Every six months or so, it's important for site owners to revisit their onsite SEO. While many may think that onsite SEO is a set-it-and-forget-it process, the truth is that even "static" websites aren't 100% fixed. Even if you didn't undergo a major website overhaul in the last 6 months, chances are you tweaked a page of content here and there, added a few more links, tested new call-to-actions and so forth. Revisiting your onsite SEO will help ensure these small changes are all in working order and your site is up-to-date.
Check for broken links and missing pages.
Nothing kills the user experience faster than broken links and missing pages. You don't want to give a visitor any reason to abandon your site, so it's imperative that your site is easy to navigate. Did you delete any pages of content since the last time you looked at your onsite SEO? Were any links (both internal and inbound) properly 301 redirected? Remember that a 301 redirect
tells the search engines that it was a permanent move and all link juice is to be passed to the new page; a 302 redirect is only temporary and doesn't help your SEO.
Take a good look at your keywords.
No one says that you have to get keyword research right the first time. While you're revisiting your onsite SEO, take a look at what keywords are driving traffic to your site. Which keywords are doing a great job and which ones are under performing? Are there any new keywords that your visitors are using to find your site that you aren't actively targeting? Those keywords might reflect a change in user's search behavior and it could be worth incorporating them into your site's content and the rest of your content marketing efforts. You should also decide if there have been any changes to your industry, and subsequently new jargon, since the last time you optimized your site that mean you need to target a new set of keywords.
Looking at what keywords are driving traffic to your site is also a good way to measure the success of your SEO campaign. If you see more non-branded keywords are driving visitors (even if it's only 5 people a month), that's a sign that your SEO is working. While an uptick in branded searches means the rest of your online marketing efforts are doing their job (since people are searching for your company by name), an increase in non-branded keywords means that people who have never heard of your brand are finding your site in the search engines. These non-branded keywords are most likely variations of the keywords you are purposefully targeting on your, although every now and then a keyword out of left field can drive traffic as well.
Has your company launched new products since the last time you did your onsite SEO? Are those new pages properly optimized with Meta descriptions, title tags, image tags, optimized content and so forth? Can you merge two thin pages of content together into one really strong page? Are you still promoting a Christmas special somewhere on your site? When you revisit your onsite SEO, one of the most important things you can do is make sure you content is in tip-top form. At the end of the day, the content on your site is what is going to convince someone to do business with your company. You want to make sure your content is written for a human reader, incorporates relevant call-to-actions, and targets both decision makers and influencers.
Put yourself in the shoes of your audience. Is your content designed to solve their problems? Does it show them the value of your products/services or is it just a lot of marketing mumbo-jumbo. Great content shows visitors not only what you can do for them, but how what you do is going to make their lives/business better. Make sure it's easy for someone to find the information they're looking for quickly with headings, subheadings, bullet point lists and more.
Develop a stronger internal linking structure.
You want to make it easy for someone to delve deeper and deeper into your site. Link between related pages (including blog posts!) and help keep visitors engaged for longer. You don't want to force someone to go all the way back to your homepage in order to navigate your site and an internal linking structure makes it much easier for visitors to find information. Remember, each page of your site has the potential to be a landing page for a visitor, and you don't want to lead them to a dead-end. A strong internal linking structure also helps with your SEO. Linking from one page of your site to another helps spread link juice throughout your site and helps deeper pages with less inbound links perform better in the search engines.
While you don't have to completely redo you onsite SEO every six months, but you should take a look under the hood of your site from time to time to make sure that everything is working properly and make any small adjustments as needed.
April 27, 2012