So you "SEO" your sites? Really?

Excuse the rather arrogant title, it’s more pointed at myself than anyone else. But, after my recent learning curve, I thought it fitted.

I’ve been on a big learning curve recently. It started out working with sitemaps for a search facility and has now progressed to a much better understanding of SEO in general, not that I was bad at it, I was just missing some basic stuff.

So, as a way to start a discussion about SEO… What do you do to consider your sites “SEO’d”?

Offpage of Onpage? Onpage visible or invisible?

Using SEO helper from Joe Workman, adding schema.org, making sure to have the right image sizes for preview links for social networks, adding crosslinks between pages and sites, adding to the search pages, using canonical links, etc…

Other than things like backlinks, everything you do to build results. Let’s aim for specifics, not just listing a stack ;-)

I’ve always done the usual when it comes to the actual project: Titles, descriptions, good H tag use, carefully crafting content to include key phrases in a natural way, image tags, ensuring good stab zones, etc.

I’ve also almost always used Sitemap Plus, to help control what robots can and shouldn’t index. But when it came to the sitemap, that was it. I needed to brush up on my sitemap knowledge when it came to adding a search stack to a site recently, and that’s opened a whole new world of SEO pain ;-) It’s also lead me to the Google Search Console.

Interested to hear what others are doing.

This is on the horizon and could be pretty big. You have prob noticed esp on Social media that people now share ‘stories’… Google is running its own version of it in SERP (Beta)… https://amp.dev/about/stories/ Google has already got a WordPress plugin for it (again beta) https://google.github.io/web-stories-wp/beta/ as said potentially this could be HUGE. So I’m really digging into this right now.

Onsite SEO what you said is what I do. Content of course is king though. Look at some of the shit sites that are number one, because the content is great and has 1000s of links to it, these will never lose the number one spot.

There’s only so much you can do nowadays with onsite SEO. Tick the boxes; metadata, page speed, sitemaps, alt images, OG properties, blar,blar blar, if you have a pro site then these should be all be done (that’s every competitor’s site too). No magic really. BUT creating the amazing content is SUPER hard…

With Google and AI its all way more holistic, whilst onsite does help (a little) its now more holistic, from your Google reviews, to your shard content, your Social media presence, your backlinks, site authority, NAP, and so on.

Anything that can’t be manipulated is where it’s at! IMO of course

Interesting.

I setup a google website for one of my sites recently. I’m going to use it as a blog type thing with links to the main site.

Not sure if it’ll have any effect.

The thing I have to hammer home with my clients when it comes to SEO, is to remember your audience and what device they are going to be using to view your content. Google places a lot of “SEO weight” on the user experience, and most people use their cell phones to surf the internet these days, and this number keeps rising. So prioritize the “mobile experience” - it doesn’t matter how good your website looks or works on the massive monitor you used to build the website, what matters is how it works on a cell phone. Google has “Page Experience Guidelines” (link here to official doc) that has some important guidelines:

  • how quickly it loads (are your images scaled properly for mobile? what about the “First Input Delay”?)
  • are there “intrusive interstitials” (popups)
  • and basics like https and no malware

But Google also publishes their content guidelines as “Webmaster Guidelines” (link here) You don’t have to guess, just follow their “Basic Principles”

The movement to avoid AMP is huge though - most people will not use it as Google end up hosing all your content (and certain rights too). Bringing this into AMP is just another attempt to force people into using it surely?

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I dont think its just for AMP though is it? I can create these ‘stories’ from within my WP website. If it increases targeted traffic to my website - thats a good thing, every little helps. Personally I’m not fazed by who owns what, so thats not an issue with me… (looking at your Social Media!)

Unfortunately properly not… if anything this tactic could be watering down your actual website ie the content would work better if its on your website. The only way backlinks work is when higher authority sites link back. Your new blog will have an authority of 0 (at launch). So you can spend time, money and energy building the authority up… but IMO thats time better spent on your actual site (add the blog there in other words ; ).

All the above came from me doing the exact some thing you are doing now… just a few years back… one thing I did do though is set up a blog on Medium - it has authority, when you set up a new page his has a little bit of authority… and at one point links where ‘do follow’… but alas is was abused so now links are now ‘no follow’…

I think it is.
This Wordpress plugin page description seems to indicate that it is as well.

That was a concern of mine too I did a lot of reading up, a lot, and I’m not alone in this as it’s covered loads. General consensus was that it won’t water things down. It might help, or do nothing. But, real-world experience is more valuable, so I’ll keep that in mind.

I’m also running another experiment at the moment: I’ve purchased a domain which directly relates to the sector and region a business is located in. I’ve built it with the same main pages as the main site, just rejigged etc. I’m curious to see over time what effect the domain name will have on things, but results on that will be months away.

Yes sorry what I mean is - as along as it drive traffic to the site - Im good with it. Amp, porn whatever ;-)

Really? Even if you (your clients) lose control of their advertising content and revenue? Would you show the Google AMP legal agreement to your clients given that Google would be their implicit host and contractual partner? You have to ask who you are driving traffic to, your client or Google inserted advertising in the future. In certain territories you will already be breaking privacy laws on your clients behalf.

I’m no conspiracy theorist but I think there are some serious legal issues with this downstream and it is much more complicated than impressions and clicks.

Worth a read:

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Absolutely- you’re presuming I’ll take this to a client. The client comes to me with this. I’ll leave the legalities to them. Me personally I’m all in. Will read when back - cheers

My question: What the feck has AMP got to do with the majority of websites?

actually I dont think this refers to simply listing another stack, Structured Data has bought very useful results for me and have to say the Seo Helper has been a big contribution to this. And led me, with the help of others, to writing specific structured data with s/d generators.

The FAQs which very few ppl seem to use, has been very successful at times - although they do come and go in the rankings. This adds a real bonus to your ranked pages. I do think it’s not just about where you rank, its how good your ranking is shown , when you get there.

Yes, the stack makes it a lot easier to enter some of the necessary data. Which s/d generators do you use?

this is one I used ages ago but theres another one im trying to remember its name , I did loads on my own sites then left them alone

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Small update on this. Since setting up my main business site on Google Search Console and also setting up the Google My Business website (not just the Google My Business page, I’ve always had that setup). Traffic to the site has gone up 300% and for search terms that have always been built into the site it’s now appearing above page 5. Previously it was below page 10. Noting else has been done to the site. No new content of relevance, no changing anything SEO related.

This might be co-incidence, but it’s hard to see what else it might be. The posts I’ve done to the Google website all link back to the main site and have all got good click rates, according to the stats on the Google site.

I’m going to continue to monitor it, but so far it’s looking like the additional of the Google website (and perhaps adding it to Search Console?) have had a big impact.

EDIT: I should add that this increase is at a time when almost all my client sites are seeing a drop in traffic, July to Aug. I put this down to coming out of lockdown with less bored people sat at their screens.

Can you explain this as I don’t understand?