In my earlier post, Jacques’ answers, I mentioned Search Engine Optimization (SEO) – most bloggers know ‘it has something to do with keywords’, but it entails much more – in fact, it has become a complete new industry as it requires a lot of work: not only need your posts be optimized for the engines (we use Yoast SEO), you also need to make sure your pages remain present (if you rename them, create a redirect), that your site loads fast enough (increasingly important ranking factor!), that any errors get fixed, that your sitemaps are working fine and submitted properly (Arne and Yoast) etc. etc.
Basically it requires constant monitoring and tweaking. On Google Plus I met Patri Hernandez, a SEO-expert from London and together we did a comprehensive SEO-audit: not only all errors were reported, but also the overall ‘health’ and impression, goals/mission to be determined and potential keywords for future articles. Somehow this is all in a timely matter, as the site will be updated in the next months (new WordPress theme, mission etc.). Below a tiny (!) selection of the SEO-results and recommendations (the complete SEO-audit comprises dozens of pages and goes too much into detail).
Fundamental SEO questions:
Patri looked at the fundamentals first – posing questions about the “soul” (‘why this site – goal/mission’) and “mind” (‘how to achieve it: content, links, titles etc.’). Vidocq might reassess these questions in the near future – also in light of a new direction. More bloggers should ask those questions as they form the guideline for writing posts – to stay focused on relevant topics, true to the soul of your site, as it will give you authority over time.
One of the main issues appeared to be W3 Total Cache – it’s a caching plugin, to speed up loading times. Unfortunately, many pages became inaccessible for the search robots, resulting in pages being dropped from the indexes (to be investigated!). That was the main issue on Google Analytics – switching off the page cache solved it – now it takes time for them to be re-indexed.
We also found lots of 404 (‘page not found’) errors: some are false positives, others need to be fixed with redirects etc. That’s just (tedious) ‘labor’…. No matter how large your site, you will end up with errors – better fix them as it hurts your traffic.
“Make it a rule to never write a blog post without knowing which keyword you’re ‘covering’ with your article.”
Here’s a breakdown of the 5 most visited landing pages:
So, how did people find those pages – searching for what words?
(for 1. – www.defrostingcoldcases.com/cases-overview)
- defrosting cold cases
- cold cases
- aeryn gillern
- missing 411
- solved cold cases
- karen caughlin sarnia
Go through each page and check if each keyword is there. If not, find an appropriate place within the text to incorporate it.
Another important part of the audit is Keyword Suggestions as it provides ideas for future (related!) posts. Meaning, you might have overlooked aspects or topics of your main topic (what your site is about) – and it could even result in a new section within your site.
Patri then created clusters like this:
- (title) how many cold cases have been solved with dna
- cold cases that have been solved by dna
- cold cases that have been solved using dna
There are many things you can do with keywords – what you can’t do is write posts without covering one. These suggestions should get you going for a while, and as time goes by you can check Analytics so see what works best in terms of the amount of time you have invested optimising your pages.
Clearly this post only scratches the surface of SEO – if you have any questions, just ask below. Or contact us via our form.
Other than the tools and plugins mentioned above, we (additionally) used the following sites for our SEO-audit: