Yesterday was the first day of Spring and if you have been drawing the blinds and pushing back the curtains to tackle dust bunnies or clearing out the closets for donations then now is also the perfect time to do a little spring cleaning on your blog.
I haven’t begun yet, however, while checking a few of my feeds I came across this post by Sean Nicholson over at SocMedSean which gives some great tips for cleaning up your blog.
7 Tips For Cleaning Up Your Blog And Improving Your Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
- Clean up those plugins – If you have been trying out new plugins or widgets for your blog, be sure to delete them if you’re not using them. By removing the files, you can speed up your page load times and reduce any potential security risks that may come from having out-of-date plugins.
Get rid of unused categories and tags – Unused categories or tags are potential 404 errors waiting to happen. Additionally, the more categories and tags you use, the more it can bog down your database and decrease the performance of your blog. Tools like WP-CleanFix can help you identify any opportunities to clean up categories and tags (among other things) and make sure your database is optimized.
- Use Google’s Webmaster tools to ensure that there aren’t any 404s occurring – If you aren’t familiar with Google’s Webmaster tools, now is the time to get familiar. The data provided to you by Google can be a goldmine in finding and fixing 404 errors. Technically, Google says they don’t penalize you for 404s, but why risk a bad visitor experience if they can’t find the page they are looking for. If you have changed your permalink structure or your domain name, you might even have some old links out there that need fixing because they point to the old URLs.If you need a good tool to redirect user from an out-of-date URL to a new one, check out the Redirection plugin for WordPress.
- Make sure every image on your site has an Alt tag – This one is a MUST. Google will actually penalize your page if your images don’t have Alt tags. Since I’m a huge proponent of having images on every page, be sure that they are helping your SEO and not hurting it.
- Re-read your posts and make sure they are still relevant – Let’s face it, some articles are just timely and are out-of-date quickly. But…maybe there is an update on the topic, maybe it’s a good opportunity for a new post that links back to the old post. Don’t just give up on those time-sensitive posts, find a way to update and re-energize the content
- Cross-link between posts for better internal linking – It’s likely that your old posts talk about content that is similar to your new posts. So why not go back and create links between similar articles. You don’t want to go overboard and over-link your articles, but by creating internal links between articles, you’ll be helping readers and the search engines re-discover some of those older articles.
- Re-evaluate your sidebar(s) – Page load time is a factor in your search engine ranking, so find ways to minimize that load time. One way to do is to take a good, hard look at the items that are located in your sidebar. Do you have too many widgets? Are those widgets slowing down your blog? If so, consider dropping some of them. Anything you can do to increase the speed of your blog and decrease page load times will pay off in SEO.
There you go! 7 quick tips that you can use to clean up your blog this Spring and, hopefully, drive more traffic.