16. Configuring Messy Site Content
A site that is poorly organized or requires deep linking and clicking to find content will not rank well in search engine returns. Likewise, navigation that is totally reliant on images, drop-down menus or animations will stifle your ranking. Be sure to include an html site map that is organized by subject.
We’ve all seen disorganized websites. They’re like houses with too many remodels. They do not make sense. They are more like mazes than user-friendly systems.
When you send people to your site, what do you want them to do? When you know the answer to that question, every page can funnel your prospect or customer in that direction.
In sum, launch your site with organized, logical content, and maintain it.
17. Carelessly Naming URLs
An overly long URL name, generic URL naming conventions, and keyword stuffing will squelch your ranking. Google also recommends lower case URLs. Shorter URLs also get more clicks, so try to keep your URL length below 100 characters and no longer than three to five words.
Believe it or not, we still see some of these outliers that have not optimized their URLs. If they do so now, they would need to set up 301 redirects for every page. This, too, is not ideal.
In sum, follow best practices for URL naming at launch.
18. Not Naming Page Titles Optimally
According to Google, you can devalue your site by using an irrelevant page title or duplicating the title name across pages. “Page1” is not a page-naming strategy. Similarly, an unwieldy title tag or one stuffed with key words will also drop you deeper in the search engine returns. What’s unwieldy? Adjust your title tag length for each page to fewer than 60 characters.
Additionally, briefly include your brand. Don’t leave your title tags blank or redundant.
Google offers extensive guidance about your page titles.
In sum, give users clues in the page title to help them understand its content.
19. Making Typos and Errors
Typos, misspellings and grammatical errors will devalue your site. Content that is not broken up into organized, user-friendly components may also find itself deeper in the search engine results.
Not a great speller? Confused by grammar? Many use Grammarly to help them.
In sum, follow the guidance of your high school English teacher.
If you failed English 101, rely on someone who did not, or download an app that can help you.
20. Writing Lousy Meta Descriptions
Overusing keywords in your meta description may ding your site in the search rankings. An excessively long meta description or immaterial content also may harm site’s search rankings.
Missing and duplicate meta descriptions are flagged in Google’s meta description guidance.
Moz recommends keeping meta description length under 160 characters, but long enough to be descriptive. However, in November 2017, Google updated its algorithm, allowing for meta descriptions to nearly double in length. Then in 2018, it decreased the length again. Maintain meta description lengths at about 150 to 160 characters or so.
Why the range? A capital W takes up more real estate than a lowercase L or capital I.
Google’s current guidance is to write meta descriptions for humans. Help Google-ers know what your site is about. Use a keyword phrase. Be informative and eloquent. This is a great place for savvy marketers to showcase their skills.
In our opinion, every meta description should scream, “Pick me! Pick me!”
In sum, be descriptive and follow best practices for meta descriptions.
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