As a publisher, you put a lot of work into creating content that will deliver value to your audiences and move your business forward. You’ve heard of search engine optimization (SEO), which is why you’ve taken the time to determine relevant keywords and have deliberately woven them into your content in the hopes of attracting people to your site. And yet, when you look at your SEO ranking, you’re frustrated to see that you’re falling short. Here, we look beyond keywords to examine five technical issues that could be compromising your content’s SEO.
Check your metadata tags
At first glance, a piece of content may seem to check the important SEO boxes with relevant keywords in the title and throughout the body of the piece. A deeper dive, however, reveals that the associated metadata is either incorrect or missing altogether. This is an especially common problem in instances where existing pages have been duplicated and edited in an effort to save time—although the new page’s content has been changed, the metadata remains the same as the original page. These issues make it difficult for Google to determine which page is the most relevant for specific keywords and results in a decrease in SEO ranking. Another important factor to check is whether or not your keyword is included in the page’s URL. To get the most out of your SEO efforts, it’s crucial to make sure your keywords are reflected not just in your title and content, but in your metadata and URL as well.
Inside Brightspot: Brightspot makes managing SEO settings easy by automatically populating SEO fields with inputs from the content edit page. The platform’s SEO widget gives the user visibility into an item’s SEO settings and makes it simple to add and edit the information. Brightspot also generates your page’s permalink based on the user-entered headline, helping to ensure that important keywords are included in your content’s URL.
A second important factor that Google takes into consideration when determining a piece of content’s SEO ranking is how easy it is for a user to find that piece of content. Oftentimes, this can be measured by looking at the number of clicks it takes a user to navigate to content from the homepage. As a general rule of thumb, you want to structure your site so that content is no more than four clicks away—but, of course, fewer clicks is better.
That said, it’s important to consider that space on the homepage is at a premium. Linking hundreds—or even thousands—of pieces of content to the homepage might not be realistic. One workaround for this issue is prioritizing which pieces you want to directly link to the homepage while also creating a directory page for the rest of the content. This directory page, usually reachable through a “View All” link on the homepage, minimizes the number of clicks it takes to reach most of your content without cluttering the homepage itself.
Inside Brightspot: A sitemap acts like a blueprint for search engines, helping to provide more accurate and timely results—and more clickthroughs to your site. As you create and publish content, Brightspot builds your sitemap automatically.
Don’t forget backlinks
Simply put, backlinks are links to your content from other websites, and they play an important role in SEO ranking. Having backlinks from external sites signals to search engines that other sites have deemed your content to be high quality. This vote of confidence helps to distinguish your content from other content that might otherwise look similar to a search engine. In an ideal world, the best content would organically rise to the top as other sites included backlinks to it on their own pages. In the real world, however, the heightened importance of SEO has led to increased competition, meaning that companies need to take a more active approach in ensuring that their content has backlinks from external sites. This can be accomplished by leveraging insights from tools like SEMrush or Moz.com and creating a strategy for outreach to owners of other sites.
Boost internal connectivity
While it’s important to have backlinks to your content from other websites, it’s also important to make sure that your content is adequately linked within your own site as well. This helps prevent content from becoming buried or isolated. Be mindful, however, of the user experience when building links within your site. Overwhelming your audience with too many links can actually work against you from an SEO perspective. At the end of the day, it’s more important to give front-end users a quality experience than to try to game the system to improve your SEO.
Inside Brightspot: Brightspot comes with a number of in-built tools and features that allow for easy creation of content lists and modules to enable interlinking of your content and dynamic feeds to streamline your internal content promotion efforts.
Pay attention to changes in SEO criteria
Although Google doesn’t share its exact SEO algorithm, it is forthcoming about changes to SEO criteria and typically gives advance notice before making updates. The companies that perform well on SEO over time are the ones that pay attention to these changes and work proactively to incorporate them into their SEO strategies. Not only should companies adapt new SEO practices on a go-forward basis, but they should also go back and apply the new criteria to their old content as well. Bottom line: when changes are announced, making updates to your SEO strategy early helps prevent costly and time-consuming SEO overhauls down the line.