Changing the structure of your website can lead Google, Bing, Yahoo and other search engines to rank your pages higher on their search engines, leading to more traffic, more business, and more success.
Some of the common ways in which you can do this are as follows:
• Using domains that started with “www”
• Avoiding the use of duplicate content on different pages
• Changing the “rel-canonical” link to the page you want users to visit most
• Optimizing your page’s internal link structure
• And modifying the 301 redirect
In this article, we are going to examine five more ways to improve your website’s rankings
by making small but significant changes to your site structure.
Make Your URLs More Attractive to Search Engines
You want your pages’ URLs to be search engine-friendly as much as possible so that they can easily be read, shared, and listed in Search Engine Result Pages (SERPs) for your best keywords.
Here’s an example of a URL that is NOT search engine-optimised:
Here's a URL you could use for the same page that is much more attractive to search engines:
What makes it better? The second URL doesn’t contain any parameters and session IDs, which makes it easier for search engines to crawl through and index faster. Another benefit is that it’s easier for users to recognize and remember, rather than simply being a bunch of random numbers and letters strung together. Also, it contains the right keyword which makes it easy for a user to navigate his/her way through the website.
Here’re four ways you can make your URLs better, friendlier and more attractive to search engines:
1. Hide any query strings from your URLs
3. Words are always better than numbers or letters.
4. Allow for the possibility that part of your URL will be removed (For example, in the second URL listed above, the /black/ could be removed from the URL in the address bar and the user will still land on the page one level higher
To implement these changes, rewrite your URLs with your .htaaccess file or use another URL rewriting method, such as those described in this helpful article
. Or checkout this guide
to indexing your websites more effectively.
Helpful Hint: Search engines may penalize or even ignore your site if it includes links that are broken or contains missing anchors. To make sure your website is clear of all these SEO obstacles, use the Technical Audit tool to conduct a quality check on a regular basis. Check for problems detected and make the appropriate corrections right away.
Speed Up Page Loading Times
As mentioned earlier, if your page takes a long time to load, not only will it turn off visitors causing them to click off sooner than they otherwise might have, it also will not please search engines. Remember, Google wants to provide its users with the best pages that have the most value – a category that doesn’t include slow-loading pages
The satisfaction of your page visitors is therefore directly related to your loading speeds: The faster page loads, the happier users – and search engines –will be. Not sure how fast your page loads? Try clicking on it from multiple devices, including your PC, laptop, tablet and smartphone. Or measure your website speed score by using the Google PageSpeed Insights tool
If the tool indicates your page is among the slowest pages to load, it will make recommendations specifically related to your page’s load speed. Or you can use the five proven methods for increasing page loading speed described in this helpful article
Helpful Hint: Having too many ads on the top half of your website will not only slow down your loading speed, but also negatively impact your ranking. Google now penalizes websites that are too ad top-heavy.
While ads are a proven revenue source for many websites, they also can be distracting to page visitors. If you have too many ads, remove some of them and wait for Google to re-index your page. You likely will find that your page ranking improves.
Another way to sort out issues that plague your website from loading faster is to run a complete website audit
. Running an audit will help you address SEO issues that affect your search rankings and visibility.
Make Your Web Page Mobile-Friendly
Most people today access websites from mobile devices rather than laptops or PCs. So if you want to optimise your traffic
, you have to make sure your web pages are geared towards being viewed on smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices.
The screens on mobile devices are smaller than standard PCs or laptops, so you want to make sure you aren’t trying to cram too much onto your pages. There are a number of options to consider:
• Create two versions of your web page: One normal and one for mobile users. Then redirect mobile users to the mobile version based on user agents. Keep in mind that the 301 redirect is the only one that will be recognised by search engines.
• Use responsive website design. For example, Google gives more weightage to sites that use the same URL across all platforms. So you want to design a dynamic stylesheet that works differently based on different screen resolutions, allowing you to move, resize and hide elements based on the device the visitor is using to view it.
Responsive web design can help optimise your pages for both visitors and search engines. But you still want to make sure visitors are getting the same overall experience regardless of how they access your site.
Helpful Hint: Mobile users tend to be less patient than other web users. So it’s critical that your website loads quickly, otherwise the risk of them clicking off and going somewhere else is higher.
Microdata – also known as Schema Markup – uses a set format to tell search engines what your website is all about. Remember, search engines are computer programs, not people. So you want to make sure you follow the form that search engines automatically recognise.
Schema Markup also is used to provide “rich snippets” that will be displayed on the search results page when users type in your keywords. These include such things as images, reviews, prices, hours of operation, phone numbers, addresses, and other helpful information. When these types of things appear on your SERP listing and they don’t on those of other pages, you are much more likely to get a click-through than competing pages.
So how can you organise all of these rich snippets? All you need to do is add the appropriate Schema Markup for your pages by visiting Schema.org. This is the place all of the most popular search engines –including Google, Bing and Yahoo – use to standardise the rich snippets they use.
Helpful Hint: To generate HTML code that already has Schema Markup built-in, you can use the Google Structured Data Markup Helper
. Or check out this helpful article
Open Graph Markup
Open graph protocol is a tool that allows your web page to become a rich object in a social graph. In other words, it controls how your page looks when people share it on social media such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ and other popular site-sharing places.
To control your Open Graph protocol, you need to use Open Graph tags on your web pages, including:
og.title – This is where you put the title of the rich object you include the way you want it to appear within the graph. For example, “Kings of Leon”
og.type – This is the type of your rich object. For example, “rock band”. Other properties may also be required, depending on the type of rich object you specify.
og.image – This is where you would include a picture you want to represent your rich object within the graph.
og.url – This is where you put the canonical URL of your rich object. It will then be used as the permanent ID of the graph.
If you would like to see other types of Open Graph tags you can use to optimise the rich objects within your web pages, check out this helpful list
. Or check the effectiveness of your Open Graph tags using the Facebook Debugger tool
Helpful Hint: Another way to keep your content relative is to make frequent updates to its content. Google recently implemented a Freshness Update that gives more value to pages that includes more frequent updates and up to date information.
When considering the freshness of your content, search engines look for updates of your existing pages and how many new pages you may have added to your site. Both can help your content seem fresher to Google, Bing, Yahoo and other popular search engines. At the very least, make sure you frequently update the most important pages so they will be relevant and up to the minute.
So, now that we have discussed five important yet highly effective techniques for improving the site structure of your web pages, we would love to hear your thoughts on the same. Do let us know in the comments section below.
Sameer Panjwani is the Founder & CEO of Mondovo.com
, an online marketing toolset that helps you track your rankings, monitor your site stats, and research your competitors. A man of many talents, Sameer is currently on a mission to help 1 million businesses grow organically through his products and services.
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