We all set goals for self-improvement (how many New Year’s resolutions have you set in your lifetime?), but day-to-day busy-ness often gets in the way of making resolutions reality. However, SMBs must proactively fend off procrastination when it comes to their websites – and spring cleaning is the perfect opportunity to improve your site.
Last week I covered my first round of need-to-know SEO backend tips to get your website ready for the summer season, and now I’ll follow up with part two. Consider these questions when you roll up your sleeves and get under the hood of your website – the answers could hold the key to your SEO success and sales.
Are my pages taking too long to load?
For every 1 second of page load time, conversions drop 7 percent.
Do I need to extend my domain name registration?
The longer it’s registered, the more Google trusts it.
Visit who.godaddy.com and type in your domain name. This will show you all of your registration information – yes, anyone can do this and find this information. Note: When your domain registration is set to expire, extend it as far into the future as you are comfortable with and/or can afford.
How many server and “not found” errors are there on my site?
Crawl errors are bad for SEO, and they suggest you have broken links that don’t direct traffic to the intended web destinations. Go into your Webmaster Tools, click “Health” on the left menu, and then click “Crawl Errors.” If you have any “Not Found” errors (typically triggered 404 response codes), direct those viewers to valid pages on your website.
If you have any “Server errors,” visit the URLs linked to those messages via Webmaster Tools. If the page loads appropriately, there shouldn’t be an issue and the page simply needed a refresh. Either way, download a CSV file of these errors right from Webmaster Tools and notify your developer.
A handful of both 400 and/or 500 errors can have a dramatic impact on your website’s legitimacy to Google, so don’t let them pile up.
Do I have a healthy backlink profile?
If you’ve ever paid for links to your website in the past, you don’t have a healthy backlink profile. Either way, be sure to go into Webmaster Tools and click “Traffic” in the left menu, then click “Links to Your Site.”
Ask yourself: Does this seem right? If you’re a small company that sells software to small financial institutions in Delaware, you shouldn’t have 30,000 links from international sites pointing to your homepage.
Check the domains of the sites linking to you. Washingtonpost.com is great! You were either mentioned in an article or listed in their local business directory. LinksforfunSEOeurope.info is bad – really bad. To learn more about this problem and how to fix it, check out my article about bad backlinks from earlier this month.
Is my site preventing Google from seeing important parts of my website?
Searchers won’t be able to find your key pages if Google’s crawlers can’t access them. Type in your main domain followed by “/robots.txt.” This will bring you to a page that tells Google what parts of your site it can and cannot look at when it tries to index your pages or “crawl” your website. The absolute worst thing you could see is this:
User-agent signifies the name of the crawler (usually Googlebot, Googlebot-news, etc.) and the command below and the information after it tell the crawler what to do. The user-agent “*” signifies all crawlers and “/” means everything on your site that has a URL that begins with “www.mydomain.com/”. In other words, this command tells web crawlers not to index any of your pages beyond the homepage.
This can be confusing for the amateur SEO, so be sure to talk to a Content Marketing Specialist for more information about your “/robots.txt” configuration.
With the summer season around the corner, you can get your website in tip-top shape by performing a few alterations on its backend. However, small business owners shouldn’t hesitate to consult experts for help. Content marketing agencies give SMBs the opportunity to focus on their companies’ core model, while their CMS team handles to technicalities of SEO and content marketing.