Opinions expressed by Entrepreneuri contributors are their own.
It seems that as your business grows, so does your website. Of course, this growth is generally a good sign for your company and bottom line. But as your site admins do their best to keep pace, and those blogs, contact forms and product landing pages start to pile up, things can get messy.
With hundreds or more pages to manage — and constantly changing algorithms and content trends to contend with — SEO issues can mount up. From dead links and oversized images to the gradual loss of content optimization, such problems often combine to slow loading speeds and hurt user experience. Ultimately, this can bump up bounce rates and make it much harder to turn prospects into buyers.
If your website has grown out of control, an SEO content cleanup may be the answer. Done carefully, a thorough step-by-step cleanup can help bring order to the chaos, improve site speeds, and return your website to its former glory, complete with the UX and performance needed to magnetize your brand and attract more customers.
Following a few basic cleanup steps can help get your website running in the right direction:
Related: Essential Tips to Write Appealing Website Content
Declutter your website structure
How your site structure is organized matters a lot when it comes to improving your ranking in Google and optimizing customer engagement with your brand. By removing needless clutter and cleaning up critical structural elements, you can provide an almost immediate boost to site appearance and navigation, making it easier for visitors to find what they’re after while strengthening customer sentiment and connections that feed your bottom line.
Cleaning up the site structure starts with simplifying the site menu. Because the menu is typically the first element customers engage with, keeping it focused and as minimal as possible is essential. With clear, easy-to-understand options at the top, visitors have a simplified reference guide to navigate and find exactly what they’re searching for.
Once your menu is re-aligned, you can dive deep into your content. Depending on how much content your site has, this can seem like a Herculean effort, at least at first. But taking time to organize your blogs and product pages into categories, and analyzing each for relevance and search performance, can make the process much more manageable.
When things are sorted, and page importance is organized, ranked and understood, you can better decide which posts to delete, which to keep and which can be tweaked and optimized for SEO.
Separating the effective from the ineffective allows you to eliminate content redundancies while maximizing the reach and impact of working pieces. It also removes needless obstacles and helps refine and optimize user experience — a potential boon to site traffic and content KPIs.
Related: How to Create a Startup Website That Delivers
Find and fix those broken links
Broken hyperlinks in blogs and web pages don’t just hurt user experience. They can also drag down site authority and, ultimately, your SEO. And as content begins to pile up, so does the number of 404 links cluttering up your website and putting your online brand in a bind.
Broken links happen for various reasons, from incorrectly entered links and restricted page access to links and websites getting deleted after the text was linked up. Fortunately, finding and fixing these digital deadends is an easy way to delete dead weight and help restore search ranking and performance.
A free tool like the Crawl Errors feature in Google Search Console or the Broken Link Checker plugin in WordPress can help identify 404 links across your site. Once you know where they are, fixing these links can be done in several ways: repairing the wrongly-entered link, replacing links that still exist but have since been changed or removing the links altogether.
If the broken link goes to a page on your site (such as the Contact page) but appears in multiple places across your site, creating a redirect can also be an effective way to fix the problem, at least temporarily.
Related: How To Maximize the Number of Linkable Assets on Your Website
Give images the SEO treatment
Great images bring an appealing visual element that attracts visitors and adds life to your content. When relevant and displayed correctly, high-quality images help boost clicks and user engagement rates and provide a burst of SEO energy that can lift your blogs and product pages to the top of search results.
Over time, however, those images can often pile up, creating a bulky, unoptimized mess that reduces page load speeds and damages user experience. Fortunately, a thorough SEO cleanup can help tidy things up and maximize each photo’s potential across your website.
Image compression offers an excellent place to start. Compressing images to more manageable file sizes helps reduce page load speeds, shaving seconds off the process while allowing visitors faster access to your blogs and landing pages. Faster page loads help reduce bounce rates and improve customer interactions, ensuring potential buyers stay put and engage with your brand for longer periods.
Removing and replacing irrelevant and poor-quality images can also improve image SEO. By locating unnecessary and ineffective space fillers out of posts and inserting better, more attractive images, you create a more complementary mix of text and imagery that keeps more eyes glued to your content.
Updating image alt text across your site can also provide a valuable SEO boost. Doing so allows you to incorporate focus keywords into each page and sharpen image SEO for essential topics and search queries.