Okay so you do a pretty good job at SEO. Your clients /employer seem to be happy with your work. Overall, you’re happy with the results you get. Yet maybe you’ve asked yourself from time to time – “How can I go even further?” or “What are some possibly easy things I could be doing to go even further?” Or maybe you just figure it’s time to go from “good enough” to “great”.
When clients come to me, it’s quite often because they feel like their site has plateaued – it’s already been optimized, or at least it’s been optimized as far as the previous person/team has been able to take it. And while there are many issues that could be addressed, here are five of the most common issues I find.
1. It’s All About Google
It no longer surprises me when I discover that a client’s site has 10,000 pages indexed at Google, yet only 500 in Bing. Or they’re on the 1st page of Google for dozens of high value phrases, yet they’re stuck on the 2nd, 3rd or even 4th page at Bing.
All too often people in the SEO world focus all their effort on Google, figuring “If I focus on Google, Bing will take care of itself”. The reality here is that if you only focus on Google, you may be missing a lot of business.
A quick hit opportunity that many site owners /manager don’t even realize – Bing tends to have a more difficult time discovering content on its own. Simply by submitting a sitemap.xml file through the Bing webmaster system can often dramatically increase the total number of pages indexed there. And for every additional page in the Bing index, you get a lift across your entire site. It’s not ALL you need to do for Bing, yet it’s fast and effortless.
2. Over-Saturated Title Tags
Sure, you can try and get sixteen keyword phrase variations in a page Title. Just in case there might be some way search engines associate your page with all those variations. And it might even work in some situations.
Except what I’ve found consistently is that when you go this far, you actually dilute a page’s focus – cannibalizing critical ranking value for the most important phrases on those pages. Multiply that across an entire site, and you could be shooting yourself in the foot.
3. So Many Eggs, Not Enough Baskets
It never ceases to amaze me how many people in our industry put so much time on so few tactics. The easiest example to focus on is the “It’s all about links” camp. You know – people who specialize in one thing and one thing only – building inbound links.
Now, it’s not impossible to get rankings by focusing on only one or a couple tactics. With enough brute force, you can pretty much game the search engines in many situations. Yet the problem with that of course, is longevity.
Just ask all those people who failed to build up high volumes of deep unique content, instead relying on ten unique words on 90% of their pages how they felt after the big bad Panda came along and ate the bamboo floor right out from under those sites…
By taking a broader tasking approach, you are much more likely to ensure longevity, regardless of which way the search algorithm winds blow.
4. We Need More Internal Links, Captain!
Footer navigation. Sidebar Navigation. Roll-over top navigation. Filters. Pagination. Sorting. Call-out Box navigation. Related Products/Articles/Sites links. Today’s page level linking has gotten so out of hand it borders on insanity. Yeah, sure, Google only counts the first link to a page right?
Well not really. Okay – maybe for purpose of distributing value from one page to another that’s the case. Except people who only see this as a consideration are missing a huge issue.
If I’ve got 450 links on a single page, and they all have text in there – either as pure anchor text, or as image alt attributes, image names, parameters… When you look at the page the way the Googlebot does, all of a sudden there’s a massive amount of text the algorithms have to decipher, and weigh against the topical intent of that individual page.
By thinning out that link depth, you actually help improve the ability search engines have of evaluating all that text and determining the topical focus of the page. And that’s not even touching on crawl improvements that come from the thinning process. So clean up your internal links, people!
5. Giving Away Your Unique Content
One of the single most common issues I find on eCommerce sites is how they generate a data feed of their product listings for shopping comparison sites. Except when they do so, they’re taking what little unique content they’ve got on their product details pages and distributing it out to countless comparison sites – causing massive duplicate content problems.
It gets worse when scrapers scoop up those data feeds, and all of a sudden you find those same product descriptions on fifty scraper sites.
By taking the up-front time to create two versions for every product description, and keeping the more extensive, well crafted version for your own site, you can serve both masters – the need for unique content on your bread and butter primary site, and the desire to have your content found on comparison sites.
Now it’s Your Turn
The bottom line message in these five tactics is to hopefully get you to think about what you’re doing a little more, and consider how you can take your site(s) to that next level. What are some of the most common problems you encounter in your SEO work? Issues that you would think fall in the “common sense” realm but turn out not to be?