If you are going to carry out effective SEO then you need to get your own house in order first, and that involves making sure your website is in a fit state to benefit from the link building adventure that you are about to embark on. There is no point creating some really powerful links from top domains if your website is not optimised to really benefit from them.
Worst case scenario could mean that you are penalised by the search engine for your website but the most likely occurrence is that the spiders will struggle to index your site and therefore won’t know what it’s about and won’t rank it.
With that in mind, here are 5 onsite SEO steps to take so this doesn’t happen.
Remove Duplicate Content – To try and cut down on the amount of people that go around the internet scraping the best content and then use it for themselves; Google have worked hard on developing their algorithm to penalise duplicate content. Therefore you should make sure that none of your website’s pages contain copy that is written anywhere else; not just on your site but anyone else’s either.
To ensure that your content is unique, there is a tool called Copyscape that can tell you if it is located elsewhere or not. It’s also a good idea to regularly refresh your onsite content so that if someone does try and copy it, you won’t be penalised.
Limit Keyword Use – A vast amount of the algorithm changes that Google have implemented recently have been aimed at stopping people loading their offsite content and website with too many keywords. This is known as keyword stuffing and refers to excessive use of key search terms in order to receive higher rankings.
With this being the case, you need to ensure that you are not using your keywords more than you should be in your website copy. They should look natural and be planted seamlessly into the text. It also helps if you have specific pages for specific keywords as this will improve the relevance of your links when they link back to these pages.
Get Your Meta tags In Order – The title and description tags are what will be displayed to the user in the search engine should your website appear for any search query. Title tags are one of the main things that will be taken into consideration when ranking a site and description tags will influence people to click on your site; so it’s best to have them optimised.
Title tags should be no more than 70 characters long and descriptions should be limited to around 155 as they will not show up in full otherwise. Keywords should be placed in these but again it is important to be wary of keyword stuffing. There is also a Meta tag called the keyword tag but I would advise against including this as it will let your competitors know what keywords you are targeting.
Remove Sign-Ins Or Entry Forms – Some websites like to include an entry form or sign in procedure so that only members can access the site but this is not a good idea in terms of SEO. The search engine robots that are tasked with crawling your site to understand what it is about cannot get past these forms and so won’t be able to index your content.
This could lead to your site being penalised because Google doesn’t know what it contains. It is fine to include a log in section to access personalised areas of your site but not the whole thing.
Check For Errors And Page Multiples – In order for the whole of your site to be indexed correctly, you will need to ensure that there are no missing pages or 404 errors. 404s are when a page cannot be found and so it’s obvious why you wouldn’t want these. If you do find any, you can easily set up a redirect that links that page back to the home page or somewhere else.
It’s also worth checking to see if you have any pages that have two different URLs. Sometimes when a site is made, the home page can be assigned two different addresses depending on whether you access it from outside the site or from the onsite home button. This can be confusing for search engines and may lead to your links being diluted due to them being directed at two different pages.
Chris Mayhew is blogging here on behalf of Marketing By Web. This online marketing agency offers services in PPC, social media management and SEO in Bristol. Visit their website today for more information on how SEO can increase your web exposure.