It frequently seems like every new client wants a list of quick wins at the start of the project but they have already done most of the quick wins. They have content, they have page titles that don’t make me shudder, key pages are well linked to internally, their URLs are clean, and they’ve canonicalized the www and non-www version of their site. The good news is there is still a lot on the table; the bad news is that these things can be easy to overlook. If you can do any of the following, you can give your client some quick wins in the holiday season and make them stoked.
301 your cannibalizing/competitive pages
If you have multiple pages targeting the same term, which invariably happens as you grow, you’re splitting your link equity between pages and rolling the dice trying to get the proper page to rank. You should know what pages you have, but if you’re a bit lost, do a site: search for the primary keywords.
Once you’ve identified your pages, canonical them to the primary landing page – or 301 them if the page is un-needed or obsolete.
Submit Your XML Sitemap to Bing
Odds are good you’ve already submitted your XML sitemap to Google. If you haven’t done so yet, you should probably go do that. You should also be submitting it to Bing. This can be really beneficial for two reasons. Despite Google’s larger market share, Bing still has a significant amount of users, and (for many markets) they tend to have a higher conversion rate.
Secondly, Bing isn’t always great at crawling and content discovery so submitting your XML sitemap can make a big difference in your Bing indexation rate.
Reorganize Your XML Sitemaps
If you’re having indexation issues, one easy way to try and diagnose which section of the site is having issues is to reorganize your XML sitemap by category or site architecture level. By submitting these organized sitempas to Google, you’ll see which areas of your site have indexation issues. Rob wrote about this here on our blog.
Check Your Meta Tags
Accidents happen all the time. Run your favorite crawl tool and check to make sure that you’re not accidently canonicaling pages to the wrong place (like your homepage) or that you haven’t decided to put the noindex,nofollow tag on your product pages. And you should check the robots.txt file for good measure.
Creating microsites for promotional efforts is a pretty popular technique. Unfortunately, when the promotion or contest is over, most of these sites become stagnant with outdated content. Take that microsite and redirect it to an appropriate place.
301 your 404ing pages with links
You probably have some 404 error pages laying around. Maybe from a site redesign, or a promotion, or maybe you no longer carry some products. Get a list of those URLs and then put them in your favorite Open Site Explorer API tool. If you don’t have one, read this post on YOUmoz about building your own with Google docs!
Once you have moz metrics for all your 404ing pages, sort them by Page Authority or Linking Root Domains (to the page). From there you can pick out which pages you should be redirecting to make sure you’re not losing any link equity.
Get Attribution for Your IGs
Are people publishing your IG without linking to you? Let’s put an end to that – most bloggers are happy to give you a link if you made it. Further, if your infographic is successful, there can be a lot of people linking to people who publish your infographic – run those sites through Open Site Explorer and make sure that they link to you, not the publisher. I have gone into a step by step detail here on how to find everyone who doesn’t link to you but publishes your IG.
Stop Linking to Spam
While linking out can be helpful as it creates topical associations for your site, linking out to spammy sites can create similar negative associations. While this isn’t applicable to everyone, UGC sites and sites that run WordPress blogs should pay particular attention. UGC sites – this doesn’t mean you should nofollow all outbound links. Rather, reward invested users with followed links, remove the nofollow from outbounds after they have contributed to the site and have become invested. Check out how SEOmoz does this on their profile pages here.
If you run a WordPress blog, be wary of where you get your theme. Most themes will link back to the developer, which is fine, but you run into trouble when they link to a shady site with exact match anchor text. Like I said, most themes are ok, if you don’t want to worry, grab one from WordPress as any footer shenanigans will get the theme removed from the site.
That’s my list, what did I leave off? Let me know in the comments below.
Geoff Kenyon is an SEO Consultant in the Seattle office and is determined to find the best burrito in Seattle. Outside of work he spends his time playing ice hockey, building igloos and eating maple syrup.