Seven Ways To Avoid Sabotaging Your Search Engine Results

Have you been trying to harness the power of search engine optimization (SEO) and get ahead of your competitors but find your efforts defeated with little to no results? SEO isn’t a simple task—it requires an in-depth and up-to-date understanding of how search engines work, as well as a willingness to change one’s strategy entirely, depending on Google’s latest algorithm changes.

When tackling SEO, there are countless well-known tips to improve your rankings, but also countless ways you can sabotage your own rankings without even knowing it. Here are seven of the ways you can avoid sabotaging your SEO results.

1. Pay attention to your site speed.

A large chunk of SEO is attributed to on-page factors, which means your website. The difference between a 0.5-second and 0.8-second load time could be the difference in a 20% conversion rate and a lowered domain authority. You may not notice it; however, with Google, even milliseconds count.

The delays can be attributed to almost anything in your site build—from overusing CSS to uncompressed photos. Depending on how large your site is, these improvements can run you anywhere from $50 to $5,000, but the results show almost immediately.

How do you check your site speed? You most likely have cookies enabled to preload web assets, making you think your site speed is faster than it is. Run your website through a site speed checker that makes suggestions on how to get your website running more efficiently. PageSpeed Insights by Google and GTMetrix are two of the more popular tools that provide a list of free suggestions.

2. Avoid duplicate content.

Websites weighed down with duplicate content can lead to deprioritization in Google Search results, de-indexing, fluctuations in core metrics and, in some cases, even penalties. This is from mentioning content already published, whether on your website or another website. If you need to mention already published content, read more on canonical tags.

3. Have a domain migration strategy.

Improvements or changes to websites all too often cause sudden drops in search engine rankings and organic traffic nose dives, causing the pipeline to shrink and ultimately resulting in a drop in sales. This is a daunting and often unanticipated issue and any fixes may take weeks to show.

Failing to add redirects, making instrumental changes in structure without adding tracking, implementing robot access, including new sitemaps and failing to add adequate monitoring tools are just some of the many ways migration can go wrong if you neglect to prepare a proper strategy. Always review a trusted domain migration checklist to help ensure this doesn’t happen.

4. Replace accordions and hidden text.

One of the most common causes of SEO issues is accordions—no, not the instrument, the “click-to-expand” content on your website often used for FAQs, menus or drop-down information. Although this is a great way to organize your page to look nicer, it doesn’t do much for your SEO. That’s because Google treats information that isn’t visible on the page as less important than content that’s immediately visible.

Find unique ways to leave the content in plain view while also optimizing the layout of your page to improve the user experience. One idea is to use a floating submenu for your FAQ section so that your users don’t have to sift through hundreds of questions to find what they need.

5. Make sure your domain or pages don’t compete with one another.

Managing multiple domains can be a real pain for SEO. It involves the navigation of duplicate content, the separation and distribution of domain authority and the time and money to manage them. A simple solution is to focus your energy on building one unified domain. Afraid of someone else buying up all the other keywords? Buy alternative domains and have them all redirected to the one unified site.

If you want to separate website departments, try subdomains. An example of a subdomain is information.yourwebsitehere.com for an information website in which you still benefit from the link juice all working together.

6. Optimize using filter-based pages.

Search algorithms look for innovative and tailored content. A unique strategy rarely talked about is creating pages based on filters to hyper-target keyword search terms. An example is when e-commerce websites have hats that come in a variety of different sizes, colors and materials. Most of the time, they have product catalogs with filters that can be applied to see specific combinations. In this scenario, you’re not ranking for the filter combination. Why not have a page based on these combinations?

This isn’t common, as to create pages based on filters would result in tens or hundreds of thousands of variations and pages. With price and product changes, it’s near impossible to update consistently. Some companies are offering solutions that use algorithmic identification and segmentation technology to automate this process, thereby mass-creating these pages based on live taxonomy. This strategy to enhance visibility at scale can also benefit other verticals outside e-commerce, such as real estate, where it can help create pages based on variations in house type, prices and locations.

7. Never delete your old pages.

Don’t delete old pages without a redirect. Instead, use old products or pages to redirect visitors to new listings or similar pages. If you have to delete a page, make sure to use a 301 redirect from the old page to a new one. That will help reuse your link juice and efforts.

These are just some of the many SEO hacks that can make or break your company. Whether you’re a lackluster linker or an SEO expert, there’s always room for improvement when it comes to strengthening your search engine results. So, have you been sabotaging your SEO rankings without knowing it?

Source: Iman Bashir, Mar 18, 2022

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