Today we’re taking it back to basics; but you’d be surprised how often the everyday technical SEO chores are overlooked or underutilised. But having a solid SEO foundation is key if you want any kind of longevity in your project.
Whilst building links and producing content is very powerful and effective when it comes to SEO, sometimes you just need to take a moment to do a little spring cleaning and ensure your house in in order.
Let’s take a look at five smart SEO tasks that will make sure you are getting the most out of your link building and content development efforts.
Broken Outgoing Links
Making sure your outgoing links are still operating is just as important as keeping your internal links 404-free. Websites come and go all the time, so it wouldn’t be a surprise to discover that some of the sites you’re linking to don’t exist anymore or their pages and URL structures have changed.
In some cases, you may even find that the websites you’re linking to have become unscrupulous, which is worse! These types of outbound links can harm your website’s organic ranking and can also create a poor user experience (UX).
Task – Perform a thorough scan on all outbound links using a tool such as Screaming Frog and ensure they are linking to relevant locations in one step.
Whilst Meta Descriptions no longer have the same bearing on SEO as they used to, they are still a powerful piece of canvas for conversion and click-through rates on organic search. Often times however, someone will write a Meta description for a page once and never update it again.
However, it’s important to keep track of the changes in the search landscape and how this affects Meta descriptions. In December of 2017 for example, Google increased the maximum length of search results snippets from 160 characters to 320 characters. So anyone who hasn’t updated their descriptions may be missing an opportunity to improve click-through rates by adding a more engaging description.
Task – Review and tweak the Meta descriptions on all of your highest priority pages. If possible write an accurate and engaging description up to 320 characters long, naturally incorporating the target keyword for those specific pages.
We keep barking on about how important mobile pages are becoming, but it’s the truth! Mobile search traffic takes up a significant majority, and that’s only set to increase.
Ensuring your mobile pages are responsive in design creates a positive user experience, which is a big plus in Google’s eyes.
Task – Test the mobile responsiveness of your website’s most important pages using Google’s Mobile Responsive Test and multiple mobile devices. You may even want to consider implementing AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) across your website, as it aims to serve mobile users in the quickest and simplest way possible.
Much like auditing your outgoing links, it’s important to keep an eye on where your internal links are going and ensuring the destination URLs are still correct and relevant.
As with outbound links, search engines expect inbound links to point to a relevant page, without multiple steps.
Task – Scan your internal links and double check that they are pointing to relevant and working pages in one step for the best possible user experience and ranking signals.
This goes for both desktop and mobile pages – most websites load at an extremely sub-par speed.
Why is that important?
Firstly, page speed will become a ranking factor in mobile search in July of 2018. From Google’s Zhiheng Wang and Doantam Phan:
The “Speed Update,” as we’re calling it, will only affect pages that deliver the slowest experience to users and will only affect a small percentage of queries. It applies the same standard to all pages, regardless of the technology used to build the page. The intent of the search query is still a very strong signal, so a slow page may still rank highly if it has great, relevant content.
Secondly, it plays a huge role in user experience, and as we all know UX is a ranking factor. So even before the mobile first index comes in to play, Page Speed is hugely important.