Episode 18 – Broken Bones & Self Audits

Determine whether your site is in Google’s index.
If you have just launched your site, then wait a little bit. Make sure that you have all your resources in order. Get Google Analytics installed on your site right away. Sign up for webmaster tools. Those resources are at analytics.google.com and webmaster.google.com. Tweeting links to your site will help get your site indexed more quickly. There are other possible problems with indexing, but this is a rare problem. If you installed wordpress, almost all these problems can be avoided. This includes problems with robots.txt, or incorrect us of rel=canonical.
In every post, make sure that your titles are strong. Title them with keyword heavy titles. Make sure your titles are descriptive of the content on the site.
Titles should be 50-60 characters.
Make sure to write great human-readable content.
I generally recommend 300 to 500 words as a minimum post. There are exceptions. But for the most part, you should have a hard time not reaching that length of post.
Write at a 6th grade level. Use hemingwayapp.com. Avoid passive voice. Avoid long sentences. Use this as an opportunity to learn how to write better.
Strunk & White offer a great styleguide: https://www.amazon.com/Elements-Style-Fourth-William-Strunk/dp/020530902X/ref=pd_lpo_sbs_14_img_0/133-5565729-4072462?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1&refRID=P722HY2MEDRKXAMHM62V
Write meta descriptions that are about 300 characters. Do not skimp on meta descriptions. These do not help with rankings, but they will help with clickthrus. These are little ads that will entice users to click on your site in the rankings. Taking up space on the SERPS (Search Engine Results Pages) is a great way to increase the real estate your posts take. Google will highlight keywords that a user searches.
It’s best practice to add structured data to your posts. For food bloggers that means using schema to basically tell Google when you’ve written a recipe. That means telling google which portion of your site is comments and which portion of your site is rankings, etc. Google will use all this in search.
If you’re using a recipe card, nearly always this will be natural. Most recipe cards handle this. Good wordpress themes will already be marked up.
Build a site navigation that is coherrent and easily navigable. Humans come into your website based on search. Google comes to your website, however, determines what the homepage is, and then tries to figure out what the most important pages are to you and your users. In part it does this through navigation.
Make sure that your navbar at the top of the site is well constructed. In the code it should be a series of nested lists. These are delineated by the markup

    . Each list item should be

  • . The design of a good navigation system will be handled by CSS.Most themes do a good job handling this. But you are responsible for figuring out what to put up there. Don’t make your users click more than twice to you rmost important content.
    Use breadcrumbs to help google navigate. Google will often eliminate the URL underneath your search result in serps and default to “Site name > Internal breadcrumb > Category of post/page. This looks cleaner in the SERPs and it will make Google very happy.
    HTML sitemaps are a great. Use one that shows all of your site’s top of mind content, make sure it’s categorized well. This will basically be just a giant list of links for google to follow. You can either limit this page to about 100 links or you can paginate them. Either way, this is a great practice.
    Generate an XML sitemap. Do this using Yoast plugin if you’re on wordpress.
    Submit this sitemap to Google in webmaster tools.

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