Why Your Website May Be Damaging Your SEO
You’ve created what feels like thousands of blog posts and scoured the internet for hints and tips on keyword research, optimal placement levels and ideal blog length. You know what internal links, backlinks and canonical tags are and you’re an SEO copywriting master. Still, your rankings remain more stagnant than…I don’t have a good metaphor for this. They’re stagnant, okay?
Maybe Your Website’s the Problem
Or rather, the way you’ve structured the content on your website. Optimising a site is about more than making it faster that me after my first 3 coffees. Google’s spiders have the unenviable task of scouring billions of websites and using a bunch of ever-changing algorithmic rules to decide which webpage best answers which question. So your job is to make your site as user-friendly as possible, not only for your audience but also for Google and it’s friendly group of spiders.
Fun fact: A group of spiders is called a ‘clutter.’
Your current site may look something like this:
Nice. A good base of content through blogs, each of which are linking to each other when relevant. But Google wants to know more, it needs to know more and it feels like you’re keeping some secrets.
Just for giggles, let’s zoom in:
This friendly little chap is a blog linking to a product using the following phrase —
“…and the new features make the Generation 2 Flux Capacitor the best solution for your time travelling needs. Click here.”
In this case, the linking text, or ‘anchor text’ is ‘click here.’ Sounds fine until you realise that Google uses anchor text to at least gain a more detailed understanding of what the linked-to page is about (in this case product 3) and possibly even uses it to create an understanding of your entire site, but that hasn’t been tested thoroughly enough as yet.
Anyways, the anchor text in this case is used by Google to understand the product page, what it’s about and what categories it falls into. Google reads the optimised blog post, sees that the page is well structured and useful and then reads the anchor text linking to the page and gets confused. What’s a click here? What does it have to do with Flux Capacitors? A confused Google is a sad Google and when something’s sad it sits on the couch crying and not ranking you well.
So, what do we do? how do we get Google of the couch and away from the rocky road ice-cream?
Let’s start by changing the anchor:
“…and the new features make the Generation 2 Flux Capacitor the best solution for your time travelling needs.”
“Ohhhh,” says Google, wiping away his tears (Google’s a dude) and rising from the couch with rejuvenated vigour. “Now I get it.”
Now let’s create an anchor map across the site, linking relevant (and I can’t stress that word enough) content to each other.
Yeah, that’s a lot of arrows. Important here are 2 factors —
- The priority anchor targets are the major topics. This is your ‘Cornerstone Content’ that is usually really long — over 1000 words at least — and includes a detailed breakdown of the topic. This is where your links should lead and your backlink generation efforts should be targeted.
- Anchors are relevant. This is the whole point — anchor terms must be relevant to the site the link is leading to. So, if the original page was about cheese, which then linked to a page about cake, then the anchor text (depending on your keyword research) may be ‘delicious cake.’
At this point, Google’s feeling much better. It’s not that he didn’t trust you, but you can’t blame him for getting sad when you aren’t completely open and honest with him. I mean, a relationship is all about openness, right?
As you develop your blog and expand your keyword research, remember to keep anchor text in mind and create a sitemap so filled with arrows that it looks like an arrow factory exploded. Then you and Google are giving yourselves the best chance of a long and loving relationship.*
- He’s also seeing billions of other people.
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Thanks for reading Mark Growth!