Determining whether your website is SEO friendly is critical if you want to make sure you are found in the search engines and are competing well in rankings with your biggest competitors. Many business owners don’t realize their website isn’t SEO friendly until it’s too late and their website isn’t showing up on the first page of search engines such as Google – nor the second or third page. By the time we get the phone call, a lot of damage has been done.
Elements That Make A Website Non-SEO Friendly
1. Heavy code. The rule of thumb when looking at the code of your website is that you should have more content than code. When websites have been up for a while and a number of changes or additions have been made to it, it tends to get what is called “code bloat”. It is like when one remodels a house and continues to patch up problems until the original structure is a complete mess.
2. Improper Code. Bad use of code, meaning, code not being used properly can include poor use of “robots noindex” tags, and “canonical URL” tags. Many websites are built with robots noindex in place so that Google doesn’t not scan the website while it is being constructed. Developers then forget to remove the tag and wonder why the website isn’t being indexed. Using code improperly can happen easily and this is why it is critical to watch your website’s performance after fixes or updates. To read more about how a line of code can ruin your SEO read http://www.searchenginejournal.com/two-examples-of-how-one-line-of-code-could-kill-your-seo-case-studies/37004
3. Duplicate pages. When on fixes their website too many times they often run into duplicate page problems. For example, a website is started off with the URL (www.website.wordpress.com) and then it evolves to (www.website.com) and then maybe (website.com). The problem with having three and more URL’s is that when developing SEO for your website, your objective is to build “page strength”. There are many factors that create page strength and this page strength is a signal to search engines to rank you higher. If you are dividing your page strength among more than one version of a page, you are diluting your SEO. If the whole website has a number of URL’s representing each page, it is in even deeper trouble.
4. Rebuilt Website Problems. If you are having your website rebuilt as most people do, make sure that if you change any of the URL’s that you have the old URL’s point to the new ones using a 301 redirect. With a 301 redirect, the value that old page had already built up with search engines will be transferred to the new page. Also, if your current website has great SEO and rankings but it’s just outdated in its look – make sure you document each page’s optimization (title, descriptions, links) so that you can make sure it is duplicated on the new website. To not transfer page strength is to leak away precious website “juice” value.
5. Lack of Keyword Rich Title and Description Tags. Speaking of code, search engines rely on your title and description tags to rate you. For instance when you search for a product, Google will weigh in on your title and description tags to relevance of the search.
In the example below I have searched for “Portland Breweries”. This is what Google shows me.
The bolded information, which I highlighted in yellow, is coming from a website’s “Title Tags”. The paragraph below it is pulled either from text on the website or the website’s description tag. The title tag should contain your keywords that you want potential clients to find you with and the Description is your sales pitch, that which makes a searcher click on your website over all the others. Each page on your website should have a unique title and description tag – resist the temptation to take the same information and repeat it throughout all your pages. This goes for content as well.
6. Local SEO. Having your website optimized for “local” also helps your business show up on the front page of Google – this is due to what is called Google Places. From the image above you can see a map with red dots highlighting for me “Portland breweries”. Many listings also are put into a scroll – which is also determined by the quality of the SEO on the website along with the rankings that company received. If you are a Portland Brewery – you obviously want to show up in this scroll immediately rather than in a position where somebody has to scroll over to find you.
7. Links. Having quality links to your website is still a huge factor in the world of SEO and yet the most complicated to achieve. In the old days of a few years ago, people were able to buy links quite easily and manipulate the search engines. Some company’s still do this but when caught their site is completely removed from Google. If your site is removed from Google, you can only imagine the amount of financial loss you would face. Today, links are acquired through a number of ways. One would be to build top quality content that other sites would want to feature and link to. Awesome photos, recipes, interviews, or a list of information is all helpful content for your website.
If your website still has old purchased bad links, you can begin removing them and replacing them with quality links. Also – look for broken links to your website and within your website.
8. Optimized Images. A website depends on images to make it appealing and interesting. Are your images named with keywords and then given title and alt tag descriptions. If all your images are named things like 33859.jpg and are missing title or alt tags, you are not only missing out on the optimization element but also in having your images indexed in Google Images.
Below I searched for “grand canyon tours” in Google images – as you can see my search can be further separated out by Helicopter, River, Bus or Train. Each image if clicked will take me to a website.
There are many elements in building a strong Internet Marketing campaign for your company and one of them is having a well-optimized website. If your website hasn’t been optimized or is broken it will create a ripple effect on the rest of your marketing endeavors.
Get your website audited today if your search rankings aren’t performing like you think they should. Hopefully a few fixes will get you back on the boards.