Part of succeeding in any aspect of business is being efficient. Different tools and companies often create extra steps for you, and whether they mean well or not, it’s up to you as a webmaster to be able to see through what’s necessary and what’s just going to waste your time and cloud your vision. When it comes to SEO, there have been quite a few steps that have been added over the years for companies looking to improve their optimization. It can be tricky to see through what you really need because SEO is always changing, and with all of the Google updates and growing influence of social, things move at a fast pace. It’s important to ask yourself: How can I remove unnecessary SEO steps in order to obtain more social shares, links, conversions, and improved rankings?
The “Extras” of SEO
The extra aspects of SEO often occur when user experience and Google bots experience do not match up. Google and other major search engines want user experience and SEO to correlate completely (after all, that’s really the point of SEO in the first place); however this can be difficult. If you find yourself doing something for the sake of SEO, it’s important to always remember that readers should come first. If Google hasn’t caught the mix-up yet, they will soon enough.
According to SEOMoz and some of my own research and experiences, below are a few examples of things you could make easier for users while still keeping your SEO efforts successful:
- You want backlinks; so do not make embed codes too complicated.
Embed codes are a great way to help make it easy for users to share your content and therefore improve your visibility. If a user can embed a video or an image to his/her site, you’re likely looking at a backlink as well. Traditionally embed codes are at least a two step process—copy and paste or a pop-up message asking if you want to copy the code (like with Bitly)—yet they only have to be a single-step process. Consider including just one button that a user has to press that will immediately allow them to grab (or copy) the embed code and then he/she can insert it wherever makes sense.
- Do not ask for a bunch of information on a sign-up form because you want to keep people on your site.
Part of good SEO is making it easy to navigate around a website and find a sign-up form. You want your readers to be able to subscribe to your emails so that you have that address; however companies are beginning to ask for more and more information about what the readers wants to read, where he/she works, what type of business he/she owns, etc. The key is to keep this form short. Just get yourself the name and the email address. You have to remember that more and more people are beginning to use mobile devices to fill in sign-up forms, and the last thing anyone wants is a lot of typing. Ask for these details in an email later.
- Keep users logged-in to keep engagement high.
It’s always best to give your readers an option to remain signed-in to your website. Visiting a site and always having to sign-in in order to leave a comment or update a profile is annoying, and this goes back to the idea about the use of mobile devices. People aren’t going to feel like constantly signing into your website if they want to leave a comment or engage with a piece, and so they won’t. The Google bots like to see engagement and social shares (especially +1s), and making sure that your readers can do this easily is a must. You can learn more about how to set this up here.
What steps do you think can be removed from an SEO operation? Is there anything that you think has just gotten in the way of your SEO efforts? Let us know your story and your thoughts in the comments below.