The quality of your onsite SEO optimisation is becoming more critical as Google and Bing scrutinise your website more and more to ensure search quality. You think your website is really relevant; but what does Google think?
You have spent a lot of time on your website, making sure that your content is really good; you have optimised your Meta titles and descriptions and much more. You see some gains in organic rankings but just not as much as you would have hoped. So what do you do next? Do you move on with other forms of promotion or do you look a little deeper just to make sure nothing has been missed?
Of course you are going to double check; just to be safe! Your next port of call should be Google Webmaster Tools (or the Search Console as it is now called). In the search console there is the content keywords section. This often over-looked feature can be a revelation, and a great way of seeing how Google is evaluating your website and what it thinks your website is relevant to.
If your website is for this part healthy, when you look you will see a list of keywords that relate closely to what your website is about. If the relevancy isn’t as healthy as you had hoped you will see words in your list that you don’t expect to, and this can be a huge revelation.
On some websites I have looked at I have seen all manner of unexpected most popular keywords including dates. This is because Google counts how many times words and their related terms are mentioned throughout the website. I am sure it isn’t as straight forward as that though; I would expect things to have different weights, such as headings and anchor text for example.
If you have dated archives in your sidebar and your footer or other random widgets for example, Google will see those words mentioned on every page of your website twice, and they could have more weight because they are links. Other things that I have seen include calendar entries, badly optimised image alt text and social media icons.
Will fixing this give you a miraculous boost to your SEO rankings? Probably not although a healthier website may rank above a less healthy site if everything else was equal; It will certainly make it clearer to search engines what your website is actually about, rather than what it thinks.
Ways to fix this issue are to reduce the amount of repeated elements. Make sure that you use unique relevant ALT tags for any images and reduce any unneeded irrelevant repeated items, especially in the sidebar or footer. On most of my websites I have actually removed the archives all together; opting to have just relevant categories and tags instead. This approach could be more useful for readers looking for topic related content.
Fixing as many small issues as possible can accumulate to a large improvement to the health of your website and that has to be a good thing. So how relevant does Google think your website is?