The only currency in the digital world is the traffic that you can get on your website and how you can monetize them. Whether you are a magazine or a business, you need targeted traffic to your website.
In this article, we discuss some important website hygiene factors that can help you drive up your traffic.
I list out 14 potential problem areas on your website and see how your traffic increases in the next few weeks.
1. Keyword Research
If you are a local cleaning company, what will you keyword research strategy be? There are 2 kinds of searches users perform on Google. One is for information purposes and one is for transactional purposes. Informational queries are searches where a user is trying to get more knowledge and understand about a particular topic. For example, “How do I clean the dirty kitchen slab every night?” On the other hand, a transaction query is, when a user is searching to buy something. For example: “Best Kitchen Cleaning Company in Bangalore”. Here the intent of the user is to find the best company to book a service with.
Your objective should be to have a fine balance between both types of keywords. The transaction keywords help you in sales directly, whereas informational keywords help you to engage and build trust with your audience.
2. Page Relevancy to Search Query
Now, if you have a page on the website that targets the keyword “Best Kitchen Cleaning Company in Bangalore”, then most likely it is going to rank high. However, you need to be very careful with the way you want to optimise your page. Instead of optimising for every keyword, you need to group keywords with similar intent and use them on your page. For example, similar group keywords could be:
- Best Kitchen Cleaning Company in Bangalore
- Kitchen Cleaners in Bangalore
- Kitchen cleaning services in Bangalore
You have to use these keywords and LSI keywords (keywords with similar meaning) on your page text. But, do not make the page appear spammy by stuffing keywords which do not read properly.
Here is an example of a heavy keyword stuffed page:
3. On-Page Optimisation
This brings be to On-page optimisation. Guys, on-page optimisation is exactly opposite of what I showed you in the image. You need to have the page with proper title tag, H1 Tag, H2 Tags and content. But you need to use keywords and synonyms of the keyword objectively so that it does not look unnatural to a human reader. Few basic hygiene checks you can use are:
- Ensure that the keyword is towards the front of the title tag and H1 tag
- Use only one H1 Tag per page
- Use an image/Video in the page with a proper Alt tag (for image)
- Use multiple H2/H3 tags to ensure a smooth flow of content
- Use H2 tags to build on the main topic in H1 tag, H3 tags to build on H2 and so on.
- Use the keywords as a way to add value to the article. Do not stuff it just to rank up. It hurts.
- Ensure that you do not have more than 1% exact keyword match on the page.
Here is an example of proper header structure for a page.
The other thing that I want to point out today, is a lot of businesses make the mistake of using the same Title tags for multiple pages. Don’t do that. Your Title tag should reflect the page content and what it is about. Usually this happens because developers are unaware of the consequences and they just replicate the same title tags for ease of development. Duplicate title tags confuse Google and impact your page’s ranking for relevant search queries.
4. Information Architecture of the website
This is very crucial for SEO. This helps Google crawlers to index the website properly and thus giving you the SEO juice.
For example, if you are selling puma sports shoes on your e-commerce website, then the logical flow should be:
But this is not a right structure.
The crawlers need to access 3 directories before it lands on the puma page. Limit your directory hierarchy to max 2 levels deep.
Ideal structure should be: yourwebsite.com/sports-shoes/puma
To navigate to the puma page, you can interlink it the logical way:
Yourwebsite.com homepage à shoes page à sports shoes page à puma
But the URL should be: yourwebsite.com/sports-shoes/puma
A detailed keyword research mentioned in step 1 will help you develop the proper website structure.
5. Static URL Structure with keywords
A lot of businesses especially e-commerce websites face this issue. Because of the filtering capability, their product/category URLs end up looking like this:
Don’t make this mistake. You need to have static URLs with keywords. Ideal structure should be:
In most cases your development team will give you the poor URL structure either because of cost or simply because creating static structure is difficult. Work with them and direct them to create the proper structure for you. Also, if you are using some of the e-commerce platforms like Shopify (while they are good to start your business), you may face problems with URL customisation.
6. Mobile Optimised website
See this result on Google search:
Here is an interesting Research by comScore
You can see that mobile (which includes Mobile + Tablets) searches have surpassed desktop searches.
It appalls me to see so many websites still having unresponsive websites.
7. Fast Loading Websites
According to Google research, slow loading websites, negatively impacts the amount of time a user spends on Google. This directly impacts user experience as well as their revenue from Google Ads. People do not want to wait for a website that takes several seconds to load. You need to invest in the right technology to help you develop light websites that can load faster.
Here is how a slow loading website looks on search queries:
The ideal time to load a website is < 1.5 seconds. But if you cannot achieve it, try to go as close as possible.
Use tools.pingdom.com/fpt to test how quickly your website loads. Work with your tech team to optimise the performance of the website.
8. Audit the Dead URLs on your website
When you have a large website having thousands of webpages, often you will end up with dead URLs over a period of time. Especially if you are running a magazine or an e-commerce site. Dead URLs hurt your search rankings. You would need to have an audit done every month on your site to check if Google is encountering any (404) Page Not found errors. Google webmasters is a good place to find it.
Remove those Dead URLs. And submit a fresh sitemap for indexing. Another way to handle 404 errors is to direct all of them to a particular page (say the homepage).
9. Duplicate pages on your website
This is an often repeated mistake by most businesses. As your website becomes bigger, and you have loads of pages, you end up having duplicate URLs for multiple pages. And usually the web developers are unaware of this when they are developing or modifying the website.
For example, you may end up having to different URLs for the same page like this:
Ensure that you are using the proper canonical tags on one of the URLs. Canonical tags tell Google which is the URL they should index and which one they should ignore. This is crucial for SEO success
10. Ensure that you have not used No-index tags by mistake
I have faced this issue for our website RankHigher.in. When our developer was making some changes to the website, he had checked on no-index option for the website. And he did not understand the complications that it can arise. And one fine day, I saw the website has disappeared from search engines. Only when we did some audit, we realised it was caused due to the “no-index” tag. A lot of businesses do face the same issue. No-index prevents Google crawlers from crawling your website. And this is going to throw you off the Google search. So be very careful.
11. Time spent on website and bounce rate
This seems to be highly under-rated when it comes to SEO. The average time spent on site and the bounce rate of the website directly impacts the traffic coming to your site. You need to find ways to increase the average time spent on the website per user. Try to get the bounce rate as low as possible. If it goes above 50%, that’s a red flag. You need to design the website in such a way, so that users are encouraged to navigate more within the site. That is where you need to invest in Good UI. This is where e-commerce websites and magazines have a distinct advantage over other businesses as users visit multiple pages per visit.
12. Sitemap Submission
If you have modified your website, but still have the old sitemap submitted, it can cause you issues. We had faced this issue with a client of ours. We had made all hygiene changes to the website, but the sitemap submitted was wrong. As a result, we saw the rankings dip and it pretty much went from being on top page to over 100s for most of their chosen keywords. On audit, we realised the issue lied with wrong sitemap submission.
13. Keep your blog as part of your main website’s directory
I get to see loads of businesses who have kept the blog as a subdomain. For example:
The ideal structure should be http://yourwebsite.com/blog
A subdomain is treated as a separate domain by Google. As a result, the SEO benefits of the main website will not directly pass onto the blog and vice-versa.
14. Thin content on pages
Another issue a lot of businesses face when they are having a large website. Thin content impacts SEO and can impact your traffic significantly. You may also get Manual Webspam action on your webmasters for thin content. Try to create at least 300-500 words of unique content for every page. A good way to add more content to your pages is by adding reviews section. Reviews also helps in adding unique content to your pages.
So I hope, this article has helped you with fixing hygiene issues on your website. If you can handle them properly, I can guarantee you, you can grow your traffic by at least 2X, if you don’t do anything else.
Before we end, here is one bonus tip: Use Screaming From SEO Spider (works well for smaller websites). They can help you get information about your website’s hygiene, On-Page text, broken links and much more. Use it and you will benefit a lot. (Here is the link: https://www.screamingfrog.co.uk/seo-spider/)
If you find this article useful, do not forget to share this with your fellow marketers or entrepreneur who may be struggling with website hygiene issues.
I would love to hear your thoughts and any other hygiene factors which you may have encountered. You can also follow my YouTube show #RankHigherSpeaks for updates about digital marketing and more.
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