By now you may have run into one or more issues when assessing, testing, and auditing the site for maximum search optimization. This chapter will help to answer any questions you may have while rounding out your SEO program.
Files uploaded to the site should be uniquely named with hyphens separating all important words. Don’t keyword stuff the file names, as that can be problematic for SEO. If the file names of the site need to be changed, make sure the links on the site are also changed, and that 301s are set up for external site visitors.
Your site’s TOS and PP tell users how to use your site, how their information will be used, how cookies are used, and how their personal information will be stored, among other critical data.
Once created, these pages should be easily accessible from any page, such as in the footer of the website or listed in the sitemap.
If the site doesn’t have these pages, create them to remain compliant with Google’s rules for keeping site visitors abreast of your site’s rules, regulations, and security protocols. You will also be GDPR compliant.
While GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) doesn’t matter in the states as of yet, expect those regulations to arrive stateside very soon. It’s best to get compliant now by telling your customers how you’ll be using their data, such as their names, email addresses, and purchase histories, for example.
If you use WordPress, it’s easy to become GDPR compliant. Click on the left pane Settings, then find Privacy.
Once you’ve uploaded your privacy document, create that page in WordPress, select the page from the dropdown in your Privacy Settings, and you’re all set. Your site is secure and GDPR compliant.
This 16×16 pixel icon may not seem like much, but it can help to provide a more memorable visitor experience.
The favicon reveals itself in browser tabs and usually contains the brand logo, the first letter of the brand, or a generic image that represents the business somehow.
Favicons were originally created in 1999 with the release of Microsoft’s Internet Explorer 5 and were intended to be shown for bookmarked URLs only. Today, however, there are many instances where favicons show up, including browser tabs, bookmarked URLs, and search results.
To create a favicon with ease, you can use a favicon generator, such as the aptly named Favicon Generator. Simply upload your logo or other image and you’ll have a favicon that you can then upload to your WordPress theme, website builder theme, or root directory.
Favicons help to build credibility and trust and thus are helpful for SEO.
Conduct a Google search for your website site:www.yourdmain.com and see how many web pages it lists. If Google says that your site contains many more pages than you know about, it’s time to purge those pages.
Google said it prefers websites with fewer quality pages. By purging those zombie pages, you’re giving Google what it wants and you’re reducing the chances of problems since fewer pages equal fewer issues overall.
Zombie pages could consist of archive pages, category and tag pages (if you’re using WordPress), search result pages, ancient press releases, boilerplate content, and thin content (which indicates it contains less than 50 words on the page).
Platforms like Wix and Squarespace promise to make website building a drag-and-drop affair, which is mighty attractive to business owners short on time.
However, none of those platforms compare to WordPress when it comes to scalability and SEO. WordPress is designed for websites with lots of pages, namely a large library of blog posts. WordPress was, in fact, developed as a blogging platform first and foremost.
However, whether you plan to have a single page or multiple pages, or an entire library of blog posts, I recommend that you stick to WordPress only, along with a few strategic plugins. The platform is simply the best for SEO, period.
The only social platform we’ve discussed so far is Google My Business, which allows users to interact with and leave reviews for your brand. But what about Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest, and all the other social channels out there? Don’t they play a role in SEO, too, you might be wondering?
Google has said time and again in various reports that it doesn’t count social signals when determining search rankings. Gary Illyes on Twitter said, “Some controversy over whether Google takes social into account for SEO – perhaps Louis Gray will settle this in our next session! #social16”
Gary wrote back, “The short version is, no, we don’t.”
You now have all the elements you need to determine if your site is maximized for usability, high rankings, and conversions.
It’s my hope that this guide has taught you more about the science of SEO and helped you realize how enjoyable it can be to whittle down your site’s problems, then fix them for incrementally higher rankings.
If you think of SEO like a game, as I like to do, you’ll soon realize that any issue can be overcome, given enough time – even total backlinks destruction. With best practices that have been honed over time and consistent action, along with proper analysis and testing, you can enjoy prominent Google rankings for years to come.