Google's latest updates indicate to us that fast loading, error free sites, packed with useful information for users remains the key to ranking well. Here we share the tests we use to keep our clients' sites in tip top condition.
This post is an update of Sophie's post about our 'Continuous Improvement' programme from August 2011. The way people use the web and the way Google ranks stuff doesn't occur in a static bubble, so expect to see another update in a few months.
To run these reports, you'll need to have access to your site in Google Webmaster Tools (WMT).
Although 404 errors don’t necessarily harm the ranking of your site, you are directing visitors to pages that don’t exist, which effects the user experience of the site and means they are missing content that they may want to see. Lots of 404 errors can indicate other problems with the site.
This is bad:
More useful information on 404 errors can be found here: https://support.google.com/webmasters/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=2409439
This is great - Google actually points out where you may have accidentally used duplicate content (meta descriptions and titles in this case) on your site. Often it can be fixed by blocking Google from spidering or indexing your category or paginated pages.
Need a good way to understand what Google sees as the most important words on your site? Check out the Content Keywords report Decide whether these top 10 keywords fully reflect your online objectives; if they don’t you might want to tweak the text and/or headings.
Spidering the whole web is a HUGE job! Google therefore directs resource where it can get the best information in the quickest time. If your website is slow, then unless there are lots of other indicators that show your website is massively trusted by the online community (links, social shares, mentions in the press / media) then Google is less likely to spider the deep pages where all your good content lives.
This report https://developers.google.com/pagespeed/ will tell you how to speed your site up.
You're doing a great job of producing fantastic content, it's getting shared by influencers of your target market on social media channels and maybe you're getting mentions / links in the press? GREAT! Someone in finance decides to buy a bazillion links for £500 because of an email they got this morning? BAD.
Use Majestic SEO to be sure that your link growth graph is broadly matched by your social media mentions / shares and any mentions in other media, including offline. If anyone's being a lone wolf and buying links on your behalf, this should help you spot them.