Updated: Jun 26, 2020
SEO is simple. Remove barriers to navigate around your site and create content for your users.
Google only loves you when everyone else loves you first. Wendy Piersall
There has been many debates about how SEO has been changing, especially over the past 5 years or so. I will let you into a little secret... SEO is pretty straight forward these days. SEO consists of two main areas - Technical stability and authority building Content.
Technical SEO: The fist bit of advice would be to get an audit conducted by an expert. Choose your freelancer or agency wisely as I have seen many audits and they vary from awful to great. The SEO audit will isolate any errors or areas which need attention.
To save you some time, I have compiled a little list of the most common SEO issues:
Mobile Site Speed (+ using a CDN)
Status Error removal
Tags, titles and descriptions
Content for users
Using a Content Delivery Network: There are many CDNs to chose from and this will usually come down to your requirements and the cost. Using a CDN will greatly improve your site speed, especially if your site is image and video heavy (the weight could be coming from 3rd party providers of fonts and icons, so it would be good to look into how this can be reduced if you feel this is an issue, but this would be called out in your audit.
Status errors: I regularly see a high number of 302, 404, 500 etc. errors. These are usually quite easy to fix and will clear up some of the confusion Google has when crawling your site.
HREFLANG: If you are an international business and you have sites in a number of different languages you may find that you have some ranking issues with the wrong site ranking for the country i.e. US (.com) ranking in UK (.co.uk). This will be affecting your traffic and conversion stats and you will want to address this ASAP, even if the vanity of traffic will reduce in the short term.
Tags, Titles and descriptions: This is an old school approach, but still impacts from a Google perspective and on a human level. Having a clear tag, title and description will greatly improve both spiders and people understanding what the page is trying to achieve. Look for missing [tags, titles and descriptions] and duplications.
Backlink profile: Links are still important, but in my opinion lower down the priority list. I wold recommend cleaning up your profile and maintaining it to ensure nothing toxic gets through and you are punished by proxy, but I would not spend time trying to build links, this is not a cost effective use of time for you or your agency. I would recommend 2 things:
Creating Evergreen Content which will build links naturally. This type of content should serve a purpose, be helpful and be naturally sharable.
Reverse Brand Mention Link-building - This is achieved by scrapping online for mentions of your brand in blog posts and on social, using a tool, such as Brandwatch. Then reaching out to request links to be added to preexisting content. This process is quick and resource-lite.
There will obviously be a number of specific issues your site will have, but the above are what I would say comes up in nearly all audits, so you can get cracking on this TODAY.
Content for users: Obviously keywords are important, you should include them naturally within your content; the issue usually is that this becomes stuffed with keywords. Think, how would you write your content for a friend? Keep it relevant. You wouldn't mention a brand/location/product type 100 times in 700 words if you were saying it, so don't do it in your content. Understand your audience and write for them.
Content clusters: A mistake made by many brands (and agencies for that matter) is content volume. I see so many blogs where 30, 40, 50, 60% of the content written is NEVER read by a user. This will be due to a few reasons, which will include but are not limited to:
Bad Keyword Research (KWR), if you are writing content which no one is searching for then no one will stumble across your blog post
Their content is not ranking as they did not review the current landscape of the top 5 - 8 positions. If you are trying to get into top positions in Google for certain keywords, look and see what is already ranking; if they are all 2000+ word articles, don't create a 500 word article and be surprised that it doesn't rank
The content is hard to find on the site. This leads me onto my next point...
Your content should (mainly) be produced as a cluster (a number of articles, videos etc. related to the same or similar topic).
Internal Linking: These articles/videos etc. should then be linked to contextually within the content. Users and Google will then be able to find all the information on a given topic and your authority on said topic will become apparent and enable the whole cluster to be considered for groups of keywords as opposed to singular keywords. You would be shocked by how many large content creators are still missing this from their content strategy.
This is not an exhaustive list, just something to get you going.
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