On client calls and in meetings, many of the same SEO questions routinely arise. You want to know how to handle redirects, how your mobile site affects your desktop site, and that perennial SEO favorite, how many keywords to use on a page. So, in order to provide you with a go-to resource, we’ve pulled these questions into a single post. Have more questions? Contact your Client Strategist (if you are a client), or fill out the form here for a free SEO consultation.
This is a very common problem, and search engines may or may not know that the pages are in fact one in the same. Either way, it can present an issue. Search engines rely on the signals they receive. If you aren’t providing the correct signals about separate but identical pages, search engines may not return your content as expected. They’re not going to automatically understand that you mean for them to treat two identical pages equally, or to favor one page over the other. It’s up to you to decide which page you want the search engines to rank, and point the secondary URL to the main URL. This is called Canonicalization, and you can read more about it here.
For the most part, yes. Any content that you want to be a target for search should be unique. While you might repurpose your content, taking a basic idea and recreating it in a different form, you should never reuse content whole-cloth. This is because search engines may not understand which is the most relevant or useful version.
Our Content Strategist Kristin Lesko has a great post with tips for avoiding duplicate content, available here.
This is a tricky question. There’s a lot that goes into optimizing a page, and keyword density is just one factor. For those who are unfamiliar with the term, keyword density is the percentage of your indexable content that is made up of a specific keyword or phrase.
In general, you should ensure that every webpage on your site has a specific “theme” and purpose. This can be boiled down to a specific keyphrase that best describes that theme. This keyphrase should then be included within all of the important elements of your page such as the Title tag, description meta tag, and headline or H1 element. Thus, it is less important to focus on a specific keyword density number and more important to focus on each page’s theming and how well that page answers the searcher’s questions.
If your content is too short, or thin, or not really suited to the keyword, and you’ve used the keyword throughout the important on-page elements, you’re probably still not going to rank well – or at least not for long. For more information, check out this post on using natural language in SEO copywriting.
While there are some pretty basic rules governing redirects, there is also an art for knowing how to handle them. When taking down old pages, or reorganizing your site, you should 301 redirect any page for which there is a 1-to-1 match, or when the new page addresses the same theme or idea as the old page. Otherwise, you will want to “kill” the page with a 404 “page not found” error response. There are other types of redirects and use cases where the “art” comes into play, however these decisions should be made with knowledgeable guidance.
This is a great question, and something many webmasters are thinking about. How you handle a mobile version of your website can have varying degrees of effect on your SEO.
First, it will have a direct impact on your mobile SEO. Users who are searching on mobile devices may have different goals than the users who are searching from a desktop computer or laptop. They also may search with different keywords. This can vary for users on tablets or other devices too. To add another layer, search engines will often display different results for users on mobile devices than they will for users on desktop computers or laptops. While there are many different ways to display your content to users on a mobile device, it is important to consider questions such as:
Second, the way that you have configured or will configure your website for mobile users can impact the SEO of your main desktop version. Regardless of the path you choose, be it responsive, a separate mobile site, or a different approach, there are possible SEO issues to be aware of. Although Google recommends opting for responsive, it is important to consider your specific situation and audience.
For more information about SEO and mobile, check out this blog post.