Most business owners or marketers are aware that creating good quality content is one of the best ways to keep your website at the top of any search results. But, you don’t always have to be creating something new to improve your website.
You can optimize your website and content by doing a little spring cleaning. Deleting old blogs, repairing broken links, and optimizing images will keep your website fresh and more importantly, attractive to those search engines.
And you’re in luck because we have your ultimate guide to the most effective website cleaning strategy, right here.
Executing An Efficient SEO Cleanup Strategy
The first step is to get a complete overview of your entire website, similar to an audit. You need to evaluate your site through the eyes of a search engine. This way you can identify areas that need cleaning.
1. Site Structure
Your website structure affects how your customers interact with the site and has a big impact on search engine ranking. Your menu is one of the first features people use so you want this to be user-friendly. Only include a few top-level items for easy navigation and less clutter.
Next you want to look through your content to make sure it is aligned with your business goals. Content needs to be easy to find and relevant to your overall goals. If you find that you have a lot of content, try splitting the site into categories such as blogs, services, product info, and contact details. This makes it easier for users to get to the place they want quicker.
Within each category, make sure the content is organized in terms of relevance, and content that is most important to performance should be easiest to find. It is important to remember that most companies are digital now, so you want your website to be user-friendly and more efficient to navigate for users.
For a thorough audit, you can use performance data to evaluate how well the website is working. How much traffic are pages getting, where does this traffic come from, and how long do people stay on pages? These are all important in analyzing how successful your website is operating. You can use this data to remove irrelevant and unhelpful content as well as optimize current pages that get a lot of traffic.
2. Bad Links
A ‘bad’ link is one that violates any of Google’s guidelines, and Google does not like these. You may even get penalties that negatively impact your ranking if you have bad links on your site. To prevent bad links, you need to monitor sites that are linking to yours and remove those that can be trouble such as links from press releases, link farms, or private blogs.
After identifying the bad links, you need to remove them. Look for the contact information of the websites hosting the links. You can ask them directly to remove it and if there is no response, you can take things further. Disavowing the URLs of those pages is the next step. This is basically a request to Google asking them to ignore the links and if accepted, these bad links will not be held against you.
As you audit the links on your website, make sure you do not remove any good links. These come from high-ranking websites and other sites within your industry. Good links are highly beneficial for your website ranking and SEO. Good links also provide users to your site with valuable content that is relevant to what they are looking for.
3. Broken Links
Broken links are those that lead to a website that no longer exists. They may also be links to out-of-date pages on your own site. Broken links occur for a few different reasons including:
- Incorrect URL
- Deleted page
- Deleted website
- Firewall restricting access to a site or page
You can do your own audit of links or use the Crawl Errors tool in Google Search Console to identify broken links. These links are not helpful and can reduce your overall credibility as well as frustrate users. Once broken links are identified, they need to be fixed to help maintain SEO and search ranking.
To fix a broken link you can:
- Correct the URL if it was entered wrong
- Un-link the text
- Replace the link to a destination that has moved
- Create a redirect for any broken links within your own website
4. Optimize Images
Images are very appealing to website users and have a big impact on SEO. Visual information is often just as valuable as written content, so it needs the same amount of attention and cleaning, if necessary.
One of the first things to do is to compress all your images so they are faster to load. Waiting for images to load is frustrating to users, and if it takes longer than a second, the bounce rate from your page increases by 32%. Quickly loading pages is vital for attracting and keeping visitors on your site.
After compression, you need to give some attention to image alt text. You can include keywords in this alt text to help boost SEO and website performance. Having Alt text means that if the image is slow to load, the text will appear, which is one way to avoid upsetting users. Alt text is also a great tool to communicate more efficiently with your visually impaired visitors.
5. Duplicate Metadata
Meta descriptions and title tags need to be unique. As you add pages and content to your website over time, repeating these can happen. Audit your title tags and metadata to identify any duplicates or too-similar wording.
These are used heavily by search engines, so you want them to be different.
Crawl data can help you identify these duplicates. The best way to avoid creating tags that are too similar is to put them all in a spreadsheet where you can see them all in one place. Then, create new, unique ones. It is a tedious task but when it comes to SEO, it will be with effort.
Make sure title tags are original, no more than 65 characters, and contain the keyword theme at the beginning and website name at the end. For meta descriptions, be sure to include the keyword theme, page overview, and do not go over 155 characters.
6. Is It Working?
This may seem like an obvious step, but not checking can result in poor SEO. You want to check that all aspects of your website are working as they should. In doing so, you can make sure that your visitors are getting the desired experience. Go through every page on your site or ask a colleague to do this. You want to get an understanding of what the users see and experience in terms of functionality and usability. AS you do this, you can identify areas that are not working so they can be edited to create the experience you want your customers to have.
SEO Cleanup Is A Regular Task
In the same way that you clean your house or office regularly, your website needs the same maintenance. To stay abreast of updates, industry changes, consumer demands, and changing business goals, you need to perform regular cleanups. With monthly cleaning, you can keep your website optimized and performing at its best, so your business stays at the top of search results and people’s minds.