SEO Checklist – Top 10 Most Common SEO Issues
I read a lot of SEO blogs and forums and it never fails to amaze me how the same, fundamental basic SEO questions crop up time and time again, and the same old advice is wheeled out, rinsed, and then wheeled out again. And then when that is finished, it is wheeled out again for good measure.
So, I thought I would compile the 10 most common SEO questions, and issues we come up against when assessing client’s websites.
- 1. URL’s and Duplicate Content: Do you have both a www version of your web pages AND a non-www version of your web pages? If so, Google sees these as 2 separate pages (the www version is effectively a sub-domain) and may determine either version as duplicate content. Also, natural incoming links may pass juice to either version of your page rather than a single one, diluting your incoming ‘link juice’.
- 2. Internal Links and Duplicate Content: Does any part of your internal page navigation link to a duplicate version of another page? The most common scenario here would be that your home page URL is ‘www.monkeyheadfood.com’ but your internal navigation points to ‘www.monkeyheadfood.com/index.html’ (or similar) which serves the same content. This also leads to duplicate content issues and the potential for incoming links to be split between the different versions.
- 3. Poor Keyword Selection: I think it was Darth Vader who said ‘the ability to destroy a planet is insignificant compared to the power of keyword research‘. Something like that anyway. All websites, new, old, good, bad and ugly, need to have conducted a full keyword research otherwise you are indulging in the webmaster equivalent of trying to nail jelly to a wall. If you haven’t produced a full keyword research document (or had one prepared for you) how on earth do you know what to target? How do you know where the search volume is? How do you know which keywords you actually have a chance of ranking highly for? You get my point.
- 4. Ignoring The ‘SEO Spine’: I have just made ‘SEO Spine’ up. Impressive little term, eh? Ok – I will move on. By ‘SEO Spine’, I am referring to your on-page keyword targeting. Ideally, your page should have your target keyword in the URL, the title, the heading tag, and the content, creating a ‘spine’ (but don’t over-do it and spam keywords). Can you see what I did there?
- 5. Images (only) For Navigation: The main search engines are still in kindergarten when it comes to reading text on images. They just aren’t very good at it. So, you should not be using images for navigation because you wont receive the positive ranking score from your anchor text, (which can be very valuable).
- 6. Title Tag Suicide: Your title tag is the ‘pocket dynamite’ of your web page. There isn’t a stronger signal of relevancy and Google loves to allocate bucket-loads of value to them. So, read this post about SEO and Title Tags now!
- 7. Unfriendly URL’s: Although the search engines can index ‘unfriendly’ dynamic URL’s these days, they still prefer the static versions of the same. I can tell you, for example, that Google certainly DOES prefer static URLs to their dynamic buddies. Perhaps more importantly, having keywords in the URL will increase your click-through-rate from the search engines as they appear in bold in the displayed listings.
- 8. Poor Site Architecture: Your website should be as ‘flat’ as possible to minimise the number of clicks from your home page to any other page (without using a search box). If you have less than 10,000 pages then you should, ideally, be able to reach any other page within 3 clicks.
- 9. Sub-Domains Not Sub-Directories: Google has changed the way it looks at sub domains and so, these days, it is much more beneficial to add any additional content (e.g a blog or an ecommerce facility) in a sub-directory. Reading reference: SEO Sub-Domains
- 10. Link Building: We love link building. However, it seems that many webmasters don’t! A web page’s inbound link profile is the most important signal to Google when determining a pages trust and authority, which in turn, helps determine rankinings.We all-too-often see either very few links, or the worst set of spammy links since spam was invented in the world, ever, ever, ever. You need to build quality links, and when you have finished, you need to build some more.
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