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2019 SEO Starters Guide - What to work on

     
4:15 pm on Oct 3, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Don't know why anyone would want to start SEO in 2019. It is so much harder than it was 20 years ago and it keeps becoming harder each month. If you are masochistic here here are some SEO tasks to help you get started.

These are in no particular order. Each site/project is going to have different priorities and you will need to triage your own situation. I think SEO is like being a firefighter. Each day you wake up, find the biggest fire and try to put it out. Due to Google's constant evolving SEOs never run out of fires to work on.

Look at Analytics to see if there are traffic changes
Something went down? Figure out which pages went down which can lead to which topics/keywords need help. Something went up? Figure out what is driving that boost and if it can be improved into a bigger boost or expanded to other parts of the site not currently rising or exposes a totally new idea.

Look at Google Search Console for queries and monitor Google autocomplete
Use that data to better direct new content creation and to triage your current content. You have limited time and resources so figure out which keyword/topics have the best combination of quality traffic and low competition.

Revisit Old Content
Is it still accurate? Is it still linking to the most appropriate pages? Is it following the latest SEO best practices. Has Google rolled out a new penalty/filter that impacts the old page?

Read Google's Search Quality Raters pdf
This very long pdf is not a secret guide to ranking but it does give a good glimpse of Google's mindset and what they value in web pages. You can use that insight to better review and improve your site.

Reverse engineering competition backlinks
This is less about manipulating Google rankings and more about diversifying your traffic sources. You want to develop as many quality traffic generating backlinks as you can. The more you do this, the less you are at the mercy of Google fluctuations which tends to make Google want you even more.

Go through analytics for bad user metrics
Bad user metrics can mean upset visitors. Angry people won't convert, won't recommend your site, and won't backlink to you. Fix the usability. Why waste your time ranking in Google if you are going to immediately lose that traffic due to horrible user experience.

Visit the competition
See what they are doing to give you ideas on how you can do things better. Don't just copy them. Use them as inspiration to create an even better resource that provides value they aren't offering. You don't want to match them, you want to exceed them.

Integrate your paid & social with your SEO
Make sure it is all communicating and working together. If you see something missing, then start it up where relevant. Adwords can provide great keyword research & respond faster than SEO. Social can develop rabid fans that will act as organic ambassadors indirectly helping SEO ranking factors. SEO tends to work best as part of a cohesive online strategy.

Review the technical side
Is the crawling going ok? How are the page speeds? Is the private information staying protected? Are the analytics staying clean or is there some bad data from scrapers/misbehaving bots? Are you exploiting the best schema opportunities?

Check out the SEO forums
Pay attention to what is being said and what is not being said. Remember the smarter people often post less because they are busy working and profiting plus they don't want to expose their best money making ideas. Ignorant people tend to post more because they don't know what they should be working on and can be very emotional with their inability to be effective online. Some well known SEO figures are glorified sales people who are no longer up to speed with Google SEO. They will just advocate the SEO product/service that gives them the biggest kickback. Statements from Google are in their best interest not yours. Google doesn't work for you and they know there is an army of people trying to manipulate their results - so keep that in mind when listening to them. Don't blindly follow anyone.

Do your own testing
The best way to learn SEO is via hands on experience. Start your own mini site on your own time. Take risks with it. Try different things. When you come across information on the SEO forums try to replicate it on your own site. Don't expect others to give you a free ride.

Plus so much more but my fingers are getting tired and I need to get back to earning money.

PS as always everyone's situation is different and you shouldn't blindly follow this advice. be smart and adjust it to suit your own situation
1:14 am on Oct 4, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Nice rundown of "things to do". Good general suggestions to keep up with the SE changes (g in particular) that move the goal posts every few months---certainly with every major algo change!
1:27 am on Oct 4, 2019 (gmt 0)

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...that move the goal posts every few months
Good thing that they remain static in real life. ;)

11:39 am on Oct 4, 2019 (gmt 0)

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I have a easier idea to dominate page one...just convert your entire site to a Pinterest page.
5:18 pm on Oct 4, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Good list thanks OP. Add to this list: Check the speed of your site regularly, although we all know about responsive design, actually test your site regularly on multiple devices to insure it actually works and is free of errors.
7:02 pm on Oct 4, 2019 (gmt 0)

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@cnvi ... testing for responsive is a MUST ... I found out a change I made caused an unexpected reflow problem for a specific device size and it ran that way for 3 months! Egad!
11:09 am on Oct 6, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Mods Note: Let's be careful to keep the discussion on target. If you have constructive criticism or actual research please share it. If you want to vent your frustrations about Google then go to your local bar and talk to them.

System

12:04 pm on Oct 6, 2019 (gmt 0)

redhat

 
 


The following message was cut out to new thread by goodroi. New thread at: google/4967450.htm [webmasterworld.com]
10:47 am on Oct 6, 2019 (utc -5)
2:38 pm on Oct 9, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Personally, I think filling out alt text is more important than ever befoe too
5:32 pm on Oct 9, 2019 (gmt 0)

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I like the addition of regular GSC reviews. It's such a good tool for long-tail keyword research and it's often overlooked.
7:55 pm on Oct 9, 2019 (gmt 0)

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A few more thoughts:

Patrol For Broken Links
Patrol your site with a link checking tool (better yet, more than one) and fix any broken links it identifies. Also watch the reports for URL variations that could be consolidated: http, https, www, non-www, /, /index.html etc. While you're at it, update any links that are redirecting. Repeat this patrol every few weeks.

Check Validation, HTML and CSS
Check assorted pages with a validating tool and if it reports errors, fix as many as you reasonably can. Give priority to errors in the document <head>, or in your sitewide templates. Some people believe that validation isn't a ranking factor, but these days Google's webmaster guidelines say bluntly, "Write valid code." So better validation to improve your UX might or might not help your SEO, but for sure it won't hurt.

Check Accessibility
Check assorted pages with an accessibility checker and improve whatever you can. Also do some listening with an audible browser reader. How do your pages come across? There's a good chance that actually listening will reveal opportunities for improvement that the tools didn't mention. (That happened to me just yesterday!) Any tweak that helps your page make better sense for a blind user will likely improve it for the search engines, too. Googlebot "sees" better than in the past but you still wouldn't be far wrong to think of it as the world's largest blind user. (Legal issues around accessibility are a separate discussion.)
4:50 am on Oct 10, 2019 (gmt 0)

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I want to ask image optimization and other alt test perform the important role in seo of websites.
I have done seo for 1 <medical specialist's> website, and its very hard to get traffic on site.
well, thanks for the useful article.


[edited by: Robert_Charlton at 12:26 pm (utc) on Oct 13, 2019]
[edit reason] Made less specific... [/edit]

11:13 am on Oct 11, 2019 (gmt 0)

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hsingh, welcome to the forum.

If your medical specialist's site is a local site, you might look into schema markup for the doctor, the business, etc. I've seen location schema be very helpful on truly local site, with an actual physical location... and, beyond that, Google My Business registration, etc. If it's a referral site, though, you will probably have difficulty with it.

Beyond that, this is a general thread... not a thread about a specific site. I mention the schema because, moving forward, that's an area that's likely to require attention in many sites.


2:42 pm on Oct 13, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Good article. As an SEO starter/student I can use it as my guide through my SEO lessons.