SEO Success Through Understanding Website Architecture
Success in SEO can sometimes be difficult if we don’t take into account the functionality of the website as a whole. There are many on page efforts that you can adjust such as the meta data, content, and internal linking that boost SEO rankings. However, if you forget to check for issues people, and search engines, run into then you may be pushing a boulder up a hill only to watch it roll back down to the bottom. Paying attention to the more technical aspects of website architecture is a necessity in the SEO business.
Mobile-friendly is something that we’ve heard for a long time and yet there are still websites out there that aren’t. Mobile searches have been on the rise every year since cellphones were able to use the internet on their phones effectively. Smartphones took it to the next level and we’re still not done. Desktop searches have given up a lot of ground to mobile searches. If a website isn’t mobile-friendly, that website could be missing out on over 50% of their overall traffic. If those people are having issues with the mobile site, they likely aren’t going to see if it is any better on their computers.
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Some people may not even have a computer for personal use and may only interact with them at work. Personal use of the internet may only ever come from their smartphones and tablets. Structuring your website to accommodate mobile users can help your desktop user experience as well. One way to improve your website’s mobile-friendliness is to make your website responsive. A responsive website will modify the look of a website based on the screen size viewing the page. This means that videos will be auto-adjusted along with text, image, and video positions to make it easier for users to view your website.
Why is Site Speed Important?
Most of us lose patience when waiting for a website to load up and that can lead to a lot of people hitting the back button to choose a different website. People on mobile devices are even more likely to leave a website if it takes too long to load. In addition to user experience being affected by slow speed, Google wants websites to be faster. They provide a small ranking boost to sites that load faster. While this may not be a major boost to rankings, it can be at least a small benefit over the competition. Google has their own site speed tool that helps you figure out what you need to do to boost both mobile and desktop site speeds.
What about URLs?
There are many things over the years that we’ve done to URLs to boost SEO for a website. One of those is still quite a useful tactic for both search engines and for users. Making sure that your URLs are descriptive is a great way to help your website. A URL that search engines can use to identify the content of that page helps in different ways. First, you still get an opportunity to get important keywords mentioned in your URL, which help with searches. Next, having a URL that matches in theme to the meta title and description will go a long way to validating what you intend for people to find when they click that link.
The Benefits of HTTPS
Security on a website is just a great thing in general. No one wants their personal information to be easily grabbed from an unsecure website. Adding the security to make your website HTTPS shows users that they can feel safe and that their data is secure. They will be more likely to provide personal information and it is especially required if you have an online store. Google wants a secure internet just as they want a fast one, so they give a boost for secure website and show searchers which websites aren’t secure right on their search results page.
Canonicalization and Duplication
Duplication is something that many SEO consultants worry about. Many websites have duplicate content in one form or another. Often this can be due to not enough content on a page, which makes it seem like it is duplicate content when compared to other pages with limited content. The rule of 70% unique content per page includes considering the entire page including headers, footers, sidebars, and anywhere else besides the main body of a web page. Some websites have both www and non-www versions of itself, which cause duplication across the entire site. Proper implementation of 301 redirects would help solve that problem.
Canonicalization is also helpful when choosing to duplicate a page. An example would be copying a very well-done article on a subject that you couldn’t have said better or that you want to highlight. Adding the canonicalization will let the search engines know where to find the original article and ensure that your website doesn’t get penalized for having the duplicate content.
Understanding the Importance of Site Crawling
The last architecture item that we’ll look at is the problems that can be discovered when search engines crawl a website. The first thing to make sure is working is that search engine bots are allowed to crawl the website. Most are setup properly and don’t have issues, however, sometimes a web developer stops bots from crawling a website that is in development and they forget to allow them to crawl once the site is live. This is a similar issue with setting up a site to not allow indexing, which is very important for people to find a website and certainly important for SEO purposes. The use of a proper sitemap will help a lot in telling the search engines what pages they should crawl and is basically a roadmap to making sure that they find everything.
SEO encompasses a wide variety of various elements that all play together. Keeping in mind that the architecture of a website is just as important as on-page optimizations will go a long way to building strong SEO rankings. Take the time to look outside the box when trying to figure out how to improve a website’s SEO performance and one of the best ways to do that is to focus on website performance. It is a very good idea to have Web developers and SEO consultants build a relationship together so that each can help the other make the best website experience for their users, which will in turn make the best website experience for search engines.