Your online presence doesn’t stop at content. No, it requires much more than just writing a few great posts every week and publishing them on your website’s blog. What you need to focus on once you have your content creation system in place is your technical SEO. It’s what allows search engines and users to find, access, and engage with your website and content. Without an optimized website, your SEO strategy could be on sinking vessel. Consider the 4 technical SEO tips below to help search engines crawl and index your website properly and avoid unnecessary penalties.
Behind the Cloak
Make sure your site does not use cloaking, intentionally or unintentionally. Search engines want to find what the user would find if they were to navigate to your website. Cloaking essentially has one version of a page for the user and a second version for the search engine. Intentionally, this is an effort to rank higher by catering a page to a search engine’s algorithms while showing a user something slightly or entirely different on another page. Unintentionally, there may have been a mixup in communication between the content creators and the web master. In either case, it is best to remove any pages that are considered cloaked, so that the search engine finds what the use would find.
Cloaking often leads to penalties, which means your site won’t rank or, in some cases, not show up in the SERPs at all.
Try the linked tool below to check your own site:
You’ve been copied!
Plagiarism is a serious no-no when it comes to website content. You may be wondering if copied content is the same as duplicate content. They’re two sides of the same coin. Other websites can copy your content and it’s called plagiarism, since you’re content is the victim. Duplicate content on the other hand is your site plagiarizing someone else’s website content.
Search engines usually can tell which content is the original, but it’s best to take matters into your own hands, so they don’t have to decide. If you’re not sure if your own content is a copy of someone else’s, try the list below:
Copyscape: this tool is wonderful for determining if your site is copied somewhere else. Go to the link and insert the page URL you want to check. It will show a list of websites that have the same content in them, or it will show nothing if there are no matches.
Exact Match: Take a sentence or two from one of your pages and insert it into the google search bar inside quotation marks. The results that come back will show you which websites have near similar or exact matches to your own content.
What do you do if someone has copied your content? The first step is to contact them directly via email or phone.
If you aren’t able to find contact information on the website, try a Who Is lookup and see if you can find the registrants name and info.
Spam, Spam, Spam… Yuck!
Not only can your website content be copied, your website could acquire new content without you knowing. This typically happens with larger websites, since there is more pull in the SERPs and hackers attempt to utilize the higher percentage of hiding places for their spam.
How does this affect you?
The content added to your site could be anything, so it’s imperative you remove it immediately. In most cases, you won’t know the extra content is there, since it’s hidden.
You need to also keep a close eye on your comments section if you allow them on your site. Search engines tend to notify the webmaster if anything abnormal is found, but you should take the initiative to do a regular check from time to time.
If you don’t make this a priority, your website could receive a penalty for spam if any exists on your site.
Structure Your Data!
Have you heard of rich snippets before? If not, they are what structure data contributes to in the SERPs. Extra HTML code is added to you site to denote specific pieces of content otherwise missed by search engines due to their lack of human-like awareness. For example, a full street address is a string of characters to a search engine, but if you structure this data to tell the search engine, “Hey, this is a random string of characters, but it’s also the business address.” There’s a chance your address will show up in the SERPs alongside your URL and description.
At this time, structured data isn’t a ranking factor, but like meta titles and descriptions, it can enhance your front line efforts in the SERPs where users find your business.