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Every season possess its own beauty, but you have to admit that spring is by far the most exciting moment of the year. We witness nature awakening, hibernating plants coming back to life and more cheerful colours blooming compared to the winters’ dark shades.
Just like nature, we can also prepare for sunnier and warmer days by doing what is commonly known as “spring cleaning”; you dust your home, clean your windows and prepare your garden for the new season.
But here is what you probably missed -a good opportunity for you to check up on SEO tasks you’ve forgotten to do.
1) Site Speed
According to a study from Radware,“2-second delay in load time during a transaction resulted in abandonment rates of up to 87%”. Google takes this into account when ranking and crawling your website as well, an example of this is their acquisition of ‘Page Speed’, a Firefox plugin which ranks websites loading speed on a scale of 1-100.
So, for spring-cleaning, make sure you check your website’s page speed using tools such as Pingdom’s speed check tool, gtmetrix or using Google’s Pagespeed Insights.
These tools will suggest changes to improve your pages loading time.
Have you ever heard of over-optimisation? Over-optimisation refers to making too many SEO improvements on your website to the point that it starts undermining your website’s ability to rank.
Google is able to detect when a website is over-optimising, which results in a few or all of a website’s pages being unable to rank properly.
To prevent over-optimisation, you should:
- Avoid keyword stuffing (overusing the keyword which you want to rank)
- Avoid keyword rich anchors in internal links (avoid making internal links with keywords)
- Avoid pointing too many internal links towards your main pages (homepage, category page etc.)
- Make sure you don’t use more than 1 main title per page (H1)
- Make sure you don’t link to “toxic websites”, also known as “low quality websites”
3) Google Search Console
Many webmasters forget to regularly check Google Webmaster Tools. And that’s bad for SEO. Why? Because forgetting to redirect 404 errors will have an impact on your rankings. Imagine a user clicking on a page in the search results and landing on a 404 error. They probably won’t be too happy. As a result, if Google sees that you have too many 404 errors, it might downgrade your website in the rankings. The same goes for other errors or missing pages.
So, don’t forget to fix everything and make Google excited to crawl your site.
4) Check your Robots.txt file
Checking the robots.txt file is important from a SEO standpoint. You never know if a developer or someone else introduced a ‘NoIndex’ or ‘NoFollow’ somewhere in the code.
Once you’ve cleaned your website’s on-site problems, it’s time to check what’s going on off-site.
5) Check your backlink profile for “toxic links” and bad quality links
Never forget that nowadays, it’s better to have “fewer but better backlinks”. Spring-cleaning is the perfect occasion to get rid of links, which are lowering your rankings.
You should use tools such as Ahrefs, OpenSiteExplorer, SEMRush or SEObserver in order to check your backlink profile.
You should extract the backlinks to a CSV file and see if they have a Trust Flow > to 15 (using Majestic SEO) or a Domain Authority superior to 20 using the MOZ toolbar.
Unwanted backlinks should be disavowed with Google’s disavow tool, if the website’s Webmaster doesn’t want to remove them.
6) Spring cleaning is also an opportunity to start preparing for next season
The first step should be, to make better use of existing data, when it hasn’t been fully exploited yet. A good practice is to focus on demands, seasonality, customer behaviour, and to make sure your website is up-to-date with the latest trends in your industry and business.
Make sure you leverage your analytics data in order to refresh your websites’ product list, to choose which products should be promoted and which products should be removed from the homepage. Don’t forget to compare your top selling offline products with your online products to make sure you know which products you should be putting forward on your website.