5 Quick & Easy SEO Fixes

Warning Sheer Drop photo by PSD
Warning Sheer Drop photo by PSD

Small business owners are often overwhelmed by all the advice they get about how to run their website. Here’s a checklist that any site can run through just to make sure you’re not falling into an easily avoided traps.

1. Canonicalization

This is one of those words that SEO people throw out there assuming everyone knows what they’re talking about. What it means is, each page can only be viewed as a single url. It’s easier to look at an example…

http://www.canonicalizationismyfriend.com (no trailing slash)
http://www.canonicalizationismyfriend.com/ (www and trailing slash)
http://canonicalizationismyfriend.com (no www and no trailing slash)
http://canonicalizationismyfriend.com/ (no www with trailing slash)
http://www.canonicalizationismyfriend.com/index.html (www and full url including homepage)
http://canonicalizationismyfriend.com/index.html (non-www and full url for homepage)

If all of those addresses show the same page, you have 6 duplicated pages, you could also be splitting any links coming to your homepage 6 different ways.

You can fix it by adding the something like this to your .htaccess:

<IfModule mod_rewrite.c>
RewriteEngine On
RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} !^www.canonicalizationismyfriend.com
RewriteRule (.*) http://www.canonicalizationismyfriend.com$1 [R=301,L]
</IfModule>

Be careful modifying your .htaccess file. If you don’t know what your doing, ask someone who does so you don’t make your site unreachable.

2. Title Tags That Suck

Look at the title of your homepage. Does it say “Untitled” or “Home” or “Index” or something equally horrible?

The title tag is one of, if not THE most important tag for on-page optimization. Try to make your title tag work for you by using your key phrase at the beginning and followed by your brand. For example:

<title>Siberian Husky Breeder - Gentle Ben Dog Rescue</title>

3. Nobody Links To Your Site

Links are still the main currency on the web. If nobody links to you, you will be hard to find on search engines, because they assume nobody cares about your site. There are three main ways to fix a lack of links.

  1. Buy links from some spammy link broken and risk getting penalized by Google and being dropped all together from their index.
  2. Write awesome content that people think is valuable enough to link to. (like Lisa Barone at Outspoken Media, Seth Godin and Brian Clark at CopyBlogger)
  3. Start commenting, tweeting and writing in forums within your niche where you can lave your website address behind so that others will find their way to your site. Hopefully the increase in traffic will slowly mean an increase in links.

4.  Make sure you’re not restricting the search robots

As crazy as it seems, I’ve seen this one more often that you might imagine. If you have a robots.txt file, there’s a chance that before you launched, you (or your developer) set it to:

Disallow: /

Which tells the search engines, “you are not allowed to index any of my content”.

Another one is having your templates coded with:

<meta name="robots" content="noindex, nofollow">

Same result as above.

5. Your site is uncrawlable

If the robots can’t read your site (Flash sites) it can’t index it. This site is completely invisible to the search engines.

Another possible crawlability problem is if your navigation is only available as javascript and it’s the only way to navigate into your site.