According to an SEO joke, the best place to hide a dead body is on page 2 of Google search results. It makes sense as if you’ve done your own analysis within Google Search Console you’ll know the bulk of clicks come from results high up on Page 1.
It’s one reason why the SEO agency landscape is so crammed and competitive.
As an aside, I recently Googled “SEO Agency" and clicked on Page 10. There are genuine results for SEO agency web sites sitting there. That has to be pretty embarrassing for them.
There are many good agencies out there but before you pick one to take your hand/wallet and guide you, take a look at the following checklist of SEO considerations for your site.
Despite the title of this post I'm not including keyword stuffing because that's clearly one of the things you shouldn't be doing.
1) Bread & Butter
There are some basics that I'll avoid going through in detail. This article assumes you:
- Have relevant meta data on each page related to the content
- Have quality content on each page
- Registered with Google Search Console (formerly Webmaster Tools)
- Have a robots.txt file configured correctly
- Setup an analytics system to track inbound traffic (e.g. Google Analytics)
- Analyze your keywords and pick your battles
- Run a responsive web site
If you don’t have all of the above ticked then you should contact your provider or talk to your team – they’re the basics.
2) Don’t compete with yourself
A number of sites fall into the trap of having two different pages housing the same content. In this situation the search engine won't understand which is the correct page and so both URLs may start to compete with each other for ranking.
Some recent examples I've seen have been a job board with two pages for Graduate Jobs and a fashion site that showcased the latest events in two areas.
This mistake often happens due to the complex categorization that powers many online classified sites but is easy to resolve with some thought into how you structure your data. If you can’t avoid having duplicate content consider canonical tagging to instruct the search engines on which page is the dominant one.
3) Consider your speed
Page load time impacts user experience and can affect your SEO ranking. You can review your page load speed by using this PageSpeed tool.
Consider what score you get for Desktop and Mobile. Live sites will be impacted by advertisements, analytics and various other scripts that run on the system.
4) Guide the robots
Use noindex/nofollow to prevent certain pages going in to the search engine index and to prevent crawlers following certain links. Depending on the pages of your site you may find it beneficial to tag them with this information.
5) Take advantage of initiatives such as AMP
AMP is one initiative to improve the experience of loading and reading content on a mobile. Your site's content pages should have AMP enabled to take advantage of the potential SEO benefits.
6) Domain name or folder
This is a big one. Are you running your site on the right domain name? Should you consider running it on a folder of another site in your brand? At Madgex we’ve seen a number of job boards run on “/jobs” with great results, as it normally gives you a healthy dose of indexable content alongside your recruitment offering.
When making this decision you need to consider where your content is housed, if your site is part of a wider brand and how old your existing domain name is to establish the risks of the move.
7) Content is required
If you are running your site on a different domain name to your other services then you should consider a content strategy. This won’t just help your Google ranking, it’ll also boost your overall user engagement too.
8) Inbound linking
Whatever your industry you’ll find hundreds of other web sites with content but not the services you offer such as jobs or courses. It’s worth contacting them to see if they will link or display your services for free. Educational institutes looking to help their graduates build a career, content specific blogs looking to provide a more rounded offering or local community hubs may be a good place to start.
There are more commercial ways to receive inbound links. Sponsorship, conference speaking or providing exclusive discount codes on particular e-commerce products are good ways for sites to gain links.
Ultimately inbound linking takes time but pays off in the long term.
9) Consider Bing
This might sound like a crazy one, but if you look at the search statistics from comScore you’ll see Google searches account for around 64% of total US desktop searches.
That’s a huge market share but also means a third of traffic is searching elsewhere. How many of you are registered on Bing Webmaster Tools?
If you’re running a Madgex product there are a number of SEO tools and configurations that are worth getting in touch about relating to the above and beyond.
There's no silver bullet with SEO, it's an ongoing evolution of providing good quality content to make it as easy as possible for the search engines to understand your site is the best place to send users. If you do that successfully you'll leave your competitors on page 2, along with all the other dead bodies.
If you'd like to discuss, talk about, converse, exchange views on, debate, chat, chew the fat, compare, review or confabulate about your site's SEO performance further please get in touch.