Want to succeed in 21st-Century search engine optimization? You need to invest in content strategy and long-term initiatives. But remember the easy wins: Fix basic site problems, and you’ll get all sorts of benefits, including a better SEO outcome. Read on…
What the hell do you do now?
Content strategy, semantic search and social campaigns are great, valid SEO tactics. I love ’em. But the hard truth is:
- You probably don’t have $99,999 handy for a whole new campaign at the moment. If you do, gimme a call, ok?
- You still need search traffic. (yep, I said it – you need search traffic and you need SEO)
So, what the hell do you do now?
Easy: Throw out the crap sandwich.
Just throw it out!
Too many web sites are crap sandwiches: They have nice, shiny business plans and nice, shiny designs. But in between is a steaming pile of manure: Broken links, lousy writing, bloated pages and navigation that would make Magellan weep.
Want some big SEO wins? Before you go grubbing for links, or start paying someone $20/article to fill your site with keyword-stuffed goop, try fixing the errors that make me cringe:
- Fix your broken links. All of them. Internal and incoming.
- Get every page loading in under 3 seconds.
- Get your markup right, and properly tag your pages.
- Fix spelling errors. Please. I’m begging you
- Fix grammar. See ‘spelling errors’
- Write decent product descriptions. Write a great ‘about’ page. Develop a truly fantastic FAQ.
- Use a tag manager.
- Start tracking competitor performance using some great tool (cough cough).
This is not a checklist. It’s an example. Fix everything, dammit. It makes for a better customer experience. And it has some nice side effects that may sound familiar:
A crap-free site gets you links
Folks link to sites that work. Nothing will chase away a blogger faster than a 404 error page. Except truly horrific writing, or a 10-second page load time. If you want to ‘naturally acquire links’ the way that Google wants, a nearly-flawless site is a great start.
A crap-free site gets you quality
Google Panda is the more cuddly of the major Google updates of the last few years. It favors ‘quality’ web sites. I won’t go into the excruciating details of how Google defines ‘quality’ — I can’t pretend to know what’s going on in Google’s big, pointy head. I can tell you that anything improving your web site improves quality.
So, fix stuff. It’s the easiest SEO tactic ever.
Less crap = Higher ROI
The best part of all this? The return on investment crushes the ROI of link building or keyword-stuffing.
The tools are already in place. You don’t have to write brand new product descriptions. Edit the ones you’ve got (Unless they’re so awful you can’t edit them. That happens). You’re not building new pages. You’re just fixing broken links. And speeding up a page is rarely rocket science. Start with bloated images and work your way down.
More important, fixing stuff doesn’t just help SEO. It improves visitor experience. Even if I’m completely, 100% wrong, and everything in this post is a complete lie, you still benefit from a better site.
So throw out the crap sandwich. You’ll see better results across your entire digital strategy, including SEO.