5 Quick & Easy SEO Fixes

Warning Sheer Drop photo by PSD

Warning Sheer Drop photo by PSD

Small business owners are often overwhelmed by all the advice they get about how to run their website. Here’s a checklist that any site can run through just to make sure you’re not falling into an easily avoided traps.

1. Canonicalization

This is one of those words that SEO people throw out there assuming everyone knows what they’re talking about. What it means is, each page can only be viewed as a single url. It’s easier to look at an example…

http://www.canonicalizationismyfriend.com (no trailing slash)
http://www.canonicalizationismyfriend.com/ (www and trailing slash)
http://canonicalizationismyfriend.com (no www and no trailing slash)
http://canonicalizationismyfriend.com/ (no www with trailing slash)
http://www.canonicalizationismyfriend.com/index.html (www and full url including homepage)
http://canonicalizationismyfriend.com/index.html (non-www and full url for homepage)

If all of those addresses show the same page, you have 6 duplicated pages, you could also be splitting any links coming to your homepage 6 different ways.

You can fix it by adding the something like this to your .htaccess:

<IfModule mod_rewrite.c>
RewriteEngine On
RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} !^www.canonicalizationismyfriend.com
RewriteRule (.*) http://www.canonicalizationismyfriend.com$1 [R=301,L]
</IfModule>

Be careful modifying your .htaccess file. If you don’t know what your doing, ask someone who does so you don’t make your site unreachable.

2. Title Tags That Suck

Look at the title of your homepage. Does it say “Untitled” or “Home” or “Index” or something equally horrible?

The title tag is one of, if not THE most important tag for on-page optimization. Try to make your title tag work for you by using your key phrase at the beginning and followed by your brand. For example:

<title>Siberian Husky Breeder - Gentle Ben Dog Rescue</title>

3. Nobody Links To Your Site

Links are still the main currency on the web. If nobody links to you, you will be hard to find on search engines, because they assume nobody cares about your site. There are three main ways to fix a lack of links.

  1. Buy links from some spammy link broken and risk getting penalized by Google and being dropped all together from their index.
  2. Write awesome content that people think is valuable enough to link to. (like Lisa Barone at Outspoken Media, Seth Godin and Brian Clark at CopyBlogger)
  3. Start commenting, tweeting and writing in forums within your niche where you can lave your website address behind so that others will find their way to your site. Hopefully the increase in traffic will slowly mean an increase in links.

4.  Make sure you’re not restricting the search robots

As crazy as it seems, I’ve seen this one more often that you might imagine. If you have a robots.txt file, there’s a chance that before you launched, you (or your developer) set it to:

Disallow: /

Which tells the search engines, “you are not allowed to index any of my content”.

Another one is having your templates coded with:

<meta name="robots" content="noindex, nofollow">

Same result as above.

5. Your site is uncrawlable

If the robots can’t read your site (Flash sites) it can’t index it. This site is completely invisible to the search engines.

Another possible crawlability problem is if your navigation is only available as javascript and it’s the only way to navigate into your site.

Comments

  1. Awesome tips. The first one was really helpful :)

  2. Eric Goebelbecker says:

    I’ve been playing around with my site, and it looks like WordPress 2.8.x already handles #1?

  3. Your post was very helpfull. I am about to retire at age 68. In good health but want to work at home. My passion is cooking and I started a website http://www.ethniccookingandculture.com. Making very little money with it. Expenses running it about $1500 a year. I just started to making some money daily with google adsense. I have been generating visits to my site through a blog called foodbuzz. I have been spending many hours daily(up to all hours of the nite and wee mornings} Wife is ready to kill me.

    This food buzz has a title called featured publisher(FP). I have to show a site that has blog activity in order to get the FP Logo. Consequently, I started a blogspot. ethniccookingandculture.blogspot. I know it sucks right now. After doing some research this week end I think the 4 column template is the way to go. If you have some spare time could please visit both;
    http://www.ethniccookingandculture.com
    ethniccookingandculture.blogspot

    Any comments would be greatly appreciated
    thanks in advance
    A Frustrated Blogger.

  4. Eric,
    Wordpress handles some of the canonicalization problems, but not all of them mentioned. But I do agree that WP takes a lot of the worry out of it.

    Michael,
    $1,500/year to run a blog seems a bit pricey. What type of feedback are you looking for?

  5. Yep, webcrawlers can’t index a site if it’s not crawlable! And one of the first things I fix with every SEO client I work with is the page-titles. That’s usually where I have the biggest immediate impact.

  6. thanks for the heads up, I was guilty of the first one – now it is fixed – I am looking forward to seeing if this increases my serp traffic… thanks!!

  7. NHE –

    Awesome, it’s such an easy fix for such an annoying problem. Let me know if you notice any changes.

  8. Seriously I start with Canonicalization, robots.txt, .htaccess file and then title tags. You have posted very quick SEO fixes and really the most important part of a website is its on page optimization.

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