There are over 200 individual ranking factors that affect how your website appears in Google’s organic search listings. No matter how you look at it, search engine optimisation is complicated.
To make matters worse, unlike Google AdWords or Facebook advertising, there is no rule book. You can’t call up your account manager from Google or Facebook to ask them on some tips to increase your click-through rate (CTR) and improve your advertising ROI.
Given that Google made $116 Billion USD from advertising revenue in 2018, it is in their best interest to make SEO complicated so that businesses spend money to advertise their goods and services.
Producing engaging, well-researched content is just one aspect of search engine optimisation. In fact, although it takes a lot of time, it’s also one of the most enjoyable and rewarding aspects of SEO. There is always a tangible, visible result from your efforts.
Search engine optimisation also involves a lot of housekeeping. While it may not be that exciting, making an effort to improve the technical SEO of your website can make a huge difference. When the fundamentals (technical SEO) are taken care of, we tend to see better results from the rest of our SEO efforts.
Here are 3 SEO fixes that will improve your search engine performance.
1.Fix Broken Links
The danger or broken links is extensively covered by SEOs. They have been known to confuse search robots and exhaust your websites crawl budget. Not only are they bad from a technical SEO perspective, they also contribute to a poor user experience which can cause users to seek information elsewhere.
Finding and updating broken links is an ongoing aspect of SEO. As long as you are using links in your content (and you should be), you need to be regularly checking for broken links.
There are a number of reasons why a link might be broken. Some of the most common causes include:
An incorrect URL was entered
The destination website has since removed the web page with no redirect in place
The destination website has permanently moved or shut down
The link is on an internal page which has since been deleted or moved
The user is behind a firewall that blocks access to the destination website
Broken are problematic for website visitors because they inhibit access to the desired web page or referring piece of content. Users may decide to leave the website and seek the information elsewhere, leading to a higher bounce rate and poor user experience. Typically, sites which have not been updated or checked for links for a long time may be plagued with broken links.
2. Write Compelling Meta Descriptions
A meta description is an HTML attribute that provides a summary of the contents of a web page. Google (and other search engines) will display the meta descriptions on search engine results pages to inform users about what to expect on a web page.
Google announced way back in 2009 that meta descriptions do not factor into their ranking algorithm – this has not changed. Meta descriptions do not impact ratings.
Meta descriptions can, however, have a huge impact on CTR (click through rate) which Google can use to positively impact the ranking of a web page.
That means that while meta descriptions do not count for rankings, they have the power to improve (or lower) your rankings for pages based on the number of times that the page is seen in SERPs (impressions) versus the number of times that users click through. It doesn’t matter how good the content on your page is, if the meta description is unappealing, users are less likely to click through to the page.
For that reason, it is important to write compelling meta descriptions that encourage users to click on your webpage. Include your keywords (sparingly) and use language that resonates with their search query.
In some cases, search engines may choose to overrule the meta description that has been specified in the HTML of a page. This will occur when Google thinks that the meta description does not adequately address the user’s query and identifies a snippet from your webpage that can better serve a query.
3. Address Page Speed
Improving the page speed (load time) of your website may seem like an intimidating task. By nature, speeding up the load time of a web page involves understanding the components of a web page – which can seem daunting to marketers who are less technically minded.
In July 2018, Google’s Zhiheng Wang and Doantam Phan announced that page speed will be considered a ranking factor in mobile search.
“The “Speed Update,” as we’re calling it, will only affect pages that deliver the slowest experience to users and will only affect a small percentage of queries. It applies the same standard to all pages, regardless of the technology used to build the page. The intent of the search query is still a very strong signal, so a slow page may still rank highly if it has great, relevant content.”
Page speed is critical to the user experience. Pages that take longer to load will naturally have a higher bounce rate and lower time on the page than fast ones. Slow page load times can also significantly hinder conversions for e-commerce businesses.
You can evaluate your page speed using Google’s Page Speed Insights tool which incorporates data from Chrome User Experience Report (CrUX) and reports on two important speed metrics: First Contentful Paint (FCP) and DOMContentLoaded (DCL).
There are some simple things that you can do today to improve page load speed:
Use browser caching
Research indicates that Google is measuring time to first byte when it considers page load speed. A low page load speed is not only detrimental to the user experience, it also means that search engines can crawl (and index) fewer pages using their allocated crawl budget.
If these technical SEO tips are a bit above your skillset, then it is worth talking to an SEO professional who can help with resolving these common issues and getting your website health on track. An initial technical audit and fix can be one of the most important steps that you take in your SEO journey.