7 Ways to Optimize A Site/Blog for SEO
SEO, or Search Engine optimization is very necessary for a site to survive. The Sites/Blogs which fail to optimize themselves with the latest SEO trends are too soon in History. After many changes in Its Algorithms SEO now tends to become more “Reader Friendly” than “Bot Friendly” But there several SEO practices which You Still need to Follow.
Below is a list of a Few “Very Basic but Important things” Which You can Practise at Your Blog to Insure that your Blog is SEO Optimized :
Ensure That Your Website Uses Semantic URLs
Today, a large number of websites are built using a Content Management System like Joomla or WordPress. Often these CMS create URLs for the web pages they deliver to requesting Browsers structured as follows : www.mywebsite.com/index.php?page_id=46
While such a URL will deliver the correct webpage to the requesting Browser, its structure is a bit of a disaster from an SEO point of view. The best seo friendly url structure , is a url , which has keywords embedded within its structure. The URL above has none. Unfortunately neither is the URL human readable.
Example of An SEO Friendly URL would be :
All the modern versions of CMS have settings that allow to determine and change the structure of the web page URL. Ensure that You change your URLS in the beginning as It is Quite painful to do It after your site has been indexed by Search Engines. Lot of the links within the search engines will lead to 404 Page not found errors on your website.
Website Analytics ( Google Analytics )
As website owner, you need to access and analyze website analytics every day, to understand exactly how well your website is doing on the Internet. Rather than using an External service or Plugin you can use the Google Analytics tool.
Are the number of site visitors increasing or decreasing?
Are these visitors staying on your website or almost immediately bouncing off?
What pages are they spending the most time on?
You can get Answers for various Questions like this on Your Google analytics Account. Based on the analysis of its statistics that you should begin to tweak various aspects of your website to make the website more visitor friendly, which in turn would help in the conversion of those site visitors to paying customers.
Ensure that you’ve created the website’s GoogleAnalytics account. Next ensure and that the GoogleAnalytics code is embedded in each web page that you want to track.
Make Sure That An XML Sitemap Is In Use On Your Website
There are a lot of free to use XML sitemap plugins available for use today. Hence, there is no real reason for your website not to deliver an XML site map. The truth of the matter is that search engines love a website that delivers an XML based site map. Search engine robots find it most convenient to traverse and index a website’s pages using the content of it’s XML site map.
Keeping search engines happy is really great idea for any website.
While Most Search Engines prefer the XML Sitemap, Several engine also prefer HTML Sitemap.
Since most XML site map plugins are easy to install and configure, they are great to have on your website even if website pages are few.
Controlling What’s Indexed In Your Website
If you have a really large website, i.e. one that has a huge number of pages, Google will all most never index all the pages of your website because they have a percentage cap on the number of pages they will hold of a specific website in their index.
While you have no way to tell Google which pages to index, it is quite possible to indicate which pages you do not want indexed.
This is done by using a META tag placed in the <head></head> section of the HTML page.
Here’s the syntax to do this : meta name=”robots” content=”noindex, follow”
If you have a website with just a few pages then this is not a problem, but if you have a website with a large number of pages, then doing the manually may not be such a great idea. Figure out if this can be controlled through the Content Management System (CMS) upon which the site is built.
Knowing that Google is not going to index all the pages in your website, I think it’s a great idea to help ensure that the pages important to the core of your website do get indexed, don’t you ?.
Writing 301 Redirects – When You Migrate Your Website
At some time or the other you would migrate your website, either because you want more powerful hosting, or you want to use the cloud to host your website or you need cheaper hosting or whatever reason(s). Once you migrate your website to another host, nothing can be more important than writing 301 redirects for your website.
Unfortunately a lot of website developers do not consider writing 301 redirects as important. In fact many a developer considers this an unnecessary load on their coding resources.
If you’ve used a CMS to deliver your website pages then do check to see if the CMS it self will create the 301 redirects it self automatically. If you are changing web pages actively on your CMS you should create a 301 redirect for the changed page especially if the web page URL has changed to deliver a different set of keywords.
Not writing appropriate 301 redirects ensures that specific indexed pages are going to result in a 404 Page not found error when site visitors click on the link returned in a search engines result page. Many of those and Google gets unhappy.
Canonicalization Of Your Website URL
There are two different URLs that a Browser can use to access the same website, for example:
Hence a single web page can actually be accessed using two different URL’s, for example:
Therefore, in the search engine index, there will be two entries, both that reference exactly the same web page. Unfortunately, this is recognized by search engines, like Google, to be duplicate content. Google (and other search engines) penalize websites for duplicate content.
This brings us to the idea of canonicalization of a website’s URLs, which is basically :
www versus no www of website URL’s.
From an SEO perspective, it does not really matter which you choose, but what’s important is that one approach is decided on and you stick with it.
Additionally, you have to make sure that your CMS is not :
- Generating multiple URL’s for the same web page
- Adding a lot of extraneous data to the web page URL
How does one solve this problem ?
- Rationalize your webpage URL structure ( Using an XL sheet to do this is a big help )
- Ensure the CMS is not generating multiple URLs pointing to the same webpage
- Write 301 re-directs for all duplicate URLs that for one reason or the other slip through.
Lastly, but equally importantly, implement the canonical Tag on every webpage in your website.
Here is what the canonical Tag looks like:
<link rel=”canonical” href=http://www.example.com/page.html>
And would be placed within the <head></head> section of your web page.
Google seems to be giving some share of importance to the rel = canonical Tag so it’s worth implementing as it helps Google and other search engines when indexing your website.
Website / Webpage Load Time In The Requesting Browser
Hence, a site visitor may just be sitting looking at an empty Browser, ( or partially rendered page ) until all the web page assets have been downloaded. This is what is considered the Page Load Time, and can vary surprisingly across web pages.
Google (and other search engines) penalize websites for long page load times.
NOTE : Here penalization means a webpage link, with a long load time may not come up in the very first search engine result page delivered to the information seeker’s Browser. This usually results in a sharp fall in site visitors.
Page Load Speed is a bit complex and is normally a product of :
- Reducing the number of HTTP requests made from the site visitors Browser to the web server for web page assets.
- Keeping a balance between the size of the web page asset, and the visual quality of the web page asset.
NOTE : This has a dramatic impact on, image size, video size and so on. Large high resolution images will take a lot longer to download than a smaller sized medium / low resolution image. The same goes for the time to download HD videos versus time to download medium to low definition videos. The rule of thumb is as long as the visual quality of the image or video is acceptable, compromise on its size.
- Using Cookie less domains for the storage and delivery of such web page’s assets.
If you want to check your Page Load Time and get written suggestions on how to improve them us a Free Browser plugin called YSlow. The YSLow plugin is freely available for Chrome, FireFox, Opera and other such Browsers. YSLow will check your page load time and give you a detailed report on what is slowing down your Page Load Time and offer concrete suggestions on what you can do to improve this.
Please focus sharply on getting the very minimum Page Load Time for each web page of your website, your site visitors and all search engines will love your website for this.
Final Words : Applying these seven simple, yet important, tweaks to your website after its released on the web is a really time consuming exercise. Worse, Regretfully this will have an impact on the SEO of your website.
Once proper attention has been paid to these issues, your website SEO will fall into place perfectly. You are then free to focus your attention to crafting the very best possible content for delivery to your site visitors.