Marketing goals

How SEO Hygiene Supports Your Site and Marketing Goals Over Time

Just when you think you’ve got your SEO strategy under control, Google comes up with a new update to mess things up again.

Enter SEO hygiene.

Taking proactive steps to keep your site clean and in good working order can help combat external factors, supporting your long-term goals for your site and your marketing strategy.

So what is SEO hygiene? In this column, you will learn what it is, why it is so important, and the best SEO hygiene practices that you can implement immediately to improve your rankings and generate more income.

Let’s go.

What is SEO hygiene?

If you’ve never heard of this term before, don’t worry; that will make a lot of sense here shortly.

Every day, people perform tasks for their own health and hygiene to make sure they feel and feel better.

SEO hygiene is similar. You will run routine checks on your own website or your client’s website and set it up for long term success.

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The benefits of good SEO hygiene include:

  • Higher rankings.
  • Establish yourself as an authority.
  • Build credibility and trust.
  • Increase in income.

As the size of sites or organizations grows, the concept of good SEO hygiene becomes more and more important.

How Does Poor Hygiene Affect Your Site?

Driving organic search traffic to a site helps generate revenue, increase interest, and build brand awareness.

When you don’t have a plan in place for your site’s hygiene or haven’t followed the procedures you have in place, it can lead to major problems, including:

  • Loss of income.
  • Reduced search visibility.
  • Reduced search traffic.
  • Potential site penalties.

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Anyone who has been in the field for awhile has likely experienced traffic ups and downs. Updates, even if you aren’t impacted in the long run, can cause rankings to fluctuate wildly.

While some elements of SEO are completely beyond your control, there are also those over which you have 100% control.

Initiating proper practices and protocols can reduce the risk of poor hygiene affecting your site.

Best Practices for Good SEO Hygiene

If you are reading this article, we’ll assume that you have a good basic understanding of SEO and how it works. You should already be dealing with SEO best practices.

Here are some of the basics you’ll want to keep track of:

  • Page titles.
  • Meta tags.
  • Keyword targeting.
  • Headers and sub-headers.
  • Alt tags.
  • Creation of internal and external links, etc.

But from a higher perspective, there are a lot of things you might overlook that can have a drastic impact on your site’s SEO.

The most important SEO hygiene considerations to have on your list are:

1. Clean up the code

Code is the backbone of every website, and while an SEO manager might not know the ins and outs of all coding, you should consider the code that the end user (and the bots in) research) will know.

Remember that Googlebot is not a dummy; it will scan the information and coding on your site.

Run your code through search engine inspection tools and spider simulators.

If a code block is not showing or there are issues displaying a page, your site traffic may drop.

A quick technical SEO audit of what search engines see when they access your pages should be done for any coding changes.

2. Content and ownership

Website content can grow quickly, especially if you are SEO business.

And when more employees and shareholders are involved, various teams can be formed to generate more content. Some sections of the sites may be managed by different teams that do not communicate or collaborate.

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When this happens, especially at the corporate level, teams can start competing for the same keywords on multiple pages and even end up creating duplicate content.

Good SEO hygiene means having systems in place that help teams understand their roles and even communicate key content changes to pages.

You might want to take it a step further by having a team that manages all content and ownership from a higher level to reduce the risk of conflicts and wasted resources. It is also part of SEO governance in a large organization or with larger teams.

At the very least, any new content should be reviewed and analyzed to avoid conflicts.

3. Mobile-friendly design

Site visitors should have a smooth and streamlined experience when visiting your mobile site. When new features or functions are added to a site, it is important to test these features using mobile devices or simulators.

You’ll need to make sure that whether you’re using responsive, dynamic, or separate sites for mobile users, all changes are verified to work on mobile.

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4. Redirects

Redirection loops are easy to create, especially if multiple stakeholders are updating a site.

An SEO manager can add redirect to an .htaccess file, while a developer adds their redirect as a header in the encoding, and the server administrator manages them at the router level.

When this happens, one redirect can conflict with another, resulting in a bad user and bot experience. This creates unnecessary stress and load times on your servers.

All redirects should be tested and recorded to ensure that there is less chance of redirect loops or existing issues in the future.

Running ScreamingFrog or something similar to check for redirect issues will help you avoid potential issues.

5. SEO quality assurance (QA)

Quality assurance should be an integral part of every SEO manager’s job. When small changes are made to a site’s code, they can go unnoticed for weeks until the SEO owner finds out that the small change has negatively impacted site traffic.

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Procedures and logs, such as describing any coding changes made at a site using a central database form or management system, can help strengthen quality assurance.

The SEO owner can check off each new code embed to verify that there are no conflicting issues that could negatively impact a site’s performance.

6. Website architecture

The architecture of a website is very important and it goes without saying that you need to keep a close eye on architectural changes.

You’ll want navigation to be as easy as possible, but you’ll also want cohesion across your entire site. It is important to watch out for:

  • Internal links.
  • Navigation elements.
  • Design principles.
  • Layout.
  • Headers and Footers.

If architecture issues are left unresolved for a while, they can lead to a poor user experience and make it harder for search bots to find key pages on your site. It could also have an impact on your crawl budget.

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Wrap

When you’ve incorporated SEO hygiene best practices into your operation, you’ll focus on the most important part of your success: users.

Focusing on the health and function of your site is always best for users and for any business, large or small.

As an ongoing process, add guidelines for your team to follow and review periodically. SEO hygiene is an ongoing, long-term part of your site’s success, so be sure to devote time and resources to it as your site continues to grow and evolve.

Your bottom line and traffic will thank you for taking the time to build a solid foundation from which your site can grow.

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Image credit

Featured image created by author, May 2021