Posted: 15 Dec 2014 06:32 PM PST
The work isn't over once a website is launched. In fact, the work has only just begun. Everyone knows the importance of consistently producing fresh and enticing content, but there's much more to it than that. If you want the search engines to find value in your content and index your website, make sure you know the nitty-gritty technical stuff so you can maximize reach, visibility and good standing with Google.
Don't Sink in the SERP: ChecklistMost website owners want to rank well on the SERP, but often overlook small details that make a big impact on your ranking. It's like when you need an oil change: if you ignore this simple task for long enough, you'll end up having to replace the entire transmission.
Here are three critical things you need to check regularly:
Page Load SpeedThe situation: Have you ever attempted to visit a website that was excruciatingly slow to load? When too-large graphics or other factors slow your site, you will not only chase away visitors, but the robots that work for the search engines will get impeded too—and they HATE obstacles.
The tool: There are other options, but Pingdom is an excellent place to start. Simply type in the URL and the tool returns load speed, a performance grade and a page analysis. Pingdom will even store your information for later comparisons.
The fix: When you find a problem, follow the provided link to get more info from the Google Developers site and/or you can run a search to find the answer. Some fixes may require some IT help—but, hey, at least you've identified the problem.
(Note: You can also find a website building platform that hosts the site and reports troubles to its tech support team, so you don't have to worry about it. Here are some examples: compare website builders.)
MetadataThe situation: Everything you see in search results is a function of metadata. To be maximizing your search engine rank, you need to have an optimized title and description for each page or post and use alt tags for images. This may sound complicated, but it isn't. Check this: Meta Tags and SEO.
The tool: WordPress Genesis framework includes built-in metadata optimization options. There are also several plugins available; the Yoast tool is popular and highly rated.
The fix: Once you determine the best way to enter metadata for your website configuration, write tags deliberately and with an eye on SEO. Also, NEVER duplicate the metadata. Rather, make sure each tag accurately describes the content of each page. Here are some tips: Write good metadata.
Backlink ProfileThe situation: There's an SEO urban legend about a company that bought a ton of trash-site backlinks from a black hat dealer and pointed them at a competitor site as a form of sabotage—unfortunately that sort of thing actually happens. It's like identity theft: suddenly, you are faced with cleaning up a costly mess you didn't make. However, sabotage isn't necessarily the reason a website has bad backlinks.
The Tool: While the other two critical areas can be handled without incurring a monthly charge, this one can be difficult. You can get free checks via Ahrefs, Rank Signals, and other sites. The gold standard is the Moz suite of tools.
The fix: Pull your backlink profile regularly, download it to a spreadsheet, and inspect the situation. Ideally, you'll see that you're steadily gaining links from legitimate websites. There is a range of factors to consider: total links, authority of sites linking to you, anchor text variance and the list goes on. Here is an excellent article on the topic: Backlink Analysis.
The fundamentals are important in any pursuit—and these are the fundamentals of back-end site maintenance. Get ahead of the curve and don't let an unseen problem throttle your great content.
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