How much time should you spend optimizing your site before launching it? There’s no magic number or formula for determining whether your site is ready for launch. The answer depends on several factors, including the type of site you’ve built.
Most webmasters want their sites to load faster, rank higher in Google searches and get better conversions. Unfortunately, they often rush into launching without fully understanding SEO best practices. This can result in costly mistakes that negatively impact their rankings and traffic.
To ensure success, you must take time to research and implement the best practices for each page on your site. These include things such as site structure, page speed optimization, internal linking, social media integration, and other factors.
A large part of on-page optimization includes making sure that your page stays relevant in the eyes of Google and your users. To do so means ensuring that you have all the points of optimization that your tool of choice recommends, along with making sure that you are discussing all the relevant topics at hand.
If you’re creating a site, you should be aware that search engines (like Google) view your website as one big “page” and the text on each page is treated as one piece of content. So if you have duplicate content on multiple pages, it will dilute the value of those individual pieces of text and make them less visible to search engines. The solution?
Create unique content for every single page of your website.
Creating unique content helps you to avoid duplicate content issues arising from similar (and the same) content, as well as keyword cannibalization.
Keyword cannibalization occurs when multiple pages of a site rank for the same keyword phrase, and they steal traffic from each other. This can cause traffic to go to two pages, instead of just one page that is optimized for that query.
Thin Content Pages
Thin content is not short content. Because short content can be useful. Thin content is just about any content that’s not useful for users. Because Google doesn’t just evaluate content length, it also evaluates the quality of content. When you create thin content, you’re basically creating low-quality content. You might think that this isn’t an issue because you’re only writing about things that aren’t useful to people. But in reality, Google has been known to filter sites with thin content.
Google is always looking for ways to improve its algorithms. One way it does this is by evaluating whether or not the content on a particular page is actually relevant to what the user is searching for. If it turns out that the content on a certain page is irrelevant, then Google may decide to remove that page from its index.
Broken Images and Missing Alt Text
The occasional broken image that you fix randomly is fine. But, if your site has many of them, then you will need to make sure that you get this repaired immediately. Broken images are bad news for SEO. They take up valuable space on your server and they slow down load times. Additionally, they prevent search engine spiders from crawling your site properly.
Missing alt text is another problem that needs fixing right away. If a visitor lands on your homepage and there is no text at all, then he/she won’t know what your site is about. And, if there is some text but it doesn’t describe what the image is supposed to represent, then it could lead to confusion among visitors who land on your home page.
Poor Quality External Links
Not all links are equal. Some external links can be valuable, while other external links could be the spam of the earth. You don’t want to have spammy external links. You do, however, want to make sure that you are linking to valid external resources, such as those resources that support your topic.
Poor quality external links, however, can run the gamut from link exchanges, to outright spammy external links. This could be in the form of spammy affiliate links, or other low-quality external links that the author has included in their content.
Since links are essentially a vote for a site, basically saying that you endorse this site, even poor quality external links can be harmful.
Poorly Structured Internal Links
Internal linking is vital for driving traffic to your site, but you don’t want to overdo it. If your internal link structure isn’t logical, Google won’t know what to do with it and this may result in devaluation of your site. You should follow best practices, such as making sure each page on your site is easy to find within three clicks.
Google says it looks at how easily people can use your site. Their webmaster guidelines state: “Make pages primarily for users, not for search engines. ”
The same goes for internal links. Every page on your site should follow a logical silo structure, or a structure where your pages are arranged logically. It doesn’t always need to be a silo structure (it can be a flat structure, for example) but there is some evidence showing that Google does enjoy a deep silo structure that shows topical authority and depth of subject matter expertise.
You Haven’t Optimized a Slow Page Load Speed
If you want to retain visitors on your site, don’t make them wait around while loading each page individually. Instead, optimize your site so that every single page loads quickly. This way, there won’t be any delays, and your users won’t feel like they’re being held hostage while navigating your site.
The best way to ensure that your pages are fast loading is to use responsive design techniques. Responsive sites adapt to different screen sizes, making sure that everything looks great no matter how big or small the device is. Also, keep in mind that slow page loading speed affects your bounce rate. You’ll lose potential customers because they won’t stick around once they realize that your site isn’t worth the wait.
Poorly Optimized Title Tags and Meta Descriptions
Google uses both title tags and meta descriptions to help determine what people are searching for. They’re used to describe your site, so make sure you utilize them correctly. You don’t want to confuse searchers, and you definitely don’t want to trick Google into thinking you’re offering something different than what the user actually wants.
The best way to do this is to optimize your title tags and meta descriptions for your specific keyword phrases. This helps Google understand what your page is about, and provides useful information to visitors. For example, let’s say you sell shoes online. Your title might look like this: “Shop Shoes Online – Nike Shox Men’s.”
This tells Google exactly what your page is about, because it contains the words “shop,” “shoes,” “online,” and “Nike.” But it doesn’t tell Google much else. So, try adding some additional keywords to the title, such as “buy men’s shoes online.” Now, your title reads like this: “Buy Men’s Shoes Online – Nike Shoe Men’s.”
You’ve now told Google that your page is about buying shoes online, and you’ve included important keywords in the title. In addition, you’ve kept the original meaning of the title intact. This makes it easier for Google to understand what your page is all about.
Problems With the H1 Heading Tag
The H1 tag is one of the most important elements of a webpage because it indicates the most important piece of information on a given page. In fact, many people argue that the H1 tag is even more important than the meta description. A common misconception about the H1 tag is that you can have multiple H1 headings per page. You cannot.
If you do, you run into problems with the way search engines handle those headers, and they can appear to contradict each other as a result.
The H1 is used to establish what a page is actually about, so it stands to reason that your H1 heading tag should be the most important, and visible tag on the page.
There are many situations where a site might have multiple H1 tags. This is a problem because each H1 tag needs to contain unique information. For example, if there are three different products on a single page, each product could have its own H1 tag. However, if the same H1 tag is repeated throughout the site, it doesn’t provide much value.
Also, there are other situations where sites might be missing H2 tags, meaning that some pages didn’t include any additional subheadings. Missing H2 tags can lead to confusion among readers. They may not understand where the main topic begins and ends and where the subtopics come in.
Also, there might be duplicate information between the duplicate H1 tags. Duplicate information creates unnecessary clutter and makes it harder for visitors to find the information they’re looking for. This is why it’s advisable – and a good practice – to make sure that your heading tags follow a logical, flowing hierarchical structure.
Your Page Does Not Have Sufficient Content
Word count is a complicated SEO measurement because there is no minimum word count for any given page. However, Google tends to favor more detailed content over shorter ones. For example, if you’re writing a blog post that includes a lot of images, you’ll want to include captions and alt text.
If you write a long-form article, you might want to add related articles and citations. And if you write a book, you’ll probably want to include a table of contents. All of those things take up space, and Google wants to reward sites that are willing to invest the time to fill up every inch of their site with useful information.
In addition, Google likes to see longer pages. Longer content is another way to show off your depth. When you think about it, infographics are great examples of how adding depth to content can increase its value. They often require the writer to dig deep into a subject, and to use multiple sources to support their points.
A good infographic will tell the reader something new, even if it takes longer to read.
There Are Too Many Links On The Page
Many sites tend to have issues where they are over-optimized, and they have too many links on a page. This could mean you’re linking to irrelevant pages or even spammy ones. If you find yourself doing this, it might be worth considering whether you should stop adding links altogether on that page.
While Google dropped their requirement to maintain a limit on the total number of links on a single page a few years ago, there’s no reason to go overboard. Having too many links on a page can dilute the power of each individual link and send most of your visitors away.
If you do end up finding yourself with lots of links on a page, it’s important to check that every link is actually relevant and adds value to the page. You can use tools like Ahrefs’ Site Explorer to see how much authority each link carries.
You don’t want to lose your rankings because of too many links. Instead, focus on building quality links that help your site rank better.
You Have Implemented an Incorrect Language Declaration
Web developers often forget to add a language declaration to their site. This is a mistake because this fails to inform browsers about the language of the content on the page. If you don’t do this, some browsers might translate the page into another language, even if you’ve set the browser’s language preference to English.
For example, if you’re writing a Spanish blog post, you want to make sure that people reading it in French see the words written in Spanish. This tells browsers that the document is in Spanish.
Using Temporary Redirects Instead of Permanent Redirects
Redirection is an excellent way for search engines to learn about changes to your site. When you move pages around, you want to make sure you tell search engines
where those pages are now. This helps keep your page authority intact.
However, 302 redirects aren’t always ideal. There’s a big difference between a permanent (301) redirect and a temporary (302) redirect. Here’s what each one does.
A 301 redirect tells search engines that the page you’re pointing people to has permanently changed location. It signals to the search engines that the link is no longer valid.
A 302 redirect tells search engines that your page has temporarily relocated. It lets the search engines know that the old URL still exists somewhere else on your site.
Many sites out there have some sort of temporary redirect. Usually, this is because a web developer didn’t bother to look up which redirect to use, and got lazy and used a 302 instead of a 301. In order to pass the right SEO value, a 301 redirect is needed.
Not Paying Attention to the Rules of Conversion on Your Homepage
The homepage isn’t just another page on your site. In fact, most people think about it as the single most important page on their site. And while we know that having lots of content on a page is good, there is one thing that’s even better—and that’s having a clear call to action.
Some SEO professionals don’t realize that the home page is actually getting far more traffic than any other web page on their website. This is because the homepage usually has very little content. But what makes it different is that it often has a clear call to action, like “Buy now!”
So, how do you make sure that your homepage is optimized for conversions? Well, here are some tips:
Make sure that the call to action is clear and visible.
This might seem obvious, but many sites still use text boxes or drop down menus to ask visitors to sign up for newsletters or buy products. These types of calls to action are fine, but if you’re looking to convert someone, you want something that stands out. Use images, buttons, or maybe even video.
Keep it short.
If you’ve ever tried to read a long article online, you probably noticed that it wasn’t easy. You had to scroll way down to see everything. If you want people to take interest in your homepage, keep it short. People won’t spend too much time reading unless they feel compelled to.
Not Observing Mobile Optimization Best Practices
Despite Google’s move to mobile-first indexing, there are still some SEO professionals who are still ignoring mobile optimization. They are spending less time on mobile optimization and doing it later. This could be because of many reasons, such as a lack of knowledge about mobile optimization, lack of resources, etc. But the real reason behind this failure is that they don’t know how important mobile optimization is, and how much of a priority it is to ensure that your site be optimized for mobile devices.
According to Statista.com, mobile traffic accounts for over 58.99 percent of total global website traffic. If we talk about keyword research, the keywords that rank well on desktop do not necessarily perform as well on mobile.
Thus, it pays to make sure that you take a mobile-first and mobile-inclusive approach in your website designs.
So, what exactly does that mean? To optimize your site for mobile, you must focus on the following three things:
- Make sure your site loads fast on mobile.
- Optimize images for mobile.
- Add responsive design.
If you want to learn more about mobile optimization, check out our blog post here.
Ignoring Internal Links Within Your Content
Internal linking is one of the best ways to connect different parts of your website together and improve your SEO. If done correctly, internal linking helps to increase both your rankings and your traffic. Here are five reasons why you shouldn’t overdo it. It’s important to avoid these while creating high-quality internal links:
- Linking too much makes your content look spammy.
- You lose trustability.
- Your audience doesn’t understand what you’re trying to say.
- It won’t convert.
- It takes away from the quality of your writing.
Internal linking is one of the most powerful ways to increase your rankings on Google. But sometimes people overdo it. They start adding a ton of links to every single paragraph, sentence or even word. This practice is called “overlinking.” And while it might look like a nice touch, it actually hurts your SEO efforts.
On-Page Optimization is But One Part of the Process
You can have all the best off-page strategies in place, but if your on-page optimization isn’t working properly, then you might not get the results you were hoping for.
By making sure that all the parts of the system are working correctly, it’s possible to create an efficient on-page optimization process that addresses all of these issues—and more.
When do you plan on implementing your own on-page optimization process?