How relevant does Google think your website is?

 

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.

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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?

 

The SEO royal big three your website needs to rank well

 

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As complicated as many SEO people would like to make it sound, SEO still boils down to 3 main areas which I like to call my big 3 of SEO. Just like a royal family all have their place and without one they can’t perform all of their royal duties. Hopefully I will be able to give you a good understanding of the areas you need to cover.

I know some people like to work out that you need to mention your keyword 3.63 times per paragraph and tell you to hop 4 steps to the left while crying “no Bing, Google is my queen!” but this isn’t really the case. Here are my royal family big 3 of SEO that you should work on to improve your website.

Your Content

Content truly is king and if your website doesn’t have any good content it just isn’t going to last. Good content doesn’t have to be long content. The best content is often the most relevant and useful content possible for the term that someone has searched for to land on your site.

So what is good content? Having 9,000 words is no longer an ideal solution, as it just isn’t a good experience for a user. On many occasions a quality landing page will have a wealth of useful information accompanied by quality imagery or videos.

Spun content and sending 3,000 shitty links from your super elite blog network provider may get you to the front pages but you will soon get penalised. Of course, this plan works for those that rely on turn and burn websites for profit. There is more to it than that of course!

Your Website’s Structure

If content is king then the structure of your website is queen. Your website platform is as important as the quality of tyres on a car in an emergency stop manoeuvre. Good quality content is useless if it is almost impossible for search engines to read and understand it. I have seen clients reap huge benefits from implementing changes to their website that I have recommended. For a lot of websites, the initial on site recommendations can bring a huge early win for you and your clients. So what do you need to consider?

Is your code clean and complete? Make sure that your website’s code is semantically sound. Ensure that rich snippets are used where possible, that your code isn’t bloated and that your website behaves as expected. Clean code isn’t going to make you rank at the top, but it will allow search engines and other bots to understand as much as possible what your website and its’ content is about.

Is your structure good? Make sure that you make a good use of your headers. If you use images make sure that the files have legible descriptive name, just like the ALT text. This can help search engines to know what the image is likely to be a picture of. Don’t focus too heavily on one keyword in your copy, having a good mix of keywords and terms will look more natural and fluid to people and search engines.

Is your site fast? Google has made a lot of noise about how a faster website offers a much better user experience.

Can a search engine tell what your page is about? Does your entire content match what a user would expect to see when they visit your page?

Is your website mobile friendly? Google has recently started to label mobile friendly websites and is likely to give preference to these to a large degree in mobile search results. Check to see how mobile friendly your website is with Google’s tool here.

Endorsement of your website

The prince and princesses of your website are endorsements. The prince is links and the princess is social media (or the other way round if you prefer).

Links

People linking back to your website and its content is critical if your website is going to rank anywhere near the front pages. Every link to your site is seen as an endorsement. Not all links are the same though. 10 amazing authoritative websites linking to yours can be more powerful than 200 low quality ones.

Social Media

A website that is popular on social media often ranks well in search engines, although this is more of a correlation than a cause. The benefits of social media are often not fully recognised by people looking to increase their website rankings and traffic.

The more liked, tweeted and shared etc your website is the better. This provides signals to search engines that your content is popular, which in theory means that it is great quality.

Social media is also a great source of traffic so it can be well worth choosing the right social media networks for you and your website and engaging with people on them. This doesn’t mean just posting your content from your website once a week. To get the best out of social media you need to dedicate plenty of time to it and engage with others in a genuine way, as spammers are as transparent as glass.

There is no fixed formula for the above, but most websites require a mix of them all to rank well at the highest that they possibly can. So make sure you try to improve all 3 on your website.