7 Crucial Website Optimization Questions. Can You Answer Them?

optimize your website with this checklist
Designed by Freepik

As a website or blog owner, you know how time consuming the optimization can be.
However, if you want to provide high quality content in order to rank high, there is no way around it.

Fortunately, there are several tools and methods that you can use to maximize the potential of your business website.

Let’s have a look:

Website Optimization Questions: Checklist.

Organization is everything: I created a checklist for your convenience.
Every method is explained in detail below. Enjoy!

Checklist:

1. Do any of your articles and pages contain broken links?
2. Do your articles contain at least 3 internal links?
3. Did you use the most suitable categories? Does it need to be changed?
4. Are there any 404 errors?
5. Did you make use of Social Media Sharing?
6. Do you have duplicate content on your website? (Hint: Canonical URL)
7. Did you take care of the meta description?

The explaination:

1. Do any of your articles and pages contain broken links?
2. Do your articles contain at least 3 internal links?

As a common SEO practice, it is recommended to have at least 3 links in your article/page.
Links are not as relevant as they used to be, however they should still be part of your content.

Please note:

There is a huge misconception regarding adding links to articles:
It has been said that adding links causes a website to bleed page rank, which is NOT true.
If this is something you have been worrying about, read further:

You just have to make sure that your links are relevant to your content and you will be fine.
Adding relevant links will show Google, that your content is optimized for a specific topic and you actually benefit from making sure to include them.

If you want to read more about this particular topic and how to make the most out of your links, I’d suggest checking out the following helpful article by Semrush.

However, if you decide to add links, always make sure to check for broken links regularly.
You never know if a specific article might get deleted or a website performs a domain switch.

In any of these cases, the link you initially set will be broken and therefore useless.
That’s why it is so important to take care of this topic:

An article with broken links turns into low quality content very quickly.

Don’t let it happen to your hard work!

3. Did you use the most suitable categories? Does it need to be changed?

If you are blogging frequently or generally publishing a lot of different content, you want to make sure that it’s sorted and easy to locate.

Nobody wants to browse your website several minutes in order to find what they are looking for. This issue can have a huge impact on your bounce rate.

Even more important though:

As the website owner, you don’t want to make things complicated for yourself either.
Always make sure to pay attention to your permalink structure:

Does your article link contain the most important keywords?
Is the article listed in the right category?

This is important because once your article gets crawled by Google, it is listed on the Internet. When that happens, you don’t want to make any crucial changes to the permalink structure or categories anymore, because Google might get confused by new changes that can cause your article rankings to drop.

Therefore:

Always make sure to check that your articles are posted in the right categories and that it makes sense. Try taking care of this topic as soon as possible in order to avoid any complications.

4. Are there any 404 errors?

To keep things short:

A 404 error is basically a code, representing that the content you were trying to view on a website wasn’t found on the server.

You will encounter responses like this:

“404 Not Found”
“HTTP 404 Not Found”
“404 File or Directory Not Found”

As we discussed earlier, changing your links after an article has been ranked is one of the main causes of 404 errors.

I will give you a short example on how this can happen to you:

1. Your article is posted on your website.
2. A reader of yours really likes the article and shares it on Facebook.
3. Meanwhile, you decide to change the link structure or possibly switch categories.
4. After you made the changes, a friend of your reader clicks on the Facebook link.

The result: 404 Error.

Since your reader shared the old version of the link, the url is now outdated and doesn’t refer to the new version. This is unfortunate, because now you do not only have a broken link, which is not good for your website as we found out earlier but furthermore, a shared article that potentially gets a lot of views, is useless.

5. Did you make use of Social Media Sharing?

Social Media becomes more and more an important aspect regarding website rankings.
Google recently stated, that they put a much heavier focus on the sharing count of articles.

If you own a Facebook or Twitter account, make sure to share your articles with your friends and followers. You never know who might need the information that you provide in this very moment.

After all, there’s nothing to lose: People either love and share the article or ignore it.
Either way, if you never tried it before, give it a shot!

6. Do you have duplicate content on your website? (Hint: Canonical URL)

This is very important: Check your website for duplicate content and make sure to have a canonical URL for your articles in that case.

You never heard of this term before? Read this:

A canonical URL is basically a definite URL for your article or post.

Or in other words: A post or page should only have one correct link.
Unfortunately, it is possible though that one article has different links that lead to the same content.

For example:

You might run an e-commerce website, where products are listed in different categories but still return the same page for the actual product:

www.yourdomain.com/category1/product/
www.yourdomain.com/category2/product/

You might also encounter links such as this:

www.yourdomain.com/p=343538/

However, this link usually directs you to a page that has a domain called:

www.yourdomain.com/content/

Now, there’s a problem:

How do you define which one is the correct one, when both of them technically lead to the same page?

That’s the same question that Google asks themself in this situation.
(Or more specifically, the robots that crawl your page)

Obviously, you want to have a nice link structure, so the second web adress is the one you would want to choose for your post, but how can you define the priority?

That’s when the canonical URL comes into the picture:

The canonical URL is the url that you wish to be the main adress linking to your page.

There are several ways on how to achieve this:

1. Use a canonical URL or a SEO plugin.

Most of the SEO plugins, such as SEO by Yoast, feature this option right out of the box.
You can find the option below each article in the edit window. (if the plugin is activated of course)

2. Set a custom URL.

Alternatively, you can get your hands dirty and add the canonical URL yourself.
This can be done, by adding the following line of code to the header section of your page:

use canonical urls to avoid duplicate content

(Ignore the “code” tag. It was only used to demonstrate that this is a line of code)

Important: You should always add the “http://” line when using the Canonical URL.

If you forget to add that line, it might appear to Google that you are using a relative URL.
As a webmaster, you always want to use absolute URLs when working with Canonical URLs.

7. Did you take care of the meta description?

Have you ever tried to search for your own articles?
You should, because if you never modified your meta description before, you are missing out:

The meta description is basically the short line of text that you can see below pages in Google:

image of google results | success at work

This description can contain crucial keywords and phrases that are relevant to your content.

…or not. If you don’t take care of it.

Most of the time, a CMS like WordPress simply shows the first few lines of your article or page. Which makes sense, because if you don’t define the meta description otherwise, how would WordPress know?

Luckily, most of the SEO plugins take care of this issue as well.

Here is a graphic that shows you a window to customize the description if you are using a plugin:

meta description of seo plugin | seo by yoast

You can also add the meta description manually to the code but using a plugin is defnitely more convenient.
Also, it’s easier to keep track of your descriptions later on, in case you want to check your articles for optimization.

Final Thoughts.

Optimzing is a task that many people shy away from.
However, if you answer these seven questions in relation to your own website, you can make huge improvements to your content.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *