Dealing with SEO – Important Acts to Take First
There are numerous elements of search engine optimization that are understood to be simple facts. Likewise, there are many tactics and methods that are debated heavily, leading many to be confused about what must be done and what is negotiable. SEO continues to evolve and shift with each passing year, and this makes it more difficult for webmasters and bloggers to maintain credible positions in search and beyond. Anyone who has a well-developed website that is lacking in SEO or who has just taken over as a SEO manager for a particular project will need to focus on the most important things first. Below, we’ll talk about the most important actions you must take regarding SEO before you do anything else.
Evaluate Content Duplication
There is nothing worse than having content on a website that is significantly duplicated or copied from somewhere else. The difference between excerpts that are properly attributed and full-blown plagiarism is something that search engines can discern, but many websites suffer from duplicate content issues across individual pages. The duplication of content on multiple pages on a domain can leave Google, Bing and other search engines confused as to how the content should be indexed. It also tends to lower user experience and makes the website look less professional. Pinging search engines with duplicate content, however, is the main concern, and it can be downright harmful to your SEO efforts.
Inspect User Experience
In short, most elements of SEO as defined by search engines are derivative of user experience. Google’s ultimate desire for search is to produce the most relevant and easy-to-use results for users across a variety of devices and continents. In order to do this, user experience plays a critical role. It is always a good idea to ensure that elements – such as a site-map and navigation – are fully functional. Responsive design is critical to good SEO, as search engines now penalize websites that do not provide comprehensive navigational and design experiences for mobile users.
In order to determine how much you are improving or faltering over time, it is crucial to have a dedicated analytics system in place to measure any and all metrics. Free solutions such as Google Analytics can be used to help track all sorts of important measurements regarding traffic, conversions, clicks, bounce rates and more. These indicators help you determine whether any recent changes to your website or by Google have affected your overall SEO efforts. Additionally, analytics are useful in figuring out whether other efforts – such as social media and email marketing – are having their intended effects.
In order to be pinging search engines with content and establishing quality SEO credentials, you must ensure that the content in question is being indexed. Google Webmaster Tools is an excellent utility that will show you which pages on your site are indexed (and which ones are not) in mere seconds.