How to Get Your Website SEO-Ready
For SEO to make an impact on your ranking, you need to tweak your website first. It needs to be optimized before any other step you take to get free traffic.
Make sure your website isn’t messy. Here’s what messy (not Messi) means:
- Technical glitches even you can’t count.
- A loading time forcing visitors (even browsers) to hibernate
If your site has these issues, even traffic won’t make any difference. In fact, whatever traffic you’ll get will be for a limited period as Google will soon notice these issues, and that’s it; you’re out of the game!
You don’t want that to happen, would you?
So, here’s what you should do to start things off confidently:
- Have a website audit – a deep one – to find the flaws and remove technical issues.
- By removing technical issues, most of the loading problems will vanish, but still, make sure your website loads quickly – say, in 2 seconds.
- Don’t forget to have a log of inspiring content to keep your audience.
So, let’s begin with the first thing – the website audit.
Website Audit and Removing Technical Issues
Think about it. Why would you fix those errors? Pretty simple:
- You’ll never be able to rank, regardless of the quality of content.
- You’ll never be able to get visitors; they’ll be quick to flee away and never to return.
The glitches will take you nowhere despite your SEO strategy, no matter how effective it proved earlier.
So, what are those technical issues? We’ve compiled some most common ones and discuss how to remove them below:
Different Homepage Versions
What’s a homepage? If you said, “It’s my website’s home-base,” you’re absolutely right!
Sure, you’ll know the answer to the next question, which is: How many home-bases should a website have? Obviously, One (No point asking this).
Reality is different, by the way.
What actually happens is, websites often have tens of homepage versions. By versions, we mean there are different URLs, which is a vital issue to be addressed.
So, first and foremost, check if your home URL has different variations: how many pages are there on the web?
Here are a few examples:
If this happens (you’re getting two or more extra homepages), you need to set up 301 Redirect. This way, all duplicate versions will direct to the exact homepage automatically.
- If it’s a CMS, you have to use a plugin to redirect those pages.
- If it’s a custom site, a code will do
Work on the 404 Error Page
Is your 404 error page is something readers and browsers don’t like? Is it too boring? In simple words, is it something like this?
With this one, you won’t make a good impression on your readers – this is not creativity. Even the 404 error page should be creative and pleasing to the eyes. Instead of disappointment, it should give them a memorable experience. This is actually a bonus if you’re able to bring a smile to their faces.
So, how can you improve your 404 error page? Here are some quick yet simple tips
- Make it brand-oriented. It should follow the same theme as the other website pages.
- Add a note of apology or anything that reflects you’re a human
You’re not winning any points for creativity with that one.
If you want to please your readers (and again, the search engines), you need a custom 404 error page that’s in line with your brand and isn’t a complete snooze (bonus points if you can make them smile).
Just take a look at this custom 404 error page:
This one from Dan Woodger is simple yet funny – a funny image, an apology, and a one-line explanation.
To find out how your existing 404 error page looks like, open any page from your website that’s non-existent.
For example, www.yourwebsite.com/any-non-existent-page/
Does it look terrible? If yes, better improve it. Here’s how you can do it.
- Find the 404 error pages using the Web Sniffer tool.
- Establish a redirect that will take your readers to a proper page.
- Design an error page that doesn’t look generic and goes with your brand image.
Images Missing Alt Tags
It’s good that your website looks beautiful with all those images. But it won’t rank on Google if those images are missing alt tags.
So, check all the images on your website for alt tags. You can either do it manually or use one of the following tools:
- W3C validation tool
- Image Alt Text Checker tool
It’s an easier way to update your images when you’ve got tons of them on your website. By optimizing alt tags, we mean they should be relevant and descriptive.
Pay Attention to Your Meta Tags
You’d agree meta tags are important because they make the first impression on your potential visitor right where it matters the most – in the SERPs. Meta description, along with the title tag, is your introduction to potential customers.
Just like you pay attention to your content, Metas need the same to attract your target audience. But, if they’re not relevant, free organic traffic is out of sorts.
This is what happens to many website owners. What they do wrong is, create long titles and meta tags. Keep in mind:
- Google permits 70 characters for title tags: Anything beyond that, it will simply cut it. This means, no matter how relevant your post is, it won’t send a complete message across the table.
- Google allows 150 characters for meta tags: So, long meta descriptions will be cut, and the message will lose its effectiveness.
If you’re using WordPress, use the Yoast SEO plugin to fix long meta tags or title tags. For other platforms, you can do it manually.
Work On Site Speed
Here, we’re talking about the loading time of your website or web pages. Remember, we told you about keeping it around 2 seconds? Let’s find out why.
Loading time is directly proportional to conversion. If your website loads slowly, you’re losing opportunities to convert.
According to the current standards, a website with a high conversion rate takes between 2 – 3 seconds to load. If it takes longer, it’s undoubtedly losing traffic and hence conversion opportunities.
Slow loading time also hurts your search rankings. The only thing search engines care about is user experience, and Google takes it more seriously than others (we all know that).
In short, if your website doesn’t meet the aggregate loading time Google considers, it’s bad news for you.
How Can You Fix the Loading Time Issue?
You can do it quite easily by analyzing your website with Google’s PageSpeed Tool.
Insert your website’s URL and press ‘Analyse.’ In response, the tool will rate your website based on how quickly it loads on the web. Besides ranking your site, the PageSpeed Tool will suggest ways to improve.
Simply follow those suggestions and if there are any technical issues, fix them. You need to keep analyzing your website till it scores 100.
Create Inspiring and Engaging Content
Suppose you’ve succeeded in driving free traffic, what’s next? How can you keep your visitors there? It’s as crucial as getting visitors.
The first few seconds matter the most as your users need something worthwhile – something that attracts them or catches their interest.
This is the reason why you need a backlog of attention-grabbing content to keep them busy as soon as they land. In fact, it is the only reason why you’ve done so much to rank and get free traffic.
These days, millennials are too smart to distinguish between average, substandard, or generic content. And they do it pretty quickly. This means your content needs to look flared, unique, and glamorous – so much that they couldn’t resist going deeper.
- Don’t forget to conduct in-depth research. Gather different topics and ideas for your content. You can use topic research tools, such as WikiBrowser, Ninja, and Answer The Public to generate topic ideas for your website. Semrush also offers a handy tool in this respect.
- Understand the people you’re targeting. Obviously, you can’t make everyone satisfied, so focus on the ones who matter the most. Your content MUST target your audience.
- People usually don’t have a long attention span. Long sentences and continuously long paragraphs can bore them easily. On the other hand, bullet-points, listicles, short sections with images in between always help people engaged with the content.
- Naturally, human beings love stories. So, if your product has a story, it’ll surely be read and harmonized by potential customers.
- Utilize different content formats. If a video describes your product better, place a video. If a picture, illustration, or infographics can accentuate better than text, use it.
- Make use of different content types focused on different aspects of your products/services. Case studies, how-to guides, and listicles garner more views than other content types.
- Don’t forget about the killer headlines. It is mandatory for each and every content. You can use tools, such as CoSchedule or IsItWp, to analyze your headlines. Then there are many headline generators, like BlogAbout and Portent’s Content Idea Generator, etc. to help you come up with killer headlines.
When you’re done with all of the above, you’re ready to implement the killer SEO strategies to get free traffic.