Every website owner wants tons of site visitors to hit their website. The more the site visitors, the greater the chance that some of them will transact some business on the website. To drive site visitors to a website, most website owners know that they should engage with a Search Engine Optimization specialist and start applying SEO processes to their website.
As website owner, once you’ve reached a firm decision to engage with an SEO professional, do pause for just a little bit and understand what you must do, BEFORE engaging with an SEO professional and applying any on page SEO processes to the page content of your website. What’s really important for you to do is identify any area(s) of your website that could cause problems when applying on page SEO processes to it.
What I’ve attempted to do in this material, is describe what you must do when embarking on a thorough analysis of your website assets before applying any on-page SEO processes to the website content itself.
Fixing Broken Website URLs
Check site architecture carefully for SEO friendly URL formation, especially if CMS like Joomla have been used to power the website. Do this even if you know that today search engines like Google, Bing and others have matured to be able to effectively deal with the strange URL structures used by Joomla or WordPress.
Download Xenu, a superb, free to download and use tool, that thoroughly scans every single URL generated by your website looking for broken links and give you a really exhaustively detailed report.
Use your .htaccess file, (added wiki link) which will be found in the root directory of your webhost, and write appropriate 300 redirects for all the broken links identified by Xenu.
Once completed, run Xenu again and check for broken links. Iterate through this process as many times as necessary until Xenu reports no broken links on your website.
NOTE: I strongly recommend running Xenu at least once a week on your website and fixing any broken links reported by Xenu.
Fixing Broken Webpage Links
Once you are certain that there no broken URLs will be encountered by site visitors, switch over to checking every single webpage on the website for broken navigational and cross content links.
Make absolutely sure that there is no broken page navigation and page content links. When you are checking for content links be sure to check for both internal links i.e. links across the content of a single page or external links i.e. links across external pages.
Crawling & Indexing
Run search engine simulations to determine exactly what is accessible to search engines can access when they reach your website to index it.
If such pages are identified, figure out why they have been blocked from search engines. The rule of thumb is if any page is blocked from being identified and indexed by search engines that page should be deleted as it is not adding any value whatsoever to your website.
Install the Chrome extension YSlow. Then starting with the website Home page, open the page in Chrome and use YSlow to check the page load time. YSlow is a brilliant tool, free for use, which clearly identifies and documents exactly what is the cause of long page download times.
YSlow offers an explanation as well as makes intelligent suggestions on what you should do to fix any issue identified.
Once, you’ve implemented all of YSLow suggestions / tweaks your webpage would have an ideal page load time making the page a lot more interesting to Google and other search engines.
Take a close look at the number of web page assets being loaded, per page. There will be a separate request made to the webserver to download each asset. The webpage cannot be displayed properly in the site visitors Browser until all web page assets are downloaded from the webhost.
A swift page load speed improves search engine rankings enormously. This also contributes in a big way to improving a site visitor’s website experience.
When people want to locate information on the Internet that perform a search using a search engine like Google. Figure out what words people are using within Google’s search bar to find content that your website is delivering. The Google keyword planner (added Keyword planner tool) is an excellent tool, free of cost to use.
Once you’ve identified the kind words that people are typing into Google’s search box to locate information that your website is also delivering ensure that these keywords are sprinkled generously and naturally within your webpage content.
NOTE: Do not stuff keywords within your page content this is a sure fire way of getting penalized by all search engines. Remember to sprinkle appropriate keywords naturally within your webpage content.
Competition Research & Analysis
Identify our competitors, open their pages in your Browser. Right click on their pages and from the sticky menu that is displayed choose View Source. Locate their keywords in the Meta keywords HTML tag right at the top if their HTML code.
Tabulate these keywords, analyze these keywords i.e. see how well they map to your webpage content. Then figure out whether you have to use these keywords within your page content or not.
Check the Page title displayed in the Browser header bar, Meta description, Webpage head line <h1></h1> tag and other important HTML tags (and their attributes), are used appropriately on each website page, correctly. If in doubt get these fixed.
After you’ve got all your webpage attributes sorted out, it’s always a great idea to create a sitemap (added wiki link), there are a ton of free to use tools on the Internet, and submit this to Google via your Google Web Master login.
Additionally, a sitemap should be available via a menu item on the website as well as a pure XML file placed in the root directory of your website.
Constantly review the textual content of each webpage.
Identify and correct:
- Duplicate content
- Spelling mistakes
- Bad Grammar errors
- The appropriate application of the H1, H2, H3 and H4 heading tags within page content
- Blurred images
Check if the website is accessible to people who are differently enabled. For example, site visitors with visual disabilities. Use using Google’s – Accessible Search.
These are some of the things you just have to do, to get your webpages and the content they deliver, ready for the application of on-page and off-page search engine optimization processes suggested by your SEO specialist.
When all of what I’ve written about is done, and as website owner you are satisfied, then by all means bring in the SEO specialist will then have a much easier job recommending / applying /weaking specific on-page and off-page SEO process to your website. I’m confident that they will agree that your website is ready for this.
If you do any other thing before applying SEO to our site, then please share with us in the comments below.
Hats off to your post. I am a new website owner and recently with the Google update, I had noticed a significant loss of ranks. But finally after disavowing some links, I have regained my rankings. Fixing the URLs and the broken webpages are an essential component.