Harvest These 5 Types of SEO Fruit
I like to think of SEO as being similar to farming. Not content farms, but actual farming. You plant some seeds, and if taken care of properly, you can reap the benefits of your labor. For most site owners, even if they’ve already reaped some of those benefits, there are five specific things they can do to help improve the results for their site if they haven’t already: incoming links, defining a site’s URL, Title tags, internal linking and analytics.
1. Incoming Links
It’s not surprising that broken inbound links can put a real dent in your traffic. Even if you’ve got a stellar 404 page, I’d make it a mission to get every broken link updated.
It really isn’t that hard, once you’ve located those links, it’s as easy as 1-2-3-4:
- Make a note of all the 404s.
- Make a note of what the new URLs need to be.
- Locate the contact information on the site linking to you with the 404.
- Send an email asking the URLs to be changed.
In order to find the 404s, I’d use Google Webmaster Tools. There you’ll find all the 404s indexed by Google. Also set a reminder to check this section every month in case some more pop up.
Everyone wants their website to show up in the search results for X keyword. But, if you’re targeting multiple keywords and you offer a variety of products/services, directing all traffic to the homepage can get tricky.
Use the same steps as above to find the links, and then sort them according to anchor text and relevance. And even by location, if you’re really in the mood.
For instance, if you’re site is about fruit, you might want to rank for apples, oranges, pineapples, etc. It’s better to point the links about apples to the page on your site about apples, and then the same for oranges and pineapples.
2. Define Your Site’s URL
Send Traffic to the Right Place
The first thing I always do when I look at a site is to see if the www version is redirecting to the non-www version or vice versa. Having both versions up can negatively impact a site’s ranking.
Pick one and set up a 301 redirect to send traffic (and links, as applicable) to the desired location. In some cases, other versions of the site may appear, such as, “http://example.com/index.html”.
This is just a default file your server looks for when one hasn’t been defined.
3. Title Tags
Make the Tags Relevant
As with rerouting links, you want the Title tags to vary and also correlate the information on the page.
Spamming Stuffing Labeling every page with the same words isn’t very smart when you’re informing the search engines what those pages are about.
It doesn’t make much sense to name every page of your website (company name). It does make sense to name them (product/service name) | (company name).
4. Internal Linking
Since I keep referencing the first section of this post, make sure you read it again. Broken internal links are a bad thing.
Not only does it provide the user with a poor experience, it shows you aren’t maintaining your site. A downed internal page might also cause one to question how updated the information is on the site.
It’s just as important to remove old information and redirect pages as it is to keep the information updated and fresh. Xenu Link Sleuth is a pretty good tool to catch these errors.
Use of Anchor Text
Using anchor text internally is another good way of directing traffic (and search engines) to the informative sections of your site. It’s also a lot better than using “click here” or “check this section”.
Think of it as describing to the user where they are being taken should they click on a link internally. The deeper your site goes, the more varied your anchor text should get.
So you’ve spent time beefing up your site to rank for certain key terms, but not all of your traffic is coming from the search engines. Or is it?
Google has its own analytics/webmaster tools which are fairly easy to set up. Once you get it up and going, let the data accumulate and you can start seeing how much of your traffic is coming from the search engines.
Not only that, but you’ll be able to see if those backlinks you’ve been building are paying off. After all, backlinks aren’t only there to increase the popular vote; they’re also supposed to help with traffic.
There’s this cool section in Google Analytics that shows you what key terms visitors are using for your site being returned in the SERPs.
This is a great way to see how well some terms are performing, show possible terms you haven’t thought of and even give some insight as to how well your branding is performing.
If your site is about computers and some of the search terms people are finding your site by are “fruits and veggies”, you might want to look into why that’s happening.
Either way, this section can provide some insight as to how users are searching for your site and how they are finding it.
So those are my quick fixes, so to speak, on making the fruits of your SEO labor even juicier. In addition to these, what would you say are some things that are most-often overlooked to maximize SEO benefits?
About Joshua Titsworth
Joshua Titsworth is an SEO manager with Search Fanatics.
When he’s not online tweeting or blogging, he’s at home with his family or at a local golf course trying to break 80 … but first he must break 90.