The world has come to a standstill due to the Covid-19 pandemic which has changed life as we know it and we have all had to adapt to a new way of life through social distancing and working from home. It has impacted digital marketing in a number of different ways as some online businesses have benefited from more people being online while others have suffered because of the new social distancing and lockdown guidelines. Anyone familiar with SEO knows that if you want your SEO strategy to be successful then you always need to be looking ahead and that means the SEO specialists at Core Optimisation have already started to think about life after Covid-19. We believe that if you use this time during lockdown to really push on your site’s SEO then your site’s performance will bounce back quicker after the lockdown and you will be top of the pile when life returns to some kind of normality. Every site has tasks or changes that need to be carried out but often we feel like we don’t have enough time to do them all. Well, there is no better time to carry out these left behind tasks than during a global pandemic lockdown.
1 – New Content Opportunities
Ever look at your site and feel like it is missing something or needs to be freshened up? That is a sign that you need to add new content. There is a never ending list of types of content that you could add to your site. For example, if your site is for a hotel you can add location pages so you can compete for organic traffic by having content about nearby attractions, landmarks, stadiums or music venues. A directions page, transport links page and testimonials pages can also be effective. If your site is for an e-commerce site then you can add product review pages into your blog for new products or some of your most popular products. How do you decide which new content opportunity will work best for you? Keyword research of course. Pull your search queries from search console or throw your ideas into Google’s Keyword Planner or use any of your own preferred keyword research tools (hint: Google Trends is a great one for these uncertain times) and then let the data you compile guide you in your quest for new content opportunities.
2 – Spring Clean your Site
One thing that search engines really dislike is a site that doesn’t clean up its own mess. The reason for this is that it makes it more difficult to crawl your site if it has broken links, 404s and other technical errors. The easiest way to clean up your site is to run a technical audit which you can do using SEMRush or any other similar tool. A SEMrush technical audit will crawl your site and compile any technical errors that are currently on your site. You can then replace any broken links with functioning links, redirect any 404s as well as correct any errors with your sitemap along with anything else your audit throws up. Another quick task to help clean up your site is to review any documents you may have on your site such as menus, wedding packages etc. which may be featured on your site as a PDF. Easily check these by clicking on them to ensure they work and also make sure they include relevant information. If the information is not relevant then replace them with an improved document.
3 – Backlink Audit
There are two types of link audits you should carry out a couple of times a year. The first is a back-link audit which will analyse the quality of your sites back-links. You can easily do this using SEMRush back-link audit which will gather all of the websites currently directing a link/links to your site and then categorise the links depending on whether they are non-toxic, potentially toxic and toxic. You can then view these links and gather the toxic links before exporting them to a txt file. The final step is to upload that txt file to Google Search Console’s Disavow Tool which will disavow these links which will then improve the overall quality of your back-links. Tip! If you have used the disavow tool before then just add the new toxic links to the txt file that is already there otherwise you will lose your previous work.
4 – Improving your Internal Linking strategy
The second type of link audit you can carry out is to improve your internal linking strategy. This will help your site’s users move around your site with ease which will in turn improve your average session duration and users who stay on your site longer are more likely to convert. Google crawls websites by following links so an internal linking strategy can help Google understand the relationship between various pages and other content while it also helps Google group together which pages on your site cover similar subject matters. Internal linking can also give Google clues about your site’s hierarchy so direct more internal links to your most important pages or posts and then restrict the amount of links you direct to less important pages.
5 – Optimise your site’s images
Many site owners add images to make their site look presentable and engaging but you get even more people to see your pretty pictures if you optimised them. You can optimise your site’s images by adding in keywords which describe the picture and this can be done simply via your CMS. For example, in WordPress you can click on your images in your CMS and then implement your alt text easily. Making sure you have done this on every page can help your overall SEO but you should prioritise your most important pages first. There are three main reasons why you should optimise your images and they are:
- Alt tags provide more context to search engine crawlers which helps them to index an image properly.
- Web Accessibility – Visually impaired users using screen readers will be read an alt attribute to better understand an on-page image.
- Alt tags will be displayed in place of an image if an image file cannot be loaded.
6 – Rankings Benchmark
Have you caught yourself in the past looking at your keyword ranking report and noticed that you have a few keywords ranking just outside the top 10 or 20 search results but never had the time to dive into why you couldn’t break into the top 10? Well, there is no time like the present and seeing as we won’t be making plans anytime soon we may as well carry out an SEO benchmark or two.
How to carry out an SEO Benchmark:
- Pick a phrase that you are ranked between position 11-25 for.
- Find the sites which are ranked above you for this phrase.
- Compare your title tag, content length, keywords in content, H1 and any other on page element for the relevant landing page to your competitors.
- This will highlight where your landing page is lacking or what you need to improve.
All of the other previous SEO tasks we mentioned earlier can also help you improve your rankings as new content opportunities can help your site enter more search results as well as help you reinforce content from the past. Cleaning up 404s, broken links and other technical issues can make it easier for Google to crawl your site while improving your back-links and use of internal links can make Google trust your site more and also help search engines better understand the context of your sites pages while optimising your images can help search engines index an image properly. Just like most other SEO tasks you will need to be patient when it comes to seeing the impact of these tasks.
Hopefully, by the time lock-down is over and life returns to normal, your site will be ready to reap the rewards by being top of the pile in the search results.