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Written by

Guillermo Figueredo

Toronto digital marketing tips.

The Most Relevant On-Site SEO Actions for your Website. Part 1

Awesome Web Designs favicon

Written by

Guillermo Figueredo

The Most Relevant On-Site SEO Actions for your Website. Part 1

Mobile-first indexing.

If you have installed Google Analytics on your site you may have experienced an increase in traffic from Smartphone Googlebot since last March. This has one simple explanation: Google began to roll out mobile-first indexing.

So, what is mobile-first indexing? Well, it is exactly what it sounds like. Mobile-first indexing simply means that Google’s crawlbot  will start to look to the mobile web pages to index the web, not the desktop version. In other words, the mobile version of your website has become the starting point for what Google includes in their index, and the baseline for how they determine rankings.

This decision has a clear reason, today most people are searching on Google using a mobile device. If your web has less content on its mobile page than the desktop page, you should start updating it. And obviously, a lack of a mobile-friendly experience will impact negatively on the rankings of your website

Nevertheless, Google’s ranking systems still typically look at the desktop version of a page’s content to evaluate its relevance to the user. Keep paying attention to your desktop site as well. However, remember that a site with a better mobile experience would potentially receive a rankings boost even for searchers on a desktop.

Noindex and Nofollow directives.

The noindex directive is a value that tells search engines like Google to not include a particular page in its list of search results.  The nofollow directive is a value that tells search engines as well not to pass link equity through any links on a given webpage.

Link equity (Also known as “link juice”) is a search engine ranking factor based on the idea that certain links pass value and authority from one page to another. This value is dependent on a number of factors, such as the linking page’s authorityHTTP status, and more. Links that pass equity are one of many signals that Google and other search engines use to determine a page’s rankings in the SERPs.

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Pages you might want to noindex:

  • Author archives on a one-author blog. If you are the only one writing for your blog, your author pages are probably 90% the same as your blog homepage. It can be considered duplicate content.
  • Certain (custom) post types. Sometimes a plugin or theme adds a custom post type that you don’t want to be indexed.
  • Thank you pages. That page serves no other purpose than to thank your customer/newsletter subscriber.
  • Admin and login pages. Exceptions are the login pages that serve a community, like Dropbox or similar services. Just ask yourself if you would google for one of your login pages if you were not in your company. It’s probably safe to say that Google doesn’t need to index these pages.
  • Internal search results. Internal search results are the last pages Google wants to point its visitors to.

Pages you might want to nofollow:

  • Links in blog comments. You do not want a competitor or link spammer to be able to add an unhelpful comment to your blog post with a link to his/her own website.
  • Paid links.  Website owners with a sponsors page on their site, could choose to include logos and include links on their website of event sponsors, but use the “nofollow” meta tag for each link on the sponsor page to indicate to Google that they cannot vouch for each organization’s website that is being linked to.
  • Any untrusted external content.

Keyword research.

It’s not about getting visitors to your site, but about getting the right kind of visitors. Keyword research is one of the most important and high return actions in the search engine optimization field. Ranking for the right keywords can make or break your website. By researching your market’s keyword demand, you can not only learn which terms and phrases to target with SEO, but also learn more about your customers.

Keyword Research tools for new businesses:

  • Google AdWords Keyword Planner.  It’s designed for advertising, but you can use it to research organic keywords by customizing your results for one of your competitors. Enter your product or service, your competitor’s landing page and product category and get relevant insight and keyword recommendations.
  • Google Trends. Based on Google Search, Google Trends shows how often a particular search-term is entered relative to the total search-volume across various regions of the world, and in various languages.
  • SEMRush. When it comes to keyword research, SEMrush provides an impressive list of features.

Header tags.

Header 1 text is usually the largest text on the page, and serves as the title for that page’s content. If a web page was a book, the H1 text would be the book’s title. It tells would-be readers whether that subject matter is relevant to their interests.

Header 2 text guides visitors to a specific section of web content. If Header 1 text is your book title, then Header 2s are your chapter headings, which give readers a clearer picture of what your content covers, and allows them to quickly find the specific information they want.

What value do header tags have for SEO? It’s believed that Header 1 and Header 2 text used to have a larger impact on search rankings than it does now, having been crowded out by more sophisticated measures. However, headings still help Google to grasp the main topics of a long post.

Proper use of h1 and h2 tags:

  • Only use one Header 1 tag per page. Thankfully, WordPress—which we use for almost all client sites—makes this pretty easy. Most themes simply take whatever the title is for the post or page and automatically set it as the H1 text.
  • Use Header 2s smartly. Don’t litter your content with H2s. The more H2s your page has, the less useful they are.
  • Make sure that your H1s and H2s are descriptive.

Duplicate content.

There is internal duplicate content and there is external duplicate content.

  • Internal duplicate content. It frames all content that is actually accessible through multiple URLs of your site.  If you have a lot of URLs pointing to the same piece of content, from a search engine point of view, the search engine is not really sure what URL to rank for that content.
  • External duplicate content. This is a bigger issue. If you go out and copy content from another website or you are an affiliate and you just take the content from your merchant, then actually you are having almost the same or exactly the same content as thousands or hundreds of other people as well. If Google finds a lot of duplicate content on your website, it could be bad for your site overall. Always try to really build content that is useful for the users and try to avoid external content to give a very clear picture to the search engine and to your users/readers.

How to audit your site and find internal duplicate content:

  • Screaming Frog SEO Spider. Screaming Frog is a free website crawler that allows you to crawl websites’ URLs and fetch key onsite elements such a internal duplicate content to analyse onsite SEO.
  • Siteliner. Siteliner checks your site for internal duplicate content, highlighting it on each page, intelligently excluding common content such as menus and navigation.

Continue reading The Most Relevant On-Site SEO Actions for your Website. Part 2

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