I get asked all the time about what it takes to get a website ranking in Google, it's not a simple solutions but in this post I will teach you some easy things you can do on your website to help you rank better.
SEO can be a rather time-consuming task, especially if you're relatively new to the process. Out of all the things that need fixing, a few stand out above the rest. Here are some of the most common issues that most business owners and entrepreneurs make when starting their site.
1. Missing Meta Description Tags
Meta information is becoming more and more useless, especially the keywords tag. Google and other search engines really like it when webmasters take the time to fill out the meta description tag. Reason being? It makes it easier for them, as they won't have to randomly pull information from the page and create a description.
Webmasters should be filling these description tags as they go along. Otherwise, you'll have hundreds, if not thousands, to fix at some point. Filling your own tags out gives you control of your content and how people view it via the SERPs. Why would you leave that up to chance by leaving it blank? Search engines prefer around the number of 150 characters. I'd stay below that number to play it safe.
2. 404 Pages
Bleh, these are a royal pain in the rear to fix. They're quite easy to fix once you've identified them. Anytime you're linking to a page or image that doesn't exist, you're creating 404's for your users. Visitors are like deer and are very sensitive to slight movement. If they don't get what they want, they'll most likely leave to find it elsewhere.
You'd be wise to identify what's causing the 404 errors you have on your site and stop pointing to them. A tip that you can really benefit from is creating your own custom 404 page that is designed for the user. The best 404 pages out there display navigation, admit that there was a mistake, and have some humor on the page.
Google Webmasters Tools and the new Moz analytics are great tools that I use to identify 404 errors. What do you use to identify 404 errors?
- 307 redirects
- HTTP header refreshes
You'll be wise to apply a 301 redirect whenever possible. This will allow the link juice to follow its destined path. The others don't pass link juice. Sucks, I know! Here are some other things you should know about redirects:
- Google frowns on redirect hops past the number of about 4 or 5. Play it safe by having no more than 1 or 2.
- Only use a 301 redirect if you'll never ever send someone back to the original page!
- If you're unsure, you can use a 302 or a temporary redirect.
- Make sure you're using the 301 from the old page location to the new page location on the new site, rather than the new root domain.
4. Your Title tag is too long
You think that this wouldn't be a problem, but it happens often. Search engines generally want lower than 70 characters. Now that everything is becoming more and more mobile, I image that number will shrink. We've got to get better at getting our point across with fewer words.
If this is a problem of yours, download a free SEO plugin in your Wordpress dashboard and watch the number as you're typing it in. Stay below 70 characters.
Make sure you're staying on top of your SEO errors, notices, and warnings. The most common ones I see are titles tags being too long, redirect issues, 404 errors, and missing description tags. You'll be wise to fix these as soon as you see them coming in. A pile of these saved for later will add up and surely take a long time to fix.
What errors, notices, and warnings do you find yourself fixing often?