Every spring, most people at least THINK about cleaning up their house. Clean the windows, glass windows that is. Clean the garage. Clear the gutters. What about cleaning up your web site that may have gathered some clutter over the winter or needs some fixing up?
- Does your site include sitemaps? Make sure you have a HTML sitemap that includes ALL of your pages, but most importantly, make sure a link to it is present in the footer. What about a sitemap.xml? Your CMS may produce this dynamically; if not, www.xml-sitemaps.com will generate the sitemap.xml for you, but you will need to upload it to your root. Once this is done, be sure that your robots.txt file points to this sitemap.xml and that you have submitted this to Webmaster Tools. In general, you want every possible means of allowing the spiders to find every page in your site.
- Does your site include internal links? Every time you mention one of your targeted key phrases on your main page or category pages, link these to the most appropriate inner page of the site. Visitors will naturally use the main navigation on your site, but you cannot list all of your important inner pages in your navigation. Guide your visitors where you want them to go. Spiders love these links too.
- Does your site have properly formatted META information? There are thousands of sites that will show you the proper formatting for your TITLE, DESCRIPTION and KEYWORD tags. While search engines no longer base their rankings on meta data, they will display this information as a snippet of text within search results, which can increase the number of clicks your site gets. Most CMS allow for easy implementation of META information – just make sure not to stuff keywords in here, as search engines can penalize you for this!
- Does your site have H1s / H2s? Use these to emphasize the topic of the page and the targeted phrase of this page. What is your page about? Let your visitors and the spiders know what you feel is important on this page.
- How many inbound links does your site have? Search engines use the quantity and quality of these inbound links to help determine search rankings. If a website that is considered authoritative in your field or industry links to your website, this will usually result in higher organic search visibility. Set a goal of obtaining X new links every month for the next 6 months. Just try it and see the long range impact.
Doing some spring cleaning will improve the curb appeal of your house, as well as your web site. Get off the sofa and get cleaning.