy Tips For Great SEO Copy by Mark Simmons.  Available from <http://mixeddigital.com/blog/7-easy-tips-for-great-seo-copy/> [September 22, 2016]

How to test a website before you launch: a 28 point checklist

How to test a website before you launch: a 28 point checklist Author .  Available from <https://www.clickz.com/how-to-test-a-website-before-you-launch-a-28-point-checklist/106011/> [Sept 20, 2016]

Three years ago, Mark Knowles wrote a thoroughchecklist for testing a website prior to its live launch. It was a very helpful guide, so we thought we’d update it for the current digital landscape.

Here we present a guide on how to test a website, full of updated information and tips to make sure everything looks and works exactly as it should on launch day. Everyone has a role here, and that’s how the tasks have been divided – for Editors, Designers, Developers, SEOs and Network Administrators.

Please note: many of the tips below are from Mark Knowles, but have been updated to reflect any changes.

For the Editor and Writers…

1. Spelling, grammar, punctuation

Check for proper spelling, typos, and grammar site-wide. Not just in article text and headlines, but also throughout the navigation, calls-to-action, buttons, forms etc.

2. Forms

Fill out the forms on the site and go through the following questions:

  • Can the flow be improved?
  • Do you get stuck?
  • Are the instructions accurate?
  • Does the completed form get sent to the right people or person?

3. Check images

Make sure your images are all optimised for the web. Ensuring they’re not too large – and site-speed draining. As well as being properly labelled with titles and alt-text.


4. Context

When giving a critical eye to the pages within the site, ask:

  • Why would I visit this page?
  • Is the content ready for visitor?
  • Does the page address the audience?

For the Web Designer

5. Site speed

Check the size of your page sizes and their load time. You can use Google’s own site speed testto do this. Site speed is a ranking factor, so follow any improvements Google recommends as closely as you can.

6. Mobile friendliness

Is your website mobile-friendly. Frankly it’s very difficult not to building a multi-device compatible website in 2016, but just in case, here’s a handy checklist to ensure your website’s mobile-friendliness.


7. Compatibility

Check to make sure your website’s pages render well in common browsers. Browser share is a moving target so to help prioritize efforts, here’s a site that continually examines it.

8. Fonts

Sometimes font codes get dropped into a page inadvertently and make a letter or a word look funny. Check to see that the formatting is consistent, and look for odd blips in the copy.

9. Navigation

Test the navigation to breaking point. Make sure every single possible journey through your website leads to wherever its meant to without any broken links or wrong pages.

Makes sure your on-site search works, and it delivers accurate results, and if there are any zero-results that you’re providing navigation to other relevant pages.

For the Web Developer

10. Live URLs

Often, sites are built at a URL (uniform resource locator) that isn’t the website’s final destination. When a site goes live, the URLs are transferred from a staging area to production. All the URLs change at this time, and they need to be tested.

On small sites without any tools, you can navigate to each page to make sure they all work. On a site with fewer than 500 URLs, you can use Screaming Frog SEO Spider Tool for free to find bad URLs. For larger sites, there is a modest annual fee.

11. Sign up to Google Search Console

Google Search Console (previously Webmaster Tools) is an invaluable tool for all webmasters. This is where Google will communicate with you should anything go wrong (crawling errors, manual penalties, increase in 404 pages, malware detected, etc.)

Search Console is also where you can monitor your site’s performance, identify issues, submit content for crawling, remove content you don’t want indexed, view the search queries that brought visitors to your site, monitor backlinks.

You should also sign up to Bing Webmaster Tools.

12. Minify

This is a technique that combines and compresses website code into smaller chunks to speed up your site. You can read more about it at Google. Then, look at the website pre-launch to see if the site is using minify where it can.

13. 404 pages

When a 404 (“page not found”) error occurs, make sure you have a custom page to help your visitor find something else of use, even if it wasn’t what they were looking for. Do you have an HTML sitemap there? Does the 404 page include a site search?

14. Favicon

Favicons are those little iconic images that show up in the address bar and tabs of your browser. How does it help? It’s a small branding opportunity that lends credibility to your site. It’s nice to have one when you launch.

For the SEO team

15. 301 Redirects

Sometimes content is repurposed or gets moved to fit the new navigation structure of a site. If you have an existing site and you are changing the URL structure with your new site, you’ll want to make sure you’ve mapped the old URLs to the new ones.

The Screaming Frog spider mentioned earlier can be run on both the old site and the new. An Excel spreadsheet is a great way to document this effort. Column A has the old URL, and you place the new URL in Column B. Each row represents a redirect from old to new. On launch day, it’s time to execute.

16. Title Tags/Meta Data

This may sound like old news to some, but this easy-to-fix mistake happens every day. Make sure every page has a title tag, and make sure they are unique.

Also make sure each has a meta description. Although these snippets used in search aren’t necessarily a ranking signal, they will help a searcher decide whether to click-through or not.

17. XML Sitemaps/HTML Sitemap

Make sure your new website has an accurate site map in both XML and HTML format. You canupload your sitemap to Search Console, however most CMSs such as WordPress will automatically build a sitemap for you.

18. Analytics

Make sure Google Analytics or the analytics package you’re using, is set up and ready to go from day one so you can measure and analyse traffic to your site.

19. Structured markup

If you’re using Schema markup or any other structured data, is it rendering correctly in SERPs? You can check any errors and how to fix them in the structured markup section of Search Console.

20. Accelerated Mobile Pages

If you’re using Google’s AMP project to provide mobile searchers with faster loading web pages, you need to make sure these are rendering properly. Here’s a guide to implementing Google AMP on your website.

21. Social media integration

Do the social media icons on the site go to the correct pages? Do you have the right buttons and social plugins installed for what you are trying to accomplish and what you want the user to be able to do? (For example, does it ‘share a post’ rather than ‘Like’ your page on Facebook.)

22. SERP Display

Are the search engines displaying your pages correctly in the search engine results pages? Did you write proper meta descriptions, but they aren’t being used? Thoroughly investigate your visibility in Search Console.

23. PPC Setup

Make sure if you’re running any PPC campaigns that they’re set up and ready to go with the site launch. To avoid a lapse in service, if you have a Google PPC rep, you can set and pause all your campaigns to the new URLs prior to launch, and instead of the ads getting disapproved, your rep can approve them manually.

For the Network Administrator

24. Monitoring

A site monitor checks pages regularly to make sure it is available for visitors. Basic monitors check if the page is working.

Important pages within the site should have enhanced monitors that test if a completed form behaves the way it should. Enhanced monitors are more expensive to setup and keep running so the page in question needs to justify the additional expense.

25. Backup System

Have you thought about what happens if the server goes down? Make sure the backup system is configured properly, and the recovery process has been tested so you know it works.

26. Traffic Loads

Think about what might happen to your site if it gets an influx of heavy traffic. There are load test software tools that allow you to simulate heavy loads. If you are expecting big crowds, this is a must.

27. Protected Pages

Does your site have pages that require user credentials to view? If so, do the credentials work? From the opposite angle, also check to see that the pages can’t be viewed without proper credentials. Make several attempts to get to those URLs without proper credentials to make sure the security is working as expected.

28. Secure Certificate

If your site is ecommerce, or you’re using encrypted pages to protect visitor privacy on a form or elsewhere, you’ll want to check your certificate on launch day.

To do this, go to the encrypted section of your site. When the lock appears in the address bar, right click on it and read the message your visitors will read. It should have your name on it and state that it’s valid. If the lock doesn’t appear or the name isn’t right, let your provider know.

How to test a website before you launch: a 28 point checklist Author .  Available from <https://www.clickz.com/how-to-test-a-website-before-you-launch-a-28-point-checklist/106011/> [Sept 20, 2016]

5 Tips To Write SEO Friendly Content That Ranks Well In Google Searching

5 Tips To Write SEO Friendly Content That Ranks Well In Google Searching by Kerry Creaswood.  Available from <http://www.promotionworld.com/se/articles/article/160914-5-tips-write-seo-friendly-content-ranks-well-google-searching> [Sept 14, 2016]

If you’re in the business of content marketing, then one the main goals is to use content to draw more visitors to your site. Now, social media is obviously a good way to do this, particularly if you’re starting out. What you should always be thinking about as well, however, is Search Engine Optimization.

For, if you can make certain that your page ranks well in some of thekeywords that are important to your industry, you’ll be able to get a constant stream of traffic coming to your website without you having to pay a cent for any of them. Now, obviously that’s a fantastic position to be in.

The only problem is that ‘ranking well’ in this case means appearing very high up in the search results. After all,research finds that the first position gets 33% of the attention, while the first page gets 95% of the clicks. And as you don’t want to be competing for scraps, that means you have to get yourself in there. How do you do that?

Start with the right keywords

The first step is to make certain you’re actually pursuing the right keywords in your industry. This means doing some research, in something like Google Adwords.

Alternatively, start by looking at what your competition is trying to rank for. Note that if you pursue this strategy, don’t try to rank for the exact same words, however, particularly if your competition is already established. Instead, think about ranking for slight variations thereof in which they don’t rank quite as highly.

Also, consider choosing long tail keywords when your first starting out. These are longer phrases (known aslong tailed keywords) that delve into your topic more precisely. Why choose these? Two reasons:

  • First off, though there is less traffic, the competition isn’t as fierce either, meaning you’ll be in a better position to rank well. And that means you’ll need to do less work to get the lion’s share.
  • Secondly, when people are typing longer queries into search engines, they generally already know what they’re looking for. This means that a far higher percentage of those visitors will ultimately convert – which is really what you’re after.

Use Latent Semantic Indexing

In the past, it used to be the case that if you put the keyword into a piece of text many times, you’d be more likely to rank well. Then Google realized that people hated reading the same phrase over and over again. And so they developed a system where their algorithm has started to come to understand semantics.

What this means is that as long as you write texts that is semantically related (walnuts and peanuts, knitting and wool, toys and Lego) then their algorithm will pick up on that and decide that your text is actually relevant.

Therefore, don’t keyword stuff. This will actually get you penalized by Google (as well as your visitors who will think you’re a simpleton who can’t write well). Instead, use Latent Semantic Indexing, create more naturally flowing text and still appear as relevant according to the Google algorithm.

Longer texts are better texts

At least, according to Google they are, as longer texts are more likely to actually contain the information that people are looking for and therefore are likely to be more authoritative. For this reason, skip the 500-word blurbs of yesteryear, and instead focus on in-depth texts that actually get to the heart of matters and explore the ins and outs of an issue (basically anywhere around 1500 you’re starting to look good).

If you do this, then all things being equal, you’ll outrank the shorter pages. And that is obviously what you’re after.

The first ten words (or less)

You’ve got to have a great headline. This is what first draws people to click on your site. And Google counts how many people click on sites as one of the metrics of whether you’re actually what people are looking for.

For that reason, you’ve got to write killer headlines. Do note, that we’re slowly coming to understand the practice of headline writing, so don’t just start trying out random things to see what they do. Instead, check out some of the stuff other people have concluded, based upon the analysis of millions of headlines and what people click on. That way you’re going to give yourself a real step up.

That doesn’t mean you always have to follow their advice. Sometimes you can try something new. But at least now you’ll have a base line to compare it to (and you’ll probably find that it compares poorly).

Also, remember to make sure your headline contains the keywords, as the headline is an important place for Google to look for the keywords that you’re trying to rank for.

Content is key

And last, but not least, make sure your content rocks, because if people don’t stick around, then what’s the point? Google understands this as well and will rank you more poorly if they find that you’re not keeping your audience, as they’ll assume – probably correctly – that this isn’t actually what people are looking for.

For that reason, make sure you pay attention to the content writing hacks and really make your content sing, by writing it concisely, engagingly and without too much fluff or meander. Your audience will appreciate this and you’ll be rewarded by Google ranking you more highly and giving you a bigger share of the click pie.

Last words

To a big extent, ranking well on Google is about giving your audience what they want – a trend that is likely to continue into the future. So make certain that you’re always looking at your site not just in terms what Google wants but in terms of what your audience wants. If you can keep doing that, you should find that you climb naturally in the Google rankings until you’re able to compete with the big boys.

And raking in the big  bucks.

5 Tips To Write SEO Friendly Content That Ranks Well In Google Searching by Kerry Creaswood.  Available from <http://www.promotionworld.com/se/articles/article/160914-5-tips-write-seo-friendly-content-ranks-well-google-searching> [Sept 14, 2016]

9 Quick SEO Copywriting Tips Every Online Business Should Know

9 Quick SEO Copywriting Tips Every Online Business Should Know by Jerry Low.  Available from <http://www.business.com/seo-marketing/9-quick-seo-copywriting-tips-every-online-business-should-know/>. [September 15, 2016]

Writing content, or copywriting, is as much an art form as it is a skill. While you want to engage readers with snappy imagery, it’s also important that you publish content that is packed with elements that will help you improve your website’s ranking.

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization, and these three letters are responsible for a world of stress and confusion among online businesses, especially those who don’t have a tech guru on staff.

Whether writing for your website, blog, or social media page, there are some basic fundamentals which will help you improve your search engine rankings, boost your website traffic, and generate more leads.

Here are nine SEO copywriting tips that will help your online business excel in every area possible.

1. Know Your Audience

There is a lot of content published online. On WordPress alone, there are 58.3 million new posts published each month and more than 409 million readers. As an SEO copywriter or publisher, the first thing that you need to know is that not all of these are your readers. In fact, just a small fraction of them are, and it’s important that you spend some time identifying your particular audience.

What are the demographics of your audience? What primary problem is your audience trying to solve? Can you leverage trending topics and recent customer experiences to come up with interesting writing topics? Tell your readers a story, inspire them, and make solving their problems simple.

2. Invest in Your Title

While your content should be legible and engaging, your title really needs to “pop” and entice people to click. Believe it or not, this could have an effect on your search engine rankings. Rand Fishkin from Moz did a study a few years ago on the impact of queries and clicks on search rankings. He asked people on social media to search for a particular term and click on a specific result that was ranked #7. Within a few hours, the result had moved up to #1.

So, how do you garner attention for your title? Make sure that it is short and to the point. People tend to be drawn to lists (the top 10, 3 reasons, 5 benefits, etc.). Posing questions in a title also works well. Consider using emotional triggers in your title by stating a benefit. Power words and controversy have also been known to get attention and clicks.

3. Include Keywords in Your Title

As you come up with your winning title, you’ll want to make sure that you’re including your main keyword in your title and title tag for your page. Google’s ranking factors tend to fluctuate but there is a list of 200 ranking factors for a web page, and this element is one of them. Where you place your keywords in your title tag also makes a difference. According to Moz, the optimal format for a title is to have the keywords at the beginning. They even have a fantastic title emulator tool. This brief SEO studywas also done that confirms the importance of keyword placement in titles.

4. Incorporate LSI Keywords

LSI keywords are “Latent Semantic Indexing” keywords. These are terms that are not semantically related to your primary search term, but that have similar meanings. They can be synonyms but aren’t limited to these as it can be based on trends as well. For example “virtual reality” is now considered an LSI keyword for the search term “Oculus Rift.” If you were to look this up a few years ago, this wouldn’t have been the case. As this can be a real brain-teaser for some, there are some online LSI keyword generators that can be extremely helpful in this process.

5. Structure Your Writing

The content of your post could be explosive and well-written, but if it’s unorganized and difficult to view, you’ll lose readers fast. Graphic design is now a useful element in content publishing as the look and feel of the piece matters almost as much as the substance. To accomplish a winning structure, keep paragraphs and sections short. Smaller blocks of text are easier for readers to digest and appear friendlier.

Also, consider using numbered or bulleted lists within your content. Don’t make your entire piece a bulleted list. This is too much. Rather, break up content into distinct sections. Finally, use subheads to segment and break up content when it’s appropriate. Another great way to break up content and make it more readable is with the use of images.

6. Use Images

Human beings are visual by nature, and most of us are drawn to eye-catching images on a content page. When images are used, they should be relevant to the content and optimized for SEO.

Images can be optimized by adding alt text, captions, file names, and by reducing file size so that they load quicker. Images found on Google Image search can often bring additional visitors to your website. According to Search Engine Watch, you can gain this extra traffic and improve your rankings by takingthese simple image optimization steps.

7. Ignore Keyword Density

The number of times that a keyword, or keyword phrase, is used on a web page used to be incredibly important to copywriters and online publishers. Paying too much attention to this metric today could be a mistake. If keyword density is too high, Google may impose a penalty for stuffing. As most marketers will tell you after years of research, keyword density hasn’t been proven to be a ranking factor, so it’s best to ignore this in copywriting. A better focus is the creation of interesting, readable content that captures the focus of your visitors, making them want to take some desired action.

8. Link to Trusted Sites

Despite what happened with the flood of spammy sites and link building scams several years ago, links in content are not bad. In fact, the proper use of backlinks can be beneficial to your search engine rankings. This is accomplished in two ways.

Add a few internal links to other relevant pages on your website. Another way to link in content for SEO is through external links to trusted sites. If you quote a study or other industry authority in your content, provide a link to that content using relevant anchor text. This not only provides readers with references, but it also helps your site rank better when you link to credible sites. Reboot Online conducted this very extensive experiment in early 2016, which proves that outgoing links to trusted sites improve search engine rankings.

9. Include Trending Topics in Your Writing

Readers are ready to click on and read content that is relevant to what is “hot” in the world right now. While you may wish to avoid controversial topics such as politics and religion, there are a host of other trending topics that you can incorporate into your writing. If you have a particular keyword that you wish to focus on, you can set up a Google Alert with email notifications for fresh news stories. Other helpful sources of trending news include Buzzfeed Trends, Reddit list, Hashtags, and Google Trends.

Writing for SEO takes planning and skill. While the content needs to be captivating and relevant to your audience’s interests, it must also be structured in such a way that it’s both visually appealing and will rank well in the search engines. Exceptional content will lead your visitors to share more on social media and bring more traffic to your website, which is good news for your business and your bottom line.

9 Quick SEO Copywriting Tips Every Online Business Should Know by Jerry Low.  Available from <http://www.business.com/seo-marketing/9-quick-seo-copywriting-tips-every-online-business-should-know/>. [September 15, 2016]

8 SEO Mistakes You Don’t Want to Be Making

8 SEO Mistakes You Don’t Want to Be Making by Ronald Dod.  Available from <http://smallbiztrends.com/2016/08/fix-seo-mistakes-seo-tips.html>. [August 10, 2016]

The goal of SEO is to get your website ranking in the search results so that it can be found by users, and, when they get to your site, for it to be everything they were searching for. Sounds simple, right? Wrong.

SEO is a constantly evolving art form that takes continuous trial and error to be a master of. It is a complex process that adapts at the speed of light. A great SEO team is constantly working to stay ahead of the game so that they know all of the latest and greatest SEO practices.

What worked six months ago might be completely out of date now. And, while the differences between yesterday and today might be tiny, in this industry, tiny differences can make huge changes. A small mistake could end up tanking your search result rankings, and no one wants that.

Here are eight mistakes that you might be making without even realizing it, and expert tips on how to fix them ASAP.

SEO Tips to Fix Mistakes

Keyword Cannibalization

Don’t let the scary name spook you; keyword cannibalization isn’t that scary at all, but it can have disastrous results. Keyword cannibalization occurs when two or more pages on your website are competing for the same keyword(s). This can occur when people don’t realize that they have duplicate content or duplicate titles, or even when inexperienced SEO “specialists” optimize multiple pages for the same keyword on purpose, thinking it will make the website as a whole more authoritative, but that is not the case.

Keyword cannibalization does nothing but hurt your site. Why? Well, think about it this way. The SERPs are a list; number one, two, three, four, and so on. Logistically, one has to come before the other. Google searches the web and chooses the web pages that are most accurate to the keyword that is being searched in order to rank them.

Now, when Google comes across both (or more) of your pages that are for the same keyword, they are forced to pick one to rank. What if Google picks the wrong page? Something you must always remember when dealing with SEO: Google wants their users to be happy with their search results. If a user doesn’t like your website, then Google isn’t going to, either.

Another thing that you must consider is that Google is just an algorithm — a machine. It’s not a human brain that can make connections or understand what you are thinking. Sure, it’s extremely advanced, and we think of it as all-knowing, but, at the end of the day, you have to manipulate it to understand your website based on the parts that the algorithm will read. If you have multiple pages that all rank for the exact same keyword, Google might not be able to understand that, and it won’t rank any of your pages. That, my friend, would be a complete disaster.

So, what do you do if your website is suffering from keyword cannibalization? There are basically only two options, which depend on your site and your content. The first, you can merge multiple pages if it makes sense to do so. If not, your other option is to un-optimize all other pages except for your main one for each keyword.

Duplicate Content

We touched briefly on duplicate content, but why don’t we go ahead and dive on in. Now, this is somewhat of a controversial topic among SEO experts. Some will tell you that Google does not have a duplicate content penalty. Some will tell you that Google absolutely does have a duplicate content penalty. So, which one is right? In this case, kind of both.

Google has come out and said that there is no penalty for having duplicate content on your site, but that doesn’t mean that it is a good practice or that it can’t hurt you. We see this a lot, because it really comes into play with eCommerce sites, which are some of the worst for doing this. Way too many eCommerce sites will take the manufacturer’s descriptions and titles, and then put them on their own site. In my expert opinion, this is an easy topic: Don’t duplicate content.

While Google has said that there is no “penalty” for duplicate content, they have also said that they value uniqueness. So, will having duplicate content hurt you? Maybe not, but will unique content help you? Absolutely. Our advice to our eCommerce clients is to have unique categories and product descriptions for everything, and if you have separate pages for size and color, merge them together.

Broken Links

Links are golden in this industry. They give your users more information, can help build trust in your authority, and can even build relationships with other people on the web. However, a broken link does nothing. If it wasn’t somewhat obvious, a broken link is a hyperlink that no longer goes to where it was intended. Naturally, over time, links are going to break, and you are going to acquire broken links. Pages go down, sites change; it’s natural.

However, if broken links are a natural part of websites, then why the fuss over them? One or two broken links might not kill your rankings, but you don’t want to accumulate a lot of them. No user is going to appreciate clicking on your link, and it then going nowhere. We all know it’s frustrating, and it generates a bad user experience, which is something Google is passionate about.

Google and users want sites that work. The good news here is that it doesn’t take much to fix this. Check out Broken Link Checker to find any of your broken links, and take them down; and then keep repeating this every now and then. A little housekeeping gradually over time will help you in the long run.

Incorrect Redirects

In the SEO world, a redirect is how you forward one URL to a different URL. This sends users to a separate URL from the one they originally asked for. There are numerous reasons that you use redirects, but the main thing to remember is that you don’t want to have the wrong type of redirect.

You want to use 301 redirects. These are permanent redirects that tell both the searcher and search engine that a page has been moved permanently. Almost more importantly, a 301 redirect will pass at least 90 percent of its ranking power to the new page.

However, you also have 302 redirects, which are temporary redirects. Since Google sees this as a temporary thing, they have no reason to pass on any authority. There are very few times when this should be used. Most of the time, you want to use a 301 redirect, and any 302 redirects that you have could be hurting your rankings and should be changed over.

No Internal Linking

Not only do you want functioning outbound links, you also want to make sure you have internal links to other pages on your website. A lot of websites that I come across don’t do this, which is a shame. Either they think it’s a complete waste of time, or they don’t understand the SEO juice that internal linking can bring. Not only can it help a search engine find more of your pages, but it can also help your users find more of your pages and the information that they might find helpful, which makes them happy. Remember, a happy user, a happy Google.

There are several ways that you can link internally. You can use anchor text to point to another site, or you can use links like “read more” or “click here for more information.” Another great way is to have a “related pages” section at the end so that users can see where else they should go. Generally, you want to have about 3-10 internal links per page. Pages that you want to rank higher should have more internal links than others. Also, make sure you do a little housekeeping here. As you add new pages, you want to make sure you go back to older pages and link them to any new content you have.

Incorrect Title Tags and Descriptions

This has been stressed by almost every expert in the game, even Google, and yet websites do this all the time. All of the pages on your website should have unique, descriptive titles. The title is one of the most important SEO aspects that there is. You cannot overlook this. The title needs to reflect what is on the page, not just the same title as all your other pages.

Meta descriptions are another aspect of SEO at which many websites fail. Again, these need to be unique. Your meta description is the content that appears under your title in the search results. This is your sales pitch. Having a good meta description can greatly increase your CTR. You have 160 characters to tell the searcher what your page is about and how it relates to them. It needs to be persuasive, unique, and highly descriptive.

Non-Responsive Websites

Today more than half of all searches happen on mobile devices, and, unless something completely bizarre happens, that percentage is just going to increase. With all of this mobile activity, websites need to make sure that they can perform on those platforms. They need to be responsive — automatically resizing to fit whatever device the user is on. Google has even stated that websites can’t be complacent, and they have to update with the times. In today’s technology-driven world, that means being mobile responsive.

Again, this all goes back to the user experience. You want those who found your site to be able to access it seamlessly, regardless of what device they are on. Now, we will go ahead and let you know that having a responsive website is a pretty big undertaking. It takes a lot of work on the development side, but, in the long run, it is completely worth it.

Slow Site Speed

Let me put this the simplest way I can: A slow website is a terrible website. End of discussion. In today’s technology-saturated and fast-moving world, people want things in a second, and you have about that long to deliver your website to them. It’s generally accepted that a website should load in two seconds or less; any more than that, and the user is going to become frustrated and abandon it.

Google wants the web to be functioning at the speed of light, and, if you can’t deliver that, then you could be punished for it. They have previously indicated that site speed is one of the variables in their algorithm.

At the end of the day, having a slow website can not only affect your SEO, but your conversions and your bottom line. So, you’ve got to speed it up. Test out your site speed now; if it is too low, then you’ve got some work ahead of you. You can work on optimizing your code by decreasing any unnecessary characters, removing redirects (like I’ve already told you to do), working on compressing large files, optimizing images on your site, or using a CDN. Whatever you do, you’ve got to get your site moving faster to give your users a better experience and to rise in the rankings.

Smartphone Photo via Shutterstock

8 SEO Mistakes You Don’t Want to Be Making by Ronald Dod.  Available from <http://smallbiztrends.com/2016/08/fix-seo-mistakes-seo-tips.html>. [August 10, 2016]