Any form of expert seo services should also include a service which detects and fixes potential site visibility issues. When we talk about site visibility what we are really referring to is the compliance of a page’s source code with the requirements of the search engine spiders or bots.
There are two major theories in this area of SEO and they are:-
- Specific page areas play a vital role in SEO and are important to SE spiders
- Consistent site structure is needed in order for the spiders to effectively crawl your site.
This tutorial has really been born out of a number of client issues, it seems visibility issues are more common than you may think.
Some of the main areas where visibility issues can occur are as follows:-
- Broken links
- Faulty redirects
- Missing ALT attributes
- Faulty or missing TITLE and META tags
- Orphan pages with no regular updates
- Deep linked pages found far away from the home page
- Excessive title or meta keywords
These are the main problems which affect site visibility and the first 2 will even effect the experience of your users.
If your site has a broken link a spider will not cease to spider your pages but it will mean that a spider cannot get to the information of that particular page. This is not a problem if the page is of no value and you don’t care about it being indexed or viewed, however if the page contains valuable content it is never going to be indexed unless the problem is fixed.
The most common redirects are
- 301 moved permanently
- 302 found
- 304 not modified
- 305 use proxy
- 307 temporary redirect
There are a number of different ways to implement a redirect but as an seo expert there is only one you should use but first let’s take a look at the options:-
- sending corresponding http headers from within your server-side code
- META REFRESH tag directly into the html code
- placing the instructions into the htaccess file in the directory on the server
Out of the 3 you should be looking only to use the last one. The reason is simply due to redirect abuse used by spammers and black hat SEO’s. Some search engines will ban sites that use the META REFRESH for instance.
The policy of other search engines differ but to be on the safe side I would always recommend using the htaccess file to create the redirects using a line similar to below;
Redirect 301 /page1.htm http://www.yoursite.com/page2.htm
This will redirect visitors from page 1 to page 2.
Broken redirects lead to the same results as broken links in that it will prevent search spiders from reaching areas of your site.
Missing ALT Attributes
The ALT attribute is used within the IMG tag and is a way of describing images textually.
They are not as important as they once used to be however they do allow your images to show up for keywords in the google image search. Forgetting to add them should not hamper your seo efforts.
Missing TITLE/META Tags
If you have missed this from your seo efforts you need shooting -ok maybe that’s a bit harsh, but these are the main areas search spiders look for keywords to describe your site and ultimately will effect where you rank in the serps. If this is not done start this before any other form of optimisation.
Google is constantly updating it’s indexes with thousands of pages therefore it is important to keep your pages unique and fresh. Google assumes that newer pages equal more up to date information and therefore allows those pages to rank higher.
To prevent your pages from falling into what is know as the Google ‘sandbox’ algorithm which will take the older pages out of the index.
To prevent this keep building new incoming links to your pages and add new content at least once a month.
TITLE and META tag length
Try and keep these areas of your page within sensible limits, I would never recommend more than 3 keywords in the title tag and no more than 10 in the meta description. Some search engines will class excessive tag length as spamming which will result in your page being removed from the index.
I intend to do 2 – 3 tutorials on site maintenance from an seo point of view, so be sure to join the feed and keep up to date.
Author: Tim (292 Articles)
Tim Grice is the owner and editor of SEO wizz and has been involved in the search engine marketing industry for over 7 years. He has worked with multiple businesses across many verticals, creating and implementing search marketing strategies for companies in the UK, US and across Europe. Tim is also the Head of Search at Branded3, an SEO agency in Leeds.