Your website is your online storefront. To achieve a good position in Google (and other search engines), you need a site that performs well and provides a good customer experience.
Even if your site performs “fine,” there’s always room for improvement. Is your site full of useless pages and broken links? If so, it will fall in search results – sometimes quickly. Now is the time to clean up the issues with your site, which will help increase your rank – in many cases.
Some of the things you can work on to start cleaning up your site can be found here.
1. Create a Backup of Your Website
Before you jump into anything, creating a backup of your website is important. You want to make sure you don’t make a mistake and lose the entire site just because you clicked the wrong button.
When you have a backup of your site, you can restore the entire website if something doesn’t work properly when you clean it up.
2. Check the Themes and Plug-Ins
Have you had your website for a while? Has it been some time since you cleaned it up (or have you never done this)? If so, there is a good chance you have plug-ins that you don’t need or use.
Along with taking up space on your site’s server, some unused themes and plug-ins can impact the performance and speed of your site.
Since the UX (user experience) is essential when driving traffic to your site and keeping loyal followers, it is a good idea to uninstall any themes or plug-ins on your site that you don’t need or use.
You also need to check and ensure that the plug-ins are still being used and that there is nothing wrong with them. Update the plug-ins if needed and remove any that are not used or don’t work properly.
It is necessary to ensure that the plug-in you are using is still compatible with the version of WordPress (or any other platform) you use. You can also see if there are new plug-ins that combine the functions of several into one.
Doing this can remove a lot of clutter from your website and make room for new themes and plug-ins.
3. Check the Performance and Speed of Your Site
Once you eliminate the old themes and plug-ins from your site, it is time to test its performance and speed of it using the free tools that are available online.
Once you perform this test, you can figure out things like:
- If you are dealing with landing page redirects, that means pages take longer to load
- Leverage the browser cache, which ensures that regular visitors will be able to load the static pages faster
- Remove query strings to let the pages cache and deliver faster speeds when requested
4. Find and Fix Broken Links
While you may be tired of hearing about it, the fact is that broken links are a big problem for any website. You may think your website has no issues with this – there is a good chance you are wrong. Conduct a website audit, and you will likely find more than a few.
Broken links are the links on your site that take a visitor to a page that does not exist. This includes pages on your website or some other site.
You can use an online tool to scan your website and identify any broken links. There is no need to open each page and click all the links manually (this would take a long time). While there are paid link checkers, you can find free ones, too.
You may wonder what you can do if you have countless broken links. In this case, use a tool (like BrokenLinkCheck.com) to get a list of all these links. If you have a website that has been around for a while and that has a lot of content, there is a good chance you also have more than a few broken links.
If you do not have time to fix the links immediately, try to find any broken links that show up more than once. For example, you may have a broken link in your footer, sidebar, or navigation menu.
When there is a broken link in one of the places, it means it appears on each page of your website. These are the links you need to clean up first.
There are a few things you can do to fix broken links, which include the following:
- Un-link the text. If the destination page is no longer there, be sure to un-link the text.
- Correct the link. If it was an issue with formatting or mistyping, fix it.
- Re-link the proper page. If the destination page to the link has changed, be sure to update it with the new one.
- Create a redirect. If you have a broken link on your website, fix it there.
5. Delete Any Short or Old Blog Posts
It is important to remember that Google is going to rank sites that are full of helpful information. If you have many pages on your website without much content, this can hurt your ranking. These posts are often considered “thin content.”
When auditing your site, be sure to find the pages with old or short blog posts and delete them.
To avoid losing rank because of “thin content,” try to ensure all the blog posts you publish have at least 200 words (but remember, more is better).
When it comes to eliminating old content, you have a few options. One is simple, and the other is more advanced.
If you do not need the post for anything, delete it. You can also change it to “draft” if you want to keep it on the website for some reason.
Once you do this, you should redirect the URL of the post you want to delete. However, if the post is useless and short, it probably is not generating much traffic or links. This means that you don’t have to worry about redirects.
If you want to keep the post published, be sure to change it to no-index. This means that you insert code that lets search engines know they should not include the page in the search results. With a no-index page, you are essentially telling Google not to look at the post or include it in the search rankings. When Google looks at your site to rank it, they won’t look at any page you have added “no-index” to. As a result, you can leave it as part of your blog, and it won’t impact your site rank or quality.
6. Delete Any Useless Tags
Another part of your website cleanup is to delete any useless tags on your blog.
You may have heard, at some point, that more tags are best. However, if you create all types of blog tags, it may create a situation of thin content on your website.
Each time you add a new tag, the platform you use for your website will create a tag archive page. It will show each post that has a tag. This means that if you have a blog with hundreds of tags, then you likely have countless low-quality tag pages.
To clean up your tags, you must navigate to the page where all the tags you have used are listed. Once you have arrived at the page, ask the following questions about each one:
- Does the tag work to group the like posts on your website together?
- Does the tag apply to several of the posts on your website?
- Is your tag spelled properly, and does it make sense how it is used?
If you answer no to these, then you should delete the tag.
You may wonder what to do if you have a ton of tags that you have to deal with. If that is the case, there is no question trying to clean them up individually will take a long time. If that happens, adding “no-index” to all the tag pages you have is a good idea.
Remember, though, that this is a significant change that needs to be done carefully. Be sure to contact your web designer or a professional for help with this. When you do this, you can let them know that you need assistance no-indexing all the tag archive pages.
Getting Your Website Fast and User Friendly
Your website must perform well to provide the desired results. It must be fast, user-friendly, and contain helpful content and information.
If you are unsure how to improve your website from where it is now, it may be time to enlist professional help. At Small Business SEO, we are here to help with your website, improve the SEO and make it as friendly as possible for your visitors. In the end, this will help you get more traffic and increase your conversions, often significantly. We are here to help; call us today to learn more.