In this second post about “why does my site need SEO” and issues that might prevent you from ranking better, we’ll start with one of the most underestimated mistakes that webmasters make.
Why does my site need SEO? – Part 2
- Failing to understand how Google prioritizes links.
Here is a typical scenario for most websites: two links to the home page on the upper part of the site, one from the clickable logo and one from the navigation bar, the latter with the anchor “Home.”These links appear on all the pages, and make navigation easier, as they allow users to go back to the home page regardless of where they are.However, which one of those two links will Google prioritize? As we found out, this is what happens:
- If you have only one link to a given URL, and it’s embedded in an image with an ALT attribute, Google will use it as anchor text
- If you have two URLs in the same page, one as an image and the other as text, Google will prioritize the latter, regardless of its position or the ALT tag of the image link.
Forget about the dear old “Home” as anchor text then, and try to use a more descriptive one. Also, remember two more things when it comes to links:
- If the first link uses the rel=”nofollow” attribute, that will block the crawling of the second one, even if it’s not nofollow.
The safe bet is to make sure that the first link to a URL is a keyword-rich text, as it will have priority in Google’s eyes on any other URL that might come further down in the page.
- Moving to a different URL without letting Google know.
If you are moving an entire site to a new URL, what happens to all the old backlinks, and how can you avoid losing your hard-earned Page Rank? The solution is a Google tool for webmasters, called Change of Address Form, whose purpose is to inform the search engine that your site has moved. On top of that, you want to put permanent redirections (called 301) from the old pages to the corresponding ones in the new site.The difference between the tool and the 301 is that the first provides the information about the change at site level, whereas the latter is for single pages, but it definitely won’t hurt to use both (in fact, Google recommends it), and for two reasons:
- The PageRank from the old URL will be passed on to the new one
- Users that visit the old URL directly, from a bookmark, old backlinks or by typing it on the address bar, will be led to your new site, without getting the infamous “Page not found” response.
- Building slow loading pages.
Last but not least, don’t forget that users want speed, and so does Google. A slow-loading page will affect you negatively in two waysIf you use Adwords to promote your site, a high loading time will lower your Quality Score, resulting in higher Cost Per Click of your ads and a less favorable placement
Whether you use Adwords or not, slowness will bring you down in the rankings.
So, do you still think you don’t need an SEO guy? These should be some good reasons why does my site need SEO.