The Internet is awash in SEO advice – most of it is wrong or misleading. But, there are a few gems out there that apply almost universally to every company with a website. Here’s a few that you might have missed that will make a dramatic difference in your response rate and CTR.
Your Developer Site Is Indexed But Your Main Site Isn’t
Design is good, but it’s not everything. When design overrides your ability to be found in the index, it doesn’t matter how awesome your webpage looks. If your live version of the site has a link or two pointing to the developer’s version, remove that or block it in a robots.txt file.
Specify noindex and move on to more important things. Once you’ve blocked the dev version, make sure you don’t also block the main version of your site. Remove the nofollow meta tag from the code you’re transferring over to your new domain if you used this to block the dev version.
You Have No Analytics
Analytics is important. Most people these days are using either Google Analytics, KISSMetrics, or Crazy Egg. Any one of those solutions will work well, and they should give you all of the information you need.
Of course, some SEO agencies use add-ons with these tools, or may advise you to use a combination of these tools to get a better idea about your visitor behavior. Many companies will charge a premium for their services too.
For example, PosiRank is an SEO reseller company and one that a lot of agencies use. If you decide to go the advanced analytics (as opposed to just tracking basic user metrics), you should definitely get as close to the source as possible to save yourself some money.
You Changed Your Link Structure and Faked Out Google
What happens when you decide you don’t want to use the default link structure inside of WordPress – you know the one? It’s ugly and contains a lot of numbers and weird code stuff.
Moving content from a subfolder to a subdomain or changing the name of a subfolder, or changing the page slug will cause those dreaded 404 errors. If you don’t need to change your page structure, don’t.
If you do, you really need to use 301 redirects to move everything to the new URL so that there’s no disruption in your traffic.
You’re Using New Code And Features
Sometimes, webmasters run into issues when they introduce new features to their sites and don’t pay any attention to SEO. This is a common mistake. Maybe you want to make your free content paid so you move it behind a paywall. You trap your site’s crawl-able text in images for design purposes or you change your site’s pagination.
Whenever you introduce new code, you increase the possibility that you’ll break something. Now, sometimes, it’s worth trying, even if it causes a dip in search traffic. Just be aware of it, hire professionals where you can, and keep changes to a minimum.
You’re Not Optimizing Images
When you upload images, you create a serious problem – namely that those images hog resources. Uploading a 1.3 GB image might make you say “ooh” and “awe.” But, it’s not doing anything for your page load times. In fact, your visitors, many of whom have never seen your site before, will probably groan instead and flee your site.
If your page load times exceed 3 seconds, assume that you’re losing more than 40 percent of your traffic because that’s probably pretty close to the truth.
You’re Not Focusing On Speed
The only time speed kills is if you snort it, or you’re whizzing down the highway. When it comes to websites, speed is a very good thing. Unfortunately, most newbie webmasters aren’t so focused on website speed. They’re more concerned with making their design look pretty.
If you’re using WordPress, one of the best hosts on the web for you is Web Synthesis. This company is owned by the same people who run Coppyblogger and Genesis Framework. They’re professional, the customer service is amazing, and your site load times will instantly improve. They provide you with some good caching options, security for your server, and a lot of other cool features that usually cost extra with other hosting providers. Imagine 0.5 second load times and no more DDOS attacks.
Another good choice is WP Engine. This company has perfected WordPress hosting. They offer built-in security, like Web Synthesis, as well as a lot of features that are normally paid-for options with most hosts.
Rusell Geller is a senior marketing executive. He always likes to take the opportunity to share his industry insights online. His blogs can be found on a number of relevant websites.