1. Quality Content
For any business to be considered relevant in the marketing world today, it goes without saying that it has to feature a blog on its website. A blog in simple terms is a regularly updated website written in a conversational style.
Does this mean that you should just feature or have any article on your blog for it to be optimized?
Most bloggers and business owners tend to focus on the quantity and overlook the quality of content of the posts published on their sites. Many people tend to think that for your site to be optimized for the search engines, you just have to publish content regularly.
This is not wrong and it is not right either. What matters is the quality of the content being published. We should maintain high standards for the posts published on our blogs. As it is often said content is king but in all honesty, quality content is king.
Therefore, the content in all your blog posts should be comprehensive, be of appropriate length and use the correct format for your blog.
2. Mobile Optimization Of Your Website
Mobile optimization is the process of ensuring that your site/blog is user-friendly and can be accessed with ease by people who visit your site using a mobile phone.
A recent report from Hitwise showed almost 60% of the internet searches are carried out through mobile phones.
It is important to note that most sites are not responsive to mobile phones in spite of the fact that majority of online users access the internet using their mobile phones.
For instance, when I think about myself I only use my laptop for work, most of the times I use my phone to access the internet and at times(most times) I have found myself not able to view or access some of my favorite sites using my phone.
Is your site mobile optimised?
Why not run it through this quick checker from Google
Simply replace the Ginger Marketing Url for your own and refresh the page to get your results!
3. Fix Broken Links
We have all experienced this at some point in our lives. You come across a very interesting blog title one the web, the topic catches your attention… you save the link to the post so that you can read at a more convenient time for those of us who have toddlers, you ensure that they are nicely tucked in bed so the chances of getting distracted are very minimal, almost non existent.
You then open the link, but you, unfortunately, get the error 404 message.
Man its annoying!!!! I'm sure you can relate!
Most people who experience this will dread visiting your website if at all, they ever think of it again.
It is absolutely important to ensure that all the internal and external links on your site are working as intended.
Most preferably, the links should open a new tab or window to ensure that your website visitors who may not be done going through your page remain on the page while scanning through the other pages on the website.
Proper and well-done links improve the ranking of website pages, ease the site’s navigation and most importantly add value to the site’s visitors.
If you use Weebly we have written a post to help you Fix Broken Links check it out it is very easy to do and will improve your site usability + your SEO.
4. Improve Your Site’s Speed
A slow website is very bad for business. Time is a very valuable resource in business and time wasted is never recovered.
It is important to closely observe and improve your site’s speed.
If your site is slow, chances are that you will lose your visitors/customers to your competitors especially if you offer the same goods or services.
Online tools like Google’s Page Speed Test help measure your site’s speed and your rank in terms of speed as compared to your competitors. Check out this post for step by step instructions for checking your site speed.
Time is money, and for every second you delay you lose a dime.
5. Repurpose And Promote Your Old Content
Repurposing your old content simply means updating the old content.
When it comes to repurposing your content you do not just go for any content in your “archives”… you simply go for the very best.
The one that earned you more traffic, the one that made your website trend on social media the one that people are still interested in and will still be in a few years to come…the evergreen content.
You can repurpose old content in so many ways. Some of the ways include; creating podcasts or videos in these podcasts you discuss the same topic, sharing sections of the post on your social media pages.
As discussed above, we repurpose the old content different ways apart but these ways do not include copying and pasting the same information as this can get you penalized by Google. This is bad as it causes a drop on your SEO instead of an increase.
There are different strategies that can be used for SEO, different people use different strategies depending on their sites, however, it is advisable to conduct a thorough research on what strategy would work best for your business.
P.s. No strategy was underestimated in the research and writing of this post
This post was proofread by Grammarly*
Last month, I talked about the importance of checking your site speed and the limitations many small-time bloggers can face with this metric. Generally, fewer team members and a less technical website mean a slower website.
Your goal as a blogger or site owner should be to lower your site speed to under 4 seconds. Anything above that and visitors are going to leave. You'll lose 10% of your traffic if it takes more than 2 seconds to load; nearly 30% if it takes more than 5.
There are many different ways to improve overall site speed, but browsing cache optimization has got to be one of the best. A few simple changes can make any website load faster for returning visitors, customers or subscribers.
You may be asking, “what is browser caching?”. Simply put, browsing caching involves storing various files used by your website on a visitor's computer whenever they arrive at your website. This isn't something that necessarily happens by default, which means there's a chance your visitors are having to load every resource file every time they visit your website.
Wouldn't it be great if you could dictate if – and how long – your website's resource files remain in a visitor's cache?
This is where leveraging your browser caching comes in handy. In a few simple steps, you can ensure that resource files are being stored whenever somebody visits your site for the first time. In addition to that, you can also specify which files are cached based on type and based on browsing situation.
In order to leverage browser caching, you need to be familiar (and comfortable) with editing your .htaccess file and (optionally; for more advanced editing) understand the cache HTTP headers available for use. Other than that, it's a pretty straightforward process.
Enable Caching via .htaccess
The .htaccess file is a core component of your website. You should be able to locate this file in the root directory. In short, .htaccess is a config file that helps execute specific requests that wouldn't automatically occur on your server.
By using either a web-based file manager or FTP client, navigate to your website's root directory and locate the .htaccess file. If for some reason you're lacking a .htaccess file, see this tutorial for creating one. Download/access the file for editing. Be sure to make a copy of this file in case you make any mistakes and need to restore it.
What you'll be doing is adding some simple code to the .htaccess file in order to leverage browser caching. This is to be added at the top of the file. Here is an example of what you might add:
## EXPIRES CACHING ##
ExpiresByType image/[type] "access [time]"
ExpiresByType text/[type] "access [time]"
ExpiresByType application/[type] "access [time]"
ExpiresDefault "access [time]"
## EXPIRES CACHING ##
The first three and last three lines should be added regardless. The “ExpiresByType” command is used to specify which exact file types you wish to cache, and for how long. In some cases, it makes sense to cache some files longer than others. The “[type]” and “[time]” variables should be completely replaced with the relevant variables (and without brackets). The “ExpiresDefault” is used for any files not explicitly included via “ExpiresByType”.
As an example, if I wanted to browser cache png files from my website for two months, then I'd add ExpiresByType image/png "access 2 months". In the case of PDFs, I might choose ExpiresByType application/pdf "access 1 year".
This is a great way to ensure that the more dynamic aspects of your website are regularly updated with each visit, while more static elements (logos, menus, etc) load quickly due to browser caching. The exact combination of resource files to store – and for how long – should be largely determined based on which elements of your website frequently change or not.
Credit to liquidweb.com
Other Browser Caching Options
In addition to the “Expires” method above, there are other ways to customise how your website is cached. Various HTTP header fields can be used to provide more generalised cache instruction. For instance, you can disable caching entirely with the “no-cache” header. You can also tweak caching so that it is only available for private, local usage or available on proxy servers.
Cache-Control is also an option for more experienced or tech-savvy users. It provides more flexibility in terms of what is stored, for how long and under what situations. Here is a list of some common Cache-Control headers.
If your current site speed is averaging a couple of seconds, then this simple change probably won't produce a huge shift for you. If your pages are taking several seconds to load, however, then this could be a life-saver.
Recently I sent a blog over to a client because I thought it was a great fit for a guest post to promote their company. They came back saying YES LET’S DO IT, but when they tested the blogger's site they found it was loading very slow.
When I checked the blog one of the primary issues it had was Browser Caching, and spot-checking a few other sites I found the same issue.
This interaction got me thinking a few things:
These are both assumptions of course, and through writing + promoting this post, we will discover how accurate these assumptions are. But my guess just based on experience is, this topic needs some attention.
If you are a blogger then this blog post series is for you. If you are a company with a blog, this may also be useful, however, it is more likely you have some kind of technical assistance. If that is the case just ask your team member to let you know what your site speed is + what improvements they recommend.
Bloggers, this series will help you optimize one aspect of your WordPress blog to increase your site speed. It might not be that browser caching is an issue for your blog - but I will say that when I checked several other blogs I did find browser caching was one of the primary issues which was slowing down the sites.
In this post, we are just going to check the site speed, in Part 2, I will show you how to optimize your browsing cache. So make sure you are signed up to our newsletter - you won’t want to
miss the next post!
How To Check Your Site Speed
What do you think the current patience level is of your visitors? I dare you to have a guess now. How long do you think someone will wait for your page to load on their mobile, desktop or tablet before clicking off and visiting someone else's site?
20 seconds, 15 seconds, 10 seconds?
Well – one quarter of people will leave your page if it hasn’t loaded in 4 seconds. That is 25% of your traffic gone, lost, probably never to return unless you are recapturing them on Facebook.
So, your goal is to get your site speed to under 4 seconds. I just spot-checked 10 personal blogs that we have in our database, this was their site speed:
· Site 1 > 15.5 Seconds
· Site 2 > 7.7 Seconds
· Site 3 > 6.04 Seconds
· Site 4 > 7.04 Seconds
· Site 5 > 4.91 Seconds
· Site 6 > 14.04 Seconds
· Site 7 > 3.14 Seconds
· Site 8 > 3.63 Seconds
· Site 9 > 3.78 Seconds
· Site 10 > 5.70 Seconds
So out of 10 sites, 3 had the goal site speed. Clearly, this needs some work!
So let's get stuck in.
First things first, check your site speed here for free:
CHECK SITE SPEED WITH PINGDOM
With Pingdom you are able to test your site from different locations. In this test, I chose Dallas Texas, USA.
Once you hit ‘Start Test’ you will get a summary of your site speed as above. You can see here that Ginger Marketing HQ has a load time of 3.32 seconds.
It only gets a C though, there is still a lot of room for improvement.
If you scroll down you will get a further breakdown of site speed issues. Check for leverage browser caching, if this is an issue for you then sign up to our newsletter so you get Part 2, where I will take you through a step-by-step process for leveraging your browser cache.
If it is not an issue for you then great! But, check the other points. Even better, go one step further and email me with your number one issue and I will create a post about how you and other bloggers can fix this too!
There is no reason we should lose traffic from our blog because of a slow site. And believe me, you don’t need to be technical to understand or execute on these issues. I am the least technical person ever, which means I will need to do a ton of research and make the process super, super simple if I am going to understand this and explain it to you.
So, no worries - we got this.
Until next time.
As an SEO who has brought many a domain name in the past, the .com shortage has me somewhat concerned about the future of small businesses on the web. If Google can’t even buy the domain of it’s parent company, Alphabet.com, because BMW owns it then what hope is left for the rest of us?
But maybe we are looking at this all wrong? Maybe the shortage opens up an opportunity in the space of semantic domain names.
Today we have a guest post from James Stevens CEO of Names.Of.London who will shed some light on this topic for small business owners.
7 Things You Need to Know about Semantic Domain Names
1 ...What are they?
They are referred to by various terms including “spanning the dot”, “semantic domain names”, “readable domain names” or “spoken domain names” - but whatever you call them, they have one thing in common, they are domain names made of natural language, and they look poised to become big earners for the new-GTLD registry operators.
These new style of domain names are made possible by the fact that a large number of the new top-level-domains are real words, like dot-CLUB, dot-MARKET or dot-SALE. This is one of their major unique selling points. Where old top-level-domains all look like geeky computer code, many of the new ones have a much more familiar and human characteristic.
Recently Rightside issued a list of its top premium domain sales, and there was one noticeable thing a lot had in common. Taking together the two words, either side of the dot, made a natural language phrase.
So it was hardly surprising that Rightside’s No.1 price went to video.games – not only is this clearly a great name, but also such a common and ubiquitous phrase.
2 ... People like them
How do we know people like them? ... because people are already using them - despite the fact few have even been told they exist.
A pioneer in this field, UK start-up Names.of.London, sell human readable phrases that work in any browser, under the brand phrases.for.sale. This includes ones such as kings.of.football, pride.of.london and all.for.one - primarily to be used for redirecting people to specific product content. Names.of.London record around 11,000 uses a week of their phrases, despite the fact most are yet to receive any kind of promotion.
As we can see from the Google Analytics, most of the use is coming from mobile devices.
The most obvious explanation for their popularity is because they reflect real human language - they are familiar. This means website names can reflect the sort of words & phrases people actually use in everyday speech.
With the exception of Kim Dotcom, who changed his last name to “Dotcom” in homage to the stock market bubble that made him a millionaire, most people do not use the phrase “dot-COM” in everyday language (apart from when discussing domain names).
With the emphasis on dot-COM endings, and short prefixes, the range of reasonable choices for website names seems to be shrinking to the point it can be hard to work out how to pronounce some of them. Yopa, Emoov & Tepilo is a selection of the leading online real-estate agents in the UK.
At times it feels like we’ve been dragged back to the 1980s and the terrible days of MS-DOS where filenames could only be up to 8 characters, uppercase letters and numbers only. We were all so relieved when Windows came along and we could name our files pretty much anything we wanted – and then actually find them again.
3 ... They are easier for people
Through their use of natural language they are easier to read, remember and tell your friends about – and possibly most important, to say into your phone.
With voice search, and voice input, rising as the communication of choice for a new generation of mobile users, the need to have website names that can be easily spoken into a phone becomes increasingly important.
Even if you are not using voice input, with predicted typing and dictionary assisted keyboards, website names made of real words are always going to be easier to enter.
4 ... They act as a call-to-action
Short familiar phrases, that link directly to the relevant content, have the effect of acting like a call-to-action button on a poster, TV ad, Radio ad, billboard or leaflet.
The vital importance of a call-to-action in online content is well known and widely documented, but all too often the same care is not taken with a call-to-action in offline advertising.
Posters that simply quote the company’s main website can leave users struggling to find information on the product or event that sparked their interest, and ones that quote a phone number, that leaves people on hold for hours, are hardly going to give a good return on their investment.
5 ... They (may/can/do) boost SEO
When you match a domain name to a search term, there is an SEO boost.
How great that boost is can be open to discussion, but there have been a number of studies that have demonstrated a clear boost. Even if that boost is only 1%, if it’s what puts you ahead of your competition, or if it’s what moves your search entry from the second screen to the first, the value could not be over estimated.
coffee.club is one of the biggest success cases so far for a new TLD. The website was able to climb to the front page of Google US for searches of “ coffee club”, which is very uncommon for a new website.
Names.of.London have seen domain names go top-10 on Google in both the US & UK within 24 hours of registration, well before there is any relevant content – but where the search term and the domain name are an exact match.
While “hacienda pony club” is almost certainly one of the web’s more marginal searches, to reach top-10 ranking within 24 hours, with zero relevant content, is a considerable achievement.
6 ... They can match your existing branding
With such a wide choice of new top-level-domains, it can be possible to find a familiar natural language phrase that matches your existing company name, slogan or strapline - meaning you can now have a simple familiar phrase people can type into their phones or browsers that will take them directly to your content-rich online experience.
If you can’t find one to match your existing branding, the wide choices available means finding one that will match your requirements shouldn’t hard.
Imaginative, creative or amusing phrases, that people can enter directly into their phone or browser, can really engage your audience and help boost your advertising ROI.
7 ... They are directly clickable on social media
Being completely valid domain names, just like any other dot-COM or country domain name, social media platform, like Twitter, automatically recognises them and make them clickable through to your site.
This means they can not only take people out of the Twitter ecosystem and onto your site, but they can also be used as a natural part of what you have to say.
Hashtags a great for starting, or joining in with, a conversation, but they can easily be hijacked by those with ulterior motives and they trap users in Twitter.
If your aim is to stimulate sales, you need to get people out to where they can buy - which usually means onto your site.
This a republished post, the original is here: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/7-things-you-need-know-spoken-readable-semantic-domain-james-stevens
Patrick Foster, e-commerce writer & marketer
Ten years e-commerce experience under the belt, with a more than a fair helping of SEO know-how. Writing articles to help entrepreneurs and small businesses.
How to Set Up an SEO Campaign - Everything You Need to Know About Your First Steps into the World of SEO
For those who have never done any SEO work, it’s a subject area which can seem strange and daunting. But don’t worry, we’re here to take you by the hand and help you take those first steps into the world of SEO campaigns. You’ll find that it’s not so daunting, or as difficult, as you might have first expected...
SEO for Entrepreneurs
Are you an entrepreneur who’s doing everything yourself? If so, you can still get your SEO campaign going with some simple steps. And don’t worry - funds are obviously going to be tight in these early, tentative days, but there are actually quite a lot of things you can do without spending a thing!
Here’s an overview of some of the things you might like to do when you have the chance:
When you’re doing everything for yourself, SEO is probably going to be lower down on your list
of priorities, but you shouldn’t neglect it. If you can find the time, these three things are definitely worth doing — just remember to approach anything like this with a measured approach, as search engines are suspicious of sudden changes and new domains.
Small/Medium Sized Business SEO
If you’re a small business, then you may be in a position to hire somebody specifically to run your SEO campaign. With somebody dedicated to this full time (or even part time), you can get a little more ambitious with it.
Here’s what you could do with an SEO person on your team:
To hire an in-house SEO, you could expect to pay them a salary of around $43,000 - so this is probably not going to be an option for a lot of people. However, there are a lot of freelance SEO consultants around who would be able to offer you some sound guidance at a much cheaper price. Speaking to an SEO could actually help you get an idea of more things that you could be doing yourself as well. (Hiring a digital manager to do SEO, PPC, social media, content and everything else might seem like a good idea at first...but can anyone really be an expert at everything?)
If you really want to push forward with a strong SEO campaign, then your best bet is to hire the services of an SEO agency. Doing this, you are most likely to be dealing with professionals who really know their stuff and the risk of working with SEOs who aren’t well enough informed is much lower.
Here’s the sort of things you can expect from SEO agencies:
Pricing will range a lot on this. If you can only afford a little, then you might like to pay for a slightly smaller service from an agency. Then, of course, there’s also the fact that there are huge differences between individual agencies. If any of them seem too good to be true in terms of pricing, you might want to find out more about their methods: they might be unreliable and outdated.
So in conclusion, if you are going to start up an SEO campaign for your business, there are several different paths open to you. Of course, different options won’t be available to all businesses, but there are tips here for businesses of every size. SEO is extremely important and now that you know how to get started, it would be a good idea to invest as much time as possible into doing so.
SEO is a topic which many small business owners find a confusing part of Marketing their business. There is no doubt about it, it is a large area of Marketing which involves many different skill sets and disciplines.
We asked SEO experts if they could give us their number one SEO tactic for small business in 2017 - the answers are surprisingly varied, which has resulted in a fantastic SEO resource we hope you’ll enjoy.
Make Sure Your Site Is Mobile Friendly
For a small business to gain a competitive edge it is important this year more than any to have your mobile SEO strategy in place.
Later this year Google will most likely be rolling out its 'Mobile 1st' algorithm which means Google will be evaluating and ranking sites based on the quality of the mobile version rather than desktop, as it is now.
If you don't have a 'mobile friendly' website then this should be your main focus in 2017, ideally by creating a responsive/adaptive site that changes dimensions based upon device, or alternatively a specific m.domain.
When this is in place then all your On-Site SEO activity should be planned with mobile in mind.
Alex Maclennan SEO @ Appleyard London
Use Customer Insight To Create More Searchable Content
A good approach to doing SEO, especially in a competitive space, is by blogging and sharing information about topics your target audience would find interesting and are actively searching for. But don't just blog for the sake of blogging or because you heard the phrase ‘Content is King’. Instead, make a list of the questions you get asked frequently.
You could look through emails from customers or make a note after having a direct conversation over the phone or in person. These topics are gold, as you know they want the information. Now, not only can you save time by pointing them in the direction of your blog posts when you get asked the same question, but you also increase your ability to get found in Google when someone is searching for that question. There's a direct and indirect benefit and that's how I approach SEO.
Neil is SEO and Director of Your Brand Found
Image Optimisation Is Key!
Make sure you name your images correctly with the keywords you want to be found for, if you're selling red running shoes, call the image name red-running-shoes.jpg and use the ALT tags as well. Don’t just leave it with the filename from the camera or manufacturer.
Jamie Gemmell from Search Jam
A Well Crafted Content Marketing Campaign Sets You Apart From Your Competitors
Publish valuable content such as guides, points of views, how-to's, reports or case studies for your target audience on your website and on relevant platforms such as YouTube and Facebook. Publish regularly on podcasts and on guest blogs to improve your presence and to develop yourself as an authority in your niche.
It will be easier to rank your site and generate the types of links that your competitors won't be able to acquire.
Essentially, it is a well-crafted content marketing campaign. When it works, it works extremely well.
David is a published author and Director of Business Growth Digital Marketing
Reverse Engineer Google Searches For Backlinks
Google search terms your content is targeting, to gather a list of popular blog posts or companies performing well in search results. Use backlink tools like Moz's Open Site Explorer and Ahrefs.com to see what websites are linking to these good performing pages. Then reverse engineer how to get listed on these websites. It could be with submission, partnership, paid sponsorship or many other options.
Joshua Uebergang Director of Shopify marketing agency Digital Darts
Use Images To Build Backlinks
Far too many people are focused on guest posts and sponsored posts for building links. Not only is this time-consuming, it's also not very interesting or varied, and if these are your main link building tactics then your backlink profile is going to be fairly plain and unvaried.
Most blogs and online publications are crying out for images that they can use, and if you have original imagery you can allow these publications to use it, provided that they link back to you.
Sam Williamson is the SEO Executive for Scotland Shop
Local Is Very Important For Small Business in 2017
Local SEO is even more important in 2017 so make sure your NAP (Name, Address & Phone number) is identical on every citation source. Your website details should be listed in the same format on Yelp, Google MyBusiness, Facebook, and any local directories. This helps Google understand that your business is legitimate and ‘permanent’.
Keith Lang SEO at Digital Consulting
An SSL Certificate Will Show Google You Mean Business
Google are upping the game with respect to ‘excellent sites’ vs ‘just another one of these’ and are actively penalising those which are insecure. A quick win to show Google you mean business is to ensure your site is secure with an SSL-certificate. If you've got a little green padlock in your address bar, you're good - if not, get one!
Alex SEO from Martingale Marketing
Use Video To Increase Time On Page
Use lots of video… but not just for better user experience. Video helps increase dwell time – the amount of time people spend on your page. Google pays attention to what happens AFTER the click as they want to ensure people are enjoying the search results that they are serving up. The longer the dwell time, the better.
Carrie Wood is Chief Marketing Officer for Lease Ref
Use 'People Also Ask' to Find Featured Snippet Opportunities
Perform a search in the form of a question and chances are you'll see Google's list of suggested questions people also ask about your topic. This is an easy way to find longtail queries to target and potentially steal featured snippets from competitors. If you expand the list, chances are you'll find some 'answers' that are out of date, not localised or incomplete. Answer the same question on your own site and you may just poach some prime real estate on the results page.
Lachlan Wells SEO from Optimising.com.au
Focus On Creating Content Around Longtail Keywords
Find phrases that are 3-5 words long. They might only get 10-100 searches/month according to Adwords. But you’ll get more traffic than you realise because:
1. There are tons of keywords you’ll rank for.
2. The keyword tool doesn’t give all information of the exact search.
Whichever route you pursue, once you've created the 10x content, reach out to get influencers to share their views. In doing so, not only will they often help promote the article, if you target the right influencers sometimes you can get a natural link from them when they blog about your topic.
Jason Quey Digital Storyteller from Storytellermarketer
Use Customer Reviews To Boost Your Rankings
Improve your visibility in Google and increase traffic to your site with online reviews. They're perhaps the most underutilised BUT easiest SEO tactic at the moment. Start asking your customers to leave reviews on your Google My Business listing and other review sites (but not Yelp!). Make sure you publish reviews on your site and mark them up with Schema!
Quentin Aisbett Digital Marketeer from OnQ Marketing
Have A Content Promotion Strategy From The Start
Always have a promotion strategy when planning blog content. This means conducting your ideation around topics that can provide relevant long tail ranking opportunities, then source material from people that you can reach out to and let them know they are featured to encourage sharing, and maybe a backlink if it really speaks to them. Also, be sure to leverage this technique to grow your influencer network.
Nick, SEO from Web Profits
Optimise Your Key Meta Titles For Search
Nail the Title Tag with the right Keywords for each page on your site. That is the single most important SEO tip. If your pages are titled "home" and "about us" you will never be found!
Adam, SEO from Imwave.com
Infographics Are Still A Great Tactic For Gaining Links
In 2017, search engines have evolved to being intelligent enough to determine whether information which is organic is informative and adds to the user experience or not. A fundamental part of our SEO campaign are infographics which add value to the reader. Humans are very visual creatures and infographics are exceptionally linkable.
Rob Williams Director of Hawthorn
We hope you have enjoyed these tactics! A little note, we did not sway the experts in any way, they were simply asked to give their best tip. This is a great example and showcase of how vast the topic of SEO is and how each individual part of an SEO strategy works together to get those all-important rankings.
If you are an SEO or Digital Marketeer and would like use to add your top tip to this list, comment below or send us an email and we will include it.
Today I have a bit of a technical post for you! Not technical in the sense that you need any technical skills though - queue sighs of relief. I’m going to break down how to fix your broken links & 404 errors without needing any technical skills at all. YAAY.
Before I begin, this post is only for Weebly Users. My website is hosted & built through Weebly so I will base the post off this platform. Having said that, the first half of this post will be relevant if you use Wordpress, Squarespace, Wix or any other platform so let’s dive in.
What Are Broken Links & 404 Errors?
Very simply this is any link that a user might follow on your website which takes them to a 404 error page instead of the page they were looking for.
This will happen anytime you update or optimise a url. For example, say this post about getting a hobby was live on your website: http://tinybuddha.com/blog/hobby-can-boost-motivation-change-life/
It’s doing really well and you are getting traffic and shares. But, you do some keyword research and notice that the URL could be optimised to improve its ranking position.
So, you update the url to: http://tinybuddha.com/blog/boost-motivation-with-hobby/
What you’ve done is created a new url, and the old url now goes to a 404 page (unless you have an automatic redirect set up, some wordpress sites do).
Anywhere on your website where you have linked to the old url, and anyone else who linked to your old url, all of those links go to a 404.
(This is the 404 page which you would get on a weebly website if you follow a broken link.)
To check your 404 error page type your url into your browser and add some random letters at the end of it.
For example: http://tinybuddha.com/kkkddd
Top Tip: You can also optimise your 404’s like Tiny Buddha have done here. By simply placing links through to important or popular content you will decrease the number of users who leave your website from a 404 page. There are tons of ways you can optimise the page, we don’t have time to go into it now but I may cover this in a future post.
Why Are Broken Links & 404 Errors Important To Fix?
There are a few reasons why fixing your broken links is important. Firstly user experience. It is very annoying, especially if your visitor is on a mobile to click through to content & find a 404.
Short attention spans mean you don’t have a margin for error with your visitors. Most will just leave your site and may never come back. That’s a lot of wasted energy which has gone into getting that visitor to your site only to have them leave again.
Another reason is for SEO purposes. Say your post had been referenced by several other websites, perhaps it has been shared hundreds, maybe even thousands of times. If you don’t fix your broken links then all of this equity stays with the old url and you’ve lost valuable positive signals pointing to your website.
How To Identify Broken Links & 404 Errors On My Site?
Identifying broken links is SUPER EASY thanks to Google and their tool Google Webmaster Tools. If you haven’t signed up already then get your profile. It’s very easy to install and there is a tutorial here for you to follow.
It might take Google a week or so to crawl your website and populate the data. But once it is populated navigate to the section; Crawl Errors
This will let you know where your broken links are! Perfect.
How To Fix Broken Links & 404 Errors In Weebly
Once you have identified your broken links navigate to your Weebly Website Dashboard. Select “Edit Site”.
And now hit “Settings” In The Top Navigation
Click The SEO Tab and scroll down to the redirect section. Here you can enter your old url and select the new page you want visitors to go to.
Top Tip: For deleted pages if there is a closely related page send users there. If there is no closely related page send users to your homepage.
I hope this post has inspired you to fix your broken links! It might not be the sexiest thing in the world but improving your visitors experience is. So, check in every few months and make sure you aren’t frustrating your readers and losing valuable SEO juice in the process.
I’d love to hear in the comments if you have ever fixed your broken links before, is this something new to you or something you do regularly?
Written by Cheryl A Clarke Chief Happiness Officer & Director Of Ginger Marketing (unless stated otherwise)