When people talk to me about their websites and what they need to do to rank better I can normally come up with three of four pointers that can make an almost immediate impact to their websites performance just by simply looking at the website in front of them. Every business can assess and resolve low quality pages even if you are unable to employ a digital marketing agency or an Search Engine Optimization expert.
Lack of Content
In most circumstances where a page does not rank for anything it is because it lacks content. A page with under 300 words is in most circumstances going to be deemed low quality and as a rule if you can’t write 300 words about the page then it probably offers no value in search results. Lots of content does not mean that it is a good page but none is a clear indicator that you do not value this page to write about it so neither will search engines.
Low Quality Content
You can’t read more than 5 posts about SEO without the term “Content is King” but it is so true and it’s not about lots of content, it is about good quality content. Google released Panda 4.2 in July 2015 to tackle the issue of low value content and if your website has seen a slow decline since then it may be that your content although plentiful offers no value. To avoid this ask yourself these questions to ensure you hold quality content
- What do I want to be searched for?
- What do I want this page to achieve?
- What do people want to know?
There are really easy ways to spot bad content and one is keyword stuffing, it’s a common mistake and an old now defunct SEO tactic. Does your page mention keywords you want to rank for too much? Is every sentence “here at company x we have great (keyword) and if you are looking for a new (keyword) then you must find our (keyword) as they are the best (keyword)”. By simply just trimming this content to one sentence with one keyword mentioned you could see your rankings move an entire search page of results whilst you develop quality content.
People worry about links but internal linking from pages is important as it shows the importance of the page. If you page has no clear path to it you have not created any level of importance in your site. Links from the homepage show a page as secondary in importance (your homepage is always most important) or linking from a blog or another internal page shows Google that you are trying to direct people to a page of value. You are trying to create a pathway for your users to keep them on your site and ensure a good experience.
Low Quality Meta Data
Duplicate, missing or badly written titles and descriptions shows that the creation of the page has been given little thought to the user or to search results. This isn’t always agreed by all SEO experts but I have done significant testing on meta data and have seen position and page jumps when updating with optimised titles and descriptions. Regardless of whether it is a ranking benefit it will hold the answer to CTR (click through rate) and A/B Testing has shown that well optimised descriptions get more clicks above ranking positions. Does your meta data clearly explain what your page is about and does it answer a search query?
This is quite fluid as some pages require little or no links pointing out however the correct use of outbound links show a well optimised quality page. When choosing to select an outbound link ask yourself if it gives value to the user and may provide additional resources or are you trying to let another source do the job of you page? Outdated SEO practices used to suggest linking to Wikipedia to link with a viable source this would be deemed as lazy and low quality page work, whereas terms and conditions of a partner you work with could be useful for your user
A low quality page can be seen by sight; any SEO expert would look at a page and probably be able to make a good guess at problem areas to improve it with zero time or real work and be right.
- Do you have Heading Tags?
- Do you have multiple H1 Tags?
- What is the layout like?
- Does it look messy or smart?
- Do you have alt text on your images?
- Does the page load quickly?
All these areas are important to take into consideration, that you mix the right amount of ranking signals like Heading tags and Alt text against user experience and professional experience. Your page may not rank better because it is pretty but it will ensure that your users stay longer and that will help your rankings and conversions.
Most importantly once you have assessed the page in all of its little sections you need to think of it as a whole and ask the questions “Does it have a use to the user, does it answer their question?” Not every page is able to be 100% perfect, because of the limitations of the website, your brand or simply resources but if your page offers a purpose and answers a question then it holds some quality and these areas should help enhance its rankings and conversion.
Author: Tegan Groombridge has worked within in house and Agency based Digital Marketing and specialises in SME search engine optimisation. Currently she is the Digital Marketing Manager for the voucher code website My Favourite Voucher Codes based in Bath which donate 20% of their profits every month to Charity.