There are many aspects of SEO that are worth paying attention to. But determining what those are amongst the confusing din of shared ideas and differing opinions is difficult.
To help clarify what to pay attention to, here are the six most important aspects of SEO that you can’t afford to ignore.
With the upcoming Core Web Vitals update from Google – delayed to July but still happening – site speed matters. This update relates to how quickly a site loads, what is causing its loading delays, and so forth.
Unfortunately, Google isn’t playing fair because they’re using an old, slower mobile speed to rate a site. The speed is not realistic for most 4G LTE mobile users today, but that’s an argument for another day.
Site owners need to obtain a positive rating to get their pages noted as such by the search giant. Risking losing ranking because your content is about as good as another site’s, but their site loads faster is not worth it. You can avoid this by upgrading to a VPS hosting plan, reducing any website design complication, and giving your site a speed boost.
On-page SEO is anything related to the site that happens there and not externally.
Spread the Link Juice
From an SEO standpoint, this mostly means internal links between one page and another.
When external links are pointing to the site, the page receiving the link pointing at it can interlink to other related pages. Doing so allows the “link juice” to be shared with more than one page that can benefit from it.
Site Structure Crawlability
How easy is it for a spider bot to crawl the website? Does it have a logical or sensible structure that indicates the top-level areas, down to the second level, and beyond that?
When the structure is perplexing or something akin to a spaghetti junction, it’s confusing for human visitors and bots alike. This could create crawl errors that can be discovered in the Google Console.
Don’t Forget to Link Out to Quality Sites
While there’s always the worry that linking out encourages site visitors to leave sooner, it’s equally important to provide beneficial references too.
When talking about research or points of note, linking out confirms where the source of the information originated. It also shows a willingness to provide informative links to visitors and customers without reservation which is often appreciated.
High Quality Links Trumps All
There are different ways that a link is valued.
The Moz.com Domain Authority (DA) and Page Authority (PA) ratings are two ways to do it. Ahrefs also has ratings that can be reviewed too. By looking at the rating for the page and domain for the inbound link, it’s possible to get an early look at whether it’s valuable or not.
For instance, the Domain Authority rating works on a logarithmic scale. For the non-mathematicians, this means that a DA rating of 10 is not just 10 times better than a DA rating of 1. Instead, it’s an order of magnitude more powerful. Similarly, an article with a Page Authority rating of 30 is going to be infinitely more powerful than a PA 10 or below.
High-quality links matter in SEO. A single link once indexed by Google is going to do far more for a site than one hundred blog comment links from no-name blogs. So, quality over quantity is the order of the day.
Fix Broken Links
A broken link is a link out to a page that’s no longer available. It’s one that’s subsequently been deleted, or where the site is no longer live on the internet. Typically, site links are only valid for 1-2 years before a redesign, culling of old content, or a site going offline invalidates it.
It’s a good idea to remove invalid links. If they’re for products that a company no longer offers, it looks bad to visitors. Also, if it’s linking out to a resource that’s no longer available, it looks sloppy.
Google can pick up on links that go nowhere. When it starts affecting the time on site for visitors, then it could hurt ranking positions. Also, sites are now being rated by humans for user experience as part of the Core Web Vital update, so it could create a negative outcome there too.
If relying on ranking for relevant search terms, and selecting them poorly, you’re off to a terrible start!
The search intent of the search phrase relates to the purpose behind it. What is trying to be achieved here? It may be immediately obvious, or it may not. Sometimes, searches overlap between different topics that can confuse Google when the search is bereft of clarifying information.
Look at the current search results to see what Google believes people are looking for. Are they showing videos first or providing local results, e-commerce results, or informational ones? Is it a mixture of different types due to the search phrase being subject to interpretation?
Commercial vs. Informational vs. Other
What type of search is it? Does the search phrase relate to a product and could it lead to a possible sale?
Is it looking to answer a question with no intention to buy a product or service? Is it a transactional question, or something else?
What Are Searchers Wanting to Find?
What are searchers expecting to find when performing the search? Is Google providing useful pages or coming up short? Is the search engine misunderstanding what’s being asked? Is there an opportunity to capitalize on this?
There are many aspects worth considering and not ignoring with SEO. Certainly, don’t ignore the impact of mobile search now either. Google has adopted a mobile-first strategy, so sites that fail to provide a good experience for smaller devices could suffer from an SEO perspective.
Also, there’s a continuing push for quality in all things. That applies whether it’s published content, clearer navigation, appropriate disclaimers, or a faster loading website. A continual improvement mindset is likely to serve anyone well here.