5 tips to improve your website this week (12) - Heart Internet Blog - Focusing on all aspects of the web

With Google’s recent crackdown on guest posting, it’s a good time to revise your search engine optimisation strategy and fine-tune your approach. Whether you have regular tasks you work through or if you’ve not started thinking about SEO yet, these tips can be revisited regularly to ensure you stay on track. Just getting started with SEO? Check out the best beginners’ guide on the web.

1. Review all your links

This includes internal links as well as your backlinks, and could take half an hour or a week depending on how many you have. Paid tools tend to give you more information and be more reliable, although there are often discounts and free trials available so you rarely have to pay full price. Some tools will limit you to a certain amount of data per day or per month if you use them on a free basis, but it’s always worth checking out as many as you can to see which give you the information you need.

Here's our pick of the bunch, but there are dozens more:

Open Site Explorer – Top of our list, this popular Moz tool is great for reviewing both your own links and your competitors’.

Ahrefs – If you’re on a budget, Ahrefs is a great low-cost option for reviewing links.

Majestic SEO – Whilst it doesn’t have as many individual features as others in this list, Majestic SEO has the big advantage of offering you recent stats as well as historical ones.

There are also a surprising number of handy tools created within Excel spreadsheets (using macros), so it’s worth googling around for useful free downloads. When you review your external links, you’re looking for both good (high quality, preferably relevant to the topic of your website) and bad (spammy-looking links from low quality websites) so you can take action by either disavowing or asking the webmasters in question to remove the links, or brainstorm ideas about how you can get more great links from similar websites or contacts.

2. Refine your SEO strategy

There’s always so much going on in the industry that even being a couple of weeks behind with the latest news can make your strategy outdated and even mean you’re doing more harm than good. Always keep up to date and ensure your SEO strategy is flexible enough to adapt – use a variety of link building techniques and always have a back-up plan! Every approach will be different depending on the website and industry; the most important thing is creating a plan you can maintain and adapt over time.

SEO doesn’t die – it just evolves…and this list has continued to grow:

3. Schedule your Analytics and Webmaster Tools checks

This is especially important if you run several websites and don’t have much time to dedicate to each. Ensure you have email notifications set so you receive all important messages and will be warned of potential crawling problems or specific penalties as soon as they occur. Don’t just limit yourself to Google Webmaster Tools; Bing Webmaster Tools is a must-have too. You can also use Webmaster Tools to check out what the search engines perceive as the top keywords for your website, as well as backlinks they’ve detected and other useful information.

Create regular Analytics reports to identify site changes, the best traffic sources, the most important pages (depending on whether your focus is conversions, visits, interaction, bounce rate, or a combination) and so on. This helps you identify the best sources of traffic so you can plan how to get more of the same links and recommendations from similar sources. It also helps you identify any less compelling content or confusion that causes visitors to close your website and move on.

4. Review your key pages

Building on your reports and checks, set aside some time on a regular basis to actively improve your website. Always be clear on which terms you’re ranking well for and which bring the most traffic and sales, as well as keeping checks on keywords you really want to rank well for and any ranking changes to pages you’re working on or testing. Review pages regularly in terms of both content and functionality to see how they can be improved, and make sure you record any changes (content or code) made to them to make tracking successes and failures easier.

5. Add reputable SEO sites to your feed reader

There are a lot of terrible articles, forum posts and blog entries about search engine optimisation on the web; the old adage ‘write about what you know’ has never been better advice. For this reason, and because SEO is a complex and rapidly-changing field, it’s best to stick to websites that have an excellent reputation within the industry to avoid falling into the trap of playing ‘Chinese whispers’. The best site for combining news, opinion and testing is Moz.com, which consistently maintains a high standard of top quality posts from the best names in the industry.

So there you have it – five sustainable SEO tips for your website and workflow this week. Please bookmark and share this article if you found it useful!

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