Ok. Hopefully you’ve gotten your website mobile ready per Google instructions and your site does the following:
- Avoids software that is not common on mobile devices (like Flash)
- Uses text that is readable without zooming
- Sizes content to the screen so users don’t have to scroll horizontally or zoom
- Places links far enough apart so that the correct one can be easily tapped
Not sure if you did everything properly – this tool can help: https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/mobile-friendly/
Ok. Now… have you thought about SEO lately?
Here are six things to check every six months:
- Bad backlinks
Having quality backlinks still counts with Google but not all links are good links. Bad backlinks, such as links from spammy sites or irrelevant pages/link directories, can and will hurt your search engine rankings.
To fix bad backlinks, gather your backlink data using a tool like Open Site Explorer or MajesticSEO and remove links that look unnatural. This process is a pain and will take a while but it is crucial if your search engine rankings matter to you.
- Titles and title tags
Pay attention to your webpage titles and title tags. They matter for several reasons: Title tags can help with page rankings, the title shows up in the search engine results page (SERP) itself, and the title is shown when the page is shared on social sites like Twitter and Facebook.
Here are a few common mistakes associated with titles and title tags to avoid, including:
- Tags That Are Too long: Search engines only display the first 60 or so characters of a web page title tag, so a title tag that’s too long will be cut off.
- Tags That Are Too short: Use what they give you (60 characters) – it is too valuable not to.
- Irrelevant/wasted space: With a finite number of characters, your title tag needs to include the most important information – the relevant keyword/term for that specific page.
- Meta descriptions
I cannot count the number of new clients that have presented us websites full of duplicate meta descriptions. Similar to a title tag, the page’s meta description is displayed on the query’s results page.
A good meta description is meaningful to the reader, is actually readable, and should explain what the page is about in a short sentence. It should include the primary keyword or phrase, but still make sense to the person reading it.
- Unintentional duplicate content
All duplicate content is a problem for Google – and for your site’s search engine performance.
Unintentional duplicate content is a common error and can happen for a number of reasons – secure HTTPS pages, URL parameters, and CMS templates. Fortunately, many tools can detect duplicate content, including Screaming Frog, Link Sleuth, and our favorite – the Moz Crawl Test. Once you know where duplicates lie – you can tell search engines not to index them using Noindex, Nofollow, or rel=canonical tags.
- Over-optimization and cannibalization of target keywords
You heard keywords are what count – so you decide to cram the same ones onto every page of your site… This approach is a huge no-no. Think about it: Search engines try to display the most relevant page based on EACH search query. If you have multiple pages optimized for the same target keyword, you’re leaving it up to the search engine to decide which page to show users. NEVER a good idea.
How can you remedy the situation? Use a robust canonical SEO strategy, one which clearly assigns a keyword to a sole canonical page. This sends a clear message to search engines as to which page is the most relevant for a given keyword and is a better experience for the user, as the most pertinent page will be displayed.
- Image optimization
Don’t forget to tell search engines something about your website images. They take up valuable real estate on your site and yet search engines can’t actually “read” images – making them impossible to index. Best practices include creating image meta data with relevant keywords and phrases:
- Alt tags serve as the text shown when an image cannot be displayed because of a slow internet connection or text-reading software. The alt tag explains what the image is.
- Image tags are the words that appear when the user scrolls over an image, providing additional contextual clues.
- File names go one step further in providing context – more specifically, how the image relates to the other content on the page.