10 Low Hanging Fixes (Fruits) for a Quick Boost in Rankings
August 28, 2013
Below are some quick fixes you can make to your website that will result in an instant increase in rankings. Please bare in mind, there are additional obvious fixes that you won’t find on this list (IE:Increase Page Speed, Get Links from Authority Bloggers, Submit to such & such, etc), because this list is dedicated to EASY/instant fixes (low hanging fruit).
1. Duplicate, Missing, Too Short or Too Long Title Tags – Confirm in GWT that you don’t have any title tag problems. Make sure according to Google that you’ve addressed all of their HTML Improvement suggestions. Also ensure the title tags are accurate, targeting the right keywords, and aren’t spammy.
2. Duplicate, Missing, Too Short or Too Long Meta Descriptions – Same as with the title tags, make sure you’ve cleaned up all GWT HTML suggestions include the meta descriptions. What sets meta descriptions apart from title tags is the fact that they don’t directly influence rankings. However, they do influence click through rate, which down the line will indirectly affect your rankings.
3. Broken Internal Links – Make sure you don’t have any broken links in between pages. Furthermore, ensure that the links pointing to old pages (that may have been redirected) are fixed as well. When you 301 redirect a broken URL, you are only addressing half the problem. The link that create that 404 still needs to be fixed.
4. Broken External Links – Confirm that all links pointing to external pages aren’t broken or aren’t redirecting. There are many Chrome extensions and FireFox add-ons that can scan your pages for broken links. Also, make sure all external links open in a new tab, so that the user can seamlessly return to your website..
5. Too Many Links Per Page – If you have any pages with 100 or more internal and external links, remove some of the links or break up that page into multiple pages. This way all of your PageRank juice isn’t drained. Plus Google has made it clear that you should limit the total links per page. The more links you have on a page, the less each link is worth.
6. Canonicalization – Matt Cutts explains canonicalization and how it technically affects rankings here. In short, make sure your website doesn’t have a www and non-www version because technically those are 2 different websites. And if you have 500 links pointing to one version and another 500 pointing to the other version, all your efforts are being split between 2 sites. Some will argue that Google is sophisticated enough to combine the sites without canonicalization. But if Matt Cutts brings it up, why not address this issue?
7. Keywords on Target Pages – Ideally each page is targeting its own set of keywords. Make sure each page has its target keywords in the prime locations (Title Tag, In Content, Headings, etc) better yet, make sure the content of those pages is actually relevant to those keywords.
8. Google + Authorship Markup – Associating your website with Google’s social network pays off. It not only helps you build trust and authority, it also increases click-through-rate.
9. Updated XML Sitemap Submitted to GWT – Once you’ve made all the above adjustments, make sure both your HTML and XML sitemaps don’t link to broken pages and are updated with any new pages you may have added recently. Then submit to Google Webmaster Tools. Make sure each page is unique and robust enough to get indexed. You don’t want to find Google only indexing 20 pages of your 100 page website.
10. Friends with Blogs – Lastly, you have friends (in real life or online). Ask them if they could write about your site on their blog, or drop a link somewhere on their site to yours. You don’t have to go overboard and get a keyword specific anchor text link. You just need a little trust from real life people.
Once you complete the above 10 issues check your current rankings, then come back a week or 2 later and bada-bing, bada-boom, rankings showing improvement already!