If you had one hour to improve your site’s SEO what could you do? Let’s find out…
Time is precious, it’s the one thing money can’t buy as they say, so today I’m going to share with you what you can do in just an hour to give your site an on site SEO boost.
In fact, I’m going to wager you can do it in 57 minutes, leaving you 3 minutes to make a nice cup of tea.
This is exactly what I would do when completing a first scan of a site’s on site optimisation.
I’m going to run through it in order, so you can do the same on your site and I’m going to go quickly (we’re up against the clock!) so will link to further reading where appropriate. You don’t necessarily have to make all the changes as you are going as some will be trickier to implement than others, but take notes on what needs changed as you work your way through the list.
For the purposes of this article, I’m going to assume that you (or whoever takes care of your SEO) hasn’t been up to no good and that there is nothing in your existing backlink profile that could be causing a Penguin penalty.
So, first things first…
10 Things To Check On Your Home Page
Bring up your website’s homepage and view the source.
1) What’s does the title tag look like?
Make sure it is branded (first) and then uses perhaps 2/3 of your main key phrases. For example my home page’s title is: –
Top 5 SEO | Free Internet Marketing, Blogging & SEO Tips
If it looks spammy, then change it.
2) Is there a meta description? Is it good?
Your meta description is your site’s advert in the serps, so write a strong one for your home page.
It will lead to more people clicking on your result, whether you are in position 1 or position 5.
3) Are you using an H1 tag?
Make sure your home page has a descriptive (but not spammy!) H1 tag, ideally 7/8 words long and containing a couple of keywords.
4) Get rid of any unnecessary links!
Got a stat counter button? Remove it and install google analytics.
Linking to 5 directories from your sidebar? Get rid of those links!
Basically remove any unnecessary links that are diluting your pagerank.
5) Add some text
I would always recommend having at least a few hundred words of text on your homepage.
Lots of homepages are very visual and just contain graphics, which is fine once your site is receiving good traffic, but I’ll assume that you are still building, so adding some text containing a few key phrases (although written for your visitors!) should bring a few extra clicks.
If you can drop in some contextual links to your money pages, all the better.
We’re delving a bit into site architecture here, which is a full topic for another day, but to quickly touch on it: –
Try and condense links from your homepage into hubs. For example, if you have links to…
- Returns policy
- Shipping information
- How to order
- Payment methods
- Terms & Conditions
… you should think about condensing these under a ‘customer services’ link (and that page can then link to the individual pages).
In the crudest form, the less links you have on a page, the more pagerank is passed to each individual link, so cutting down links to generic customer servicey stuff will pass more juice to your money pages. Normally your home page will attract the most links, so will have the most juice to pass.
Note: I wouldn’t recommend condensing the following: –
- About Page
- Contact Page
as they are all good for your site’s trust.
In fact, if the site doesn’t have these 3 pages… then make it a priority to add them!
7) Make sure you are linking to your key pages
For example, if you are running an ecommerce site and have top selling products, make sure you have links to them from the homepage – ideally from within some content.
8) Add your address
There are some exceptions, but normally I would recommend adding your site’s physical address to the footer. 2 reasons for this: –
1) Will help with local search
2) Builds trust
9) Remove H1, H2, H3 etc tags from generic phrases
In fact, this one applies to this very site!
Currently my subscribe box on the right has the SUBSCRIBE text in an H2 tag. I would be better making this a div and styling it with CSS. And I will this evening…
10) Cut down boiler plate text
If you have a 200 word ‘about me’ box on your page, cut this down to 20/30 words and add a ‘read more’ link.
Look to remove unnecessary/duplicate text wherever possible.
So, moving beyond the home page, let’s take a quick look at some of the internal pages of the site. I’ll keep this as generic as possible.
Level 2 Pages
So, those hubs I talked about earlier, our level 2 pages which on a blog or an ecommerce site would normally be categories.
These are key pages, so run through points 1-5 again for these pages (title, meta desc, add text etc).
For the title tag of hub pages go for: –
Category | Your Brand
General Things To Check
Here are some general things to run to over, which will if you sort them will help your on site SEO.
Since Panda, duplicate content has been a killer for may a site’s rankings.
Run a ‘site:www.mydomain.com’ search in google and have a scan through for thin or duplicate pages that should not be included in the index (things like add a review, the currency pages I mentioned before).
Use the meta robots tag and rel=canonical to zap them.
Hint: If you have a website with 100 content pages, but google has 1,000 pages indexed you probably have a problem.
Broken links (internal and external) will leak pagerank and if your site has been around for a while there is a good chance there will be some on your site. So find them and fix them, again working top to bottom (home page first, hub pages etc).
If your site runs on wordpress you can install this plugin to automatically monitor your site for broken links.
I would also recommend installing the check my links extension for chrome, which you can use to quickly scan a page for broken links. This extension is also useful for broken link building (inbound links from external sites), a neat white hat SEO tip, which I’ll go into in the future.
Make sure images have alt text – good for your users and some SEO value.
Internal, Contextual Linking
Add contextual links from within content between pages wherever possible (and relevant). Start with your key pages and work your way down.
Time For Tea!
Working your way through this list should give you a number of changes you can make to instantly boost your site’s on site SEO.
Like I said, this is a quick first pass and there is a lot more that can be done on site to improve SEO, but most sites I review normally have at least half of these points needing addressed and they are quick to fix.
These are all SEO fundamentals and when building a house it’s important to get the foundations right! So set the clock, work your way through the list and then relax with a nice cup of tea and give yourself a pat on the back for an hour well spent.
Have you used this list on your own site? How many points were applicable to you? Do you have any other quick fixes you have on your own checklist? How was your tea?
I’ll be going into some more advanced on site techniques next week (including a detailed tutorial on site architecture/pagerank flow), so be sure to subscribe to the blog by email below, or follow me on twitter to keep up to date!