Tuesday 22 May 2018

SEO Tips - You Need to Know!

SEO Tips - Compiled List

I have been sharing SEO tips regularly on Twitter and LinkedIn. This time I thought of listing them down here. I will update this post as and when I add more tips on my social accounts.

SEO Tip 1 - Google has to crawl duplicate pages to determine if they are duplicate. So using canonical tags won't help you save crawl budget.

SEO Tip 2 - Google will move a lot of sites to mobile first indexing in next couple of months. How to tell if your site is already on mobile first indexing? Check your server logs to see if mobile Googlebot is crawling you the most.

Here is an official link to Google's Best Practices for Mobile-First Indexing.

SEO Tip 3 - Migrating from http to https? Good idea! Avoid making too many other changes before migrating. Google would face tough time understanding them. Would suggest first move to HTTPS as it is and then make other changes like design revamp or URL restructuring.

SEO Tip 4 - Disallow directive in robots.txt file tells Google not to crawl the disallowed pages or folders. This doesn't mean those pages/folders won't be indexed.

SEO Tip 5 - If Googlebot can't access your robots.txt file due to a 5xx server error, it won't crawl your site.

SEO Tip 6 - Long redirect chains can create two issues.

First, Googlebots might drop off before they reach your destination URL. This could lead to suboptimal rankings.

Second, for every redirect the bot follows; it wastes a bit of your crawl budget.

So unless and until it is not very important, avoid long redirect chains on your site.

Read more:

SEO Tip 7 - In this AI powered era of SEO, topic clusters are the new keywords!
What are topic clusters? They are a collection of sub topics that are centred around a core content piece and all linked together.

SEO Tip 8 - If you don't indicate a canonical URL, Google will identify what they think is the best version or URL. But I would suggest - make life easier for Google crawlers. Anyways they are doing a tough job crawling the entire web! 

Learn various methods to specify the canonical page among a duplicate set, depending on your usage:

SEO Tip 9 - URLs ending with trailing slash or without a trailing slash - Google treats them separately. In case your URL returns a 200 status code with both the scenarios mentioned above, it can lead to duplicate content issue. While you can leave them as it and Google will take care of indexing the right one, this isn't an optimal solution.

Choose a preferred version and 301 redirect it to the preferred version. If that's not possible, make use of canonical tags.

SEO Tip 10 - According to a study by Backlinko, the average word count of a voice search result page is 2,312 words. Therefore, Google tends to source voice search answers from long form content.

If you are optimising your content for voice searches, write comprehensive content and keep it simple.

More tips from the Backlinko voice search SEO study:

SEO Tip 11 - If you noticed some important pages slipping down the rankings, try to address content depth. It’s also very likely that someone else has done a better job of addressing the topic since you wrote it.

SEO Tip 12 - Plan your redirects carefully. It's fine to lead a page to 404 rather than redirecting it to an irrelevant page. The reason being, Google may treat irrelevant redirects as soft 404. And yes, never do a bulk redirect pointing to your home page!

SEO Tip 13 - I have seen a lot of sites still on m-dot for their mobile version [m(dot)example(dot)com]. With a lot of buzz around Mobile-First Indexing, sites have started moving onto responsive designs. Make sure the same page/section shouldn't coexist in the form of m-dot and responsive. That would certainly confuse Google in terms of which page to rank and how to consolidate signals. Before you move onto responsive, map the m-dot pages and 301 redirect them to responsive pages/sections.

Read more:

SEO Tip 14 - Set up your rel alternate tags correctly and Google will be able to find mobile pages through their desktop equivalents. No need to submit such mobile page URLs separately in a sitemap.

SEO Tip 15 - Googlebot doesn't have any issue with two separate sets of navigation coded in the HTML for desktop and mobile on responsive sites. That's logical. At times we can't have a comprehensive desktop navigation replicated on mobile. Just make sure you don't exclude any important page from the mobile navigation.

SEO Tip 16 - Make sure you add canonical tags to your AMP pages. An AMP page without a canonical tag could be considered invalid by Google or can also create duplicate content issue.

SEO Tip 17 - More searches happen on mobile than on desktop. Following this trend, I have seen certain brands have moved on to over-simplified mobile versions of their websites or planning to do so. If organic performance is important to those, they should try to retain relevant content, descriptive elements and alt texts on the mobile version. Google would require content to understand what is the website all about. And not to forget - to move onto mobile first indexing, there should be content parity across mobile and desktop versions of your website.

- Tejas Thakkar