Best Onsite SEO Practices for New Websites -– WebsiteStrategies

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Best Onsite SEO Practices for New Websites

Ashley Bryan |

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August 8th 2018


Below I list the major SEO factors that I recommend should be considered when rebuilding a website or when developing a new website.

General Onsite Factors

Page load speed

Importance: ESSENTIAL

Officially identified as ranking signal by Google it is essential to minimise page load speeds. Google itself provides page speed insights in Google Analytics and there are more tips here: http://moz.com/learn/seo/page-speed.

Everything must be done to minimise page load speed. It can be affected by hosting location so I recommend hosting should be in the same country as the target market. Images should be optimised to minimum size.

Hosting stability – site uptime

Importance: ESSENTIAL

A website that is down too much (>0.2% of the time?) will not rank as well.

Mobile friendliness / responsive design

Importance: ESSENTIAL

The website must be mobile friendly and pass the Google Mobile Friendly test:
https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/mobile-friendly/

Attention to conversion pathways during design and planning

Importance: High

High organic bounce rates are a negative SEO signal, so attention should be paid to placement of calls to action, contact details, key action prompts etc during website planning and design.

Content length

Importance: HIGH

Longer bodies of text are valued more highly than shorter bodies of text by Google (even before we consider the keywords in the text). Longer pages rank higher than shorter pages, everything else being even. The generally agreed amount is >1500 words, however the text has to be natural and in the case of the home page this may be too much.

Infinite scrolling pages, tabbed content, expanding sections

Importance: HIGH

Google has stated that Google bot will only crawl so far down an infinite page and that content within tabs and “click to expand” sections may not be indexed. Therefore these should be used with care: Content that we want indexed should not be placed in these elements.

Ref: https://www.seroundtable.com/google-hidden-tab-content-seo-19489.html

Footer Links

Importance: HIGH

Excessive site-wide footer links are not a good SEO signal so should be limited to essential links only.

Placing contact info in the footer is desirable as it helps with local SEO. Placing a link to T&C and Privacy pages in the footer is a trust signal for Google.

Above the fold content – banners and graphics

Importance: MEDIUM

Google now lowers the rankings of websites “top heavy” with ads, especially if the ads are deemed distracting. There have been instances of false positives where animated/rotating top banners (especially on the home page) have triggered the penalty. To avoid this I recommend care when designing the home page re the top banner; they shouldn’t be so large that they force the visitor to scroll to see actual valuable content and I would avoid banner sliders, rotating banners altogether.

Banners with text overlay and relevant images however are good for conversions.

Pagination and Duplicate Content

Importance: LOW FOR NOW

Internal search result pages and list/category/tag pages with “next” and “previous” navigations can create duplicate content issues or trigger a “thin content” filter with Google.

If these series grow to more than 5 or so pages, then you may need to address it via the use of rel=”prev” or rel=”next” attributes or some other method.

Use of SSL certificate (https://)

Importance: LOW

This is now a small ranking factor and Google recommends all sites should use one.

Check the search results for your pages – if most results around you are using https, then you should too.

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Ashley Bryan is a Website Optimisation Consultant located on the Sunshine Coast in Australia. Follow Ashley: Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, YouTube

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