Having search engine optimized web pages is a critical aspect to your overall website success. Good Search Engine Optimization (SEO) improves site visibility and navigation for both search engines and users without altering the integrity and context of your site. To help you better understand how SEO impacts your website, I’m going to discuss five SEO issues and why you may need to address them on your website.
Whether you are working with an e-commerce or informational site, you want your pages to rank for the most appropriate search terms that people actually search for.
One of the keys to optimization is having keywords that are up to date and relevant for your industries’ search tendencies through doing effective keyword research. For example, the constant innovation in the technology industry creates new language usage which changes how people search for these items online. The meaning of “wearable technology” has changed drastically over the years as Apple watches and fitness trackers have entered the market. While this is an extreme example, small changes like this occur in all types of industries over time. So it’s important to take a look at the search trends of your industry every so often and make sure you aren’t missing out on valuable search traffic because of your dated keywords.
Having an updated XML sitemap for your website is an integral part of the SEO process. A website could have all the relevant content in the world, but it won’t matter if search engines can’t find that content. Sitemaps help search engine bots crawl your website efficiently and reduce the risk of crawlers overlooking a section of your website. To learn more about the SEO benefits of sitemaps, check out “What is a Sitemap and Do You Need One.”
Internal linking can help your site visitors navigate the site efficiently, and can also pass page rank along to other valuable pages on your website such as product or service pages. For example, linking from a blog post to a relevant product page can provide some valuable “link juice” to that product page. The internal link structure helps improve the architecture of the site and can help search engine bots evaluate the importance of pages when they crawl your site. A healthy internal linking structure can help pass link juice throughout the site and connect relevant pages to one another for seamless navigation.
Do you have a website that was recently relaunched? Or are you creating new web pages and getting rid of old ones often? If so, you might be dealing with a lot of 404 errors (page not found). The best way to avoid losing value and traffic from those old pages is to create a 301 redirect. A 301 redirect is a permanent redirect (unlike its temporary 302 counterpart) that will ensure that a visitor will land on your new page even if they click a link directed to your old page. Many tools can help you identify 404 errors, but spending the time necessary to find the most appropriate page to redirect to is the biggest challenge for maintaining page rankings.
A lot of times page speed gets overlooked when creating an aesthetically pleasing site. You can spend all the time and resources you want creating a site that looks great, but if it’s slow, then your visitors are going to leave before they even get a chance to check it out. Search engines also don’t like slow load times, and slow site speed has actually been a negative ranking factor on Google since 2010.
Two of the biggest factors when it comes to page speed is the “time to first byte” and “page load time.” The time to first byte references the responsiveness of a web server. Page load time is the time it takes for things like images, stylesheets and scripts to load. You can take several steps to improve page speed, such as Gzip compression, optimizing images and leveraging browser caching.
SEO can benefit your website in numerous ways, and I hope this article helps you initiate your website optimization. If you are interested in optimizing your website but unsure of where to begin, check out our SEO audit services for help today!
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