Updating Your Website and Cleaning Your SEO House
There can be many reasons for a major site upgrade. Perhaps you are moving to a different platform. Maybe you are changing your domain. You might even simply feel that it’s time for something new and fresh. Whatever the reason, let this be the time that you really take stock of your site.
Take the opportunity to address those seemingly small details that have been easy to ignore in the status quo and make sure your SEO is ready to go the moment you launch your new site. In short, get ready to do some major housecleaning.
Where to Start
Ok, I’ll admit that the thought of delving into every miniscule aspect of a site’s SEO can cause groans, eye rolls and even panic attacks in some. This is understandable. It can be a tedious process. But, it is a required one—if you want to improve your SEO or, at the very least, prevent decline in this area.
Following are a few of the most critical things you should give attention to:
- Inbound Links
Anytime you potentially change a URL or even page content, you should re-assess any inbound links to ensure they do not break and that they are still relevant.
The temptation not to set up permanent 301 redirects for minimally visited pages is understandable but the consequences of giving in to this temptation are far from worth it. Put these in place for every single page needed.
- XML Sitemap and Schema Markup
The power of an XML sitemap and a Schema markup together cannot be disputed. These two assets go a long way toward increasing the ability of search crawlers to find content on your site which, in turn, increases your site’s chance of being the one returned at the top of a search query. Remember…if your content cannot be detected, you have no chance of ranking for it.
- Image Alt Text
This could be one of the most common things that people let go. Create a consistent nomenclature for all images on your site and stick to it. True, it will not be fun to retroactively go through each and every image on your site but once you do, you’ll be poised to let your images really work for you.
- H1 Tags and Page Titles
Review every page for missing or duplicate H1 tags and page titles. Note also tags or titles that do not accurately reflect the content on a page as these set you up for missed SEO opportunities big-time.
Updating your meta descriptions at this time should also be on your list as this is a logical extension of all the other work you are already doing.
Focus on the Goal
As you trudge through your clean-up, keep a clear focus on why you are doing what you are doing. Each of the above steps will help your SEO and, perhaps even more importantly, not doing these things (yes, all of them) could hurt your SEO.
Here’s another way to look at it—if you are taking the time and incurring the expense of creating a new site or implementing a major site upgrade, why would you not do it all the way?